Imagine – a small town cop wakes up from a bender beside a naked woman whom he doesn’t remember. Without showering, shaving, or giving any sort of damn, he dresses up in his police uniform realizing he’s late (again), rushes out the door, gets into his police cruiser, opens the door at the end of the driveway only to puke into the street and peel away all to the sounds of the Sheepdogs playing on the soundtrack. Thus begins Wolfcop – the latest in Canadian cult horror/comedy.
Filmed mostly in Regina, Saskatchewan, the film utilizes loveable over-acting and “retro-style” effects which makes the movie any camp-horror fan’s wet dream. And speaking of wet dreams, the sex scene whilst main character Lou Garou (yes, his first and last names rhyme) is in werewolf form is possibly the greatest werewolf moment in film since Fat Kid from The Monster Squad exclaimed his discovery about the Wolfman, in fact, having ‘nards’.
But beyond the camp; beyond the cheese also lives pure creativity and a well-thought out original take on the lore of the werewolf. Writer and director Lowell Dean went against the grain of the traditional werewolf mythology with this film, which was a nice change considering very few werewolf movies end up being watchable, let alone good. In fact, the only one’s this writer can think of that were worth watching are two others that also went against the grain of the traditional: An American Werewolf in London and Dog Soldiers.
Dean’s take on the Wolfman – how he came to be, how he behaves in ‘wolf-mode’, differ from any movie I’ve seen. The main aspect, while trying not to spoil the film, is that this is the first movie where the standard cliches of werewolf movies are erased. Mostly what I’m talking about is that the lycanthrope curse is usually a metaphor for one of two things: originally, the lore of the Wolfman was used to show the extremes of mental health, including addiction to vices (namely alcohol) and the effects on the human body. Later on, with films like Ginger Snaps (also a Canadian classic), the werewolf curse was used as a metaphor for the spreading of STDs and sexual promiscuity.
Wolfcop doesn’t play into that. In fact, it does the opposite. Before the Lou Garou character becomes “cursed”, he’s a half-assed, lazy, sod of a cop who does everything he can to avoid work/helping others/being a decent human being. It’s when he’s in his wolf form when he actually becomes, well, a hero. Now, it is rather over the top and he does take some drastic measures. The point, however, is that in his wolf form, Garou is animated and excited about being a police officer, solving crime, punishing the wicked, and having more motivation than ever before. It’s the only movie I’ve seen in which becoming a werewolf was depicted as an anti-curse. It was practically a metaphor for getting off your ass and finding the motivation to be a better person.
That’s right. Besides all the campy gimmicks that make it so visually appealing to watch, the movie actually sent a positive vibe that I was not expecting. I mean, here I am getting off my ass and finding the motivation to talk about it. See how that worked?
And that’s what makes it a classic. There are plenty of cult movies that barely go beyond the visual. They are just so over-the-top campy, with cheesy gore that they’re just sheer shock value entertainment. Wolfcop actually went a step beyond. The campiness is there. The gore is there. But there’s also character development, an emotional thought-process, and a positive message when most films in its genre don’t have any message at all.
I can’t speak for the sequel that is already in planning and possibly pre-production, but Wolfcop will go down as a movie that is grindhouse-meets-anything but grindhouse. It was visually entertaining while managing to be hilarious and mentally stimulating. If you like campy horror, I give this a 10 out 10. If you’re not, I’d still give it upwards of an 8 out of 10. If you’re my mother, I’d give it a -5 out of 10. Take that as you will.