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Howling at the Moon: An Interview with Lowell Dean, Director of WolfCop

Written by  Published January 21, 2015 11:45
Howling at the Moon: Lowell Dean, Director of WolfCop “I really wanted a return to practical effects, a fun 80s retro feel, and to reshape the werewolf as a fully fleshed out character - almost a heroic beast!” I have my dad to thank for my love of monster movies. Where most kids were taken to see Disney movies (and believe me, we saw enough of those), Mr. Richardson considered it his civil duty to enjoy a good horror flick with his son. I still have very little idea why he chose to watch these me at such an early age – part of me thinks that he was more scared than I was and wanted the company – but it certainly gave me an appreciation of a genre of film that very few of my high school friends were familiar with. Growing up in the Eighties, you might have thought he’d introduced me to The Nightmare on Elm Street movies or It, but that was never the case. See, my dad had a fondness for the cinema that defined the genre. Before I was a teen, I’d seen The Mummy, Dracula and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. It was another classic that would stick with me though – The Wolf Man starring Lon Chaney Jr. as the tragic lead. I’ve loved werewolves ever since.

So, what started as a skip through the video streaming listings quickly became an education for me as I sat down to watch Lowell Dean’s WolfCop. Admittedly, I was unsure of what to expect but quickly felt a grin spread across my face as the movie gathered steam. WolfCop is one of the most fun werewolf I’ve seen for years, one that wears its sensibilities and heart firmly on its sleeve. wolfcop4My tweet-a-long of the movie got the attention of the movie’s director, Lowell Dean, and I just had to ask him more… 1) Hi and thanks for allowing yourself to be subjected to an interview from eXpert Comics! Can you tell us a little about yourself to our readers? I'm a Canadian filmmaker. My passion is writing and directing, and I just love movies in general. Horrors, comedies, dramas, superhero films - you name it. I also like sunsets and romantic walks along the beach.

2) WolfCop is a completely unique take on the werewolf genre. Where did the concept for the movie come from? I wanted to make my first feature film, and I wanted it to be a horror comedy. I was brainstorming what to write, and the image of a “WolfCop” popped into my head. I knew it was a lead worth following. I strongly felt werewolves weren't getting enough love in movies lately, or at least not the RIGHT kind of love. They were always CGI puppies or dumb hulking sidekicks. If I boil it down, I really wanted a return to practical effects, a fun 80s retro feel, and to reshape the werewolf as a fully fleshed out character - almost a heroic beast!

wolfcop23) I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Why did you choose to make a horror-comedy as opposed to a traditional werewolf movie? Thank you. I wanted it to be a horror-comedy because I think the “fun” aspect has been missing from modern werewolf films, and also because I think comedy is one of my strengths as a writer - I enjoy dreaming up really absurd things.

4) What sort of budget did you have to work with? How did you approach the special effects in the feature? Our budget was just over a million dollars. It was a true independent film, but we had a great cast and a great crew always game for the chaos. Practical effects were always an adventure and certainly one of the few things that slowed down our fast paced shoot, but the effects were crucial to WolfCop – especially the transformation and the violence, so we always took our time to get it right.

wolfcop55) How did you break into the horror genre? What sort of support did you have? I've always loved the genre, and my first short films were horror-comedies. Truthfully, I think I gravitate toward horror because it is so much fun, and horror fans are the best movie fans. One of my first breaks in film was the opportunity to direct the zombie feature 13 Eerie. It was my first feature film and a great learning experience. So much (fake) blood!

6) What attracted you to this genre as opposed to science-fiction or thrillers, for example? I love science fiction and thrillers, too! I was attracted to horror because of filmmakers I admire, like Peter Jackson and Sam Raimi. I see their careers as templates to aspire to. Plus like I said, playing with monsters and fake blood never gets old.

wolfcop17) How has the approach to filmmaking changed over the last decade or so? Has it lent itself towards the indie director in a more favourable respect? I think it is easier to get a film made - physically produced, I mean – but harder to get it seen. The equipment is accessible and cheaper than ever before, and there are many platforms to showcase your work. But as a result, the independent film market is oversaturated and it feels a bit like “everything has been done”. You have to fight to stand out in the crowd. My personal goal is to make unique films that speak to a wide audience. Films that find new twists on old ideas.

8) What do you look for in a horror movie? What elements make it a success or, equally, a failure? When I'm looking for a script or for a film to watch, I just want something good and something I haven't seen before. Those are my only two criteria. I don't care if it is funny or scary or set in one room or set all around the world. I just want to see something fresh and something good. Something made with passion.

9) Horror movies seem to be more susceptible to falling towards trends than some other genres. For instance, vampires seemed to dominate the market for a while, followed by the ‘found footage’ style – why do think this is? I think producers and investors want to make films that will find an audience, so they often gravitate toward doing what works. For example, ten years ago making a zombie film might have been a risky venture, but now that The Walking Dead is the #1 series on television many zombie films are flooding the market, because producers know there is a rabid audience for the genre. It is a safe bet. I think of it like superhero films. Many people claim to be sick of them, yet there are more than ever before. Many more! We are really just sick of the bad ones. As long as there are good vampire films or found footage films, we'll always want more.

wolfcop310) What’s your favourite horror movie? Today I'll say Jaws.

11) Do you read any comic books? If so, what’s your favourite and are you reading anything at the moment? I'm currently reading Sex Criminals and Saga. I recommend them both. The only comic I read consistently is The Walking Dead. I love it. Even more than the show. I'm also a big fan of anything X-Men.

12) What’s in store for WolfCop 2 and how soon can we expect to see Lou Garou again? Hopefully you will see Lou Garou again VERY soon. I'm currently writing the  script and we hope to go to camera this year.

13) Do you have any other projects lined up for the near future?

I've written a couple other horror scripts. Some really weird, messed up stuff. I hope to direct them in the near future. I'm also in the early stages of writing a graphic novel.

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