At first glance, Saskatchewan-based writer/director Lowell Dean’s 2014 horror/comedy hybrid Wolfcop looks like it’s a movie that’s come along about 20 years too late — seriously, wouldn’t this have been more at home among the avalanche of low-budget direct-to-video schlockfests that tried to piggyback onto the success of Maniac Cop? Surely you remember seeing some of those on the shelves of your local video stores in the early ’90s — Psycho Cop, Samurai Cop, Beast Cop, Vampire Cop (my personal favorite of the bunch) — the list was endless there for awhile. But their day has almost certainly passed, right?
Well, piss on all that. It’s never too late for a good idea, I say.
Sure, Wolfcop (now available via Netflix instant streaming, and soon to be arriving on Blu-ray and DVD from Image Entertainment) is an entirely self-aware homage to the “Fill-In-The-Blank” Cop films of days gone by, but that doesn’t preclude it from being a shit-ton of fun. As a matter of fact, if this isn’t the kind of flick that leaves you grinning from ear to ear, then it’s a pretty safe bet that this little blog site of mine is probably not among your regular internet “hangouts,” because for lovers of cheap n’ cheesy celluloid, Dean’s little intentionally brain-dead opus is pure gold.
Meet Lou Garrou (the first of many groaningly obvious lycanthropic puns lamely inserted throughout), washed-up alcoholic deputy cop of the fictitious burg of Woodhaven, a town where shuttered-and-padlocked industrial plants have given rise to a local obsession with alcohol and firearms that borders on the pathological, and where the occult seems to have gained a foothold in conjunction with the establishment of a permanent, and of course thoroughly crooked, political power structure. How Lou (played by Leo Fafard, who both looks and acts like something of a poor man’s approximation of William Petersen) manages to hang onto his job is anyone’s guess, but having another deputy on hand, Tina (Amy Matysio) to actually solve most of the cases that come up seems to help in keeping the Sheriff (Aidan Devine) at bay so that our ostensible “hero” can continue to get shit-faced during working hours and try to get in the pants of local barmaid Jessica (Sarah Lind).
Still, when Lou wakes up one morning after a bender to find a pentagram carved into his chest and hair starting to grow in places he’s not accustomed to, it’s obvious that something is up. Cue a series of impressively-realized creature transformations, lots of beyond-lame “humor,” plenty of blood and guts, enough nudity to keep things interesting, and a plot that, in the grandest of “B”- movie traditions, really doesn’t matter in the least, and you’ve got just about 80 minutes of awesome for those of you, like myself, whose tastes are refined enough to appreciate this sort of thing.
Is a good chunk of the acting here suspect at best? Of course. But what do you want from a Saskatchewan production with a total budget of a million bucks (Canadian) that of necessity spends pretty much all of that on effects? And besides, dodgy performances only help to give flicks like this one character. Bitching about the acting here is about as pointless as bitching about the plot holes — Saskatoon ain’t Hollywood (thank God), and you either meet a movie like Wolfcop on its own terms or you move on.I recommend the former, without reservation.
Evidently this did get some theatrical play in its home country, and while I would love to have seen this with an audience, the fact that it’s so widely and readily available on various so-called “home viewing platforms” is reason for optimism for those of us who love trash cinema. Sure, Troma’s got their niche and all that, and we’re happy for them, but why should Lloyd Kaufman and company have all the fun? Wolfcop proves that the Canadians can do “instant cult favorite” stuff as well as anyone, and we can only hope that the modest success Dean and his cohorts are enjoying will inspire other backyard filmmakers to try their hand at adding to the glorious garbage heap.
So come on, enterprising would-be directors — wherever you may be! Zombie Cop, Snake Cop, Ninja Cop, and Mummy Cop are all dying to be made!