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An Interview with Steven Marlow, Star of When a Stranger Knocks

by Mike Haberfelner

February 2024

Steven Marlow on (re)Search my Trash


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Your new movie When a Stranger Knocks - in a few words, what's it about, and what can you tell us about your character in it?


I would be remiss if I told you what it's about. However, I will tell you this... that girl, Sky, has issues!


Ya know, I've been saying this the entire time: The Ranger is completely misunderstood. He's a people person. Just like every other living creature, he just wants to be accepted. It's in our DNA to want this, right? People are so judgmental. Ugh.


What did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how much Steven Marlow can we find in the Ranger?


I really had to turn to a dark place to find the Ranger. I'll be honest, I thought of some pretty grueling things while creating him. I wanted to see what level of evil the Ranger was, what he was capable of. In the end, I found a character who was somewhat of a smart-ass who enjoyed toying with those he encountered. Oh... and a mouth fettish. Somewhere, somehow, the Ranger developed this fettish with his own mouth. Damn weirdo.


Get rid of the evil and you actually have a lot of Steven Marlow in the Ranger. Your typical "Alpha" personality who loves to be the center of attention and cries when he doesn't get what he wants. Honestly, those who know me will pick up a lot of Steven Marlow. It's there, trust me.


How did you get involved with the project in the first place?


I have had the great honor of working with Javan [Javan Garza interview - click here] and Dawn [Dawn Hamil interview - click here] on various projects. I often tell them that I will gladly work with them on anything they put out there. I absolutely love Javan's creative mind and Dawn's drive for success. The two of them are just great people. So, to answer the question, Javan reached out to me and asked me to be a part of it. I was extremely excited when Javan told me to imagine an evil version of "the man in the yellow hat" from Curious George. This was so exciting for me because I am often typecast. Make sure you print all that good stuff I said about Javan and Dawn. I want them to see that.


To what degree could you identify with When a Stranger Knocks' approach to horror?


For me, this film felt like a different type of horror. Perhaps a horror/comedy? I'm not sure how the viewing audience would see it, but I know in my head there was all kinds of comedy going on. Hell, if the Ranger did something bad to someone (not saying he did...simply a hypothetical "if". Remember, the Ranger is misunderstood), he would find the comedic value in doing so. In the beginning, I was not sure how I felt about shooting the entire film in black and white. However, after speaking about it and seeing it... I feel it was the right choice as I believe it adds a certain something.


Do talk about When a Stranger Knocks' director Javan Garza, and what was your collaboration like?


Oh boy. I really should not answer this question. Javan and I mix very well. You know, like oil and water. I'm joking. He and I create a lot of laughing moments when we work together. Nothing he ever says fails to amaze me and I'm pretty sure he would say the same about me. However, when it comes down to business - it's go time. Javan has the ability to express what he is thinking at a level which us dumb people can understand. Well, I speak for myself. Not anyone else. Nobody else is dumb. Just me.


When a Stranger Knocks wasn't the first time you've worked with Javan Garza - so what can you tell us about previous collaborations, and how did the two of you first meet even?


Everything I have ever done with Javan has been an experience. As I previously said, he has an awesome way of putting his thoughts out there. One of my favorite characters I have ever portrayed was Dr. Freeman in Melany Rose. This dude was off the chain... talk about a loose cannon! I had a lot of fun with him and Javan let me run with it. Another character I absolutely loved was "Fats" in a remake of 5 Minutes. I wasn't able to speak for a couple of days after, but it was FUN! Speaking of Melany Rose, we were shooting in an old hospital and I thought it would be funny to... well, let's just say I was left standing there in this dark and dreary room waiting for Javan and the crew to see me. Yeah, they walked out the opposite end away from me. It took me about ten minutes to realize I was all alone in this forsaken place.


Javan and I met through Dawn on Melany Rose. I will never forget the first time he saw me. I could tell he wanted to be just like me. It was kind of creepy if I'm being honest. Weirdo.


Back to When a Stranger Knocks: What can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?


I'll tell ya, working for Javan and Dawn is one of those situations where you think to yourself, "self... what were you thinking?" Those two expect everything to be perfect all of the time. "Well excuse me, Mr. and Mrs. Perfect! Sorry I don't live on your level!" Okay, I'm joking... again. When a Stranger Knocks is probably the best set I have ever been on. I love everyone who was involved with this project and they love me. I mean... who doesn't? I'm a lovable kind of guy. I can say that everything operated as it should have been. Sure, there were little hiccups here and there (like the one time Javan disrespected me... one time!), every project has hiccups and you just push through them. We all had a great time! I say we all had a great time... that does not include Dawn and Ty running in one-hundred plus degree weather (I sat in an air conditioned room eating while they did that - just saying). They just kept running. Nor does it include Ty not seeing anything for almost an entire day. I'm fairly certain he did not have too much fun with that.


Any future projects you'd like to share?


Spring time is quickly approaching so I'll have to pressure wash the house and get the lawn in shape. I'm a big lawn guy. My daughter's boyfriend spit on my lawn one time and I almost went medieval on him. I had to attend therapy after that. For realsies though, Javan has some things he's toying around with that he has mentioned, but I really don't think I'm at liberty to say. I'm always looking and hoping opportunities come my way. Ya know, It only takes that one person to see what you are capable of and I think I have that connection with Javan.


What got you into acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?


I was part of theatre my senior year in high school and I loved it. I was more of a crew guy and never got any big roles, but I really enjoyed it. We actually placed first my senior year in Texas' UIL One-Act (5A) in Austin, Texas. Several years ago, while at work, I saw a sign that said "Open Auditions". So I dropped what I was doing and walked into this little building. This is when I met Mrs. Ann Marie Crouch! Through her and Mrs. Darla Briganti Kain I began attending coaching lessons, along with other venues they offer. A little side note - about seven years before meeting Mrs. Crouch, I was in the military. One day, I was sitting in my dorm room watching television and this Miller Lite commercial came on. Well, I absolutely fell in love with the female in this commercial. I didn't know her and she didn't know me... but... just wow! As it turns out, during a coaching session with Mrs. Crouch, she began telling the class about this Miller Lite commercial she did while in Los Angeles. Yes, Sir! It was her. What are the chances!


What can you tell us about your filmwork prior to When a Stranger Knocks?


Prior to When a Stranger Knocks, I've worked on a few feature films. I would say, my biggest role prior to this would be in Atlantic Rim... no, not Pacific Rim, this is Atlantic Rim. Mrs. Crouch got me this audition. I enjoyed shooting this. I got to hang out with Graham Greene and Anthony Shawn Criss (AKA: "Treach" from Naughty By Nature). Both of these gentlemen were great to be around. Oh, and there was that time I got kneed in my face by Nicolas Cage while going over a scene. He was also very down to earth.


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How would you describe yourself as an actor, and some of your techniques to bring your characters to life?


I'm pretty hard on myself. Of course, I think we all do it... but I'm always looking back and thinking "I should have done this", "I should have done that." In the end, it's what the director wants to see. What is going to catch the attention of the viewing audience? I rely a lot on things I have seen in life, either good or bad. Unfortunately, we all know there is plenty of bad.


Actors (and indeed actresses) who inspire you?


Easy. Denzel Washington, Joaquin Phoenix, Matthew McConaughey, Charlize Theron, and Melissa McCarthy.


Your favourite movies?


Oh wow. Hmmm. Okay, Shawshank Redemption is certainly on this list. I would also say The OutsidersSaving Private Ryan, Goodfellas, Over the Edge, and John Q. There really are so many.


... and of course, films you really deplore?


I'm not really one to knock things others have done, but I will say one movie comes to mind when I read this question: Little Nicky. BUT... I guarantee you I would have jumped all over this if I was given the opportunity! I just felt it wasn't Adam Sandler material.


Your website, social media, whatever else?




Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?


Just that I really appreciate you taking the time to speak with all of us. Keep up the great work, Sir and be safe!


Thanks for the interview!


© by Mike Haberfelner

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Thanks for watching !!!



In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.


There's No Such Thing as Zombies
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry


directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke


now streaming at


Amazon UK





Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from