TRAVERSE CITY — Fans of Rich Brauer’s “Dogman” movie finally will get to see the terrifying title creature — or at least its offspring — in a sequel now making its way around northern Michigan.
“Dogman2: Wrath of the Litter” comes to Frankfort’s Garden Theatre this weekend, after a brief, last-minute showing at the State Theatre just before Christmas.
The sequel picks up a year after the Dogman terrorized a small Midwestern community and nearly killed farmer Hanklin Purvis. Calm has returned and folks have gone back to their normal routines. But unseen in the nearby forest, the Dogman’s pups are preparing to fulfill their terrifying destiny.
“It’s pretty clear the puppies have grown up and they’re a bad batch,” said Brauer, owner of Traverse City-based Brauer Productions. “They now stand upright nearly 7 feet tall.”
The writer-director tapped friend and special effects creator Brian “Buzz” Smith to design six menacing “creatures” — mechanical contraptions actors don — with the help of a furrier. The radio-controlled faces used in the close-up shots are based on a Ludington show dog, a Belgian Tervuren, who doubles in the film as the running pups.
Like its prequel, “Dogman2” was shot in and around Benzie County, including on the Swander farm, which serves as the home of Hank (Larry Joe Campbell) and his wife Dorothy (Mariann Mayberry).
This time around, Sheriff Samels (Stacie Hadgikosti, a veteran of Jeff Daniels’ Purple Rose Theatre Co.) has taken a job as a bartender but keeps a police scanner on the bar and still racks a shotgun single-handed. Actress Cheryl Turski, also of the Purple Rose, joins the original cast as new character Lorna, Dorothy’s sister now living with Dorothy and Hank.
“She and Hank don’t get along at all,” said Brauer, who wanted to crank up the tempo, action and fun in the sequel. “Hank is a hunter-gatherer and Lorna is a devout vegan.”