Fantasia Film Festival - When Susurrus Stirs

A man finds purpose in his meaningless life when he becomes Host to an ancient creature named Susurrus

Director: Anthony Cousins


Congratulations! Why did you make your film?

Thank you! When Susurrus Stirs is an adaptation of a short story by Jeremy Robert Johnson. When I read his collection, We Live Inside You, Susurrus just wouldn't leave my head. It was everything I love about horror, humor and sci-fi and knew I could do something truly original with it.

Imagine I'm in the audience. Why should I watch this film?

You are about to witness things you've never seen before and can't be unseen. It's a classic body horror tale but told in a completely new way.

  How do personal and universal themes work in your film?

The story in short is about a man becoming host to a parasitic creature with the singular belief that it is the superior species and must be spread to every living human on the planet and it convinces the host to help in that mission. It doesn't seem like a relatable journey but from addiction to abusive relationships to disease and oppressive religion, it has been fascinating to hear everyone's interpretation of what that parasite/host relationship represents for them.

How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?

The script was about as faithful as an adaptation can get and we shot exactly what we set out to. In the edit it has evolved immensely to my surprise, but the core of what we set out to do is still intact and I couldn't be happier with the outcome.

When Susurrus Stirs - Susurrus is ready to start the new cycle.

When Susurrus Stirs - Susurrus is ready to start the new cycle.

Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?

The feedback has been incredibly positive! We knew we were making a film for viewers with a specific taste and they have embraced it. We were adamant about using practical effects as much as possible and I think that has resonated with the people who appreciate that tangible element.  I'm happy that audiences can appreciate that under all the shocking visuals we really were after something meaningful and psychological and not just shock for shock sake.

What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on

When you work on a project this long you somewhat lose perspective on what you have done. We powered through all the hardships that come along with making a film this ambitious because we believed it was going to be something special and if we reached completion people would see that, but once you reach that point it's hard to tell if you succeeded. So it has been a surprise and relief to see even beyond the audience that we were aiming for, people enjoying the film and acknowledging the passion behind it.

Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?

We want to spread the good word of Susurrus and the more outlets for people to discover it, the better!

What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?

We have been selected by a number of festivals so now the goal is to spread awareness of what When Susurrus Stirs is and where you can see it!

Would you like to add anything else?

I always hope to strengthen the belief that original and bizarre films can find success. Everyone chases the current genre trend and you end but with an over-saturation of copycats, but the next trend can't be discovered until someone takes a chance to be different. 

When Susurrus Stirs - The Host gets a checkup.

When Susurrus Stirs - The Host gets a checkup.

What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?

What strange creatures may be lurking in the unknown and how can we strengthen our defenses against their imminent attack for world domination? 

What are the key creatives developing or working on now?

Anthony Cousins and Ryan Schaddelee continue to collaborate on music videos and are in search of the next big narrative project. Jeremy Robert Johnson is currently at work on three books so secret that knowledge of them would melt your face off like the Ark of the Covenant.


 We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us?  More info: Carmela


When Susurrus Stirs

Length: 9:47

Director: Anthony Cousins

Producer: Anthony Cousins, Ryan Schaddelee, Peter West

Writer: Jeremy Robert Johnson, Anthony Cousins, Kevin Semlak

About the writer, director and producer:

Director: Anthony Cousins is a Minneapolis based director/cinematographer fascinated with the unknown and continues to tell stories exploring what could be lurking in the dark.

Writer: Jeremy Robert Johnson is the author of cult sensation SKULLCRACK CITY and is currently at work on three new weird horror projects. 

Key cast: Nathan Tymoshuk

Looking for (film festival directors, journalists):

Made in association with: Shock Treatment Productions, Outpost 31 Productions and Feral Child Films

Where can I watch it in?

Fantasia Film Festival July 30th

Atlanta DragonCon

San Diego Horrible Imaginings