DIRECTOR Lowell Dean WRITER Lowell Dean STARS Leo Fafard; Amy Matysio; Sarah Lind SCREENING Today at 23.15

WolfcopWith its does-what-it-says-on-the-tin title and taglines such as Here Comes the Fuzz and Like Dirty Harry… Only Hairier you pretty much know what to expect from WolfCop. Following on from similar Canuxploitation titles such as Hobo with a Shotgun and Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, WolfCop is not only a fond nod to gonzo B-movies of yore, but a rollicking, full-blooded yarn in its own right. Writer/director Lowell Dean, whose first film was zombie thriller 13 Eerie, has fun with traditional werewolf film conventions while creating some interesting and original lore of his own.

Bypassing the traditional bitten-by-a-wolf-during-a-full-moon narrative, he offers a fresh take on the reason for his protagonist’s transformation, one which delves into an occult-heavy backstory. Intrigue is established early on and as the story unfolds, Dean throws enough plot twists into the mix to keep things ticking over nicely. While a number of interesting elements are left underdeveloped, this is a minor criticism of an otherwise solid, energetic and highly entertaining romp, which features a surprising amount of character development and backstory behind all the B-movie bravado.

A basic premise and simple story, handsomely shot and stylishly directed, WolfCop at times resembles something akin to an episode of Supernatural (no bad thing by any means) with its irreverent, flawed-machismo humour. Protagonist Lou Garou (as in ‘loup garou’, French for ‘werewolf’) is a lazy, small-town cop who has hit the bottle to cope with boredom and escape his sham life. He gradually gains audience sympathy with dry humour and shabby charm and, due to his alcoholism, Garou is used to blacking out and waking up in unfamiliar places with no memory of the night before — a humorous parallel to his burgeoning lycanthropy.

Garou’s appearance as a werewolf harks back to Jack Pierce’s iconic design for Lon Chaney Jnr. in The Wolf Man, and the sight of him in wolfen form while wearing his police uniform, has all the makings of a new B-movie icon (even prior to his transformation, there’s something a little lupine about actor Leo Lafard). The transformation scenes are typically the money shots in werewolf flicks, and those on display in WolfCop, while not on the same level as the likes of An American Werewolf in London — they’re actually more akin to those used in Neil Jordan’s Company of Wolves — don’t disappoint. Created with prosthetics and in-camera trickery, they make for a refreshing change from CGI; skin bubbles, rips, and sheds as the hairy beast within gradually bursts from beneath the surface. Typical of WolfCop’s humour, the first transformation occurs when Lou is urinating and we’re ‘treated’ to a brief shot of his penis as it becomes disturbingly hirsute…

While the tone is largely humorous — there’s a ludicrous love scene set to Gowan’s “Moonlight Desires” — WolfCop has moments of poignancy and sincerity, and isn’t afraid to take itself seriously when proceedings darken. With its icky transformation scenes, lashings of blood and gore, and bizarre sense of humour, complete with lycanthropic puns galore, it has cult stamped all over it.

Posted by James Gracey

James is the author of Dario Argento (Kamera Books) and a monograph on The Company of Wolves (Devil’s Advocates). He contributes to Diabolique, and has also written for Paracinema, Film Ireland, Eye for Film, Little White Lies and The Quietus.