Monday, August 17, 2015

WolfCop (2014)

I am very much a child of the 1980s. I was born in 1983 and it should be no shock to learn that I experienced a large chunk of the decade through the eyes of a child. As such, I still to this day look at Ronald Reagan as a living (or rather, former living) cartoon character. I spent my developing years on a steady diet of horror movies, He-Man, G.I. Joe, My Little Pony, Rainbow Brite, MASK, Voltron, Robotech, and a badly dubbed animated film called Warriors of the Wind. Some people might know that last one better as Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, one of Hayao Miyazaki's most beloved works.

It also had one of the strangest, most nonsensical covers ever, as most of the things on the cover are not even in the film.

Seriously, look at that cover. I can't even decide what I love more: the giant turd monster, the C.H.U.D. with a lightsaber, or the cyborg Skeletor. But I bring up all this because I want to hammer it home for you that I still love the 80s. I listen to synth music, dig bright neon colours, have a He-Man shrine, and own a growing collection of trading cards from the decade (which are there to replace the ones I lost in floods as a child). So when a movie comes along that tries to tap into that decade I love so much, I feel I must check it out on principle. And since my birthday just passed, I think it's time to look at some 80s-centric stuff. That brings us to today's film, a movie I made myself wait on until I could nab it on Blu-Ray. A movie with a tagline that brought me straight back to those days roaming through a video store and trying to avert the gaze of the large Critters display as it stared st me with its hungry grin. We're looking at WolfCop.

He'll read you your rights...right after he eats your face.
Yes, it's a full-on 1980s style cop film about a cop who just happens to be a werewolf. It's also done mostly via practical effects, which was another reason this film piqued my interest. In today's world of cheap CGI, it's rare to see practical effects work. Especially quality practical effects work. Gone are the days where studios will pay for animatronic t-rexes or robotic endoskeltons that crawl menacingly towards you. Instead they just use CGI, which generally feels fake...because it is. It's not there. There's nothing there most of the time and the audience can usually tell, which makes it harder to suspend disbelief. But practical effects? That's real. Puppets and make-up and animatronics are physically there for both the actors and the audience. That's not to say I hate 3D animation, because I don't. But there is a massive difference between the two. But that's not what we're here to discuss. We're here to see a fuzzy cop with a surly demeanor, so let's get to it.

"It's about damn time. He always goes off on tangents like this."
The movie centers on a small town cop named Lou Garou, which is a name that surely makes any fan of werewolves either chuckle or groan. He's basically a useless drunk of a deputy and spends most of his time sleeping with random women and having a hangover while on the job. After rolling out of bed, getting dressed for work, and vomiting in his driveway, he makes the drive through the town of Woodhaven. As we see, the town is kind of a mess. People just all have a "don't give a shit" attitude all over and I suspect that's part of why Lou also doesn't seem to give a shit. Looking at him, I can't help but wonder if he was once a good cop who simply became jaded when he saw what the town (and the world) is really like.

That's basically why I started drinking too. Well, that and the overwhelming self-loathing.
At work his friend/co-worker Tina gives him shit about being clearly drunk and he ends up getting sent out on a call by the chief to local weirdo Willie Higgins' place. Willie tells him he's been seeing some really weird shit in the woods lately, with things like pentagrams and dead animals. He even says he thinks that local satanists are sacrificing all the missing pets. Lou disregards it, saying it's probably just metalheads being metalheads. Yeah, Lou, because metalheads generally engage in killing animals. Even Dethklok loves kitties, man.

Wayward kitties need love too. Horrible flesh-rending love.
And, because he's Lou, he spends the rest of the day at the local bar. Because why be out looking for possible murderers of animals or a gang of robbers who wear pig masks when you can get sauced instead? So there he sits with the other drunks, drinking and flirting with the hot bartender. He's not even moved when the obvious criminals walk in, because why would he be? Lou doesn't give a shit. We also see the guy who is running for mayor, a guy who is clearly as pure as the morning dew. Again though, Lou doesn't care and no one else really does either. Drunks are not the best people to court for votes when you're clearly not a drinker.

"I'll drink to that."
But when he returns to the office, Lou gets some of the chief's ire as he gets sent out, once again, to Willie's place. This time it's because the chief knows good and well what Lou's been doing all day. Now it's night, thus making it a bit more foreboding, and Lou actually does hear some noises that lead to him even drawing his gun and behaving somewhat like an actual cop. Upon investigation he finds the young mayoral candidate tied upside down and then he gets whacked, waking up the next day in his own bed with flashes of what actually happened to him. Oh, and he notices there's a pentagram carved into his chest.

You might want to put some triple antibiotic ointment on that, Lou. Maybe a nice Spongebob bandage or two.
He also notices that while trying to shave, the hair grows right back. That's weird. But, not one to be daunted by odd shit, he bandages himself up and goes into work as is. And guess what? It turns out they've all been called out to the woods because the young mayoral candidate has been found dead of an apparent drug overdose. I mean, so long as you ignore the wound on his neck that was clearly made while he was still alive. I'm not the only one who thinks this doesn't add up either, as Lou's cop sense are tingling and he starts investigating things. Tina is also curious, as 32 years prior both her and Lou's dads died. This also happened to be the last time the local festival, the Drink & Shoot, was cancelled as it was upon finding the dead guy.

"Something is going on here. I don't know if it's the facts not adding up or the fact that I'm a werewolf now, but something is definitely off."
But police work won't stop our hero from getting shitfaced, as he does end up back at the bar. But He's also noticeably more clear-headed. I chalked this up to the fact that werewolves have higher metabolisms and burn through things quicker, like alcohol. The bartender gives Lou the signals that she wants to bring home a little bacon, but he excuses himself to the bathroom first where some thugs attempt to jump him during his very first transformation. And let me tell you, it's not a good time for Lou as he just watched his dick get engorged before it exploded.

No, really, that happens. I'm not blurring it out either. If you can't handle a fake penis then you're reading the wrong review.
After tearing into them, one manages to get away and the bartender seems...strangely calm. She clearly knows what just happened. Hell, she seemed to expect it to happen, as she turned on the jukebox right beforehand, like she wanted to mask the noise. But, rather than waking up in her bed, he instead wakes up in Willie's bed wearing some fuzzy pink handcuffs. Willie tells him what happened, then proceeds to show him how he tagged him with some darts the night before. Lou pretty quickly accepts that this is real, but he heads in to do his job, which oddly enough brings him to the bar as he gets to stare at the crime scene he's actually responsible for. Tina even remarks how the dismembered face laying in there looks like him, causing both her and the coroner to share a laugh. Lou isn't laughing, mostly because that actually is his face that kinda ripped off of him.

For fuck's sake, Tina...you don't just play with a guy's face like that. Leatherface would be ashamed of you.
But as rough as that is, the thug who escaped gets an even rougher experience as the gang leader who ordered them to go capture Lou gouges out his eye for being a fuck up. Willie and Lou both do some research, learning about his transformation and how some weird lizard shapeshifters like to sacrifice werewolves to prolong their own lives.

Is that the true reason as to why the aliens in V were here? They just wanted to sacrifice Michael J. Fox?
Willie gets Lou to agree to being locked in a jail cell while being taped, which makes Tina look at them both a little weird, but whatever. He ends up changing and the two play cards. Yep, Willie and the werewolf cop play fucking cards. At least, that is, until Lou gets bored and demands alcohol. Then he eats some liquor donuts. You heard me. A call comes in about a robbery, which causes Lou to go into full WolfCop mode. He suits up and he takes himself and Willie to go to the store being held-up by the notorious Farmer Vincent gang.

"Liquor donuts will never stand up to Farmer Vincent's fritters!"
He goes in, murders all the robbers, and leaves with some liquor and a lot of stunned faces. After ripping the door off his car though, Willie points out he's a bit too strong and need to be more careful. Lou ignores this advice and instead has Willie join hi mas they break into a auto body shop where he makes some creative alterations to his squad car so it better represents who he is now as a law enforcer. He turns it into the Wolfmobile.

I'm not entirely sure how the W is lit up within the context of the film, but I really don't care.
They say hello to the local bum, who seemingly still knows it's Lou despite him being a werewolf now, and they cruise out into the outskirts where they find the local gang running a meth lab and generally doing lots of bad things. Lou assesses the situation in a reasonable manner and approaches it like a seasoned professional. Just joking, he drives straight through the front of the place and gets out shooting and tear apart everyone there. He even rips the face off of one guy who is still alive afterward. This guy pops up screaming a few minutes later next to Willie in what may be the funniest jumpscare ever. Just him and Willie both screaming. It's a sight to behold. The leader gets away, after snorting what I can only assume is powdered wolf blood because he's clearly one of the lizard people, and the entire place burns to the ground with our heroes escaping to go fight crime another day. Back at the jail, Jessica the bartender shows up and tells Lou to scram because she wants a little doggie-style. Again, though, I don't trust her as she clearly knew he was a werewolf before he ever transformed. She's gotta be a lizard person.

A very attractive lizard person that Lou is about to savagely fuck the shit out of.
One very hairy sex scene (that honestly reminds me of how I must look naked) later, it's revealed that Jessica is a lizard person. Also, she's the old lady mayor of the town who popped up a few times prior to this. She also happened to drug Lou, which is why she's letting him know these things. And if that's not enough of a "fuck you" to our hero, his buddy Willie is also one and was only there to keep an eye on him. Great. He warns her that Lou is stronger than any of the other wolves, likely due to his drinking, but she ignores his advice and they take him off into the woods to prepare for his sacrifice during the solar eclipse. Tina finds the video of him transforming into a wolf and decides she's going to go save her drunk partner, so she gears up and takes the Wolfmobile after them. In the woods, it's also revealed that the gang leader (who is a lizard person) is also the chief and Lou is generally quyite unhappy with this overall situation.

"I fuck her..she fucks me harder. Not to mention the scales she left on my pillow. This morning sucks."
They begin their ritual, but do that classic villain thing of explaining their plan first, giving the heroes time to escape or allowing time for help to arrive. During this, they let loose that Lou and Tina's dads' deaths were a part of this same thing, with it seeming that Tina's dad was the sacrifice and Lou's dad died simply because he found out the truth. That cut into Lou, starting to collect his blood, but Tina arrives and puts down Willie. Lou gets loose and the two battle the two remaining lizard people and the chief's gang in the woods. Lou kills the gang members, including the one-eyed fuck-up, and Jessica goes down as she's never gone down before.

HURRR HURR HURR SEX PUNS!!
Tina and Lou both fight off their boss, both being in rather rough shape when all is said and done. In the end, the stagger off to first go to the hospital, then go to the bar. Although, I'm not sure the bar will be open, Lou. Jessica's dead. Of course, since they're the only law in town now, I guess they can do what they want. The credits rolls and at their close we get a follow-up to Lou being upset with a guy who kicked his dog earlier as he prepares to tear that same guy apart for abusing his dog.

You have to admire a man who takes a stand against abuse while also still looking this good.
WolfCop was, from beginning to end, a beautifully entertaining ride through one-liners and lovingly done gore. The plot of the film is a straight-up throwback to older 1980s buddy cop movies with an injection of horror that gives it a twist in just the right direction to make this a guaranteed cult classic. Not to mention the soundtrack, which fits the pace perfectly and gets you pumped for everything that hits you. For genre fans, this movie definitely doesn't disappoint with the effects. This is an independently done horror action comedy that looks better than a lot of big budget horror productions we've gotten. And that screaming face guy...oh my, how I loved that.

I want to believe he's still alive. Just running around those woods, screaming at whoever he comes across.
Lou's own wolf suit is also done very well, finding a nice balance between Benicio del Toro's and The Monster Squad's Wolf Man with his design. Much like other films that tried to tap into this sort of neo-grindhouse style that was prevalent during the 1980s and early 1990s on video store shelves (courtesy of companies like Vidmark and Cannon Films), this movie makes it clear what it is trying to be. And while I don't think it succeeds entirely at it, it does manage to pull it off for the majority of the runtime. Hell, I'd say one of the major things keeping it from feeling more like one of those movies is the fact that it really just looks better than a lot of them did, which just goes to show you how well this was made. For a low budget movie, this was great and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants a fun little horror action film that simply never takes itself too seriously. So, until they release the spin-off film where the screaming faceless guy throws down with the Incredible Melting Man, I'll be here scrounging for food, because I haven't really eaten all day. Later days, bleeders.

Now go watch this before the fuzz comes and gets you.

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