More about “Payment”
In a remote motel room. Stephen undergoes a protective ritual. A knock at the door interrupts him. It’s the Salesman, coming to collect Stephen’s long-owed debt: his soul. His feelings for Stephen, unnatural for an inhuman being, prevent him from doing so. Though he shares these feelings, Stephen makes a desperate choice and frees himself from eternal suffering – but damns himself to a lifetime of guilt.
Director’s Statement: “Deals with the devil, hellhounds baying, contracts signed in blood – this is familiar iconography throughout Christian culture. Payment takes these folkloric tropes, which have almost become parodies of themselves, and places realistic characters within them: Stephen, the nomadic client who only thinks of survival; and the Salesman, a demon who develops an attachment that goes beyond his inhuman nature.”
Their feelings for each other are both destructive and honest; the Salesman is willing to make sacrifices, while Stephen is terrified of commitment. Even with the elements of horror, this is truly a romantic narrative, one that allows queer relationships to express complexity and confusion. It’s a story about two desperate souls who find love; and what they’re willing to do survive its fallout.
Director Bio: BEN LARNED is a writer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles. He has a BFA in Film & Television from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. His short stories have been published in The Book of Blasphemous Words, Danse Macabre, and WitchWorks. He currently writes for several outlets, including Blumhouse, Daily Dead and ScreenCraft. His work explores fantastic and queer narratives across multiple mediums.
More about ALTER
ALTER, a division of global content studio Gunpowder & Sky, is the first premium horror entertainment brand that reaches fans across all platforms, giving voice to emerging, diverse and established filmmakers.
From 90 seconds to 90 minutes formats, ALTER acquires and showcases (and will later create) brilliant innovative stories from both the world’s best established filmmakers and the most exciting up-and-coming creators.
We’ve got a huge range of cinematic horror shorts from across the globe and across the sub-genres that scare and intrigue in equal measure. We have curators in LA, Austin, NY and London, looking for the shorts that explore the everyday threats, primal fears and modern anxieties of life through the horror lens and encourage conversation on our social platforms.