Dragula: Titans Episode 1: Halloween Fashion Week in Hell

Fire up your cauldrons and break out the pig brains because Dragula’s back, baby! The much-anticipated Dragula: Titans, Dragula’s “all-stars” season, kicked off late last night with a premiere episode so dramatic, deranged, and delightful that I barely know where to start. I’m so excited to be recapping Dragula for Horror Obsessive, particularly given how strong this first episode was. There’s a whole lot to get through, so let’s dig in!

Hello Uglies

We open, as usual, with a little skit from our very own mothers from hell. After weaving through a spooky dungeon, the camera leads us to The Boulet Brothers, who are all dolled up in Bride of Frankenstein wigs and ready to address their (literally) captive audience. They promise that this season boasts the “most monstrous and most powerful,” “the filthiest and most fabulous” contestants. Can’t wait!

Cue the title sequence (am I the only one who still prefers the version they used in season 1?). The prize is the same as it is on typical seasons: a chance to headline the Dragula world tour, $100,000 (“courtesy of us”), and the title of the “Next Drag Supermonster.”


A funeral flower arrangement with the message “Hello Uglies” welcomes us to this season’s Titans. First to emerge from their coffin is season 4’s Koco Caine, who looks hot as hell in a pink leather jacket and mesh top stretched tight over their signature massive breastplate.

Season 1’s Melissa BeFierce is next, already bringing a gleefully wicked energy that more than makes up for her slightly underwhelming look. I couldn’t be happier to see the return of that terrible bowtie neck tattoo.

Next is season 3’s Evah Destruction, whose look is a little Party City (but with her signature chest hair.) Sorry, Evah. She claims to be ready for the competition: “I keep a level head at least. So to say.” Koco looks skeptical.

Erika Klash from season 2 follows her. Erika looks like…Erika. Though I’ll give her credit that she’s upped the polish quite a bit since her original season. The other ghouls are not impressed and send a bunch of bitchy little comments her way, which makes me want to root for her. What can I say? I love an underdog.

Speaking of bitchy, Yovska’s here! This shady goblin from season three (the worst season, according to Melissa and several others) looks incredible in a bizarre candy-striped clown get-up and enters waving a tiny Canadian flag. I’m delighted.

Following her is Astrud Aurelia, who seems a little chagrined following her season 4 performance, as she probably should be. Her entrance look is wonderful, though. I love the little bat nose! The other ghouls give her some grief about returning to the competition so soon, though notably, they don’t say the same thing to Koco.

Also returning from season 4 is finalist HoSo Terra Toma! The rest of the contestants seem threatened, though her look isn’t blowing me away. The headpiece and finger prosthetics are cool, but the rest seems kind of messy. Speaking of messy, the editors are quick to remind us of HoSo’s tendency to sew chaos wherever she goes. In keeping with this, Astrud immediately jumps on HoSo and starts humping her, and, when asked if she has a partner at home, HoSo confusingly replies, “I do, but we love each other very much…” Mysterious…If this episode is anything to go by, season 4 was a walk in the park compared to the antics she’ll bring to this season.

Abhora enters next, still seems insane, love that for her. Her entrance line “Y’all wanted a twist?!” calls back to Laganja Estranja (a contestant from another drag competition show I won’t name here), which comes across as appropriately unhinged. She claims she wants to “have fun” this season, though her hilarious use of scare quotes around the phrase suggests otherwise. Immediately, she tells us that she’s a pageant girl now, she’s secretly in love with HoSo, and she and Erika have unresolved tension from their season 2 fling. What was I saying before about HoSo being a mess?

Someone says that the competition is too strong and asks where the basic bitches are. Cut to Kendra Onixxx. Okay, rude (I laughed though, I’m sorry.) She looks cute but is definitely coming in with a weird chip on her shoulder, particularly when it comes to her season 2 sister, Victoria Elizabeth Black.

And, oh? Who’s next to awaken? Why, Mistress Black herself, of course! As soon as she enters the workroom, everyone dies a little inside. Fair! I would be scared too!

Only a few minutes in and I’m already obsessed with this cast. The combination of wild, petty drama and gorgeous, truly diverse drag styles is bringing me back to the highest highs of season 2.

Intro Superlatives:

Best look: Yovska

Shadiest: Melissa, Koco, and Yovska

Coming in with the most baggage: Erika, Astrud, Abhora, and Kendra

Best line: “I guess what really held me back was my lack of money” – Abhora

Halloween House Party

The Boulets arrive, looking fabulous as always in their striking queens of the underworld get-ups. Since this is a different sort of season, they announce the rules will be changing. Instead of extermination challenges, contestants will now undergo “fright feats.” These feats will be performed by all contestants before facing the weekly challenge. Anyone who fails to perform or “survive” the feat will be eliminated on the spot and the most recently ousted contestant will come back to take their place. Erika curses under her breath but, girl, this is great for you! Aren’t you the queen of elimination challenges?

This week’s challenge is “Halloween House Party.” The ghouls are tasked to come up with their own spin on a classic Halloween costume (think: ghosts, witches, vampires, etc.) which they will then wear for a lipsynch that will be performed in teams. Teams and roles will be decided by whoever wins that week’s fright feat, which is to go bobbing for apples in a bucket full of blood.

Fright Feat

Once the contestants are brought to the apple-bobbing station (it sounds so nice when I put it that way…), they find that there’s a lot more than blood and apples floating around in those buckets. They’re also going to have to shove their faces into fish heads, brains, bones, and other assorted gross animal parts. Poor Erika has a whole-ass pig’s head in hers. Of course she does.

They dive in: HoSo’s not thrilled, Abhora’s not fussed, Kendra wisely removes her wig but then spits blood onto it anyways, and Erika pulls out what looks like an entire liver with her teeth. Bless. Astrud claims victory, though Melissa disputes this. Luckily for us, no one has to go home.

Teletubbies on a Toilet Bowl

It’s time to pick teams! Astrud immediately starts whining about how much responsibility it is to assign roles but, luckily for her, it looks like Melissa actually did win. Melissa has no such qualms. Though Erika wants to be in the dancing group, Melissa will have none of it. She assigns the groups as follows:

Host: Astrud

Living room dancing group: Kendra, Melissa, Koco

Ouija board group: HoSo and Evah

Pumpkin carving group: Victoria and Yovska

Once the groups are assigned, they have time to rehearse their lipsynchs. Do they do this? No. Instead, everyone scatters around the boudoir and begins gossiping. Drag artists: they’re just like us. I’ll do my best to capture every petty morsel here:

  • Kendra has an issue with Victoria because she feels that Victoria threw her under the bus all the way back in season 2. Victoria is clueless. Kendra seems to be trying to bring as much drama as possible, which I respect on a certain level, but it’s coming across as a little desperate. Particularly when Melissa, Yovska, and Koco are bringing just as much and with more panache.
  • I will give Kendra credit though: her “Teletubbies on a toilet bowl” read on Yovska’s entrance look had me howling. Yovska tries to clap back but Kendra definitely wins that little skirmish.
  • Melissa is very interested in forming an alliance, which is wise. She chooses Koco and Kendra, then encourages Kendra to make up with Victoria so she can join as well. Victoria and Kendra have a genuinely nice conversation and it seems like they’re down to let bygones be bygones, but the jury’s still out on who—if anyone—Victoria will choose to ally herself with.
  • There’s a truly unhinged love pentagram between Erika, Abhora, HoSo, Astrud, and whomever HoSo is actually dating. Erika and Abhora unsuccessfully try to hash out their season 2 drama since they’re forced to work together for the challenge. Abhora claims that they’ve tried to take HoSo out on a date but HoSo was on her phone the whole time, which HoSo disputes. HoSo reveals that she and Abhora have given each other matching heart tattoos (?!) Astrud seems to be pushing the HoSo/Astrud storyline for airtime and claims that she’s single and open to whatever HoSo’s open to if HoSo’s ever single. HoSo doesn’t respond to this. Astrud’s pissed that Abhora’s making moves on HoSo. HoSo is passively letting everyone fight over her. Abhora seems to be spectacularly self-destructing on every level. A MESS!
  • Evah vaguely alludes to a conversation she’s had with Abhora where Abhora expressed ambivalence about being back on Dragula, which seems to be a problem for her for whatever reason.

Halloween Fashion Week from Hell

The Boulets introduce us to our esteemed guests: Justin Simian, director of Dear White People, and Elvira herself: Cassandra Peterson. They are both bringing it but, my god, Cassandra Peterson is an actual goddess. Looking at her is like looking directly at the sun. Insane. Such a coup for the show to get her as a guest.

The Boulets are also looking incredible and I’m delighted to see that Big Boulet seems to be in a great mood this season. I love how excited they both get to watch the contestants perform. Speaking of the performances, let’s check them out! As I did in the season preview, I’ll be rating each contestant in each Dragula tenet: Filth, Horror, Glamour. Each category will be rated out of 6, with 666 as the highest possible score. Since challenges demand different levels of each (for instance, this week’s is light on Filth), I’ll be grading on a bit of a curve.

Astrud Aurelia

Astrud Aurelia as Creature of the Black Lagoon

Astrud does a really solid job as the host and her Creature of the Black Lagoon look is strong. However, there’s just something about her drag character that makes it a little difficult for me to get all the way on board. It’s a little too vague, a little too cosplay, and a little too buttoned up for me. While I like that her performance was goofy, she didn’t take it far enough for me. And while the construction of her look was impeccable, it was a little too airbrushed. I’m nit-picking though. She did a great job this week.

Filth:Biqtch Puddin

Horror:Vander Von OddVander Von OddVander Von Odd

Glamour: Landon CiderLandon CiderLandon CiderLandon Cider

Koco Caine

Koco Caine as The Mummy

Koco plays it safe this week. Though she claims she wants her mummy look to be messy, it doesn’t read as intentional. Her performance is similarly underwhelming, which is a shame.

Filth: Biqtch PuddinBiqtch Puddin

Horror: Vander Von OddVander Von Odd

Glamour: Landon Cider

Melissa BeFierce

Melissa BeFierce as a vampire

Though Melissa is definitely the strongest in the dancing group, she’s not quite on her A game. Her vampire makeup is gross and gorgeous but she could’ve taken it up a notch below the neck. Solid performance, though, and very fun to watch.

Filth: Biqtch PuddinBiqtch PuddinBiqtch Puddin

Horror: Vander Von OddVander Von OddVander Von Odd

Glamour: Landon CiderLandon CiderLandon Cider

Kendra Onixxx

Kendra Onixxx as Frankenstein

Though she claims to be a performance queen, Kendra just didn’t bring it this week. Her Frankenstein is serviceable but forgettable.

Filth: Biqtch PuddinBiqtch Puddin

Horror: Vander Von OddVander Von Odd

Glamour: Landon CiderLandon CiderLandon Cider

Victoria Elizabeth Black

Victoria Black as pumpkinhead

I was a little skeptical about Victoria returning for a third time to the competition, but any doubts I had have been immediately erased. She brings it this week, not only serving up a typically stunning look (those tights! that skirt! those pumpkin brains!) but also giving a truly delightful performance. The moment she pulled off her wig to reveal the pumpkin-gut brain beneath was a highlight of the night. She seems to have let go of something that was preventing her from being fully present in her performances. I’m incredibly excited to see how the season goes for her.

Filth: Biqtch PuddinBiqtch PuddinBiqtch PuddinBiqtch Puddin

Horror: Vander Von OddVander Von OddVander Von OddVander Von OddVander Von Odd

Glamour: Landon CiderLandon CiderLandon CiderLandon CiderLandon Cider


Yovska as pumpkinhead

Yovska does really well this week! I loved her Pumpkinhead look and her trademark campy performance. Though she was outshone by Victoria, she had a strong showing for sure.

Filth: Biqtch PuddinBiqtch PuddinBiqtch Puddin

Horror: Vander Von OddVander Von OddVander Von Odd

Glamour: Landon CiderLandon CiderLandon Cider



Oof. This was, unfortunately, a total bust from top to bottom. The outfit made no sense (as Yovska puts it, “I don’t know why people are confused about who Abhora is. She’s clearly a feather duster.”) and she barely knows the words to the lipsynch.

Filth: Biqtch PuddinBiqtch Puddin

Horror: Vander Von Odd

Glamour: Landon Cider

Erika Klash

Erika Klash as a Bat

Though the judges were less than impressed, I actually really liked Erika’s bat look this week and I thought her performance was pretty strong, particularly given that Abhora was giving her nothing to work off of. I wasn’t wild about her in her original season, but I’m living for Erika in Titans.

Filth: Biqtch PuddinBiqtch Puddin

Horror: Vander Von OddVander Von Odd

Glamour: Landon CiderLandon CiderLandon Cider

Evah Destruction

Evah Destruction as the devil

Evah’s another ghoul who I didn’t love in her original season and is now making me think twice. Her devil look? Sizzling hot, clever, gorgeous, in-character. I loved everything about it. And her performance? Even I have to admit she killed it. Truly surprised and delighted by Evah so far.

Filth: Biqtch PuddinBiqtch Puddin

Horror: Vander Von OddVander Von OddVander Von Odd

Glamour: Landon CiderLandon CiderLandon CiderLandon CiderLandon Cider

HoSo Terra Toma

HoSo as a pirate

I was super excited for HoSo to come back, but I am starting to wonder if the other contestants are right in saying that it’s a little premature. Her look and performance aren’t bad in the least, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen from her before. I’m curious if we’re going to see an evolution in her drag or just more of the same. Though she’s an incredibly strong contestant, she’s not going to be exciting unless she can show growth.

Filth: Biqtch PuddinBiqtch PuddinBiqtch Puddin

Horror: Vander Von OddVander Von OddVander Von Odd

Glamour: Landon Cider


The judges deliberate and place HoSo, Kendra, Melissa, and Yovska as safe; Victoria, Evah, and Astrud as high; and Erika, Abhora, and Koco as low. I largely agree, though I think Erika and Kendra could’ve easily switched places.

Though the judge’s heap praises on both Astrud and Evah, Victoria takes the win. Well-deserved. As for the other end of the spectrum, it’s clear to everyone that Abhora performed the worst, while both Koco and Erika get feedback that they need to push the envelope more. The Boulets announce that the contestants will vote on who they think performed the worst that week. The two monsters with the lowest scores will have to ascend the “Staircase of Souls” to the “Ghastly Gallery” where one will be dropped into the “Pit of Oblivion” and be “returned to darkness. C’mon names!

Back in the boudoir, voting is fraught. Abhora clearly performed the worst, which Kendra and Koco are quick (and correct) to point out. However, Koco also disagrees with her critiques, which isn’t a great sign. Abhora says that the competition won’t be as good without them, which of course rubs everyone the wrong way. And honestly, though I would be quick to agree with them pre-season, I’m not sure I do anymore. So many of these contestants are coming in so strong that Abhora’s drag, even at its best, isn’t necessary to make this an incredible season. They still have a few staunch defenders, though, which Kendra’s frustrated with. I understand why. Though Abhora’s historically been one of my favorite Dragula performers and I’m always inclined to empathize with anyone who’s being received as a difficult person, there’s definitely some white fragility at play here.

Abhora and HoSo share a weird, public kiss on the couch and then everyone goes to vote. While HoSo throws away her vote by writing down Yovska’s name (rude), everyone else seems to vote for either Abhora or Erika. This is confirmed when the two land at the bottom. I’m still a little surprised by how hard everyone’s coming for Erika and I’m pulling for her to prove everyone wrong.

The bottom two ascend the stairs and, to no one’s surprise, Abhora’s the one sent back into oblivion! The trap door stunt the Boulets decided to use for eliminations this year is incredible. Their minds! Erika wins my heart even more by standing at the top of the stairs and flipping everyone off.

Phew! Alright, one episode down, (presumably) nine more to go! After watching, I’m honestly even more excited for this season than I was already. While I enjoyed seasons 3 and 4, they didn’t quite wow me as the first two seasons did, but this episode shows real promise.

Episode Superlatives

Most likely to win: Victoria

Favorite queens: Melissa and Yovska

Favorite looks: Victoria’s Pumpkinhead and Yovska’s entrance

Most improved: Erika and Evah

Messiest: Abhora, forever and always

Best fight: Kendra vs. Yovska

Best lines:

  • “I’ve performed in New York City and have twirled and swirled.” – Erika
  • “Teletubbies on the toilet bowl!” – Kendra
  • “And last but certainly least: Abhora.” – Swanthula
  • Melissa calling Astrud “Ostrich.”

Alright, creeps, that’s a wrap! Come back next week for episode 2 and sound off in the comments if you want to tell me that I’m a genius or a fool! Just remember: recapping is art and art is subjective.

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Written by Saskia Nislow

Saskia is a writer, ceramicist, horror freak, and queer creature. Find more of their stuff at or at @cronebro on Twitter and Instagram.

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