[Review] "Dragula Season 3, Episode 8: Halloween Haunt


The cold open for the episode sees Swanthula commit a brutal murder, and hell if I know who the victim is supposed to be. When the exempted two that were Landon and Dollya hit the boudoir post-extermination, the Halloween scenery has the excitement of all, especially of Landon and Dollya.

The group is split on who they think was exterminated. Dollya is almost sure that Louisianna met her end, while Landon thinks it may have been Evah. Clearly feeling left out of the conversation, Priscilla emerges from the doorway. She tells her two cohorts that she counted fourteen staples that were in her skin at the conclusion of the challenge. Louisianna emerges in a shocker, and tells the cast about actually passing out and needing medical attention, after the pain of the staples was too much for her to handle. We don't get a count from Louisianna, but after grinning and baring it like she did, does it even matter?

The penultimate floor show will see the fearsome four create looks inspired by classic Halloween characters. Once the runway portion concludes, they will perform in a lip sync showdown, putting their performance skills to the test en route to the finale. The stakes are made even higher when it is announced that the winner will not only guarantee themselves a spot in the finale, but also headline the Los Angeles Halloween Ball. I was wondering if we would get a lip sync challenge, and lucky me, we wound up with two, if you count Monsters of Rock.

For a sort of boudoir bonding moment, the question is asked, "what is your scariest experience?" Louisianna opens up about a nasty car wreck she was in about twenty years ago, which nearly killed her. Landon talks about his yearlong battle with cancer. Priscilla discusses coming out at the age of fifteen, and Dollya talks about starting drag at Pulse in Orlando, and her perspective of the 2016 mass shooting at that bar.

Priscilla apologizes to Dollya for last week's bitchfest, but Dollya makes light of the atonement in confessional, not buying a word of it. As preparations continue, Israel enters the room with pumpkins and a letter, with the latter of which explaining the former. In addition to the looks and lip sync, each contestant must also carve a pumpkin to represent themselves.

Landon draws inspiration from his mother, who he says was a guiding force while she was alive. Louisianna is hailing Satan all the way, as she looks to give her own twist to the king of the underworld. Priscilla opts for Frankenstein's monster, if she was a little bit country and a lot lesbian. After giving credit where it was due to last week's Hospital of Horrors challenge, the siren rings out, and the floor show draws near.

In addition to the aforementioned Halloween Ball headline slot, the winner of this floor show will earn a $1,000 corsetry package from Misty Couture. For guest judges, we have Danielle Harris of Hatchet fame, and Rachel True from The Craft. Louisianna opens the presentation portion with her glamorous Beelzebub, complete with blood and fire. Priscilla uses an actual taser and maggots for her Frankenstein's monster moment. Landon's leather daddy werewolf looks absolutely badass, and may sexually confuse those who weren't already so. Dollya's Grim Reaper interpretation is darkly beautiful, as if to portray death's duality.

The performance portion is set to the track "Dread" by Ritual Aesthetic, an industrial outfit that has more than my curiosity after hearing this track for the first time. Priscilla's flower prop makes for a cool moment, and Louisianna bending over backwards for a stanza was a great moment of demonic characterization.

Judgment is handed down, and each jack-o-lantern will be revealed as each contestant is called forward. Louisianna goes for the obvious upside down pentagram for her pumpkin, and talks about her wicked mooseknuckle. As Satan, she could have been more aggressive, and the fact that she went with a simple jumpsuit for a top four challenge gets points taken off. Dollya features "RIP" on her carved creation, and the chains surrounding it were a nice touch to boot. Confusingly, Dollya didn't know that characterization was a part of the challenge, even though it was very clearly a performance-based challenge. Her lack of energy is also called out, but her look was stunning.

Landon's pumpkin has fangs on it, which is major points for branding. Between the leather, the poppers, and a pup hood, the amount of queer in this look is off the charts in the right ways. It was weirdly erotic, in the words of Rachel True, but it could have gone just a bit more unhinged and over the top. Priscilla carved lightning bolts and painted the pumpkin silver. The use of an actual, factual taser is a jaw-dropper of a revelation, but the cleanliness of her outfit is called to question. The dip gag was also lost in the shuffle, as it didn't read well during the show.

Landon wins the challenge, but the extermination requires all hands on deck, even Landon's. The fatal four will search through a haunted house, with the haunters inside having full reign to do as they wish to the contestants. Each one must find the written invitation to the final three within the haunt. Priscilla has never been inside a haunted house, and Dollya is nervous for her safety, as she may have gotten the worst critiques of the bunch.

The ink dries on the death waivers, and the haunting begins. As a haunt actor myself, the full-contact experience is something I am of two minds on. I get that if they sign on the dotted line, they know what they're getting themselves into, but even then, there are plenty of ways to scare the hell out of someone without physically touching them.

In any case, Dollya made me laugh by bringing a massive wig into a haunt experience, but Louisianna makes the fatal mistake of grabbing the pumpkin and not an invitation, which earns her a drowning in an apple-bobbing bushel for her trouble. Like I said in my last review, if there was a Miss Congeniality in this series, Louisianna would definitely be that. I understand why she got the chop, but that doesn't make it suck any less.

The final three is set, and what a set of contenders we have. Before Dollya, Landon, and Priscilla take to the final floor show, though, the tea must be spilled in The Last Supper.

#DRAGULA #BOULETBROTHERS

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