Rot Your Brain: The Boulet Brother's Dragula Season 1 (Spoilers)

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.

Craft Creations: Silk & Foam Clay Ugly Monster

Firstly, I’d like to apologise for my on and off silence over the last few weeks. At first, I was just trying to stock up on ideas, but then I started a new job. I’m currently working as a morning cleaner and I’m having a lot of fun there. Not only am I getting along with my co-workers, but I’m taking a big step forward with my anxiety issues. The downside is that I’ve been a bit more tired lately, so I haven’t been able to do as much as before.

For my first (hopefully of many) post back, we’re starting with another Craft Creation. Now sadly, this item is no longer for sale at Hobbycraft, but you can buy it on Amazon. There is only a set amount available for purchase, so be quick and grab them while you can!

My experience with clay consists of rolling ‘sausages’ out of Play-Doh when I was in primary school, so I was nervous about starting this project. Admittedly, the instructions were nothing more than lackluster. Aside from pictures of the steps, there was no explanation.

The clay was interesting to use. I’d often seen people complaning about the smell and the sticky texture, but I didn’t find it so offensive. If anything, I think it added to the fun of the experience.

In the set, you had a couple of polystyrene balls to help you mould the main body and a plastic tool to help break up the clay and shape it. While I was intimidated by the thought of somehow getting it wrong, when I started I really enjoyed the imaginative freedom.

As you can see from the picture above, my monster wasn’t completely symmetrical and some of the pieces were wider than they probably should have been, but I was still really proud of my results. I think my little monster is quite sweet and still makes me smile when I see it.

As intimidating as it was to start, I’m glad that I did. Is there something you’ve been dying to try, but have been too worried to start? Share it in a comment below or tweet me at @kimanamccallum.

A Lush Novice Attempts to Bath Bomb: Halloween Special! Bewitched Bubble Bar Review

A few weeks ago, I was brave and actually went inside a Lush store with my older sister. We were promptly greeted by a lovely sales assistant who complimented my sister’s Harley Quinn bag (which I brought for her birthday a couple of years ago) and showed us a couple of their special Autumn/Halloween products.

As two spooky gals, my sister and I immediately fell in love with everything and had to hold one another back from buying out the store. To be honest, I was a little sad that I couldn’t get another product because it just wasn’t in my price range, but I was lucky enough to pick up the bubble bar pictured above.

Bewitched is a cat shaped bubble bar which you crumble under the water. It will then transform your bath into a beautiful, bubbly, pitch black dream. It was really great seeing as the black overtook the clear water, moving through it in a gradient from clear to grey to black.

I had never used a product with bergamont before, but when I first took a sniff in the shop, I thought it was amazing. Usually I’m not a big fan of very rich scents, but this one was lovely. It mixed together with the blackberry scent wonderfully and I found myself feeling relaxed and happy as I quietly enjoyed my bath and listened to The Vampire Lestat on audiobook.

This is my favourite Lush product I’ve ever brought and I definitely plan to purchase it again next year. If you’re interested in getting this bubble bar, it is still available online (definitely) and in stores (possibly) for £5.50 per bar.

Now, fly! Fly my pretties and purchase this bubble bar of spooky happiness. Or, you know, buy it online.

I’d like to end this post by thanking everyone who has taken the time to read my reviews. I appreciate every one of you and cannot begin to explain how much it means to me. Hopefully I’ll be posting something of interest for you again soon x

You’ve Got Mail! Abominable Book Club Unboxing (October Spoilers)

Today we’re looking at another book subscription unboxing with the October Abominable Book Club.

The main item for this month was Jac Jemc’s The Grip of It. This book follows Julie and James as they move into a new home after struggles with James’ gambling addiction, but their new home isn’t what it seems. As the already claustopobic structure changes before their very lives, Julie becomes victim of the house’s cruel intentions.

This book seems like a really interesting psychological horror that I’m looking forward to reading when I get the chance. A lot of the horror books I’ve gotten lately have been supernatural in some way or another, so I’m happy for the diversity.

My secondhand book for this was Cujo by Stephen King. I am really, really looking forward to reading this book. For those who don’t know, Cujo is a story about a Saint Bernard that follows a rabbit into what was a rabbit warren, but is now home to rabid bats. Cujo becomes sick – very sick – and the trusted canine companion becomes an unknown monster.

This month we got a copy of The Ghastly, a Welsh magazine based on Penny Dreadfuls. This months issue is based around The Ghastly Freak Show and contains stories of strange and wonderful characters. The illustrations and details in the magazine are what really stand out to me on first glance and I’m hoping the stories hold up to the high standards set by the images.

This month our treat was Welsh Shortbread with dark chocolate chips made by Aberffraw Biscuit Co. They were delicious and only two of them have survived thus far. And trust me, they won’t be here for long.

Another amazing box from Abominable Book Club and I cannot wait for the next box.

Currently Watching: Anticipated Autumn Animes

Happy Spooky Season, everyone!

With the Autumn chill in the air and brown, crunchy leaves falling to the ground, that can only mean one thing. New anime!

This season I have quite a few titles that I plan to try out

  1. Actors: Songs Connection
    Private Tenshou Gakuen is a restricted school surrounded by a 130-meter fence. With intense rules about who, when, and whether or not people are allowed to enter or exit school grounds, the only means of independence comes from club activities. Each club has the opportunity to earn points based on club activity and events as well as the ever anticipated Tenshou Gakuen Singing Contest.
  2. African Office Worker

    African Office Worker is a slice of life comedy that follows a lion, toucan, and lizard as they work in an office building in Japan. Our three protagonists also have to deal with their own unique problems as animals living away from the Savannah and outside the natural food chain.
  3. Afterschool Dice Club

    A shounen comedy about girls playing board games after school. Aya is new to Kyoto, but quickly makes friends with the shy Miki and commitee president Midori. Together they decide to start their own after school club and spend their time playing games together.
  4. Ahiru no Sora

    A shounen sports drama that follows the meek, but passionate Sora Kurumatani as he joins the basketball club at his high school. Hoping to fulfill his mother’s wish of winning his first year tournament, Sora discovers that his dream is dependant on the basketball clubs current members – all of which are made up of the school’s delinquents!
  5. Ascendance of a Bookworm

    Motosu Urano loved books and had just received her Librarian certification. On the way to her dream job, Motosu Urano dies during an Earthquake after being crushed by her own book collection.

    She wishes to be reincarnated just so she can keep reading her beloved books, but when she wakes up as the young daughter of a lowly solider in a world where books are limited to the nobility of the world, Motosu – now Maine – decides that the only thing left for her to do is to make books for herself.
  6. Assassins Pride

    In a world where only the aristocrats have the power to fight monsters, Kufa is sent to tutor the nuisance daughter of a duke. If he can’t find her hidden talents, Kufa must kill her.
  7. Beastars

    In an anthropomorphic world, predator and prey live side by side. Students at Cherryton Academy live in a world filled with hope, love, distrust, and uneasiness. For Regoshi the wolf, this means that he spends his school life treated like a dangerous criminal despite his gentle nature, but will that change when he meets a group of students who share their own insecurities?
  8. Chuubyou Gekihasu Boy

    What happens when you throw a transfer student into a group of boys with delusions of grandeur? Why, you get a classic school comedy anime.

    Noda dreams of becoming a hero, Takashima is an otaku who only likes 2D girls, Nakamura is either a reincarnated angel or devil, and Tsukumo is a self-professed string-puller. How is Mizuki Hijiri met to keep up?
  9. Hataage! Kemono Michi

    Shibata Genzo is a professional wrestler and animal lover. When he is summoned to another world, Genzo is asked to kill evil beasts, but refuses. Unable to get home, Genzo decides to live a peaceful life as the owner of a ‘Monster’ pet shop.
  10. Hoshiai no Sora

    This slice of life sports drama follows Touma Shinjou after he asks Maki Katsuragi join the tennis club for his vaunted abilities. However, Katsuragi will only join the team in exchange for money.
  11. Kandagawa Jet Girls

    This sports drama follows a group of girls who compete in jet ski races. Pretty straightforward.
  12. Mairimashita! Iruma-kun

    Suzuki Iruma is sold to demons to help pay off his irresponsible parent’s debt. Now Suzuki Iruma lives in the demon world and has to transfer to a school for demons.
  13. No Guns Life

    Juuzou Inui wants answers to a few simple questions. Who turned him into a cyborg? Why has his memories been erased? Who took his head and replaced it with a giant gun?

    Discharged from the cyborg military group known as Extended, Juuzou now solves crimes including other ex-Extended while he searches for the person who turned him into what he is now.
  14. Null Peta

    After genuis inventer Null loses her sister, Peta, in an accident, she decides to develop ‘Peta Robo’, a robot with the same personality as her sister. However, the robot is a little different than Null expected.
  15. Ore wo Suki nano wa Omae dake ko ya

    Kisaragi Amatsuyu is invited by a group of beautiful and cool girls and expects to hear their confessions, but soon finds out that they like his friend instead. Lonely and dejected, Amatsuyu also has to deal with a gloomy and sharp tongued girl who seems to take great joy from his pain. What will Amatsuyu do when he discovers that she may be the only girl who likes him?
  16. Pet

    There are people who can control other’s memories. This power is used to eradicate mysteries or even assassinate people. This power can destroy a person’s mind and the user’s heart. To counter this affect, those with the ability use chains to lock their heart away and hide it from the dangerous repricussions of their power. They are called Pets.
  17. Rifle is Beautiful

    This slice of life comedy follows Kokura Hikari and her love of rifle shooting. Her hobby is her main reason for entering Chidori High School so she can join the shooting club. But Kokura is forced to try and find enough members or else the club will be disbanded due to lack of interest. Can she convince her middle school competition friends to join her?

Wow. That’s a lot.

Another full season that has a lot of potentially great shows. Are you looking forward to any in particular, or are you going to dip your toe into as many as you can like me?

Craft Creations: Make Your Own Felt Pillow Kit (Owl)

My most recent craft project was the Hobbycraft Owl Felt Pillow kit. This product was £5.50 and came with a full set of instructions as well as all the neccesary equipment and fabrics needed to make the pillow.

The owl itself is an adorable blue and pink with bright orange details that come together to create a standard 9 inch by 11 inch pillow that can be displayed anywhere you’d like it. The instructions for the pillow were easy to follow and detailed enough to allow younger crafters to feel confident enough to try and older crafters not to feel patronised. The safety needle included in the kit is strong enough to move through the felt fabric, but at times can get caught on the layered fabrics if you’re not careful.

Usually I work through the day until the project is finished, but for this one I decided to make the pillow over a set of days to avoid making any small mistakes that may appear if I lost focus. Although I don’t think this made a difference to the experience as a whole, as there are large amounts of layering fabrics that needed to be placed carefully, I do think it helped to combat any frustration that may have built over time.

Overall, I think this project is a great way to step up your crafting practice with something a little more fiddly.

A Lush Novice Attempts to Bath Bomb: Big Blue Review

As someone who loves the ocean, this bath bomb was a wonderful treat. The seaweed floated through the deep blue water slowly as the air changed to imitate a delicate sea breeze.

I think what I liked most about this bath bomb was that the smell was completely unnoticable when you were in the water, but lingered on your skin as you stepped out of the bath. If you have a moisturiser that is fragranced, then you’ll quickly lose the smell under the added product.

This product, despite its size, quickly dissolved in the water with no clumping. I was worried about the possiblity of the seaweed being dangerous as I stepped in and out of the bath, but whenever my feet moved towards them, the seaweed would simply float away in the other direction, almost as though it knew.

If you’re looking for something more subtle, then I recommend buying Big Blue and enjoying a trip to the beach in your own bathtub.