Dragula is a web series/contest that debuted last October, and was billed as “The Search for the World’s First Drag Supermonster”. For those who don’t know, the term “drag monster” most often is used to describe a drag performer who usually incorporates elements of darkness into their costumes and performances. Or, as the show declares, a queen who represents “filth, horror, and glamour”.
The show is very much reminiscent of Rupaul’s Drag Race (as will any drag based reality contest be, now and forever) but was able to stand out by including Fear Factor type mini-competitions and midnight/clut movie inspired opening skits by The Boulet Brothers. If you’ve never heard of drag monsters before, (Or The Boulet Brothers. Or Rupaul’s Drag Race) take a minute to google these things and also reevaluate your life, because how did you even find my blog?
The show featured The Boulet Brothers asking 9 queens to prove why they deserve the title of Drag Supermonster, but among the floor shows and competition, the series also delivered a nice commentary about modern drag culture.
It was refreshing to hear the performers discuss their brand of drag, which is often ignored or looked down upon, especially now that drag has become more “mainstream”. They talk about how their styles are now compared to Sharon Needles (a queen with a punk-goth aesthetic, made world famous after her appearance on RDR), and they discuss how they represent the counter-culture of drag, which is itself still a counter-culture. I was able to sympathize when they talked about poor audience reaction when paired against queens doing a lite-camp or diva routine, something that the majority of audiences have come to expect from drag performers.
Dragula episodes do falter here and there, mostly due to poor audio or lighting and scene editing (a byproduct of a limited budget), but there’s enough passion and excitement from the creators and contenders to make up for it. There is one thing I will clock the series for though, and that’s promotion. I personally didn’t hear about the contest until late Oct and then, just like that, I didn’t hear about it again until January. As a blogger dedicating my time to the intersections of queer life and the horror genre, it seemed a bit odd that I hadn’t heard about it sooner.
All but confirming this notion of poor publicity were the inquiries from fellow gay horror fans as to what I was watching this past week after having posted snippets of the contest on Instagram and Snapchat. And, as a contest where the reward was crowdfunded, I can’t help but imagine how many other missed out on this until it was too late to contribute or enjoy in real time.
All that said, I truly hope the show got enough of a positive response from those who did tune in, to bring about a second season with a more ample budget.
I’d love for the world of Dragula to expand so that all the drag monsters out there can know that they do have an audience waiting for them and that their brand of art is appreciated and craved.
If you’d like to play catch up like I did, all episodes of Dragula are available on Youtube, as well as the contest’s host site, heyqween.tv/dragula. Enjoy, and pleasant screams!