About Mario

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Born and raised in Los Angeles, Mario Piumetti is a freelance writer of science fiction, horror, screenplays, and nonfiction. He has a bachelor's degree in English from California Lutheran University and an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University. An avid music lover, his work is heavily influenced by rock, punk, and metal. You can contact him at mario.piumetti.writer@gmail.com.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Monsters at Home

American Horror Story co-creator Brad Falchuk had this wonderful phrase to describe the show, saying it's all about "the monsters at home."  For example, even though the first season was a ghost story, it was really about the breakdown of a marriage.

Most people correctly refer to horror as a genre of fear.  If it's got vampires, monsters, or serial killers hacking away young naked people at a summer camp, it's horror, right?  Wrong.  I think we need to accept that horror is a little broader than that, more fundamental.

Monsters are a subgenre of horror.  Fear is the main point, and even those that we might label more as thrillers are, I think, horror stories.  They say that horror is meant to induce terror while thriller is all about the suspense, but it's very difficult - almost impossible - to distinguish between the two.

If you look at the Denzel Washington film Man on Fire, you can't help but wonder about all the terrible things that might be happening to that little girl the longer she's missing.  The same thing can be said of the film Taken; the first one, not the insanely unnecessary sequels.  You want Liam Neeson's character to find his daughter.  You see her friend dead from a forced drug overdose and worry that the daughter has suffered the same fate, maybe even something worse.  You can go ahead and add the monsters and the supernatural on top of those stories, but the core premise remains the same.

You can also do the reverse and interpret horror in the more conventional terms of a thriller with the same results.  Dracula is basically the story of a serial killer.  In fact, Bram Stoker once compared the crimes of Jack the Ripper to those of a vampire.

Fright Night is another great example.  I'm referring specifically to the 1985 original when audiences didn't know what to expect.  The thing that frightened me about it was that Chris Sarandon's Jerry Dandrige didn't initially come off as a monster.  For a while, you think that Charlie Brewster is just letting his imagination get the best of him, because thanks to POV shots, it really could all be in his head.  On its surface, Fright Night is a monster story, but the real fear underneath is the notion that something terrifying can infiltrate your neighborhood.  It could be a vampire, a serial killer, or an abusive father.

In fact, a lot of times, when someone recommends me a book or a movie that they say is a horror story, I often ask what's the Jerry.  What part of the story is simultaneously terrifying and mundane?

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Ideal Reader

Kurt Vonnegut once said, "Write to please just one person.  If you open the window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia."

Lots of writers - Vonnegut among them - talk about the ideal reader.  Usually, this is a construct to sum up the kind of people, the category of readers, you're trying to reach.  I find even this to be too broad and overwhelming.  If someone told me to write for fellow writers...well, heck, I know plenty of writers with varying personalities and tastes.  I'm back to square one.

No, when I think of my ideal reader, it has to be a specific person in mind.  That person changes from piece to piece.  Roar Shack and The Coast were both pretty much written for me.  I didn't really have anyone in mind that I was trying to impress.  However, this ghost story that I've tried to plot?  Yeah, I can't write that for myself.  I'm starting to warm up to the ghost story genre, but I'm still not such a dedicated fan that I'm trying to write for myself.

Enter Tatiana, a friend I've known since I was six (fuck me, I'm old!).  Tatiana and I had lunch about a week ago.  She asked how writing's been going.  I told her what I had on my plate and about this ghost story that was giving me a hard time.  I gave her the brief on the ghost story.  She cringed appropriately, so it got me thinking that I absolutely must write that story.  Some way.  Some how.

In truth, I have no clue how I'm going to make that story work.  The beginning and end are the parts kicking my ass.  Still, because I have that ideal reader in mind, writing the story isn't much of a choice for me.  I have a need to deliver.

Friday, June 6, 2014

A Farewell to the Website, Part 2

Well, that just happened...

I called up Homestead today and had the Heavenshaker website Old Yeller'd.  Not that I really have any remorse being a "it's not you, it's me" kind of deal.  I will say that if any of you do have need for a website, I highly recommend Homestead.  It's very user friendly and quite affordable; again, if you've got the material to justify it.

Anyways, it's down to the blog, Twitter, and the Facebook page.

A Farewell to the Website, Part 1

Whew!  So I just revamped the blog to incorporate the major elements of the Heavenshaker website, and the renovation took some wind out of me.  The worst part was posting links and updates on material that's been printed in the last year so they're included in the "publications" tab.  But I actually like it.  I like it a lot.  It's clean and organized, and I feel it combines the purposes of a blog (to engage with the audience) and a website (to inform and promote new work).

This means that, yes, I will shut down the Heavenshaker site soon.  I'm going to call Homestead Technologies - the company that hosts the site - to double-check on a couple of things, but I think it should be a smooth exit.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Publications - Carpe Nocturne (Spring 2014)

Earlier this year, a few other reviews of mine got published in the Spring 2014 (Vol. 9, No. 1) issue of Carpe Nocturne for the films Dark Skies, Mama, and Warm Bodies, as well as Kate Maruyama's novel Harrowgate.

Publications - Carpe Nocturne (Winter 2013)

Last year, I got a film review published in the Winter 2013 (Vol. 8, No. 4) issue of Carpe Nocturne for World War Z.  Just, you know, FYI...

Publications - Moving Pictures

And Andrew Ursler, Part IV: Moving Pictures.

Publications - Chocolate

And Andrew Ursler, Part III: Chocolate.

Publications - Grind

Here's the link for Andrew Ursler, Part II: Grind.

Publications - Are You Proud of Me?

So as part of my effort to revamp the blog and consolidate my web presence, I'm starting a new publications feature used to announce the printing of a new piece, which means I have to go through my CV and post about them.  Suck because it feels like I'm tooting my own horn.

Anyways, here's the link to the first installment of the Andrew Ursler series: Are You Proud of Me?

Is a Website REALLY Worth It?

Lately, I've been having this feeling that my website might not be worth keeping around.

It just feels like it's sitting there out among the inter-weeds of the inter-webs, you know?  Either I need to give its existence some serious reconsideration, or give it a major overhaul.  It seems that I don't have enough material to warrant a website.

Maybe if I figure the layout just right, I can consolidate the blog with the website.