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    "Dragula" Is The "RuPaul's Drag Race" Counterpart You Need To Be Watching

    This spooktacular horror-based drag competition show is unlike anything you've probably ever seen.

    This Halloween, if you're looking for a spooky queer time, look no further than Dragula.

    After the rise of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the mainstream transformation of drag art, Dragula came on the scene to shake things up and help put a spotlight on alternative drag. 

    Created by queer nightlife legends and drag icons the Boulet Brothers in 2016, the horror-drag competition show has taken the formula laid out by RuPaul and turned it up to a terrifying degree.

    Each week, the drag "monsters" must come up with a "Floor Show" routine to wow the judges — the Boulet Brothers and weekly guest judges — while the losers must compete in a terrifying elimination game.

    While the show retains the elements of drag artists displaying their talents on a weekly basis to find "The World's Next Drag Supermonster," the show is not for the faint of heart. The "extermination" challenges that the weakest contestants must endure to make it to the next week are brutal and terrifying. 

    On last week's Season 4 premiere, the first drag monsters up for elimination were buried alive while being soaked and trapped with crickets and maggots inside their coffins.

    The show is way ahead of RuPaul’s Drag Race when it comes to diversity.

    Hollow Eve during the floorshow

    RuPaul’s Drag Race is obviously the first thing that comes to mind for most people when talking about drag art, but the show hasn’t succeeded without leaving some of the queer community behind.

    Drag kings (women who dress in male drag), bio queens, and AFAB queens (biological women who do drag), as well as nonbinary performers have often been left out of the Drag Race enterprise. Only recently have transgender women (staples of the real-world drag community) been seeing success on the show, while the first AFAB queen was cast on this current season, Season 3, of RuPaul's Drag Race UK

    However, Dragula has thrown out the high-femme, runway-esque nature that Drag Race leans into, opting for a more all-inclusive drag competition that not only features drag kings, AFAB/bio queens, and nonbinary performers, but also one that prefers hairier and bloodier sides of drag artistry. 

    While I will not spoil the show’s winners, it’s easy to say that the current crop of Dragula winners is far outside what Drag Race has accomplished in terms of diversity, and still has room to grow even more. 

    The show is queer, but doesn’t skimp on the horror.


    To say the show is inspired by horror is an understatement.

    Part of Dragula’s appeal is that it does not let the horror and freak show aspects of their show fall to the wayside. Every week, the joy of the show comes from not only the macabre fashion and gruesome looks, but from the over-the-top challenges. 

    From paintball duels to getting needles of all shapes and sizes stuck into the contestants’ skin, the show has made it clear from the beginning — since its YouTube days — that it is not messing around. The drag monsters who compete on the show have learned to expect the worst, but still have trouble really guessing the horrors that come next.

    Whether they are eating literal cow brains or sky-diving, every episode of this show aims to shock not only its contestants, but also its viewers.

    Dragula is just getting started.


    For fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race, it will be easy to see the potential in this horror-based competition. In a little over a decade, RuPaul has made a franchise with over two dozen seasons across the world and no end in sight.

    Dragula, while much more niche in its scope, is on the same trajectory as its mainstream counterpart, with both shows reaching a $100K grand prize in their fourth seasons. The show has also gained massive appeal and respect from the queer community for having a more diverse cast and trying to avoid the pitfalls of Drag Race by constantly developing and allowing itself to grow. The Boulet Brothers also remind the monsters each week that they're not there to tear down their artistry with their "We are not here to judge your drag. Drag is art and art is subjective. What we are judging you on is your drag as it relates to this competition" statement. 

    The shows challenges almost recall Fear Factor in their outlandish and horrific realities, but also retain the art and beauty that continually push the bounds of drag artistry, especially in the mainstream.

    Is Dragula right for you?

    Dollya Black

    For those seeking something spooky and queer for their Halloween (or life) experience, look no further than Dragula.

    Fans of Drag Race should definitely give this show a chance, even if you are a little squeamish. The show not only focuses on alternative drag, but also shows queer people under extreme pressure forced to be creative, with often magnificent results.

    If you are a fan of horror or competition shows, but not sure about what drag artistry really entails, then this show is probably one of the best things you can watch. Not only does the show go all in on the elements that make it stand out through insane horror artistry, but Dragula really excels by peeling back the layers of their contestants to show the human side we all have.

    Where to watch Dragula:

    The one downside of the show is that it can be a little tricky to track down. The first season premiered in full on YouTube, while seasons 2 and 3 are available on Netflix. 

    The currently airing fourth season can be found on Shudder, where the horrors have only just begun.

    You can check out the first episode of Dragula below:

    View this video on YouTube