Michigan Movie Weekly is preparing to promote a screenwriting competition based upon the short stories of horror author Thomas M. Malafarina.
Who is Thomas M. Malafarina?
Thomas M. Malafarina is a prolific author of horror fiction from Berks County, Pennsylvania. To date he has published seven horror novels “What Waits Beneath”, “Burner”, “From The Dark” , “Circle Of Blood”, “Dead Kill Book 1: The Ridge of Death”,”Dead Kill Book 2: The Ridge Of Change” and “Dead Kill Book 3: The Ridge Of War”. He has also published six collections of horror short stories; “Thirteen Deadly Endings”, “Ghost Shadows”, “Undead Living” and most recently “Malaformed Realities Vol. 1, Vol. 2 and Vol. 3″. He has also published a book of often-strange single panel cartoons called “Yes I Smelled It Too; Cartoons For The Slightly Off Center”. All of his books are published through Hellbender Books, an imprint of Sunbury Press..
In addition, many of the more than one hundred short stories Thomas has written have appeared in dozens of short story anthologies and e-magazines. Some have been produced and presented for internet podcasts and radio plays as well. Thomas is best known for the twists and surprises in his stories as well as his descriptive, often gory passages.
We feel privileged that Thomas allowed us this interview. Even more so that he agreed to make his short stories available for this screenwriting competition. Get to know Thomas M. Malafarina, More importantly get to know his work.
How did you get into writing horror fiction? What was your first story?
I have had a life-long love/hate relationship with horror. As a boy my bedroom was decorated with Aurora’s Universal Studio models , which I put togetherand customized. I read monster magazine’s regularly and went the local movie there for horror and sci-fi movies Yet at night I was terrified of my room and of my room and slept with the covers over my head. As an adult I had a collection of hundreds of horror movies, some good and some terrible. I began to think, I could do better than most of these. I had been making horror art pieces from hot glueu and aluminum foil molded into horrible tortured faces and hands in what I called a wall of lost souls. I was inspired by this work of mine to write a scene which became a chapter and eventually my first novel originally called “99 Souls” It was published by Sunbury Press. About two years ago I rewrote it retitled it to “What Waits Beneath” and reissued it under Sunbury’s imprint Hellbender Books.
Yes, I had many of the same models myself, ie., Godzilla, Frankenstein, Phantom of the Opera, Creature From the Black Lagoon, the Mummy, etc. That was the Golden Days of Hollywood’s Monsters. From them came how many other creepie crawlies? I suppose as I did I spent my misspent youth watching all of the horror movies on TV on some program hosted by some scary ghoul. Who was it in the area in which you grew up?
Dr. Shock out of Philadelphia. Most of what I did as a kid revolves around scary stuff. It carried over into adulthood.
What, at that time, was your favorite horror fan magazine?
Famous Monsters of Filmland was a biggie.
What was your favorite horror movie?
As a kid my favorite was Universal’s Frankenstein. As an adult, Dawn of the Dead (not the remake). For the most part I hate sequels and remakes. They’re just money grabbing bottom feeding. Make new movies of new horror!
Wow, it sounds as though you and I both agree on this matter. I too hate sequels and remakes. What is your opinion of blood and gore for the sake of blood and gore slasher movies?
Nah. Not scary. I have to admit I use gore in my stories, but I try to put it where it is needed. Slasher films help fuel my frustration with horror movies. Those the teen sex horror formula.
Barring these, what are some of your favorite contemporary horror movies?
To be honest, since I started publishing 9 years ago, I’ve had little to no time for horror movies. When I’m writing, I’m watching a movie play out in my mind and 99% of the time I have no idea how it will end. Much more exciting than watching someone else’s stuff.
You must have a wild and vivid imagination How have your stories changed over the last nine years?
Good question! Hopefully the quality of my writing has improved. The quality of Sunbury‘s editors have definitely improved. Both of the reasons are why I chose to rewrite and retitle several of my early books.
In nine years time how many books have you written? And in how many publications have your stories appeared?
To date, I’ve published 12 written books and one cartoon book. The 12 are a combination of novels and short story collections. Hellbender currently has another novel in editing “Deathbringer Jones Zombie Slayer.” and two more short story collections. Malaformed Realities Vol. 4 and Volume 5. I’m working on another collection Malaformed Realities Vol. 6. My stories have appeared in aboout 140 anthologies by a variety of of publishers. I also just curated a collection of Hellbender authors currently in editing called Hellbent.
Wow, that is quite a collection. Of these, how many have you rewritten? What was your biggest reason for rewriting a story?
Four of my earliest. As I mentioned earlier, “99 Souls” became “What Waits Beneath;” 13Nasty Endings” became “13 Deadly Endings;” “Burn Phone” became “Burner” and “Fallen Stones” became “Circle of Blood.” After 7 years of publishing at that time I felt they needed a facelift.
Do you find that you like to revisit an idea, a plot device, or a theme other than general horror? For example, King has written more stories on common machines that come to life, Dean Koontz plays loose with linear time, and Clive Barker is obsessed with the creepy. Do you have a theme that you have used in your stories more than once?
One common theme with many of my stories is that the bad guys usually get it in the end. Unlike reality, I can control what happens to evil.
Can we call this poetic justice?
Sure. To be honest , I don’t do it all the time, just when I feel it works. It’s not always conscious either since I seldom plan anything and rarely know how things will turn out.
Don’t the bad guys in your stories die in the most gruesome, horrific ways?
Can you give us an example of this way in which an evil doer may have perished in your story?
Wow! So many to choose from. In one of my early stories form “13 Deadly Endings” called “For Eternity” a con-man marries his mark for her money. He drowns her in a hot tub and gets away with it. Her spirit comes back in various water forms.
Cool! Do you ever give your wife reason to be concerned because of the stories you write?
Nope. She hates horror stuff and hasn’t read a single word I’ve written even though she’s a voracious reader. I actually like it because it gives me complete freedom.
Have you ever had a story of yours optioned as a movie? I think this would bring attention to what you write and possibly give you a whole new fan base.
So far no. I don’t have such connections.
How would you like to pursue this matter? I believe I know a few people who would be intereseted in developing a story or two of yours as a screenplay and ultimately as a movie. I can provide them with an inducement. Would something like this interest you?
Of course, without question.
Well, let’s give this a try.
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