Drawing inspiration from such icons as the Big Bad Wolf, the Beast from Beauty and the Beast and Sully from Monsters Inc., the latest episode of Dragula embraces the concept of ‘Hairy Monsters’. With a theme that is both fearsome and playful, this instalment strikes a fun balance from its first beats. The opening skit is set in a hair salon, with buff barbers in tiny pants trimming the unruly manes of the titular hairy monsters.
The atmosphere in the boudoir is still reeling from the explosive conversations at the end of the last episode. Everyone has evidently taken the chance to reflect on what happened, to sit with their feelings and examine their approach to the competition and to each other going forwards.
In the confessional, Dahli makes an excellent point about how these moments are presented and received on television. They acknowledge that both drag and horror are sub-cultures that aren’t often shared with a mainstream audience, let alone the overlap of the two. When large audiences see some of the drama that makes reality TV so compelling, there will be people who will take those intense, high-emotion moments out of context and misunderstand the artists within those communities.
Even outside of Dahli’s eloquent and pragmatic approach, it feels like everyone has put the work into moving forward in a healthy way. They all get a chance to express their feelings. People acknowledge the impact they’ve had on their fellow performers in the last episode’s clashes. It’s a very mature and heart-warming conversation.
It is very much to Dragula’s credit to see these kinds of emotional moments worked through in an adult fashion, while other shows might exploit them for more drama. Equally, the resilience of these artists deserves recognition. They are able to admit when they have crossed a line and then go forward closer than ever.
This week’s challenge was to create a hairy monster look, which everyone seemed delighted by. The competitors were given a lot of freedom to interpret the brief as they saw fit – scary, silly, glamorous, whatever suited their approach. There was a wonderful sense of anticipation in this episode as it built up to revealing how each act created their own style.
The boudoir energy absolutely benefited from the conversation at the beginning of the episode. There was a real sense of fun as the queens went about their crafts. Their conversations were open and genuine, and you get a real sense of the relationships that are being forged behind the scenes, around the competition.
At this point in the competition, an astonishing floor show is only to be expected. And, yet again, every one of them crushes it. There is a huge range of creativity in this show. Fauns, trolls and Krampuses share the stage with mono-browed femme fatales and furry suits a la Cats (2019).
Ultimately, the critiques are now coming down to the very finest details. The judges are on the look out for the performers who are bringing the same vibe to the stage each episode, showing a bit too much anxiety in their movements, or missing opportunities where the judges were expecting just a little bit more.
This episode’s cauldron had a vastly different atmosphere to last week. It felt like they were really looking after each other, acknowledging what people were going through and treating each other kindly, even when they were promising to send them home.
Between the fierce quality of the competitors left standing and the amount of heart displayed in this episode, our hopes are high for how the season will reach its peak.