Lowell Dean’s WolfCop has already made a lasting impression on those that have had a chance to see it and those that haven’t seen it yet are missing out on a riotous and fun time. Wicked Horror’s Tyler Doupe’ had the occasion to speak with Dean about the upcoming sequel to WolfCop, the amazing practical effects employed in the film, why the werewolf genre is an untapped market, and why he’s going to continue making horror films for the foreseeable future.
WolfCop tells the story of Lou Garou a hard boiled officer of the law who is also a full blown alcoholic. Things change for Lou when he wakes up with a pentagram carved into his chest and discovers that he has been transformed into a lycanthrope. Along with the help of his partner Tina, Lou works to uncover the cause of his sudden transformation and expose a ring of corruption that is plaguing his hometown.
Wicked Horror: The practical FX in the film are so impressive. How did you come to the decision to use practical effects when so many people are doing digital?
Lowell Dean: There were two big reasons why we went with practical effects and they are kind of connected, actually. One is that one of my best friends is a great practical effects artist. So, a lot of what you see in WolfCop was born out of me going for coffee with a practical effects artist and saying that I wanted to make a werewolf movie. So, before there was even a movie, there was a practical effects artist. So, that helps a lot. When you make a low budget movie, you have to have faith in what’s happening. Maybe if one of my friends was a digital effects artist and could show me a bunch of stuff they had done, I would have said, ‘OK, I trust you.’ But a lot of it was being friends with the artist. And the other big reason was that we wanted to make an ’80s movie. We wanted it to feel like it could have been a lost movie from the ’80s. And obviously, that means going practical effects all the way.
Wicked Horror: A sequel to WolfCop was announced almost a year ago. And the press release said it was going to see release early this year. But I haven’t seen any movement on that front in some time. Is that something you are still on board with an do you have any updates?
Lowell Dean: Well, I wish it was out. Not only is it still happening but in that quiet downtime since then, I have written the script and I have already begun storyboarding it. I think if all goes well, we will be shooting by the summer. As you can imagine, it’s not an easy thing to pull together financing for a film. It needs to be bigger. We’re aiming for a budget of at least double what we had in the first WolfCop, which was over a million. The producers are currently working to get financing and we are working on the script to see if it’s too ambitious or if we can actually make this damn thing soon.
Wicked Horror: Is Cinecoup still putting up the million dollars that they awarded you in prize money for the first film or are you having to go a different route?
Lowell Dean: They’ll be financing it but it’s not like a set number like a million. Cinecoup will be putting money in but we will be finding money other ways, like tax credits or investors. So, it’ll need to be bigger. I don’t know if that means Cinecoup will put in more or if we will find more people to put in money. But WolfCop has got to be taken up a notch this time.
Something that always interests me about teaser trailers and sizzle reels is how they relate to a finished film. So, I am curious. Did any of the footage from the Cinecoup trailer that won you the financing contest make it into the finished film?
Lowell Dean: Nothing made it in and I think that’s just because we learned so much from the time we did the trailer to the time we did the movie. Certain little details in the story changed and the look of the werewolf changed, little things like that here and there. I’m still very proud of that trailer and I think it’s a good example of the tone we wanted for the movie and the look and the feel. It’s going to be on the DVD and the Blu-ray as one of the extras. And while not directly in the film, it’s almost like a fun, deleted bonus scene because you get to see WolfCop kill some other guys that aren’t even in the movie.
Wicked Horror: Right. That’s kind of why I asked. Everything in the sales trailer looked vaguely familiar but like it didn’t quite belong.
Lowell Dean: Yeah, that’s the same bar. And it probably does feel like it should be in the movie but it’s not.
Wicked Horror: There seems to be a real shortage of good werewolf films. As someone who has delivered a noteworthy werewolf effort do you think there is something in particular that has kept more filmmakers from tackling the genre?
Lowell Dean: Yeah, I don’t know why, honestly. A big part of why we even did this movie was a reaction to that fact. It’s like if you knew that no one had the rights to Batman and no one was making a Batman movie, after a couple years, you’d be like, ‘Well, dammit, I’m making a Batman movie.’ So, I think I just saw the werewolf as a really cool character that no one was really taking advantage of at the moment. So, I asked myself how do I reboot it and put my own spin on it? I couldn’t recall seeing a werewolf as like a superhero. We’ve always seen them as this dark thing in the shadows that you see for a few frames while he swipes at the camera or a CGI creature. So, I said, ‘I want a werewolf front and center and not only that, I want to root for him like I did when I rooted for Teen Wolf when I was a kid.
Wicked Horror: I think that you kind of recaptured the magic of films like Teen Wolf. Between 13 Eerie, WolfCop, and now WolfCop 2, you are getting a lot of experience making horror films. Is that a trajectory that you would like to continue?
Lowell Dean: I have a lot of different kinds of movies I want to do for sure but I have kind of trained my mindset in my brain around horror. So, in the meantime, when I have not been working on WolfCop, I have been focusing on writing some other horror scripts. I think that, at least in the near future, I hope to play around more with the world of horror. It’s just such a fun world for me and I’ve just been so impressed, especially with my experiences so far. From 13 Eerie to WolfCop, seeing the horror fans and the community is such a great one, especially at an independent level and it’s definitely where I want to be right now.