Hulu’s new reality ghost hunting series Living for the Dead fully aware that there is nothing campier than paranormal activity. Horror is always the queer genre by definition, more often than not witchcraft and spirituality are synonymous with women-loving, and basically Halloween is just a huge drag show around the world.
From Kristen Stewart and creators Queer Eye, Living for the Dead teamed up with five queer paranormal experts on a road trip across the United States to help the living heal the dead. Haunted mansions, haunted hotels, a haunted theater, and even a haunted strip club serve as backdrops for séances, possessions, tarot readings, human ghost boxes, and lots of Electromagnetic Field Meter shenanigans throughout eight episodes of real and free surface-level fun. thrills.
The five leads are magnetic. Roz Hernandez, a paranormal researcher and former drag queen, is the soul and glue of the group. Her personality is both big and intuitive, her tendency to binge eat donuts when stressed is comical, and her impromptu display during the episode where the “Ghost Hunties” try to clean out an old theater is a definite highlight. . At one point, a mean-spirited jerk tells her they hate her hair, but she defiantly tells them she’s “keeping the trees.”
Roz is often found hand-in-hand with Ken Boggle, a Kentucky native tarot card reader and psychic. And, if one is the soul, surely the other is the heart. Since a few episodes are set in her home state, the connection to Diane Keaton’s hat-wearing ghost hunter is more understood than any other member of this mysterious version of the Fab Five. He is also often the one tasked with “therapy” for those affected by the episode’s hauntings and, whether thanks to his charisma or his tarot abilities, he does it all with determination.
Alex LeMay is the vocal tech expert who, out of everyone, seems to be the most genuinely passionate about his craft. They are often excited at the prospect of speaking with the trapped souls, and release a new gadget each episode designed to facilitate contact. Alex is always the bravest, not afraid to get stuck in a claustrophobic enclosure and even a literal coffin, as long as it brings them closer to the undead.
Juju Bae and Logan Taylor are slightly overshadowed by the other three. The former is a “self-appointed witch” who presides over crystal and pendulum readings, cleansing rituals, and séances, while the latter is a psychic medium. While they each bring their own energy to the gang, lesser acting skills or ease in front of the camera affects what comes through to the other side.
Even still, the dynamics of the group and the individual members save Living for the Dead from being a crudely scripted, clearly staged reality show. Even for the most refined, this ghost tour is so intense that you’ll have trouble keeping up with most of the on-screen action. That doesn’t make it any less fun, though. If anything, it takes the edge off, allowing you to relax into this insanely campy spiritual journey and learn a few things about the craft of communicating with the spirit world.
All episodes are similarly structured to include interviews with those directly affected by the ghostly activity, and the five experts usually go out for a kiki at the local bar afterwards to bond. fostering with the local community and making a few. Queer Eye heart-to-heart of their own. Then they do “night readings” to figure out what kind of threat they are dealing with, followed by usually a second evening to make peace with the spirits and demons. Each episode has its own story, heroes and enemies, and highs and lows, which gives the show a lot of dynamism and liveliness. If in one chapter one is bound to a spirit, in another one is bound to a house. In one, the person concerned can also speak to the dead and hides family secrets, and in another, the love of a clown overthrows the fear of the occult.
There is always a lot going on in Living for the Dead, but as long as you’re willing to deal with it as frankly as the drunken hosts and narrator, Kristen Stewart, you’ll enjoy eight hours of unquestionably supernatural fun. Their target audience may be niche, but if there’s a subsection of the LGBTQIA+ community that shows up and keeps showing up, it’s the raunchy enthusiasts.
‘Queer Eye’ meets the spiritual world in this hilarious, if obviously scripted, ghost-hunting reality show for gays, goths, and everything in between.
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