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Q&A with Anthony Cousins, Director of “When Susurrus Stirs”

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Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Horror spirit animal?
That’s a dangerous question, haha. I’m gonna go with Sam from Trick r’ Treat. He’s quiet and creepy, yet approachable, loves candy, and he has zero tolerance for people disrespecting the holiest of holidays.

You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
Too many bad ideas for one to stick out! I look at old notebooks and am astounded that I ever thought some of these idea were even worth writing down. The spark for any idea, good or bad, comes naturally. If an idea is truly bad you’ll probably realize it before you put too much effort into it.

Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
There’s any incredibly passionate and supportive horror film festival community I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of the past couple of years starting with the wide acceptance of When Susurrus Stirs. There’s an amazing group of up and coming filmmakers and we all seem to be on the same trajectory, running into each other at the same fests every year with our latest films. It’s awesome to see their talent evolve with every project and their voices become more clear.

When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
I get a lot of inspiration from books, like the one When Susurrus Stirs is based on. It gets the creative juices flowing more than watching movies. The stories are often way crazier and unfiltered in a way movies rarely are and I love imagining what the movie adaptation would be.

What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
Avoid gnat clouds at all costs.

Who would be on your ultimate horror villain squad?
I’ve put way too much thought into this… Ultimate Monster Squad:
The Brains: Pennywise
The Brawn: Jason
The Heart: The Crypt Keeper The Wildcard: Betelgeuse
Mode of Transportation: Christine

Lightning round: Freddy or Jason? Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft? Practical or CGI? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Freddy: Love his imaginative kills.
Lovecraft: King is the better storyteller but Lovecraft’s brand of horror and his tentacle-y “Great Old Ones” had a profound impact on me.
Practical: I’m a summer blockbuster fanatic so I love me some CGI but things like the defibrillator scene in The Thing or the car putting itself back together in Christine are just jaw dropping in a way that CGI could never be.
Pre Apocalypse: A more diverse sandbox to play in.

How do you go about creating the props and sets for your film? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
We try to keep things as practical as possible and only implement CGI when necessary. I think the films are better for it and honestly it’s just a selfish thing on my part because I want to experience the FX first hand. It’s so much fun to problem solve how you’re going to pull off an effect. It’s not nearly as fun to shoot an empty set and add it in later.
The best horror is taking something everyone can relate to and showing it to them in a horrifying new light so they take that fear home with them. Psycho ruined showers. Jaws ruined the beach. The Fly ruined stray back hairs. I love that so many people have told me they think about our movie and freak out every time they encounter a cloud of gnats. Mission accomplished!

And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’
The Fly. And if anyone wants to fight me on that being sci-fi then The Evil Dead.