The VelociPastor is plotting its return ... almost.
The follow-up to the comedy-horror actioner — a viral hit thanks to its pun-tastic title and an insane plot involving ninjas, prostitutes and a crime-fighting clergyman who transforms into a dinosaur when angry — is now taking shape.
Writer/director Brendan Steere — who famously made his feature debut for just $35,000 (and was initially inspired by an autocorrect error on his phone) — had previously announced that a sequel was in the works, but has now revealed to The Hollywood Reporter the title, plot and plans for an entire three-part franchise.
However, says Steere, not only is the film not called The VelociPastor 2, but it doesn't have a pun in its title and — perhaps most shockingly — doesn't even feature dinosaurs. It is, thankfully, just as far-fetched.
Outback Dracula — which the filmmaker says is a "spiritual sequel" to The VelociPastor — shifts the madness to 1880s Australia, where a psychic, lesbian schoolteacher teams up with the world's greatest adventurer to find her missing girlfriend and to defeat Dracula and his Golden Army of the Undead.
"The movie will have the same insane, anything-goes tone as the first film that we all fell in love with," says Steere, who has also managed to substantially increase his resources for the film, which he co-wrote with Jesse Gouldsbury (the two also serve as producers).
While a significant part of The VelociPastor's appeal was its comically microbudget aesthetics (including a much-memed lo-fi rubber dinosaur costume), Outback Dracula's costume department could look a little more professional. Steere tells THR that the budget for the film will be in the region of $1.5 million-$2 million, still very much on the lower rungs of the industry but as much as 57 times more than the original.
With a totally different story, period and location, the shapeshifting cleric and the other characters from The VelociPastor will not appear in Outback Dracula. However, the original cast and creative crew — including Gregory James Cohan, Alyssa Kempinski, and Fernando Pacheco de Castro — will all be involved, both in acting capacities and in creative producing positions.
"These people are some of my closest friends and collaborators, and I will not take this franchise anywhere without them," says Steere, who also claims the movie features an armadillo called Fiasco.
But Outback Dracula — which will shoot in Australia either towards the end of 2020 or early 2021 — won't be the conclusion of the farcical adventure, with Steere having laid out plans for a three-part franchise in the same disconnected vein as Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy. The third film will also have a $1.5 million-$2 million budget.
"Right now, the deals we are negotiating are for two more films in this universe, and indications are that we’re gonna god damn get it," says Steere. "What will part three be about? Oh, don’t worry — we already have a script, but first thing’s first: we gotta make an Australian LGBTQ+ vampire movie called Outback Dracula."
The VelociPastor, which actually had its debut in 2017 but only captured the internet's imagination when it was launched by Wild Eye Releasing last year, continues to be a viral hit. With much of the world on lockdown and scouring online platforms for content, the film has recently seen another spike in interest, helped along the way by new fans with large audiences. Among those are YouTuber Cody Ko, who just last week spent an entire episode telling his almost 5 million followers all about the "best bad movie I've ever seen."