Dragula - Move Over RuPaul, There’s a New Race In Town
The Boulet Brothers bring on the gore
Halloween is fast approaching and we’ve already suggested unlucky thirteen things to watch or play here. One of the highlights, while not new, is doing something unique and we thought it deserved a deeper dive.
We are of course talking about Dragula. LA based club queens The Boulet Brothers have created an alternative to RuPaul’s Drag Race that celebrates a whole layer of drag that we don’t get to see.
Drag me to hell
On more than one occasion the Boulet Brother’s make veiled references to the burgeoning influence of drag in the mainstream. Drag Race alumni litter the mainstream entertainment and advertising landscape. With Dragula they make the point that this is only a certain type of drag that people are seeing and there is a whole underworld of alternative performers that have sort of been left behind. Dragula is here to rectify this issue and shine a light on queens that don’t exhibit pageantry and looking fishy.
The brothers are here to slay, literally.
Dragula is even the first reality show in America to feature a drag king as well as an AFAB queen and it just proves the inclusivity of the show and how they are looking for art, actual uniqueness and substance over just the usual drag ideologies that we’re used to.
You can draw plenty of similarities with Drag Race on paper but in practise it’s a very different piece. The Boulet Brothers make it clear from the start that their approach is more ‘anything goes’ than RuPaul as art is subjective so there’s no wrong or right.
The four principals of Dragula are decreed from the start in the opening credits as drag, filth, horror and glamour. When we say glamour we don’t mean fashion, but more its alluring nature, unusual and bewitching.
The show’s use of horror tropes is extensive and at times ingenious. In one episode in season two, the contestants have to create an alien queen look that also has to then give birth to an extra-terrestrial baby. Yes, you heard that right.
A meeting of minds, Alaska Thunderfuck joins as a guest judge
While being beautiful yet also funny are what contestants strive for in Drag Race, the contestants in Dragula are encouraged to be as shocking and disgusting as possible. In the season finale they have to produce looks and a floor show that encapsulates the Dragula triumvirate of glamour, horror and filth. We won’t spoi it for you but approach with caution if you are in any way squeamish.
One of the biggest parts of the show is the extermination. ‘Let the exterminations begin’ cry the Boulets, which surely is a nod to lip syncing for your life. Except its very different. These challenges put Dragula more into the realm of an ‘I’m A Celebrity get Me Out Of Here’ or ‘Fear Factor’. We’re talking eating live spiders, raw cow innards and pigs brains. Then there’s getting needles forcibly stuck into the contestants up for elimination or standing in frozen water or getting a shameful tattoo.
The idea behind this is that the judges need to know that the queen they choose to be the ‘world’s next drag supermonster’ means business and has the endurance for whatever that role might throw at you. These contestants don’t pull any punches and you’ll find you might have to look away at times.
The Boulet's getting all pointy
Another added horror element is that there is no ‘live’ elimination, the evicted contestant gets ‘murdered’ in a variety of convoluted ways. As the seasons progress, the murders get more believable and by the end of season 3 they are downright horrific (skulls split down the middle with brains exposed anyone?). As the budget grows so does the production values of the dramatic introductions and horrific death scene exterminations.
The first season has all the hallmarks of a low budget production and you can tell as the seasons progress that they up the production values each time. The show’s structure improves exponentially and if you’re a fan of Drag Race you’ll find familiarity with the sections such as boudoir (work room), floor show (runway) and extermination (lip sync).
Get ready for horror
So where can you see Dragula, well here’s the tricky part. As we hit Halloween, the Boulet Brothers have struck a deal with dedicated horror platform Shudder which is carried by Amazon Prime at an extra fee of £4.99 per month. The first three seasons are already on Prime but the Halloween special and apparently the new season will be Shudder exclusives. Believe us when we say however that it’s worth every penny for programming that pushes the boundaries and brings you something truly unique. If you’re a horror fan it is essential viewing but make sure you have a strong constitution.