I am one of those horror nerds that love the environment. I live on Earth, so, generally, I want to see it taken care of. For the past few months, I have been watching the insanity of NFTs and have clucked my tongue, shook my head, and disparaged those that I see across my Twitter timeline.
I was saddened to see that one of my favorite media franchises, Trailer Park Boys – I play the game, subscribe to SwearNet, etc. – went down the NFT route. I am still quite annoyed by that. Then again, it felt in character, as the show deals with greasy people. Now, sadly, another great love of mine, Troma, has dipped into the murky, toxic waters of NFTs. This feels like an extreme betrayal to what I thought was the spirit of Troma.
Troma has created a line of NFTs from their archives of film and has added them to OpenSea, one of the biggest NFT marketplaces online. If you are scratching your head, wondering what the hell and NFT is, I found that Troma’s marketing email trying to convince fans to buy NFTs has a solid, if not ill-timed, and overly optimistic explanation of what they are.
Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, use the same blockchain technology that underpins cryptocurrencies like bitcoin to keep track of ownership and create scarcity. Purchasing an NFT typically means you have access to the same file anybody else can view or download, but you’re also granted something like a digital deed of ownership to it.
And although NFTs have been around for years, the market for them has exploded into a bonafide frenzy in recent months as mainstream companies and investors have piled in.Troma’s PR Mailing List
In the most succinct terms, and being as fair as I can, given my inherent distaste for NFTs, they are basically digital items, like images and GIFs, that use blockchain to establish a point of origin meant to denote the ownership of the digital item. Imagine putting a serial number of a meme that states that you own that meme, even if you didn’t create it. Owning the meme also means nothing, as that data can still be widely distributed and downloaded. hell, as we’ll see later, you don’t really even own the data.
And yes, a couple of months ago, NFTs were huge. NFTs were a big concern for many artists as well, as unscrupulous scrapers would be able to download an image and turn it into an NFT to sell. That meant that if an artist posted a drawing that went viral on Twitter, for example, someone would need to tag the tweet with one of the scraper bots, and it would turn that image into an NFT “belonging” to the person who invoked the scraping. They could then put the art up for auction.
Granted, this isn’t an issue for Troma as they are making the NFTs of the content from their archives. But we need to talk about the NFT bubble that is imploding right now, as well as how goddamn awful NFTs are for the environment. The environmental impact is especially an issue given the Troma pedigree.
NFTs Ain’t Shit
If Troma is going to go down this route, they sure are late to come to the party. The NFT market has plunged severely since early this year. CNN reported as of late April that “the average price of NFTs plummeted almost 70% from a peak of around $4,000 in mid-February to around $1,400 last week. Since Bloomberg first reported the price crash on April 3, sales remain low.” Yet, tech giants and media companies are continuing to shit out these little art pieces to prop up what is a market that is doomed to fail or, at best, fluctuate wildly, just as most cryptocurrencies seem to do.
And again… and I cannot emphasize this enough. You are essentially paying for nothing. Take, for example, Twitter, which released 140 NFTs. Except in an even more ridiculous late-capitalistic joke, the recipients of the NFTs own nothing. “‘Although the NFT itself is owned by the recipient of the NFT, the Artwork and Brand associated with the NFT is licensed and not transferred or sold to such recipient.’ […] The [Twitter] spokesperson also added that the NFT recipient doesn’t own the rights to the artwork itself or any Twitter IP.”
Many industry insiders claim that there is no NFT bubble. And sure, why not? Let’s say there probably is not a bubble – let’s be optimistic. Instead, NFTs are likely bound to fluctuate like the billion dumb crypto coins out there. Looking at the market charts for these coins is like looking at the rusting chainsaw blade of Leatherface – jagged and something I’d much prefer to avoid being on the end of.
And that isn’t even getting into the environmental consequences of this shit. As early as March, the warning signs were flashing that NFTs, much like the cryptocurrency technology they are based on, are wreaking havoc on the environment.
The Verge sums this dire situation up:
Take “Space Cat,” an NFT that’s basically a GIF of a cat in a rocket heading to the Moon. Space Cat’s carbon footprint is equivalent to an EU resident’s electricity usage for two months, according to the website cryptoart.wtf. That website used to let people click through the estimated greenhouse gas emissions associated with individual NFTs until creator Memo Akten took it down on March 12th. Akten, a digital artist, had analyzed 18,000 NFTs and found that the average NFT has a carbon footprint somewhat lower than Space Cat’s but still equivalent to more than a month’s worth of electricity for a person living in the EU. Those numbers were shocking to some people. But then Akten saw that the website had been used to wrongly attribute an NFT marketplace’s emissions to a single NFT. He took the site offline after he discovered that it “has been used as a tool for abuse and harassment,” according to a note posted on the site.
The Verge’s Justine Calma continues, writing that NFTs are “largely bought and sold in marketplaces like Nifty Gateway and SuperRare that use the cryptocurrency Ethereum. Ethereum, like most major cryptocurrencies, is built on a system called “proof of work” that is incredibly energy hungry. There’s a fee associated with making a transaction on Ethereum — and, ironically, that fee is called ‘gas.’” Ethereum, not backed by a hard currency, uses complex algorithms to ensure the validity of the digital currency that requires hefty computer processing power that constantly runs, consuming a hell of a lot of power. This is the same sort of process that “mints” NFTs.
So what the Hell does this have to do with horror?
Troma, the house that Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz built, has a pedigree in horror and the disgusting outsider art that we love here at Haunted MTL.
Since 1974 Troma has been one of the most iconic and freshest voices in film and the iconic title card of the studio is packed with that good nostalgia. Hell, just read this copy:
Established in 1974 by Yale friends Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz, Troma Entertainment is the longest-running independent movie studio in North America, and it’s one of the very few genuine brand names in the industry. Troma is world-famous for producing and distributing classic films such as Kaufman’s “The Toxic Avenger”, Trey Parker’s “Cannibal, the Musical”, “Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead”, “Class of Nuke ‘Em High”, Charles Kaufman’s “Mother’s Day” and “Tromeo & Juliet”. Early works of many of today’s luminaries can be found in Troma’s library of 1000 films, cartoons, TV shows, and shorts. Jenna Fischer, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Costner, Fergie, Vincent D’Onofrio, Samuel L. Jackson, James Gunn, and Eli Roth are just a few notable Troma alumni.Troma’s PR Mailing List
There is some iconic stuff listed there, but I think what gets me most that gets into the heart of my issue with Troma tackling NFTs, is The Toxic Avenger. It is one of the greatest movies ever made with a huge environmental message. Hell, look at the goddamn cartoon. What would Toxie do in a situation like this where a company is doing something that is harming the environment?
I am not a filmmaker, nor do I have the level of experience that Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz have, obviously. Troma has been around for decades now, and as a fan of horror and film, I hope they’ll continue to stick around. I am sure Troma is always working on the best solution to keep the good stuff coming – be that obtaining new movies for the catalog, or pursuing new ways of merchandising what they have,
Yet, I feel really, really weird about this NFT situation, especially from them. It flies against what I’ve seen as the vibe of the team there, and, honestly?
It feels too mainstream for Troma.
Crashin’ in Roswell NM: Road Trippin’ with Jennifer Weigel
So on my recent road trip to Miami AZ USA for my menstruation art installation, we decided to detour to Roswell NM en route home. To be honest, this was one of the best decisions of my life, up there with road trippin’ from Arizona to San Francisco along CA-Highway 1, and I will go into the details of why here soon.
Roswell NM USA has totally embraced its alien history of the UFO crash in the late 1940s and subsequent government cover up. The whole town is alien-happy with beautiful hand carved wood totems, murals and statues everywhere celebrating otherworldly denizens of all types, though predominantly the gray aliens of the crash (and their green counterparts). Even the city logo features a flying saucer as the center of the letter “R”. It really is kind of incredible.
One of the biggest draws is the International UFO Museum and Research Center, housed in the wonderful old theater building. This museum details the crash history as well as celebrating aliens in movies and media and examining newer alien sightings and abductions. It is very thorough and includes maquettes, statues, written accounts and an extensive research library, as well as an interesting art collection of various items.
And there are TONS of fun alien themed curiosity shops. I will give a shout out to the newer Invasion Station north on Main Street where there had once been an old car dealership. I love the quirky nature of this particular store as well as their strong desire to promote local artists. Most of their wares are hand-painted in NM and feature designs by prominent local artists including one of the lead muralists in town (I bought a magnet of his). They also feature really alternative kitsch like KISS and Ace Frehley alien bobbleheads, marijuana and anal references, and such. All in all, our own Haunted MTL’s kinda folks…
And the city is a huge tourist draw internationally, so you can meet some amazing and interesting folks from all walks of life who have caught the alien bug or at least want to check out all the hype. As a result of the tourism, the residents seem really laid back and accommodating (kind of like Hawaii but not quite as much) and there is a thriving art scene. And it’s totally my kind of art – weird and a little creepy. Anyway, I feel like I’ve finally found my peeps and am eager to return someday.
If you’re feeling a bit extraterrestrial, I invite you to also check out some of my alien-themed stories here on Haunted MTL: LTD UFOs among us; my Drive-By short story; and LTD Abducted.
American Horror Story Season 12, Delicate
Killer Queens, I wasn’t expecting to be back so soon with American Horror Story info. But yesterday we were blessed with a teaser for the intro of Season 12, which we believe will be titled Delicate.
We are looking at a Summer release for season twelve, but won’t know for sure until June, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Here’s what we know right now.
First, yes Kim Kardashian is starring alongside Emma Roberts in a role that was written specifically for her.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that AHS favorites will also be involved. According to IMBD, Charlie Carver, Rebecca Dayan, Cody Fern, Leslie Grossman, Billie Lourd, and Denis O’Hare will be included this season.
AHS Delicate is different from other seasons in many other ways. It’s the first season to ever be written by just one writer, Halley Feiffer. This isn’t a writer most of us as horror fans will be familiar with. She’s written episodes of shows like Kidding, SMILF, and American Crime Story. The last one can at least be seen as a sister show to AHS.
As far as I have found, Feiffer has never written horror content. She is now the sole writer for an entire season of the most popular horror show in America. I’m not saying this is a bad thing. It’s just not what I would have expected. Most AHS writers are staff writers, actors from the show, or at least people I’ve heard of. So as we don’t have any former work to look at, we can only wait to see how she does.
We also know what the source material is for this season. It’s a book called Delicate Condition, by Danielle Valentine. This book will be released in August of this year. Which also seemed strange to me. Normally a book would be, you know, published before it inspires additional work.
Even so, Delicate Condition seems like a fascinating story. According to Goodreads, it’s the story of a woman named Anna. Anna is trying to get pregnant but starts to believe that something dark is working against her. Her doctors don’t believe her. Her husband doesn’t believe her. Is she losing her mind?
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t deeply interested in this book. And I have to assume that Feiffer and Murphy already have hands on it, to jump to this sort of decision.
By the way, Valentine at least is not an untested writer. Her first novel, How To Survive Your Murder, also made it right on my TBR pile. With a rating of 3.7 out of 4 on Goodreads, I think we can assume Valentine knows what she’s doing with the written word.
This is all that we know about American Horror Story Delicate so far. What follows are my thoughts and opinions only.
My first thought is that this season is going to be dealing heavily with women’s reproductive rights. This is a topic a lot of us are concerned about right now, as it feels like every day women lose more and more rights to our bodies.
(By the way, if you want to help fight the good fight for body autonomy and get some spooky stories, we have an anthology for that. I have a story in it, as does the horrifyingly talented Jennifer Weigel. All proceeds go to support organizations that help women make their own health decisions.)
American Horror Story has handled important political issues before. Last season, AHS NYC discussed the AIDs epidemic that went largely ignored in the 80s and killed hundreds of young gay men. They did this in the best way possible, in what this critic believes to be the only way fiction should handle heavy topics. They rooted the issue in a good story. A story that was pure fiction, but also true.
However, this season has a lot of red flags. Never before have I seen the guest star be the main focus so early. Never have I seen any franchise bank so much faith in an all but untested writer, basing work on a book that isn’t even published. And frankly, I’ve never been much of a fan of Kim K, or anyone else who’s famous seemingly just for being famous.
I’m not rooting for this season to fail just because I don’t like the guest star. If Kardashian is good at this, I’ll be thrilled. I’ll be the first one singing her praises. But when everything we know so far is added up, I’m a lot more concerned about AHS Delicate than I am excited.
The Last Drive-In Season 5 Premiering April 21st Exclusively on Shudder!
They say good things come to those who wait, and boy have we been patient. It has been close to a year since our eyes have indulged a full season of ‘The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs’, in fact, the season 4 finale premiered on Shudder July 1st, 2022. Since then, we have been able to satisfy our appetites with festive holiday specials sprinkled throughout the past year. Specials such as ‘Joe Bob’s Halloween Hangout’ guest starring horror’s favorite Mistress of the Dark, Elvira (played by the legendary Cassandra Peterson) and ‘Joe Bob’s Ghoultide Get-Together’. Last month was a treat in itself, as we were able to witness Joe Bob Briggs and co-host Darcy the Mail Girl (Diana Prince) marry one lucky couple for the first time on the show with ‘Joe Bob’s Vicious Vegas Valentine‘ special.
While the current changes in staff at Shudder have left fans questioning whether we will receive a new season of the popular series, I can happily say mutant family, we need not worry. In fact, to our wonderous surprise, Joe Bob Briggs has officially announced via Twitter, season 5 of ‘The Last Drive-In‘ will be premiering April 21st, exclusively on Shudder! One thing that is noteworthy, is unlike previous seasons, it has been reported by 1428Elm that season 5 will be broken up into two parts of five double-feature blood-curdling episodes. Though we have not been provided the official release schedule for the second block of season 5, here is a sneak peek of what we can expect for the first half of the season:
April 21: Season 5 Launch Party!
April 28: Walpurgisnacht Part 2!
May 5: Cinco de Fucking Mayo!
May 12: Mama’s Day!
May 19: Dysfunctional Family Jubilee!
Unfortunately, we do not have an official list of the brand-new double feature films for the first half of season 5 but, with amusing episode titles such as these, one can only imagine what grindhouse-classics will be joining ‘The Last Drive-In’s’ already eclectic list of sloshy goodness. For those impatient mutants eagerly waiting for more hilarious Joe Bob rant-filled commentaries, or those newcomers who’ve yet to experience the magic that is ‘The Last Drive-In‘, all previous four seasons, including past holiday specials are currently available to stream now on Shudder.
If you are just as big of fans of ‘The Last Drive-In‘ as we here at HauntedMTL are, please be sure to follow us on Twitter @HauntedMTL and join us April 21st as we tweet along with Joe Bob and Darcy the Mail Girl for the season premier. As is tradition, we will be hosting live watch parties every Friday with each new episode, including fresh holiday specials. The road to season 5 is upon us…let the countdown begin!
April 21: Season 5 Launch Party!
April 28: Walpurgisnacht Part 2!
May 5: Cinco de Fucking Mayo!
May 12: Mama's Day!
May 19: Dysfunctional Family Jubilee!
. . . and that's only the beginning.#TheLastDriveIn pic.twitter.com/WfeTx0shNa— Joe Bob Briggs (@therealjoebob) March 16, 2023