Film Corner: VelociPastor


I am lying in bed resting my chest (which is still twitchy and I'm a little annoyed at myself for not healing faster, but Kissmate keeps saying Healing Isn't Linear and is threatening to cross-stitch it at me) so it's time for Amazon Prime!

Several folks have asked for this one by name: VelociPastor. "After losing his parents, a priest travels to China, where he inherits a mysterious ability that allows him to turn into a dinosaur. At first horrified by this new power, a prostitute convinces him to use it to fight crime."

I have many questions, like "do people normally call a priest a pastor?" because those are very different sects of Christianity in my experience, and also questions like "will he be 2 feet tall in dinosaur form?" Please let him be a tiny feral lizard-chicken. The movie opens with screen-text which informs us that it's "Rated X by an all-Christian jury". Kissmate is struggling to breathe.

A priest tells us that the Book of Job teaches us that everyone suffers but the righteous persevere. Kissmate notes that he looks like a discount Mark Wahlberg. I'm distracted by how much the priest's cassock looks tear-away-able, like a cheap stripping outfit.

....Oh my god. He... he waves at his parents near a car and yells "Mom and Dad!", then we hear an explosion and we see something I have- I have never seen before in all my life. Ever. The mother, the father, and the car are gone. In their place is a peaceful street and the floating words: "VFX: Car on fire". Kissmate is straight-up hyperventilating next to me.

Priest (Pastor?) Doug is now being counseled by a peer: "Your parents died, Doug. That's what parents do. They die on you." Doug weeps and drinks the sacramental wine like a champ. Doug says he's starting to question his faith, and his peer tells him to travel "where you think God will not follow. If you find him there, he's with you." I...uh. We slam cut to Doug driving sexy-moodily around in a car which might be vintage or might just be awful (look, I'm not a car person) and credits roll over the rock music.

Now Doug is... hiking through something that we are helpfully informed is CHINA but which I suspect is not. "China," he says happily. A woman, running through the forest, is shot through the heart by an arrow. She falls dead at Doug's feet, clutching an artifact. She tells him to "destroy it or they will hunt you forever." Tragically, Doug does not speak Mandarin. "You want me to take it?" he asks. He has also queried whether she "is hurt" while examining the blood-soaked arrow protruding from her heart. I feel like RiffTrax should know about this movie, but it almost brought its own rifftrax with it. If that makes any sense.

Doug takes a whole three steps before slicing his palm open, accidentally, on the very large dinosaur tooth he has been handed. Nearby, a ninja dressed in black watches. Tragically, he does not slay Pastor (Priest?) Doug. Then Doug wakes from "the dream again" in the home of his peer, so we're out of China. That's probably for the best. Doug is ill from his travels and/or from the artifact he sliced his hand over. Awkward hugs happen.

Pastor Doug repeats to himself that he's "hungry...hungry" and runs outside for air. He passes a sex worker on the street whose name is Carol and who has an abusive "daddy-o" dressed like an Austen Powers extra. It is the middle of the day. The street is empty. The man insists that his name is "Frankie Mermaid" because he's "swimming in bitches". I'm- Well, obviously he's going to be eaten at some point. The only real question is the size of the velociraptor which ends his life.

Carol volunteers to take the sex worker night-shift at the park. Slam cut to night as Doug runs around the park, muscles rippling and growling hungrily. He has special Halloween contacts for his eyes. Much lizard, very dinosaur. A mugger accosts Carol in the park but she explains that "they don't give me the money". I have so many questions about the economics of this sex work: do people pay Frankie Mermaid first and he sends them into the park with, like, a raffle ticket to give Carol?

A giant plastic dinosaur--Kissmate insists it's a hand-puppet of a T-Rex--mauls the mugger and then roars over Carol. She stares in shock at her reptilian rescuer, then Doug wakes in bed. Kissmate, who still has standards, is very upset that we were promised a velociraptor and we instead received a T Rex. I point out we were technically promised a "velociPASTOR". Kissmate maintains we have a Priest Rex, or a Tyrannosaurus Priest, at best.

Carol walks into the room in a conservative-comfy nightie which makes her look like an alluring kindergarten teacher or homemaker. Doug warily addresses her as "my child". Carol tells him that "last night was amazing." Doug realizes he is wearing no pants. Spooked, Doug tells her last night was a "one time thing" that will never happen again and shouldn't have happened at all. They fail to communicate for awhile (she, talking about him being a dinosaur; him, assuming they had sex) while Kissmate makes velociPENIS jokes.

Back to Carol and Doug, he shyly asks "Was it your first time too?" and she stammers that well, you know, yeah. The miscommunication joke is going on longer than the 100 Years War. Doug loses the miscommunication game of chicken by blinking first; he explains that he's a priest and therefore cannot be a regular visitor to bonetown. Carol clears up that she's talking about "the time you turned into a dinosaur and ate someone."

I want to know how she got him home. Presumably she lugged him back after he turned into a human, but imagine if she'd carried a little growly chicken-lizard home in her arms as a pet, only for it to tragically turn into a man.

Kissmate: Don't think I didn't notice that "tragically" you tacked on there.

Ana: Would you rather have a mere man or a growly chicken-lizard?!

Kissmate: Depends on the man.

Ana: This one doesn't visit bonetown.

Kissmate: ...Yeah, okay, good point.

Doug, shocked by the dinosaur revelation, scrambles out of bed and away from Carol. Kissmate idly notes that he's less interested in Doug given that the pillow only has to be held horizontally for modesty rather than the more interesting verticality option. Food is here! I'll be right back.

When we last left Doug and Carol, he was learning that he's a were-dinosaur ("Paul! You is a war-wilf!") which he doesn't remember from the night before. He only recalls a burning, all-consuming hunger. Doug insists that he doesn't believe Carol because "dinosaurs never existed" which is an *amazing* reason to not believe you're a were-dinosaur. It also doesn't feel very Catholic-Priest of Doug? Like, I would expect that from a Fundie Evangelical Pastor, but even then you're talking one of the *really* fringe ones who believe dino bones are all, like, a massive fake-out test rather than Adam's personal favorite transport animals in Ye Olden Eden Times.

Carol offers to show Doug the dead body and he agrees after being loaned a skin-tight sweater dress. I guess Carol doesn't own any comfy yoga pants. Carol reveals that she's "a hooker" and "a pre-med law [student?]". I...Maybe she means she's going into healthcare law? Doug starts swatting her away for having "sinning hands" and calling her "Jezebel" which again feels more Fundie than Catholic to me.

"You guys talk all the time about helping people; this might be the first time in your life that you can!" Carol urges him. She points out that rapists are always popping by the confessional and now Doug has dinosaur vigilante powers. It's wild, but I always assumed the thing keeping priests from going Murder Vigilante was, like, ethics and morals and such rather than a lack of magical were-dinosaur powers.

Carol is all over the map, complaining that there's "surprisingly little demand for hooker doctor lawyers". I'm not sure what that has to do with murder vigilante dinosaurs, but she seems to be arguing that the fallen state of the world requires flexible ethics. Doug runs off in his borrowed sweater dress, insisting that he "has to do confessions". He flings himself into the booth to find his first customer of the day is Frankie Mermaid. Frankie didn't strike me as the confessional type.

Frankie says it's been 2 years since his last confession. I thought maybe he followed Doug here, but no, this is just an amazing coincidence. He confesses to a litany of crimes, most of them murder-related. Oh. Frankie blew up Doug's parents too. In a rage, Doug rips through the confession screen with a dino-paw and tears Frankie's throat out after a brief interrogation which reveals Ma and Pa were killed because of "orders" from "the top". Unclear who that means or is.

So apparently Doug has a spectrum of transformation options available to him here, because his dinosaur-form in the confessional was arm-only. His head and chest remained human. Surprisingly little velociraptor representation so far. Seeking refuge with Carol, Doug suggests a partnership in which they dinosaur-murder-vigilante together and he moonlights as a priest on the side.

Carol offers a tentative olive branch: "I don't know much about God."

Doug: "I don't know much about dinosaurs."

OH MY GOD WE'RE ONLY TWENTY MINUTES INTO THIS MOVIE? I thought we were, like, two hours in. At least. Doug reveals that he killed Frankie Mermaid and Carol gives him an impulsive weepy hug of gratitude at being freed from her abusive pimp. Then they high-five as we slam into a jarring musical montage. I'm- My head is spinning.

It's- It's a Training Montage and, like, a Falling In Love Montage at the same time? Cut over with images of Doug preaching as a priest and mauling random guys as a dinosaur. Carol sensually receives the Host on her tongue from his hand. The montage ends with Doug sneaking an arm around Carol's back. She smiles and snuggles into him.

I- I thought we were safe from the weird Chinese subplot, but now the whitest ninja in the world informs his master that there are rumors of a Dragon Warrior, and also the "coke shipment" is coming along nicely. We're so very lost. Several minutes are lost to the Austen Powers gag of "evil mastermind laughs while his underling echoes his laughter and tries to gauge how much is TOO much".

Back home, Doug's priestly peer notices with concern how much Doug has been hanging out with Carol and her short skirts. Father Stewart demands to know whether Doug has forgotten his "vow of chastity". Doug confides his were-dino powers to Father Stewart, who immediately hits the communion wine hard and tries to schedule an exorcism. "This is insane, Doug! God does not want people dead!" "Oh, I think God wants a LOT of people dead."

Father Stewart says he's going to contact the diocese and I really hope we get to hear THAT phone call. ("Yes, hi, Vatican? I have a were-dinosaur situation. Yes, I'll hold.") I am actively weeping in my hands at hearing Doug's father talk about him going to "priest college". I cannot strongly enough stress that I am not making up ANY of this. Like, I know I sometimes exaggerate a little for humorous effect, but I am stone cold sober serious about all of this.

A pan of the street reveals that Pastor Doug works at "The Tenth Street Church of Christ" which is- Churches of Christ are Protestants in my area, yes? So that means Doug is not Catholic? There... there is a Celestial Church of Christ Diocese, I think, but- but-

Father Stewart feels the church bureaucracy is taking too long (it has been at least an hour since he called in to report the were-dino, after all) and has taken Doug to a downtown magic shop slash Earthbound Trading Co. "Sometimes we need evil to fight evil, Doug." A flamboyant shopkeeper who is an ex-Father and a "practicing exorcist" greets the two men. He has guyliner and black paint on his nails. Doug fills Altair in on the plot while Stewart experiences a flashback.

Apparently Stewart and Altair (here and now called "Ali") fought together against...the Vietcong. "They're Communists, okay? Ain't nothing sneaky about evil like that." The two men discuss the girls they have back home waiting for them and the families they dream about starting. Ali tells Stewart to have "11 kids" and to "spend 15 minutes a day with them" and to name one of the kids after him. Then he's shot in the neck and instantly dies. Kissmate and I worry whether we're too faceblind and thought "Ali" and "Altaire" the same person.

Stewart deliberates over the letter he must send to his dead comrade's family but is distracted when his "girl back home" appears in Vietnam. She runs to him and explodes as she reaches him. Kissmate is scream-laughing, but we have NO IDEA what is happening. A...apparently that really was Stewart's girlfriend Adeline? She came to Vietnam to surprise him and hit a Vietcong trap mine that was buried in the ground two inches from where he'd been sitting? Kissmate is sobbing with laughter.

We still have no idea if "Ali" and "Altair" are the same person or if they just looked similar. Back at the Hot Topic, Altair is wearing a vampire cape as he conducts the exorcism for the two priests.

Okay. Pause. Let's review.

1. Doug's parents were killed in a car bombing by a mafia-connected pimp.

2. Doug found a Chinese dinosaur tooth that has afflicted him with dino-canthropy.

3. Carol, a sex worker, convinced Doug to use his were-dino powers for murder vigilantism.

4. Doug has been killing people who come to him at confessional and confess to unforgivable sins, whilst forming a romantic attachment to Carol.

5. Stewart has noticed Doug's attachment, confronts him, learns the truth, and schedules a non-sanctioned exorcism.

We have checked, and the actors for "Ali" (David Sokol) and "Altair" (Aurelio Voltaire Hernandez) are not the same people. Which...fine. But we are thoroughly confused why Stewart went down flashback lane in Altair's shop. The unmistakable conclusion is that Stewart is so bored by Doug's movie that he felt he must add in one of his own, hence the detour into Vietnam, his war buddy, and his implausibly broken heart.

Altair speaks in a "foreign language" which we're pretty sure is Spanish while Stewart waves a tarot card--I can't see which one, which is deeply frustrating to me--at Doug. A statue of Isis looms ominously in the background, and I HAVE NO IDEA WHY. Doug starts to convulse in his seat as his lizard eyes come out to play. "Stop the seance!" Stewart cries. IT'S A SEANCE NOW?!?! Doug begins to transform and waves plastic paws at a horrified Stewart before killing him. Altair watches him go in mild distress before dissolving into hysterics and laughter.

The Chinese ninja assassins find Doug in the local park. They have Australian accents and use the word "crikey". One of the Chinese ninjas is named Jenny. The third ninja is named "Choi-Min"--which Google tells me is the name of a South Korean actor--and he has a sepia-toned flashback to a woman he loves back home and how he always knew this was how he would die.

Kissmate: "There's a lot of movies in this movie and I really just want the one I was promised, the one with the velocipastor." The three ninjas are apparently immediately killed by Doug, but it's very artsy and vague to save on special effects.

Doug wakes up in Carol's apartment with a tiny cut in his abdomen. "I'm think I'm still bleeding!" Carol kisses Doug and music starts up to let us know fucking is about to happen. I want you to imagine the classiest, sweetest, most romantic love scene between two characters you care about. Got it in your head? Good. I saved you from thinking about Doug and Carol. A million still-shots from the movie are flashed in quick succession at us, so uhhh seizure warning? We're having to look away, and we're not even that light-sensitive.

Doug and Carol wake the next morning when ninjas fling themselves into the room. Doug and Carol effortlessly subdue them and then passionately make out. "Where did all these ninja come from?" Carol asks in a husky, business-womany sort of tone. "I fought some ninjas last night," Doug admits. Gradually it seems to dawn on him that maybe there might be something odd about that.

Elsewhere, Stewart is alive and merely blinded in one eye. He has been bandaged up by the ninja master and apparently speaks and understands Mandarin. Or maybe he's reading the subtitles with us, I'm not sure. THEY ARE TEMPLAR NINJA? HOLY TEMPLAR NINJA WARRIORS? ASJHDAJDKJSGDKAGDJADHK WHAT. WHAT. WHAT. The ninja master tells Stewart that they exist to "destroy infidels". They plan to hook the city on highly addictive cocaine, cut off the supply, and force everyone to turn to the church for help. "An unstoppable army of faith!"

Stewart says they can't force people to convert to Christianity, and the ninja master stabs him with an arrow while the ninjas perform the sign of the cross. Elsewhere, Doug thinks: "Good thing that ninja told us where their hideout was before he died." Help. Doug changes into a skintight leather jacket and jeans. Carol hugs him as she braids her hair into badass finale fighting hair. Organ music plays a fugue. Ninjas confront Doug and Carol.

The whitest ninja boy demands to know whether Doug "recognizes him". It's Doug's brother, a character never before mentioned or shown. Kissmate is now actively looking for something to drink. "You're not the only one who answered God's call. I will not stain the sword of my ancestors with your blood!" I- what? Carol doffs her leopard-print coat so she can fight the rest of the ninjas in her exercise tights. Doug takes up the fallen sword. "Your ancestors are MY ancestors," he declares. Music swells as Doug stabs his brother-ninja in the ankle and he dies. WHERE IS THE VELOCIPASTOR? Carol kills five ninja on her own.

A new ninja appears with a sword and he cuts down Carol handily, which is sad because she was doing so well. Doug holds her while the ninja forces watch and look glum. Carol tells him she believes in him and that he's a good man. Occasionally she coughs up strawberry jam as she talks. The ninja give each other sad little side-hugs while they mourn with Doug over the girl they killed. Doug stands, stained with blood, and tells them even God can't save their lives. Then he screams and turns into a dinosaur mascot costume.

It has little T Rex arms and the person inside the costume clearly can't see where he's going; the ninjas are having to chase after him in order to die properly. Kissmate is deeply upset over the T Rexness. An arrow to the knee turns Doug abruptly back into human form. The master ninja explains that he has an anti-venom (I guess) and expositions that dinosaurs--real ones, I mean--were all magic "dragon warriors" like Doug. There were no dinosaurs. Only magic humans.

The master ninja asks Doug if he has any last words. He sounds like Yoda now? Like, Yoda when he's amused? Doug reveals that his hand is immune to the anti-venom and pulls off the master's head. A quote flickers over his blood-soaked face. "Only through the elimination of violence can we achieve world peace." That's... that's from Miami Connection, another RiffTrax movie. They attribute it to Gandhi. I...can't confirm that either way.

A "doctor" tells a waiting Doug that Carol is expected to make a full recovery. Carol sits on an examination table and assures Doug she's fine. "SHE'S FINE" flashes on the screen in big yellow letters. I'm weeping. Nothing makes sense in this cruel world. Why. Why. In a field, Carol warns Doug "the church won't stop" with the ninja master's death. Doug announces that having "resigned from the church" now he's going to have to take on the church all over the world. Blade-style, I guess. He kisses Carol as the credits slam down.

I... I don't... I'm not... I haven't... I... what? What did we just watch? I have seen almost every MST3K movie, and more RiffTraxs than I can count, and this was surreal even by my standards. Hug your loved ones tonight, for tomorrow they may become a dinosaur.


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