Hello, uglies. Are you tired of waiting a whole year for that one special day when all us weirdos can feel normal? Well, Dracmorda and Swanthula Boulet feel your pain and have put together an irresistible event to whet the appetite of horror fans of all shapes and sizes. The Boulet Brothers’ Halfway to Halloween TV Special is a star-studded variety show from the spooky drag super monsters and one piece in the next phase of their diabolical plan that they’ve been hinting at. Once again collaborating with Shudder, the Boulets are briefly leaving behind the shade and viciousness of their drag competition to dabble in a near hour-long spectacle of scripted skits and celebrity cameos.
The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula was a godsend (or ‘devilsend’) during the pandemic as my partner and I were mindlessly scrolling through streaming services in search of the next series to devour. In a matter of weeks, we sped through the first two seasons, and then eagerly awaited week-to-week for new episodes of seasons three, four, and most recently, the all-star competition Titans. I figured it would be at least another year before I would see the Boulets on the small screen again, so I was quite surprised to see their announcement for a TV special that pays tribute to the campyholiday network specials of yesteryear.
“A star-studded variety show from the spooky drag super monsters and one piece in the next phase of their diabolical plan…”
The Boulet Brothers’ act as the mistresses of ceremony, lounging on a couch in front of a wall of jack-o’-lanterns, dressed in matching costumes and wigs, speaking while waving around their clawed hands in unison. It’s not a far cry from what they already do on Dragula, setting the scene for what’s to come. The two have flipped through their rolodex and called in favors from horror royalty, some of whom have previously acted as guest judges on their show, as well as new friends.
Horror queen Barbara Crampton (Jakob’s Wife) hosts a cannibalistic cooking segment, baking boney and bloody treats for your next Halloween party. Fan favorites Matthew Lillard and Derek Mears (who both appeared in Twin Peaks: the Return) meet up for an awkward hook-up. But probably the best skit in my opinion is slasher veteran Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp) appropriately acting as a camp counselor for troubled teens in need of some deadly discipline.
There was an occasional skit that wasn’t necessarily a miss but was easily forgotten as soon as it wrapped. Luckily, each segment was short and sweet, and never overstayed its welcome. Sometimes though, I wanted to see more, as was the case of the Frankensteinfeld skit, featuring David Dastmalchian (Late Night With The Devil) as a Wolfman Kramer. I could watch a whole series of that! Other times, I felt that the guest star was underutilized, like Rachel True (The Craft) as a phoney fortuneteller, or Clerks creator Kevin Smith trapped in a comic book shop haunted by the possessed puppets of the Boulets. But there’s always a chance they could return for future specials.
Satanic doo-wop duo Twin Temple provided the musical performance, as well as drag queen Katya Zamolodchikova lip-synching a song about…ravioli?! For the grand finale, the Boulet Brothers get up off the couch, slip into spikey leather jackets and batty face prosthetics, and lip-synch to “Transylvanian Concubine” by Rasputina. Shockingly, there weren’t as many Dragula stars as I had expected. The only appearances were of Season 4 finalist Sigourney Beaver (playing a puppeteer’s wife opposite David Dastmalchian) and Titans power trio Kendra Onixxx, Koco Caine and Melissa Befierce, who danced in between segments as the Nightmare Girls.
The whole point of the Halfway to Halloween special is to have fun. It’s meant to be enjoyed with friends and maybe a few drinks. If you’re not chuckling at the campy jokes specifically written for horror fans, then you’re taking in the kitschy set decor or the makeup and costume design. It’s very possible that this can become a yearly tradition for Shudder, and each new installment has the potential of being exponentially better than the last. For the uninitiated, it could act as a gateway for the Boulet Brothers’ Dragula, as well as their future projects that they have yet to announce.
At a time when drag performances are under attack in the US, either by right-wing politicians or by anti-LGBTQ militant groups, we need content like this now more than ever. The Boulets will also be appearing in another TV special called Drag Isn’t Dangerous on May 7th. If the bigots in some states somehow succeed at shutting down drag in public spaces, then we can at least take comfort in the fact that drag continues to thrive on television and streaming services where they can be viewed from the safety of one’s home. Hopefully, by showing how much harmless fun they’re having, they can change a few cold, dead hearts out there.
“Hopefully, by showing how much harmless fun they’re having, they can change a few cold, dead hearts out there.”
The Boulet Brothers’ Halfway to Halloween TV Special is now streaming on Shudder and AMC+. Are you a fan of the Boulet Brothers? Do you have a favorite drag supermonster? Let us know over on Twitter or in the Nightmare on Film Street Discord! Not a social media fan? Get more horror delivered straight to your inbox by joining the Neighbourhood Watch Newsletter.
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[Review] THE BOULET BROTHERS’ HALFWAY TO HALLOWEEN TV SPECIAL Serves Up Tasty Treats For Horror Fans
The whole point of the Halfway to Halloween special is to have fun. It’s meant to be enjoyed with friends and maybe a few drinks. For the uninitiated, it could act as a gateway for the Boulet Brothers’ Dragula, as well as their future projects that they have yet to announce.