Filth! Horror! Glamour! Yes, The Boulet Brothers are back for another spine-chilling round of their cult competition series Dragula with its largest ever cash prize at – wait for it – $100,000. Created and hosted by the iconic duo, horror hosts Dracmorda and Swanthula, the fourth season continues to cement Dragula as one of the most inclusive competition series on air with a deliciously diverse line-up of – in their words! – “uglies” – again, their words! – including drag queens, trans women and AFAB performers, each of which will, as per, compete in a variety of blood-curdling challenges before one will be crowned the World’s Next Drag Supermonster. With their move to Shudder, AMC Networks’ premium streamer for horror, thriller and the supernatural, The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula is – in the words of Dracmorda – “just getting started”.
“The whole show has evolved, really. It just keeps getting bigger and bigger every year, and I think it’s finally starting to coalesce into the show we intended it to be from the start,” Swanthula tells GAY TIMES just days after season four premiered on Shudder to overwhelming acclaim from fans and critics. (“Season four of Dragula didn’t have to go so hard,” tweeted one viewer.) Dracmorda agrees, adding: “I think the show is going to continue to blow up in incredible ways. We have big plans to cover the entire globe with drag, filth and horror, and this is only the beginning.”
The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula premieres exclusively on Shudder every Tuesday. Guest stars for this season include Vanessa Hudgens, Harvey Guillén, Kristian Nairn, Misha Osherovich and Ray Santiago, as well as country music star Orville Peck, pop singer Poppy and former Drag Race winner Bob the Drag Queen. Here, we speak with the Brothers about the incredible line-up of entertainers on season four, why representation has to be “genuine” and how “mainstream horror fans” are finally starting to acknowledge the LGBTQ+ community’s impact on the horror genre.
Condragulations on the brand new season of The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula. When you launched season one, did you ever envision the series having this much success?
Dracmorda: Thank you, and yes, we’ve always had a deep belief that the show has an incredible future ahead of it. There’s just a magical energy around the whole thing and I think anyone that comes around it can feel it. In some ways, season four feels like we’re just getting started. There is a lot more to come.
What can you tell us about the forthcoming series and this incredible new line-up of entertainers?
Swanthula: The new season is a “Frankenstein’s Monster” made up of all of the best parts of the three seasons that precede it. It has the raw punk spirit of the first season, the fun campy elements of season two, and the horror elements of season three. As far as the cast, they are all phenomenal. They are extremely different from one another and extremely talented but in very different ways.
It’s been two years since a full-length season of The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula. Other than the $100,000 cash prize, how has the series evolved since its last season?
Swanthula: Well the whole show has evolved, really. It just keeps getting bigger and bigger every year, and I think it’s finally starting to coalesce into the show we intended it to be from the start. We’ve expanded certain sections, we’ve added brand new segments, and we were finally able to seamlessly connect the scripted portions of the show. You’ll be able to see for yourself how that plays out soon enough!
Congratulations on the series becoming a Shudder exclusive. How has this partnership benefited Dragula?
Dracmorda: Well the first way it’s benefitted the series is that, for the first time, all four seasons of the show, including Resurrection, will be together on one platform worldwide. Due to different distribution deals we’ve had in the past, the show would be on several networks across the world, and we’ve always wanted it to live together in one, easy to find place and now it will. As a Virgo, I am very excited about the tidiness of that!
Swanthula: I also feel that Shudder respects our vision as queer content creators, and the fact that our two companies both share a deep love of horror brings us together on a level that we appreciate. It’s a perfect match made in hell.
What does the creative process look like for a season before it airs, such as preparing the challenges and choosing the cast etc?
Dracmorda: It’s insanely taxing. The show is a true labour of love, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that we – and our primary crew – put every ounce of our life force into bringing a season into fruition. It just sucks up every part of your life force for almost a year and it takes everything you’ve got to get it over the finish line.
Swanthula: It’s not just a reality show, it’s also part scripted series, and it just takes so much to get a season done. There are so many different pieces and it requires us to personally oversee every step because the tone of it all and having all of the pieces seamlessly relate to each other is hard to do.
The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula has been at the forefront of diverse drag representation, with the series boasting queer men, trans people, lesbians and non-binary people. From the start, was it important for you to give visibility to all kinds of drag?
Dracmorda: Yes. Even going back to the very first club nights we created at the beginning of our careers we have always worked with, celebrated and elevated everyone in the queer community, and that’s something that will always be important to us. I don’t mean that in a tokenzined way where you’re just making sure you include certain people to check off boxes, but in a way that you are bringing on and elevating artists who are truly performing at the top of the drag game and can win the whole thing. In my opinion, representation has to be genuine.
What have you both learned about drag that you didn’t know before you started the series?
Swanthula: That filming a show like this while in drag is not fun. The end result is fun, but while you’re filming it, it’s not a good time.
Dracmorda: Personally, I am always fascinated by the different methods each competitor uses to get into drag. Each one is so different and it’s so interesting to see their techniques and the different things they do artistically to achieve the looks they create.
What do you think of the current state of LGBTQ+ representation in the horror genre and what more could be done?
Dracmorda: Queerness and horror go hand in hand, and queer themes run deep through the origins of horror itself. From Dracula and Frankenstein to Psycho and A Nightmare on Elm Street, so many films that are considered classic horror contain underlying queer subtext. I think during the 80s and 90s “mainstream horror fans” were not interested in acknowledging that, but today’s horror space is a much more diverse place. Things are changing for the better.
Swanthula: We’re perfect examples of that. We appear at horror conventions all over the country, we host haunted houses, we have one of the best performing specials ever to air on Shudder and are on the cover of Fangoria magazine. That would not have happened 10 years ago, but the horror community of today is much more diverse, and much more willing to welcome people from diverse backgrounds.
Dracmorda: I don’t think anything “needs to be done” per se, I just think that talented, queer people need to continue to live out loud and be who they are – unapologetically.
What do you see for The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula in the future?
Dracmorda: I think the show is going to continue to blow up in incredible ways. Like I said, I think we’re really just getting started with season four. We have big plans to cover the entire globe with drag, filth and horror, and this is only the beginning.
The fourth season of The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula airs every Tuesday on Shudder.