The Boulet Brothers are the connoisseurs of filth so it makes sense that their competition reality series Dragula is an unsettling experience for player and viewer alike.
The show, now streaming on Netflix (US), can be characterized as sort of the anti–Ru-Paul’s Drag Race because Dragula finds artists who are into gore, horror and all things disgusting whereas RuPaul seems to want her queens to represent the cleaner-cut side of the femme-mystique.
For Dragula the whitebread usually served to the public as drag, is burnt to a crisp, covered in maggots then force-fed to the contestants.
Yes, these are men who dress in drag, but it depends on what their definition of that is. Is it a cannibalistic creature with copious amounts of blood oozing from their mouth, or is it the classic silhouette of the wicked witch, it depends on your perspective, and in Dragula, that perspective is often terrifying.
What’s more, Dragula was the first to feature a drag king, something never-before-done in any show of this type.
For each colorful episode, the brothers sit behind a judge’s table and assign challenges with a specific horror theme in mind, usually one with a freaky undertone. The players then create a look that epitomizes that prompt.
The endgame is to be able to score high in the categories of “Drag”, “Filth”, “Horror” and “Glamour.”
Included in those assignments, are events that mess with the player’s minds. Called “extermination challenges,” these grim tasks are never easy and push the player’s threshold for trauma to the very edge.
The over-the-top nature of the tests can be physical, psychological or both. Players have had to lay in coffins and get buried alive with roaches and water pumping in, forced to eat disgusting foods, or in one episode, survive an extreme haunt.
The loser is the one who fails to impress the judges and is then killed off at the end of each episode in a murderous skit.
In 2016, The Boulet Brothers brought the series to life on the small screen after its huge success at drag clubs. The Canadian network OutTV snatched up the show and gave it an extended full season with two more to follow.
Fans immediately fell love with the punk aesthetic which is rarely seen on the more pallid Drag Race. Part special effects challenge, part freaky cabaret show, Dragula allows artists a platform to beat their faces in blood, not bronzer.
The Boulet Brothers have become world-renown drag producers second only to RuPaul in the world of televised drag reality series.
If you find yourself all binged out on laugh-tracky sitcoms and questionable big cat docs, you, especially as a horror fan, should queue this up and check it out.
Bring your strongest stomach.