Drag, horror, filth and glamour took to YouTube last night as the second season of ‘Boulet Brothers’ Dragula’ premiered on WOW Presents. Dragula encompasses everything socially unacceptable, celebrating an art form that is daring and unapologetic. Even in the world of drag, there is a certain hierarchy, mainly created by the Ballroom scene of the late 20th Century. This scene was the main ‘space’ for artists to showcase their talent and meet like-minded people. However, this scene praised beauty, professionalism, polish and ‘realness’ and shunned anything alternative.
As drag becomes more mainstream, due to the phenomenon that is RuPaul’s Drag Race, other forms of drag are still left underground. Dragula brings light to Queens who pride themselves on being filthy and shows that this scene is nonetheless engaged and growing in clubs (primarily in America). Dragula is taking drag back to its roots and remembering what it means to be queer. In the essence of Divine, an iconic drag queen and star of many major underground films directed by John Waters (Pink Flamingos), Dragula challenges its queens to be outrageous and unique, but most importantly, to have conviction.
Season one of Dragula was innovative, captivating and dense in terms of creativity and artistry. Vander Von Odd, praised for executing cohesive looks, won the title of ‘America’s next Drag Supermonster’, along with a cash prize of ten thousand dollars, which was raised by fans of the show, in the tradition of tipping queens at bars. What was lacking in production last season was more than made up for this time. Due to the success of the show, OutTv Canada and WOW Presents are producing season two alongside Boulet Brothers’ Productions, allowing for a bigger budget which produces a heightened production value.
The ten queens chosen this year showcase a variety of drag styles, all falling under the main categories of Dragula: glamour, horror and filth. The first challenge was inspired by ‘cenobites’, fictional characters created by the author and artist Clive Barker, which are entities who perform ‘experiments’ in extreme sexual experiences. The range of concepts for the floor show was fascinating. Featuring incredible prosthetic work and makeup skills, the queens delivered a range of perverse looks, including baby faces as breast forms, extreme fetish wear, leather and latex. It is evident that the talent among these queens is exceptional, with styles drawn from the imagination and references to culture, politics and art.
James Majesty won the challenge, with a look featuring extreme body modification for sexual exploitation. Majesty is definitely a frontrunner for top three this season, due to a major social media presence and obvious talent The episode ended with an ‘extermination challenge’, in which Erika Klash, Monikkie Shame and Felony Dodger had to endure being pierced by needles to show their willingness to stay in the competition. A genuinely sinister and sadistic scene was appropriate for the premiere, leaving viewers shocked by the outrageous body modifications being administered. Unfortunately, Felony Dodger was ‘exterminated’, being fictionally killed with a saw, which symbolises her elimination from the competition.
Boulet Brothers’ Dragula is an intense showcase of queer talent which rejects any form of convention imposed by heteronormativity, in the theme of horror, filth and glamour. The show is a celebration of an underground subculture of drag that is nonexistent in Ireland, but with shows like this, exposure breeds popularity. This season promises to be explosive and creative, airing every Tuesday on WOW Presents.