Opening in an eerily quiet chapel, this week’s Dragula smashes iconic horror and camp comedy together with its exorcism theme.
The conversation in the boudoir this episode is quite a lovely tribute to Jade Jolie. Despite not being known for filth or horror, she nonetheless forged a space for herself in the Dragula alumni. It’s genuinely heart-warming hearing her competitors this season recognise how well she rose to the occasion.
The main challenge this week is to appear in a short horror parody of The Exorcist. As a team, the five remaining queens have to assign roles, create the script and design costumes for the film. They are communally responsible for how well the film turns out. The winner will be cast in a film by independent horror film studio Dread. On top of that, they each have to create a demon-themed look for the floor show.
First, however, the competitors are given a fright feat in honour of guest judge Peaches Christ. Each artist has to recreate Peaches’ iconic eyebrow look on their own face in just five minutes. Peaches herself is the judge, and hovers in the boudoir as they work on their eyebrows.
This is a really fun segment. It’s interesting to see how each of them approaches the challenge. Even on a relatively small scale, you get a great glimpse into their different thought processes. The sense of artistry each contestant shows is unique and personal, even within such tight parameters. Having Peaches not only present in the room, but occasionally going right up and peering over someone’s shoulder while they’re working, also shows their response to pressure.
The winner of the fright feat is given the power to cast the short film. It’s refreshing to see this approached in a way that feels fair.
Similarly to the fright feat, they each approach their characters in interesting and original ways. They’re all clearly having a lot of fun in constructing their personas. Over the course of rehearsals and following advice from the judges, they refine their ideas into something that will work better as a cohesive whole.
The points offered by the judges are not only good advice for the challenge but are also good advice in general. They talk about how overdoing it, despite being fun in the moment, can ultimately end up spoiling the scene overall. Being told to rein it in a little bit doesn’t feel insulting when it’s presented with appropriate context. If everyone is trying to be the over-the-top, hilarious camp one, they’re going to end up drowning each other out.
It’s clear from the film that everyone took the necessary comments on board. This far into the competition, it’s no surprise that none of the performances are particularly weak. Everyone has leaned really well into their own strengths and made the most of the role they were given.
There are certain things you might expect from a floor show centred on demons, but the final five performers managed to pull out a very diverse showcase. Along with biblical demons in the form of fallen angels, the artists were inspired by everything from David Bowie to abstract concepts like plastic surgery and childbirth. It made for some incredible viewing. It’s hard to compare the different looks when they’re all so unique.
Still, even with the talent on display, everyone got fairly harsh critiques. They are evidently being prepared for the fact that the competition is going to be incredibly tight in the final few episodes, now that only the most impressive and accomplished competitors are still in the game.