I’ve never been one for reality TV or competition shows, but after reading the premise for The Boulet Brother’s Dragula, I went back and forth between whether I’d watch the series. Last year I had a disconnect from a lot of shows, finding series that were constantly being recommended falling short compared to shows that weren’t getting any recognition. Still, one night I decided I’d give it a go.
I instantly loved it.
The Drag world had always been interesting to me, but had a lot of aspects that I didn’t have any interest in. The drama, the pettiness, and the lack of imagination seemed dull to me. Everyone, with a few obvious exceptions, was so similar, and no one was willing to break out of the Beauty Queen Drag world. As someone who has no interest in the ‘normal’ beauty/fashion world, I never felt connected to what was going on. Show me a room filled with grotesquely dressed Drag Monsters, and I’m there. Apparently.
The Boulet Brother’s reminded me of horror hostesses like Elvira and Vampira. Their humour was crude, rude, inappropriate, and a little bit scary. Which again, I enjoyed. Their costumes and style set the tone for the show, and gave an excellent example of what they were looking for from their contestants. They took the show seriously, but still prepared short skits between the two of them that showed their capabilities as actors and presenters.
When the show began, there was eight contestants ranging in age, experience, and artistic capabilities.
- Meatball was aware of her differences as a non-traditional monster and saw it as a weakness
- Vander was determined to prove that despite being relatively new, she was capable of becoming someone infamous
- Frankie Doom was already a part of the monster scene, and, sadly, seemed to take that as permission to hold back
- Xiochi Mochi, also already a monster, knew her strengths from the beginning but was aware that that wasn’t an excuse to hold backstop trying
- Melissa Befierce was the most well known contestant which gave her a slight overconfidence compared to the other girls
- Loris viewed herself as a threat for the other girls and, despite strong skills in SFX and makeup, allowed this to cloud her judgement
- Foxy was quiet, but focused, choosing to give all her attention to what she needed to do instead of the other contestants
- Pinoche had a similar sense as Frankie Doom but instead of pushing themselves for more when the time came, they fell flat and ultimately was voted out during the first episode
One of my favourite aspects of the show was the extermination scene. From my understanding, the usual system for people in reality show is that they’re told to go, and then they go. That’s it. Quick, boring, and anticlimactic. What Dragula does instead, is they hold an extermination sequence. This is an additional competition between the lowest ranked members of the group in which they have to perform a task, and depending on their performance they may or may not continue in the show.
I was always excited to see what the extermination scenes would be like, and I would find myself genuinely shocked or in awe at the sheer creativity that must have been involved in coming up with these ideas.
- Buried alive – intense first challenge that set the tone for the future of the show
- Mud wrestling – Shocking performance from all the contestants
- Pig Brains – Favourite challenge! Foxy and Vander were brilliant, but disappointed in Loris and the cheap attempt to not try
- Heckling – Underwhelming, but still interesting. Less focus on the challenge because the girls had the opportunity to vote someone out (1 vote for Frankie, 5 votes for Loris)
- Sea Monster Shoot – A little underwhelming, something that would have been difficult to do, but wasn’t as easy to translate onto screen
One of my favourite designs and performances throughout the series included Melissa’s zombie. It was such an incredible costume and her acting was stunning. I thought the inclusion of a baby was so original and when she used it in her zombie opening I was really impressed with her commitment. Another of my favourites was Vander’s witch in the first episode. I thought it was well made and she used it to show her comedic side with her comment about LA tap water.
Overall, these two were favourites in the competition. Vander came to win and had no intention of leaving the show, which I really loved and Melissa earned my respect when she turned her attitude around in the GLOW episode and with her determination to not be in the bottom again. I was really happy that they made it to the final three along with Frankie.
I felt that the Resurrection episode was such a great idea. For the second time, the girls are able to vote who they think should win, but this time it’s the past contestants who were revived for this segment. After asking one question to any of the three remaining contestants, the resurrected girls were given the opportunity to say which girl they think should be voted out. They were also told to give the remaining contestants advice about how they should continue in the show and if they won the crown.
- Melissa’s advice and critics were fair, but I don’t think she has to necessarily to leave the Drag Monster world as I believe she has proven herself through the episodes
- Vander’s advice and critics were generally positive, but I agree that her looks appear the most polished every week, so seeing something more towards the filth element of Dragula instead of the horror would be interesting
- Frankie was overwhelmingly supported by the other girls, but I’m worried that it could be a step backwards for her in terms of creativity due to overconfidence
The final challenge for the three remaining contestants was a traditional floor show inspired by the three elements of Dragula – glamour, horror, and filth. Before the floor show, we were able to hear some final words from the last girls about the critics they received during the Resurrection.
- Vander’s words about people’s opinions on Melissa were really well spoken and I’m happy that she’s decided to take a supportive position for the other girls instead of giving into the pressure of being bitchy or mean.
- Melissa’s growth is very obvious and the respect that she’s gained for the Dragula movement is really lovely and shows that she’s found her place in that world. She’s softened about the other girls greatly from the first episode and seems to lean more towards lifting others up instead of pushing them down – the cattiness of the Beauty Queen drag world is fading.
- Frankie is very involved in the Dragula world and she genuinely thinks of it as her home, which started her off to an awkwardly because of her experience, but pushed herself to do more and be more with her performance. I think she’s been truly inspired by the validation she received in this show.
The floor show was split for the three themes and allowed the girls to show their three looks with time to perform with their concepts.
The glamour segment showed the refined and delicate side of the contestants. Melissa was dressed as a Gothic 50’s housewife covered in what I can only assume are hundreds of diamonds to add a sparkle. Vander’s look was half housewife with a dominatrix secret including walking a man as though he were dog. Frankie’s look seemed heavily inspired by a previous Boulet Brother’s look with a glittery body suit and matching horns.
The filth segment was…gross. Which was both great and disgusting, so job well done there. Frankie’s look included a skintight, lowcut dress and a pig snout to help her eat as much mud and poo as she can. Yuck. Vander is dressed in a jungle themed body suit and wildly prances around as she eats insects, vomits them, and then eats the vomits. Ew. Melissa’s filth included a touch of horror as she was ‘dressed’ as a near nude nun with mutilated genitals and a rosary bead up her bum. I…don’t even know what to say to that, but I loved it. I need help.
The final segment was horror, the thing we’re all here for. Vander’s horror appeared inspired by fairytale evil queens covered in needles. She was really in her element during this section and I was so impressed with her work. Frankie looked like she had just stepped out of an 80’s slasher film with a butchered body and large knife, which she used to slit her own throat with a wild glee in her eyes. The performance was brilliant and I was really happy with it. Melissa’s performance was inspired by the urban legend of ‘La Llorona’ (The Weeping Woman), but instead of killing her children, The Weeping Woman is murdering her husband, dressed in a wedding dress. It was an amazing performance and I’m so proud with how far she’s come.
Before announcing the winner of the competition, the Boulet Brother’s take a moment to explain why they started the competition and thanked the fans for donating the $10,000 reward for the winner. It was a rare moment of sincerity from the hosts that I felt was really lovely and showed just how much this meant to them. Despite what others may say, they had worked hard to create a home for the different and it was very sweet.
I had supported Vander throughout the show and I was so, so happy that she won. Every week she had focused on creating something truly original and completely gave her all to the competition since day one. The Carrie aspect of the crowning was very fitting and a nice little touch for the series to end on.
I think that Dragula was able to show a lot of what horror fans find to be so inspiring from the genre and its surrounding theme. It was capable of showing that horror can be beautiful while revealing the hard truth that beauty can be horrifying.
If you’ve been considering watching Dragula and haven’t tried it yet, then I highly recommend it.