Exclusive Interview and Images: Lowell Dean Talks Another WolfCop Ahead of Fantastic Fest - Dread Central
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Exclusive Interview and Images: Lowell Dean Talks Another WolfCop Ahead of Fantastic Fest

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Back in 2014, the world was introduced to the great white North’s small, rural community of Woodhaven, when alcoholic cop Lou Garou sprouted a few hairs on his chest and saved the locals from a gang of evil reptilian shapeshifters. Given the unanimous positive buzz for the film, Cinecoup couldn’t resist green-lighting a sequel before the first film even released. And now, two years on, Another WolfCop will be making its world premiere at Austin’s Fantastic Fest.

With Lou Garou (Leo Fafard) back on the streets of Woodhaven, gleefully and violently disposing of criminals and causing all manner of problems for his former-partner-turned-Chief of Police Tina (Amy Matysio), we caught up with director Lowell Dean to find out just how bigger, badder, dirtier, and hairier his loopy lupine sequel really is…

anotherwolfcop-lowell-and-cast

Dread Central: The first time round, WolfCop became a feature as a result of winning the Cinecoup prize money of one million dollars. How has the financing differed this time, and what have been the advantages and problems you’ve experienced as a result of the financing route taken?

Lowell Dean: Actually, both the first and second WolfCop were financed through conventional methods. What was unique about the first film was – like you mentioned – that it was chosen for production by Cinecoup after competing with 90 others for selection. The big advantage for the sequel, Another WolfCop, is that we didn’t have to spend 3 months pitching it! Cinecoup wanted to make it as soon as we finished the first one. The hard part with the sequel was that our budget needed to be bigger – just over two million dollars. So it took longer to raise the financing before we could go and make the film.

DC: With the title being Another WolfCop, is that just a tip of the hat to titles like TeenWolf Too or is there a teasing hint relating to the plot there?

LD: Yeah, the title is more just for fun and to indicate the tone of the film. It doesn’t hint at anything plot related. Or… DOES it?

DC: The first film is definitely one of the zanier werewolf horror/comedies out there. I imagine you were super conscious about whether or not people would appreciate just how the off the wall the comedy was when you were writing. Now that the first film has been a success, did that allow you to just let your creative juices flow and really let the comedy go as wild and weird as you wanted, or exactly the opposite?

LD: I was overjoyed that people responded to the first film, especially to all the really weird stuff that I loved putting in there – like the first transformation and the sex scene. Based on the reaction, I felt obliged to go even weirder and just let my freak flag fly with this next go-round. Many sequels focus on going bigger, and while we couldn’t really go smaller than the first film, my focus for the sequel was more on the characters and going crazier instead of bigger. Mark my words, Another WolfCop will make WolfCop seems tame by comparison. There’s a lot you can’t “unsee” in this film.

DC: Last time we spoke, I remember you telling me that for the first film you didn’t want to do an origins story at first but then you realised you really had to. Having got the origin bit out of the way, has that made the writing process easier or did you find it a tough challenge to remain true to the mythology and the characters you created in the original?

LD: Another WolfCop was tougher than the first film in every respect. In terms of writing, I knew I wanted to tell a story about Lou being really cocky at first – emboldened by his new werewolf powers – and then being humbled into realizing he still has a long way to go to becoming a true hero. If the first film was “WolfCop Begins” this is certainly “WolfCop Continues” or “WolfCop still has a lot to learn.” As for the mythology, that was just the fun part – the icing on the cake that grows the universe and serves the story and the characters. For me, the characters come first. Like the first film, the core and the heart of WolfCop is Lou’s relationships with Tina and Willie.

anotherwolfcop-partners

DC: And what about Leo Fafard and Amy Matysio returning for the sequel? Has it been easy for them to slip back into character after two years and have you changed much in terms of their characters, particularly the fact that Lou’s secret is no secret now? Has that fact changed him much or, as it’s a comedy, is it just taken as a normal thing that there’s a WolfCop patrolling the streets?

LD: I don’t know how easy it was for Amy and Leo to slip back into being Tina and Lou, but I will say they made it look easy. One of the big joys of making Another WolfCop was getting to spend time with my friends again. And not just Amy and Leo, but Tina and Lou as well! I love those characters. Lou is far more confident in the sequel, but he’s still a bit of a screw up. Tina is still a force to be reckoned with, but now she’s the Chief of the Woodhaven Police Department. So now both Lou and Tina have power behind them – and they’re in direct conflict with one another. As for if WolfCop is just casually patrolling the streets in the sequel, I’ll let you see the film and find out…

DC: As Lou tried concealing his secret in the first film, now that his secret’s out, will this be more of a buddy cop movie with him and Tina patrolling the streets?

LD: IS his secret out? Do the citizens of Woodhaven know about WolfCop? Again, you will need to see Another WolfCop to find out. And yes, there is certainly a buddy cop aspect to this film with Lou and Tina. I’m heavily inspired by ’80s action films like Lethal Weapon for their relationship.

anotherwolfcop-tina

DC: All that’s really been revealed about the sequel is that we’ll be introduced to a billionaire businessman who reopens the local brewery to produce Chicken Milk Stout, and also gifts the town with its very own hockey team, the Darkstars. Does that mean we can expect some sharp satire with the corporate world bearing the brunt of much of the humor?

LD: I think that’s a safe bet. We try to do it all in a playful way – but there are certainly some messages under the surface if you want to dig around.

DC: When WolfCop screened at 2014’s FrightFest it won the award for Best Penis Trauma for the “Transformation from cock to wolfcock.” Has Emersen Ziffle and the effects department upped the ante this time with even more “traumatic” transformations and bloodshed?

LD: New awards will have to be created for Emersen Ziffle after this film! He and his team did wonderful work and created some truly bizarre cinematic moments. I can’t wait to watch people watching them. Side note: I’m just really happy that a “best penis trauma” award exists… and that we won it!

DC: A sequel was confirmed just before the first was even released. Do you have plans for more WolfCop or are you hoping to focus on something else before continuing Lou Garou’s story?

LD: I do feel like I’ve been “living the life of WolfCop” for the past 4 years, so it would be nice to try something new. I’d like to direct more horror and films of other genres. I’m also developing some pretty cool TV show concepts. That being said, I genuinely love the world of WolfCop and I have outlines for at least two more WolfCop films, so I guess time will tell!

Another WolfCop will screen at this year’s Fantastic Fest on Sunday, September 25 and Wednesday, September 28. You’d be howling mad to miss it…

anotherwolfcop-caged

Synopsis:
After saving Woodhaven from a gang of evil reptilian shapeshifters, alcoholic werewolf cop Lou Garou is finding it hard to keep a low profile. Instead, he roams the street at night, gleefully and violently disposing of criminals and stealing boxes of Liquor Donuts causing all sorts of problems for his former-partner-turned-chief Tina.

Things begin to look up for the loser residents of Woodhaven when a billionaire businessman announces he’s reopening the local brewery to produce Chicken Milk Stout, as well as gifting the town with its very own hockey team, the Darkstars. However, the unexpected return of an old friend (who now sports a large foul-mouthed mustachioed phallus) and a strip joint bloodbath alert Wolfcop to the rise of something evil to the town.

WolfCop

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Editorials

My Neighbors Are Dead: The Best Horror Podcast You’re Not Listening To

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Halloween has come and gone, but Dread Central readers know that our horror lovin’ doesn’t end once the trick or treaters have gone to bed. Sure, we do go back to being the dastardly death-loving heathens looked down upon by polite society rather than the valuable fountains of horror movie knowledge sought after throughout October, but horror fans are an interesting bunch.

Our fandom is not centered around one specific world like Whovians, Potterheads, or Trekkies but rather a love of a genre that is varied and vast. And if the comments section of any of our articles has taught us anything, it’s that horror fans know just about everything there is to know about horror films. We all know of the heavy hitters like Freddy, Jason, and Leatherface, but what about the other characters that we weren’t privy to meet?

Enter: MY NEIGHBORS ARE DEAD.

My Neighbors Are Dead is a weekly improvised podcast in which host Adam Peacock interviews the lesser-known characters from your favorite horror films. The caterer from Damien’s party in The Omen couldn’t have had great business after serving food at the birthday of the Antichrist. And if you thought the theories in Room 237 were insane, just imagine what the directors pitched that weren’t accepted for the documentary!

Each week host Adam Peacock interviews some of the most skilled improv comics to tell “their side of the story” as unseen characters in our favorite horror films. This podcast is still relatively new, but it’s already been recommended by AV Club, Splitsider, Threadless, and now us. Meaning, if you start listening now, you’ll be able to show off your hipster street cred by knowing them “before they got famous.

Adam Peacock co-produces the show with fellow Chicago “Second City” alum Nate DuFort, and the two have brought along hours of entertainment that speaks directly to the hearts of horror fans everywhere. Each episode is around a half-hour, allowing the perfect time for binge-listening or a great distraction during your morning commute.

In no particular order, here are my Top 5 favorite episodes:

1) The Blair Witch Project with TJ Jagodowski (Listen Here!)

2) The Omen with Alan Linic (Listen Here!)

3) Poltergeist with Paul F. Tompkins and Tawny Newsome (Listen Here!)

4) Room 237 with Marty DeRosa and Sarah Shockey (Listen Here!)

5) It Follows with Jeff Murdoch (Listen Here!)

You can find My Neighbors Are Dead on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Playor wherever else you get your podcast fix.

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Spend Halloween Night on George A. Romero’s Darkside

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There are a ton of Halloween specials to view from the shows of the past. Some of my favorites are from horror anthologies. While most people will go to “Tales from the Crypt,” my favorite has always been George A. Romero and Rubenstein’s “Tales from the Darkside.” I love the creepy atmospheric simple tune in the opening credits accompanied by the voice over: “Man lives in the sunlit world of what he believes to be reality. But there is unseen by most an underworld, a place that is just as real but not as brightly lit. A darkside.” It sends chills down my back every time.

“Crypt” was grandiose with its big Hollywood player production team and unrated sensibilities being on HBO, but that left Romero and his usual no budget crew to have to try harder and be cleverer with the constraints of their budget and censorship since “Darkside”was syndicated. The very first episode of the series debuted on October 29th with a Halloween-centric episode that perfectly captures the atmosphere of Halloween.

Episode 1 is written by George A Romero himself and directed by Bob Balaban of Close Encounters of the Third Kind fame, who also directed the little known horror comedy, My Boyfriend’s Back. This episode is entitled “Trick or Treat” and is to Halloween what A Christmas Carol is to Christmas. It’s about an old, snobbish rich man who has a lien on every single farm and family in the town as they all owe him money. Every Halloween, his favorite holiday, he takes the IOU’s of every family and hides them in his house among a slew of horrors that he controls in a master operations room. Each family sends a child to his house in a Halloween costume to try and find the IOU’s so their family can be debt free. No one has ever found the IOU’s as the old man always scares the children out of their minds with his house of horrors before they can find them.

The set up for the episode is totally Romero. The old man, Gideon Hackles, has his colleagues come to help him count his money and check his investments at three in the morning so as to not deter his ability to make money during the day. Hackles obsesses over every penny and trusts no one to handle his money without him there which is why he hates banks. The only thing this mean ass old man loves more than money is scaring the shit out of children. We watch the children go into the house and lose their shit, but there is one kid whose family doesn’t want him to compete. Little Timmy Muldoon wants so desperately to help his family out of debt, but his family refuse.

In the end, Gideon is haunted by true spirits from hell that begin throwing his money everywhere, but he doesn’t fear the spirits as much as he fears losing his money. He literally crawls down to hell to retrieve his cash! Little Timmy Muldoon comes to the door of the house and is greeted by a cackling witch, but is unafraid. The witch rides off on her broom throwing down the IOUs, money, jewels and all kinds of riches at Timmy, who just catches them, smiling. In that instant, with that giant grin on his face, Timmy Muldoon represents all of us horror fans that see these monsters as their friends and the holiday of Halloween as something to revere. The FX are a little hokey but this episode bursts with that low-budget Romero spirit and is a really fun and interesting idea that’s great for the Halloween season.

The second Halloween centric episode is from Season 2 and was directed by the Gore Master himself, Tom Savini! This episode also aired on October 27th and was written by Michael McDowell, who wrote Beetlejuice! The episode is entitled “Halloween Candy” and it’s a great little atmospheric one location thriller that showcased a lot of Savini’s and Mcdowell’s talents and inspirations.

Old Man Killup is the nastiest and meanest old man on the block with only his son to begrudgingly take care of him. Every year after Halloween, Killup’s son has to clean the outside of the house from all the kids trashing it because Killup refuses to give the kids candy. Killup’s son leaves a bunch of candy for him to give out, but the mean old man instead spends the night telling the kids to go to hell until finally he’s had it and throws together a hodgepodge of different slimy things to throw in a kid’s trick or treat basket. Just like Jason gets pissed off at pre-marital sex, a little goblin-like creature that seems like the precursor to Sam from Trick ‘r Treat gets pissed off when you mess with trick or treaters. He begins taunting and horrifying the old man well into the Halloween night.

The creature itself is, of course, done by Savini and seems like an evolution of Fluffy from Creepshow. Its movements are a lot of fun as it moves around like a demonic acrobat and uses that to freak out Killup. The Goblin even haunts his dreams with imagery and foreshadowing of his fate. It’s a heavily underrated Savini creation and even more interesting that he gets to bring this creature to life from idea to screen as the director himself.

The passage of time and decay plays a big role in this episode. Killup is constantly hungry, stating that in his old age there’s nothing to do but eat. At one point the little goblin tears off Killup’s watch and Killup accidentally steps on it. This is a point where Killup continuously tries to fall asleep in hopes of passing through Halloween without any more kids or surprises, but as he keeps on starving, the night does not change and he is trapped, frozen in time. Even as he tries to eat the food he has in his fridge, it goes bad and decays with roaches erupting from it. It’s a really cool device that juxtaposes the passage of time in his house with his own internal clock of life. One cannot simply pass through Halloween night without honoring tradition.

It’s a great tension builder and the night is so perfectly emphasized by the blue lighting representing the moonlight. Savini’s directing skills are really showcased with how minimalistic the setup is, but still manages to build so much tension.

When you’re checking out all the Halloween offerings for the season be sure to give these episodes a revisit or a first time watch as they are fun as hell! If you’ve got Shudder they’re streaming on there or go out and buy the new home video releases!

Tales From the Darkside

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Trick-or-Sweetheart: Halloween Was Oddly Romantic in Victorian Times

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We love Halloween horror. We dress up as rotting zombies or gory murder victims; we tell terrifying tales by a crackling campfire; and we watch slasher flicks with the most gruesome death scenes ever. Halloween is supposed to be scary, amiright?

But Victorian Valentine’s Day, er, Halloween, was quite a departure from what it is today. Back in the 1800s it was more about matchmaking and marriage than masks and machetes. Spiritualism was in vogue – what with seances and fairy photography – and so exploring the secrets of the unknown was more of a draw than being scary or getting scared.

Halloween made its debut into American society in the 1870s, though by then fall-time superstitions thrived among immigrants and ethnic groups. The holiday was pretty much considered a quaint custom of the Scottish and English, but its practice was not necessarily encouraged. It had “shameful” Pagan roots, after all.

However, stories about Halloween were featured in periodicals and ladies’ journals like Godey’s and Petersons in order to satisfy a readership eager for tawdry tales. They wanted to learn about ancient rituals, historical facts, and romance. Yep, at the time it was believed that the dearly departed could help you get a little action.

Victorian Era Halloween Greeting Cards:

All Hallows-themed fiction published in in the penny dreadfuls were often about “death by passion.” These untimely exits from the moral coil may or may not have spawned ghosts. Female readers devoured bodice-rippers with such titles as “Love’s Seed-time and Harvest,” “Love Lies A-Bleeding” and “If I Were a Man I’d Shoot Myself.” In 1881, St. Nicholas Magazine printed an article lamenting the demise of an Old-World holiday by turning it into an excuse to party: “Belief in magic is passing away, and the customs of All-hallow Eve have arrived at the last stage; for they have become mere sports, repeated from year to year like holiday celebrations.” Oh, the horror. And candy corn wasn’t even invented yet. (It came along a few years later, in 1888.)

The first Halloween parties were meant for matchmaking. Parlor games were played, everything from candlestick jumping to bobbing for apples, but one of the most popular was called “The Bible Trick.” Here’s how it works: Get a Bible and place a key between the pages, leaving the rounded portion sticking out. While the Bible is being supported by the fingers of two boys, hopeful girls recite these words: “If the initial of my future husband’s name begins with A turn, key turn.” Slowly repeat the letters of the alphabet, and when the right initial is reached the key will swing around and the Bible will fall. (Sounds boring AF, but hey – there was no Shudder or Chiller back then.) Another game instructed a couple to write their names on nut shells and then cast them into the fire; if the shell cracked they were in for a rough year, if the shell blackened but did not break they were going to marry. And here’s one last corker: Single young women were sent into a dark room and told to select one from a variety of boxes, each containing an object that had some sort of amorous significance for the year to come. What was actually in those boxes, we don’t know… but there were steam-powered dildos, “ladies syringes,” and hand-cranked vibration devices back then. (I’m just sayin’!)

A Victorian Dildo

The turn of the century heralded the end of the Victorian Era, and hence the women’s mags took an intellectual and proper turn: travel, politics, history and current events took the places of fiction and romance to meet the needs of their changing readership. Halloween parties were still popular, but adults seldom dressed in costumes for the occasion. Trick or treating became popular in the 1920s and 30s and the celebration of Halloween was given over almost entirely to children.

That’s not to say some folks don’t still consider Halloween an occasion for amour. After all, why else are sexy adult costumes the biggest sellers in America year after year? And perhaps the most romantic thing of all is when Rob Zombie married Sheri Moon on October 31. The couple will celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary this Halloween. Awwww. Cue the heavy-metal violins!

Happy Anniversary Mr. and Mrs. Zombie, and thank ya very much!

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