“Boulet Brothers Halfway to Halloween TV Special” – A Gleefully Gory and Hilarious Celebration of all Things Horror [Review]

Shudder has long claimed April to be Halfway to Halloween month.  And while they’ve always tried to do more activity then (including the Hotline which we’ve been promised will return), they’ve taken things a step further with a variety special that’s equal parts hilariously fun and gleefully gory.

Known for their drag competition show Dragula, the Boulet Brothers are back on Shudder with a variety hour complete with musical numbers, remote sketches, and an overall show that feels like a much funnier Halloween version of SNL.

Plethora of Guests
To call the cast in this special star-studded would be an understatement.  It features guests like David Dastmalchia, Barbara Crampton, Rachel True, Matthew Lillard, Kevin Smith, Felissa Rose, Derek Mears, and so many more.  It jumps between “live” sketches being done in front of an “audience” and random pre-recorded video segments that mostly consist of fake commercials.

We get Kevin Smith delving into the history of horror comics, a deadly summer camp with Felissa Rose, an easy bake oven with a disturbing twist, a cannibalistic cooking show, and my personal favorite, a Seinfeld-esque sitcom made up of classic monsters that it’s honestly a bummer that it’s only a brief segment and didn’t get a full 30 minute episode.

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Can we petition to Shudder to make a full sitcom out of this?

There’s definitely a little bit of something for everyone.  The humor ranges from corny/campy to downright dark and twisted.  Depending on your sense of humor, you’ll probably love half the sketches and find the other half just okay.  But in doing so, they make it so that everyone can enjoy something different about it.

Personally, it was really cool to see Kevin Smith getting in on the action and discussing the real life Senate hearings in 1954 over whether horror comics needed to be banned.  It’s a part of horror history that doesn’t get talked about too much.  There are also moments of savage hilarity which some will say go too far, but that’s sort of the point with Halloween and horror.

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Barbara Crampton is elegant and brilliant as always in her cooking show!

Getting into the Spirit
The Boulet Brothers have always been champions of horror and Halloween, and that’s very much on display here. The whole thing is just oozing in Halloween imagery, and it honestly feels like a TV variety show you’d see back in the 60s/70s, but blended with the grotesque gore of horror that became more popular in the 80s.

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There’s even a really cool music video segment.

The whole thing has a very timeless feel to it, but in doing so the focus is solely on celebrating Halloween.  It was also mentioned that this was the “first” Halloween special the Boulet Brothers were doing, which begs the question:  will there be more?

Something like this typically has a lower production cost than say a feature film, so it likely wouldn’t be that difficult to produce another one of these specials every April for Halfway to Halloween month, and of course every October for Halloween itself.

Shudder did have a bit of a missed opportunity since they just dropped the special like regular programming, rather than premiering it on Shudder TV “live” first, the way they do The Last Drive In.  Given their propensity for fan engagement, a special like this (or any future ones) would be perfect for a live premiere so that fans can watch and tweet along.

So hopefully this one is well enough received to justify more, and hopefully they air in such a way that it’s a collective event for horror fans.  Either way, the one they’ve made is so much fun for any horror fans, and it reminds us of the wide variety of things you can do with the horror umbrella!

What do you think of The Boulet Brothers Halfway to Halloween Special?  What was your favorite sketch? Let us know in the comments!

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