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Exclusive Interview: Director Michael Leavy on his all-horror-star movie “STREAM”

Tuesday, September 14, 2021 | Exclusives, Interviews


With Jeffrey Combs, Danielle Harris, Dee Wallace and more familiar fright faces in the cast, STREAM definitely bids to score big with the genre audience. Put together by the team behind the TERRIFIER films, it filmed during the pandemic and is now in the midst of postproduction.

Directed by Michael Leavy (an actor in the first TERRIFIER and a producer and assistant director on the upcoming second) from a script he wrote with Steven Della Salla and Jason Leavy, STREAM was produced by the trio and Marcus Slabine (THE DARK OFFERINGS). It stars Charles Edwin Powell and Harris as the heads of a family in very bad trouble; as the official synopsis relates, “When Roy and Elaine Keenan realize their family is drifting apart, they decide that something needs to be done. Roy forces his work to take a back seat and they seize the opportunity to recreate a vacation from their past. A peaceful stay in a quaint hotel is just what they need; however, that is not what is in store for them. With four deranged murderers patrolling the seemingly mundane halls, the odds are definitely not in the Keenan family’s favor. Roy must fight for his life and those of his family as their simple weekend getaway truly turns into a vacation to die for!”

There’s more than a maniacs-on-the-loose scenario going on in the movie, however, as Leavy tells RUE MORGUE. “Horror films usually have a message about what’s currently going on in the world and capitalize on exploiting our safe spaces. JAWS did it with a day at the beach, HALLOWEEN did it with our neighborhoods and homes, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET did it with our dreams, PSYCHO did it with simply taking a shower and so on. We thought, what is something current that everyone feels safe about nowadays, but still has a lot of unknowns–and the answer was very simple: technology. We all have computers and phones and use them freely. However, lately it has become a topic of discussion: ‘What happens when it gets into the wrong hands?’ ‘Am I secretly being watched by my devices?’ ‘Is the government listening to my conversations through my recently bought Alexa?’ So we take these themes and explore them in a unique way that fits into the slasher genre.”

The cast also includes Tim Reid (TV’s IT), Mark Holton (LEPRECHAUN), Felissa Rose (SLEEPAWAY CAMP), Daniel Roebuck and Dave Sheridan from THE DEVIL’S REJECTS, Terry Alexander (DAY OF THE DEAD) and David Howard Thornton, the TERRIFIERs’ Art the Clown himself. “After we wrapped production on TERRIFIER 2, a lot of the crew and producers came over to make STREAM,” Leavy says. “We kept the team intact and just kept rolling. David plays one of our serial killers–we call them ‘players’–and Damien Leone [director/effects creator on the TERRIFIERs] served as our makeup effects department head. He did a killer job raising the bar for gore and creative kills, all while aiding the story.

“There were a few ways we were able to secure such an amazing cast,” he continues, “but it started with having a good script. Everyone we spoke to really responded to the story and wanted to be a part of it; we have a great plan for future sequels in an eventual franchise, so we made sure before approaching anyone that we had our ducks in a row. The second is our reputation. We have been building our Fuzz on the Lens Productions company, working hard and making good connections for many years now, and word travels fast in our field. People in the industry know about our work ethic, which I am very proud of, and we let our productions speak for themselves.”

So, are any of those horror stalwarts cast against type? “You’ll have to see the movie to find out,” Leavy teases. “I will say this: We tried to honor what horror fans have come to love and expect from their favorite stars, while at the same time keeping them on their toes by delivering something exciting and new that they haven’t seen before.”

As noted above, STREAM lensed in the midst of COVID-19, and Leavy notes, “It truly was a pleasure to get back to work, especially after being in lockdown for so many months, but this was also where the challenges lay. Shooting during the height of the pandemic, we entered uncharted waters in making sure we kept everyone safe, as if making a movie to begin with wasn’t tough enough. Fortunately, we put the proper protocols in place, and not one person got sick. We were able to create a safe working environment so we could all stay creative and capture the best performances possible, without having those thoughts in the back of our heads creep in and distract us. That’s thanks to the entire cast and crew doing their part and working together.”

STREAM is now more than 90 percent in the can, and Leavy and co. are currently seeking help from fans to get the movie put together. “Due to the pandemic, there were a lot of unforeseen expenses to keep everyone safe and work efficiently. So to balance that out, we decided, what better way to do this than to offer regular folks a chance to come on board and get this project to the finish line?” To that end, they set up an Indiegogo page to raise the completion funds, offering all kinds of merch, screen used props, copies of the eventual Blu-ray, etc. Go here to check it out.

Michael Gingold
Michael Gingold (RUE MORGUE's Head Writer) has been covering the world of horror cinema for over three decades, and in addition to his work for RUE MORGUE, he has been a longtime writer and editor for FANGORIA magazine and its website. He has also written for BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH, SCREAM,, TIME OUT, DELIRIUM, MOVIEMAKER and others. He is the author of the AD NAUSEAM books (1984 Publishing) and THE FRIGHTFEST GUIDE TO MONSTER MOVIES (FAB Press), and he has contributed documentaries, featurettes and liner notes to numerous Blu-rays, including the award-winning feature-length doc TWISTED TALE: THE UNMAKING OF "SPOOKIES" (Vinegar Syndrome).