What makes us love the trash of our youth while turning up our noses at brand new junk? We seem so proud of our nostalgia for vintage garbage, often going so far as to form our identities around 40-year-old grindhouse quickies, and writing impassioned dissertations on the hidden subtext and deep authorial intent found in 70s & 80s sleaze that was clearly cranked out with the sole and express purpose of making a buck.
It’s a slippery slope of snobbery, this divide, but it’s unmistakable at a place like Fantastic Fest, where folks pack theaters to watch lovingly restored exploitation and worship at the altar of any old dreck that happens to be on VHS, but look at you strangely when you say you’re going to check out Another WolfCop. The message is clear: MY favorite old trash is sacred; this new shit isn’t worth my time.
I’m not here to tell you that Another WolfCop is just as worthwhile as the various and sundry DIY efforts being deified in other theaters at Fantastic Fest, but a micro-budget horror comedy with scrappy practical FX, commitment to a ridiculous genre premise, and genuinely hilarious performances should always have a place at any genre lover’s table.
Writer/director Lowell Dean's Another WolfCop finds Officer Lou Garou (Leo Fafard) back in action, this time investigating the shady business dealings of a charismatic self-help author/businessman (Yannick Bisson) who wants to revitalize Garou’s backwater Canadian burg of Woodhaven via a new hockey arena/brewery. Garou is aided in his mission by his former partner Tina (Amy Matysio), now the Woodhaven police chief; his old pal Willie Higgins (Jonathan Cherry), a Canadian redneck/former alien abductee who’s now grown a talking, mustachioed penis; and Willie’s sister Kat (Sara Miller) a sexy, resourceful paranormal investigator who’s got a condition similar to Lou’s. (Any furries in the audience will be extra pleased at the nature of this reveal.)
Along the way there’s an alien invasion, a massacre in a strip joint called Club Phuque, and a deadly hockey game. Not all the jokes land, but many, many do, and there’s something satisfying about the legitimate Canadian-ness of the whole thing, delivered as it is by actual Canadians (except for a brief cameo by Kevin Smith, whose curious, continued campaign of Canuck cooning bleeds needlessly into this movie for a hot minute). The cut of Another WolfCop that screened at Fantastic Fest features quite a bit of music I don’t expect to hear on the soundtrack when this thing eventually lands on VOD; in a just world Officer Lou Garou would most definitely have AC/DC and a Christmas caroling Dee Snider backing his exploits.
But is it art? I don’t know, man. It’s 82 minutes of an alcoholic werewolf policeman busting armed robberies like Robocop, opposing alien reptilian illuminati, hanging dong and blowing rails of powdered moon rock before fucking a feline shapeshifter. Do you need to know the events of the original to enjoy this one? That’s a question only you can answer, and you already know the answer. One could make a case that the not-quite-realistic world-building of the film brushes up against the unreality of surreal "approved" classics like Repo Man, and that as a micro-budgeted Canadian indie this is as valid an example of regional independent genre filmmaking as you’re likely to find, but going down that road would be a disingenuous attempt to legitimize something that’s pretty unashamed of what it is to begin with.
If you need that kind of external academic validation to enjoy your genre trash, come back in 30 years and see where the film writers of 2046 have landed re: the WolfCop mythology. In the meantime the movies will be here. When WolfCop ended, a title card came up that teased a sequel, and I was skeptical. Another WolfCop ends with a similar promise. This time, I believed.