Lowell Dean on the All Killer, No Filler of ‘Another WolfCop’

Another Wolfcop

All WolfCops are valid.

Where have all the wolfmen gone? Fed up with the gluttony of CGI monster-mashes, Lowell Dean set out to reestablish his favorite beastie of yesterday. WolfCop (2014) detailed the horrific plight of alcoholic Canadian cop, Lou Garou (Leo Fafard), and his welcomed transformation into the Lycan vigilante. For the first film, Dean relied heavily on genre convention, pushing the envelope of weird as far as he could. For the second outing, the gloves were off. All killer, no filler.

Dean had one goal for Another Wolfcop. Everything had to be crazy. Now that his monster was fully established, he could leave the question mark of the audience behind, and just embrace the absurdity of what he had already crafted in the first film. Another WolfCop is a mad monster party utterly in love with the creature features that came before, but eager to descend deeper into the muck of the grotesque.

I chatted with the filmmaker over the phone as he was making the rounds to promote the new Blu-ray. We dig into the influences behind his very particular brand of monster, and his desire to obliterate good taste. Another WolfCop was shot in 17 days, and it is a mini-miracle that Dean managed to achieve such a feat.

Keep reading for our full conversation.

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Where do you even begin to conceive of a sequel to WolfCop?

Yeah. The weird part is, we actually had a million places to go with it, so we had almost a wealth of ideas, but yeah, honestly it was figuring out what people responded to in the first one, figuring out what I want to explore, what’s the second one, and how to make those things kind of mesh together in a way that we could do something bigger but still in a 17-day shoot. So, no telling.

Was there a particular element in this plot that you were desperate to achieve first?

Yeah, for sure. There was a couple things. The big one for me was what do you do with the character? Is it Spider-Man 2 where he quits being Spider-Man, or is it what? So for me, I wanted to go the other way and I wanted to be, here’s a character who has been a loser his whole life who finally gets this insane power. The fun for me is, here’s a guy who goes too far the other way and he doesn’t want to quit being WolfCop. He only wants to be WolfCop. It was that, plus he hadn’t been having his team around him being kind of like, realizing he can’t do it himself, and he’s a pack animal. He needs his team.

You have such a great reintroduction for WolfCop here, behind the wheels, taking down those guys in that truck. It has an iconic stature like something you’d see in RoboCop 2.

Awesome, glad to hear that because you’re never sure. I’m like, “How are we going to bring him back?” There was just a lot of debate and a lot of things attempted, and honestly, a lot of it comes down to budget. I love the energy of the sequel. That’s something that was really fun to discover.

Well, and you don’t have a lot of time, or at least, you don’t give yourself a lot of time for the film. It is really run and gun. It’s like an hour and 20 minutes, something like that?

Yeah. It’s just barely squeaking by what the definition of a feature is, and I think that’s because our mantra is like all killer, no filler. We only had, like I said, 17 days to shoot so we didn’t want to throw in a bunch of shit just to have it there. We’re like, “No, everything here has to be crazy.” I don’t want any of those scenes between the crazy scenes. I just want to find a way to put the exposition and the logic in the middle of a crazy scene.

Right, which I think is always key to a really great, bonkers exploitation movie.

Yeah, yeah. We needed the energy. It’s sometimes hard to do on that breakneck schedule but that was our obsession.

Where do you put the WolfCop films genre-wise?

God, that’s a really tough question. Usually, I think someone else might need to answer that because the first film I actually think was more of a horror than the sequel by far. The first film … I think that by virtue of it being a mystery and an origin story of, “Who am I?” But I think once Jamie is in the bottle, and once he actually becomes WolfCop, the second half of the first film kind of becomes action/comedy, so totally I think the sequel just in my head was a continuation of the second half of the other film. For me, WolfCop 2 or Another WolfCop, it’s an action/comedy in a weird way.

Most regular action/comedies have this level of blood or gore, but I don’t know. What I love about the character is I actually think he is, in my heart, a comic book character, so I can see him stepping into different genres much like you can have the Adam West Batman and then the Christopher Nolan Batman. I think WolfCop could be deadly serious, and then he could be like a cartoon for kids.

Yeah. I’ve always said all Batmen are valid.

That should be on a T-shirt. All Batmen are valid (Laughter).

Not to sound too highfalutin, but to your point, I felt kind of felt that Alien to Aliens leap between WolfCop and Another WolfCop, where it does almost become a totally different vehicle from the first film because of its fully embracing the comedy blend with the action.

Yeah. I know. It was weird, and I don’t know, I’m still debating if we went too far, but I feel like it was in a weird way like a knee-jerk reaction to what I felt, what I had fun with, and also it’s almost like us exposing ourselves, I guess pun intended, a bit more because on the first film, I knew I wanted to have things like the dick monster and that sex scene, and there were questions: Is this too weird? Is this going to ruin the movie? But then when people responded so well to those scenes in the first film, I’m like, “Okay. Well, let’s just consider this another continuation or leap into the craziest area.”

What are the inspirations that feed WolfCop?

It’s a mix of a lot of things, but I grew up with Teen Wolf. When I was a kid, that was my everything for two or three years, and I kind of forgot about it. Then you grow up and you’re seeing all these other incarnations of werewolves. I’m like, “No, where’s the Universal Wolf Man? Where is the man in the suit? Where is Teen Wolf? We haven’t had him. We just get CGI werewolves that look like cute puppies, so I was like, “I want to see another Wolf Man,” but then my brain started thinking, “What would be the weirdest way to see him.”

Our pitch was Teen Wolf meets Bad Lieutenant. That was what I wanted to see, and people responded to that. They’re like, “What the hell would that even look like?” So that was my pitch in the first film, and I think it get a little more, again, playful in the second film. My influences were Lethal Weapon, Strange Brew, Gremlins, things like that, and Slapshot. So, obviously the influences kind of dictate where we go with it, but that said, if I did another WolfCop, I’d love to take him on a different journey. Who knows where he’d end up? I don’t think it would be as silly as this one because that’s kind of an exercise from us, but I still think it’d be funny.

So is that a serious consideration? Are you really thinking about closing up a trilogy?

I’d love to. It’s going to come down to how people react to this one. This one had a really interesting journey to release. We actually shot it almost two years ago, so I think it’s just the way distribution goes now. It’s harder to get films out and find the right window. I hope people respond to it. I hope it finds an audience, like some online platform or Blu-ray or wherever, but if the world wants more WolfCop, we’re ready and waiting. We’ve got ideas.

Kevin Smith pops up for a little bit in Another WolfCop. How’d he get in there?

It was a weird confluence of events, actually. He was scouting Moose Jaws, which as anybody knows, Moose Jaw is an actual city in Saskatchewan, which is where I’m from and where we made the WolfCop films, so it was too good of a thing to pass up. We knew Kevin Smith was going to be in Saskatchewan, our producer reached out to him and basically found a way to bring him to set, and we had him for about six hours. We just abused the man for like six hours. He was awesome. I can’t say enough about him. He was so gracious and playful, and just a wonderful treat to have on set.

Visually, where are you grabbing the palate for WolfCop?

I would say it’s a comic book feel, for sure. I really wanted to embrace color and contrast and energy. You’ll see some scenes are almost vomiting tones of red and yellows and greens. By and large I just love a saturated world and I love a world that’s just slightly technicolory off of the real thing and dreamlike. I mean ’80s. I’m very much, at least for these films, the WolfCop films, I think we’ve pretty fertilely set ourselves in a backwardsy small town 80’s feel, so definitely influenced by that.

How were you able to achieve what you were able to achieve in just 17 days. What’s the process there? How is that achievable?

I would say it’s massive preparation and flexibility, which I know are contradictory, but I storyboarded the whole film. Every action scene, every everything, and we really did detailed drawings and art for everything, and that said, when we were on the shoot, I just had backup plans. Like plan B, C, and D, because every now and then we’d block out half a day to shoot a fight scene and then something would go wrong and we’d only have two hours. Everybody had to be prepared enough to say, “Okay, you remember that fight scene? We’re going to do version C of the fight scene.” It’s not compromising on some things. There were a handful of things, I’m like, and “I don’t care if we go to overtime. This scene or this sequence has to be perfect.” It’s fighting your battles.

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Another Wolfcop is now available on Blu-ray from Amazon.

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Trekkie, Not Trekker. Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects, co-host of the In The Mouth of Dorkness Podcast.