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Wednesday, 27 July 2016

World of Death - The Hum (Steven Payne)

It is with great pleasure that I announce that 5D has arranged with Tony Wash, Film producer and general all round good egg, to work with and promote some of the community of filmmakers that form part of his brainchild, World of Death, an international compilation of horror short films produced by Scotchworthy Productions and JP3 Media.

World of Death brings together the talent of over 200 filmmakers from 25 different countries in a compilation of short horror films that will terrorise, astonish, disturb, and excite genre fans across the globe.

World of Death isn't just a compilation; it's a community. Consisting of over 200 filmmakers plus their casts and crew, World of Death includes independent talent of every age and level of experience… From all over the globe!

The filmmaker featured this week is Steven Payne who will be talking about another of his works of which he is particularly proud and at the same time hopefully providing the answer to life, the universe and everything. 

Q) So before we talk about The Hum, give me and my reader a little information about yourself.

A) My first short cost $60 and was shot on an old Canon tape camera. I bought a pack of tapes and 3 lights and shot it in one evening. Technical limitations can hurt a film, but if there’s talent in front of and behind the camera, these limitations can be lessened. One of the greatest benefits to living and shooting in Chicago, beyond the amazing locations, is our theatre scene. I’ve pulled most of my actors from Chicago stages, which shows in the strong and nuanced performances I’ve been able to coax from my actors.

Visually I try and make my films distinctive. Every shot is carefully plotted beforehand. This is not freewheeling film making. The visuals carry the story through to a strong and decisive conclusion.

Q) So how has this paid off for you?

A) I did a couple more short films using my tape camera, the third one of which, ‘The Hawthorne Effect’, came in first at an online film fest and provided me enough of a cash prize to upgrade in camera choices. With my work, I try and make short films, that is to say I don’t just do horror with thinly drawn characters. I work as hard on creating interesting, 3-dimensional characters as I do in creating novel horror situations. I plot my stories as if I were doing a feature, with the key elements scaled back to fit the reduced time frame.

Q) Let's talk about The Hum. Tell us a little about the background to the film.

A) ‘The Hum’ is the prime example of the type of horror film I make, one that I’m very proud of. It most recently was honoured with a ‘Best Concept’ from the Independent Horror Movie Awards. The characters in this story are involved in a self-destructive triangle. And the horror element, the ‘hum’, ties in with the uncertainties and distrust between the two main characters.

Q) So what is the synopsis?

A) Robin struggles with a double life, attracted to the strong state Senator whose campaign office she manages, and her love for her gentler, husband, a failed writer who struggles to find employment.  In his downtime her husband has become obsessed with a humming he hears, which he discovers is part of an international phenomenon.  So enthralled is he with 'The Hum' that he actually cracks the mystery behind it.  But nothing comes without a price as the answer opens up a world of greater horror for himself, his wife, and the world.

Here’s a link to the trailer:

Q) So what are you working on now?

A ) What I’m working on now is taking about 6 of my shorts, including ‘The Hum’, and shooting a wraparound to package them in a feature-length format to air on Amazon under the title ‘Anthology’. I should have this completed no later than September (if not earlier). I’m hoping to drive business to Amazon from my YouTube page where I currently have over 17,000 subscribers, with one of my projects having 3 million views.

So there you are, a little bit about Mr Payne and his plans for eventual world domination. But what about the point of this article (yes, occasionally my posts do have a point......'cough'.. occasionally). Well, after watching the trailer for The Hum I was sufficiently hooked like the proverbial fish and decided that I now really wanted to watch the full version. Blimey, it's almost as if a trailer is intended to do just that - hmmm, I may have stumbled onto a goldmine here...... or not.

Anyhow, I decided to ask Steven if he would be good enough to send me an online screener, which,  being the wonderful human being I now know him to be, he duly did. I also asked him if I would be able to share the screener for you good people to watch. He replied as follows; "Just the trailer, please. The screener is just for festivals and they prefer that the film not be previously made public. Thank you so much, I look forward to reading your review."

Now, to the untrained eye of the layman reader (that's you by the way) Steven's response looks perfectly pleasant and reasonable. The thing is, I know better, oh yes I do indeed. Because to my keen eye it looks very different, for you see beneath the affable surface there actually reads a more sinister subtext. The true meaning of what Steven said being; " Just the trailer, matey boy. It's my screener, mine I tell you!!!! It belongs now to the festivals so keep your filthy blogging hands off it!!! I live in Chicago and we know what to do with the likes of you!! If I see any sign of it in your review there'll be some sleeping with fishes for you matey boy!!!"

Now putting aside the possibility that my raging paranoia may once again be returning I decided to accept Stevens's threat of bodily harm, I mean, polite request.  

It is safe to say that I enjoyed immensely the fuller version of The Hum that I saw on the super secret online screener.The cast performances, often a weaker component of low budget independent films, are measured and confident, particularly Sarah Kopp as Robin who shows a good range of emotion as she portrays a woman tormented by the life choices that she has made together with the guilt that accompanies them. It's refreshing to see an attempt by a filmmaker to provide some passion and texture to the lead characters instead of relying on cliched one-dimensional horror caricatures.

The premise of The Hum, a very common 'real world' phenomenon , being linked to an altogether horrific source, and the way that it manuplates the relationship between the three central characters is  very satisfying - as is the ending, I for one loved it.

I'm genuinely looking forward to seeing what Steven comes up with next, in particular his feature-length anthology. I would strongly advise you to check him and his work out as soon as you get the chance.

You can find out more about Steven Payne and his work at the following links;

This article can also be found via the 5D website There you can find a veritable feast of blog articles, news items, pictures and other mouth-watering salutations to the gods of the geeks and the nerds. We have now inherited the earth, you know.

In addition, should any of you fine people out there wish to advertise on the 5D website then have a look at the offer below.

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