Interviewed by Michael Juvinall – Horror Society (March 2015)
Read our review of WolfCop here!
I recently had the pleasure to have a chat with Lowell Dean, writer & director of the wonderful horror/comedy WolfCop. Dean has previously directed the zombie thriller 13 Eerie which I favorably reviewed back in 2013. This time around, he is the driving force behind the incredible story of getting WolfCop made and into theaters. WolfCop was the winner of a $1 million dollar prize in the Canadian Cinecoup Film Accelerator contest in 2013 before any of the film was even shot.
Read on as I chat with Lowell as he talks what it took to get WolfCop made and his experience with the Cinecoup Film Accelerator contest, as well as certain set stories pertaining to a transforming penis and a werewolf sex scene.
Horror Society: It’s great to talk with you again.
Lowell Dean: Yeah, it’s been a while. What was it 13 Eerie last time we talked?
Horror Society: Yes, it was for your last film 13 Eerie when we talked before. We’re here talking about your latest film, the horror comedy WolfCop which comes out on Blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday, March 10th from Image Entertainment. It has taken me two years to see this movie. I’ve been dying to see it for two years and I finally got a chance to see it and it has lived up to my expectations.
Lowell Dean: That’s good. I’m always a little happy and nervous when people have to wait so long, especially people who I know and have seen my other stuff. I’m glad you saw it and I’m glad you enjoyed it. I can tell you, it was definitely a unique challenge, especially compared to 13 Eerie.
Horror Society: I can believe it. For the people who are unfamiliar with the story of WolfCop, for a bit of history. It was an award-winning film before it was even made into a movie. It won a million dollar prize. Can you talk about winning the Canadian Cinecoup Film Accelerator contest a bit?
Lowell Dean: Yeah, basically we were having a hard time getting this idea financed. I guess I should back up a bit. After 13 Eerie, I knew I wanted to make WolfCop next, it was an idea I had. I knew it was a weird idea and might be a hard sell. I partnered with Echolands Creative, a local production company and we went out and it was all completely volunteer – cast and crew and ourselves, shot a trailer. We were going to use that trailer to pitch it like Sam Raimi made in Evil Dead. I think they did a short film to finance the feature. We were trying to get this movie financed and not having a lot of luck. We heard about the Cinecoup Film Accelerator which was an online platform where anyone in Canada could enter. They were looking for anyone who had a trailer, which we did and whoever was selected after three months of social media promotion and online voting would get a million dollar budget and more importantly for any Canadian filmmaker which is very rare – the opportunity to have your film in theaters in Canada. We entered and busted our asses to get people to support and check out our project. We contacted a lot of people like yourself and trying to get people to discuss it online and at the end of three months, we got lucky and our project was selected, so the movie came to life.
Horror Society: It has to be very fulfilling for you as the writer and director of WolfCop to see your film start out just as a trailer but then make it all the way to where it is today.
Lowell Dean: It’s really fulfilling and I also think it’s crazy rewarding and I almost have to stop and pinch myself every now and then and realize what a mountain we climbed to get this movie made. We had to believe in it from the start and we had to build our whole grass roots campaign around this and get people to care about it as much as we do. I don’t know how do you explain it? We just got really luck and had a crazy enough concept and I think hopefully proved that we were the people who could pull it off and bring it to life.
Horror Society: Do you ever wonder if you had not of won the Cinecoup contest and won the million dollars, how different would WolfCop have been or would it have even gotten made today?
Lowell Dean: I truly believe it would’ve existed because we really resigned ourselves to making it, myself and the team involved. We said we’re making this movie no matter what. I don’t think it would’ve had the mass audience it did. I think Cinecoup putting us in theaters really went a long way. I think it would’ve been a much smaller film, so I’m 100% grateful that we went through the gauntlet to get it where it ended up.
Horror Society: WolfCop is full of insane sequences, but there is probably a couple that people are going to most likely talk about after they watch the movie. One is the sex scene with Leo Fafard wolfed out with Sarah Lind or possibly the transformation scene where Leo is pissing in the bathroom and we see his wolf dork close up and personal.
Lowell Dean: Yeah, what’s funny is those were the first two scenes before I even wrote the script that I knew would be in the movie. It’s really funny in a way those are the stickout moments because it really makes you think maybe the first ideas are the best ideas.
Horror Society: Right, right, I agree. Did you think those scenes might be a little too outrageous when you were writing them and then filming them?
Lowell Dean: Yeah, I think we kind of embraced them whole hog. I was a little nervous the first time WolfCop walked on set for the sex scene in his boxers, I almost in my head was thinking this is a gigantic mistake here but we just went for it. We have to take it as seriously as we can with exception to whatever the moment is and luckily people have gotten behind us.
Horror Society: I wanted to ask you about the makeup effects. Emmersen Ziffle created the glorious practical makeup effects for the film without using CGI to the best of my knowledge. Was that the way you wanted to go from the beginning?
Lowell Dean: Yes, we always from the beginning wanted to do as much practical effects as possible. It just felt right tonally and obviously I’ve been friends with Emmersen for a long time, which was a big part of it too. We wanted it to feel like a lost tape from the 80’s so practical was an important thing to do as much as humanly possible. There are some digital effects for sure to enhance and improve some things but we tried to go as much practical as possible.
Horror Society: Sure. Officer Lou Garou is what I would call a horror anti-hero. He’s such a cool character. His character is the reason why the film works obviously. I think people can feel and relate to him maybe more than some characters in movies today.
Lowell Dean: That’s an interesting observation. I guess we just tried to give him a really horrible life and make him sad so people can relate or start off feeling really bad for him.
Horror Society: We already know there is going to be a WolfCop 2. Have you started production on that one yet?
Lowell Dean: We have not started production but I have written the script and we’re in early development now. I’m just trying to pull things together, get our budget ready and all fun things like that. I’m very excited to do it; I hope we’re shooting it by the summer. It’s going to be another opportunity to up the stakes and do the kind of crazy things that WolfCop needs to do for a second adventure.
Horror Society: Will that one be shot in and around Saskatchewan also?
Lowell Dean: I don’t know honestly where we’re going to shoot it. I think we’ll go wherever we can get the most bang for our buck but I certainly hope we’re here in Saskatchewan because this is where our great crew is.
Horror Society: Great! What else are you working on that you want to talk about before we have to go?
Lowell Dean: Not really. I’m working on some other stuff too, trying to get a couple other horror films going but because of the timeline, WolfCop 2 is my main focus right now.
Horror Society: Awesome. I’m so looking forward to WolfCop 2. I’m glad I finally got a chance to see WolfCop and it’s a great film and I thought you did an awesome job. I applaud you for getting this movie made.
Lowell Dean: Thanks. I’m really glad you got to see it. Honestly, I definitely love when someone I know or have been talking to has seen it and dig it. It really means a lot.
Horror Society: Good luck for WolfCop 2 and whatever you do in the future. Thanks again for speaking to me today.
Lowell Dean: You bet Michael, I hope to talk to you again soon.