The subversive LA drag queens have leapt to SBS On Demand with an opening scene featuring the slaughter of boardroom executives trying to knock back the show's concept due to the “frankly disturbing and disgusting message" of the show, suggesting they try being, “a little less bloody and a little more heterosexual.” Good luck with that.
Pitting 10 contestants against one another for a $10,000 prize and the crowning title of 'Dragula, the world’s next super-monster', they must master horror-movie costuming, make up, and performance, all while trying to avoid intense extermination challenges including extreme piercing and deliberately bad tattooing.
In honour of their dastardly reanimation, SBS Sexuality put some blood-curling questions to the Boulets.
As ever, the meticulously-staged death scenes of the losing contestant are bloody magnificent, with episode two’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre riff a gloriously gory highlight. What goes into staging them?
“Some people don’t have the stomach to fully appreciate an execution by chainsaw, so we think it’s delightful that you enjoyed one of our girls being chopped to bits like that.
“The death scenes are some of our favourite things to conceptualise and shoot. We write them all and then assign each of our ghouls the death of our choosing. It’s the perfect way for the two of us to live out some of our favourite horror culture fantasies and to take out our frustrations on the cast.”
You clearly get off on the horror aesthetic, but what are some of the most iconic scary movie moments that have left their mark on you?
“The scene from The Exorcist where Regan is hovering over her bed in the throes of demonic possession still haunts us at bedtime to this day. We were so jealous of her. Clive Barker’s Hellraiser brought us to strange places in the human psyche the first time the Cenobites appeared from the inter-dimensional rift; puzzle boxes, flesh hooks, leather, and a sadistic five-way definitely leaves an impression.
How did you will Dragula into existence?
“We were brainstorming around the idea of a grand drag ball and didn’t want to celebrate beauty and poise but rather, filth, fabulousness, and irreverent queer f****try. Everyone said it would fail, so naturally we pushed even harder. We found a dirty leather bar and decided to celebrate being wild f****ts, playing hard music, John Waters, and grotesque horror movies. The first night had a line around the corner. You could feel from the first moment that we had truly created a monster and there was magic to it.”
The party got so big it busted out of LA and terrorised San Fran, New York, and Austin, but did you ever imagine TV stardom awaited?
“We knew trying to explain to a network the concept of a punk drag competition show based in horror and glam would be next to impossible, so we created the first season of Dragula as a pilot. We launched it and the show caught the imagination of weirdos all over the world. Again, many people told us it would be impossible to do, so naturally, it’s exactly what we did and it paid off.
“Most things we are force fed on TV show some idyllic depiction of gay life: people with perfect bodies, great smiles, super popular. It’s whitewashed bullshit. So few people live that life, and even fewer can relate. The world is filled with imperfect, freaky, artistic, wild, flawed amazing outcasts, and it’s for these people that Dragula exists.”
While season two gets off to a ferocious start with the contestants tearing each other down, there seems to be a support network for freaks and geeks at the beating heart of the show?
“Absolutely. In fact, the idea that this type of drag and visibility can be empowering is very close to the heart of Dragula. The world is a shitty, tough place. People can be cruel. Homophobia is alive and real. The gruelling challenges on the show, and the ferocity with which we encourage our queens to meet those challenges, is parable for the real world. We love them all and want them all to be elevated and succeed, but we also want to prepare them for the difficulties of being ‘different’… the show provides hope to isolated artistic weirdos who need to be reminded that they are not alone.”
How do you manage to raise the stakes with your own looks as the series goes on and the competitors get wilder?
“Most of the time we actually have to tone our looks down a bit, you know, so as to not make all of the contestants feel so inferior that they give up. I know what you’re thinking, you didn’t expect us to be so nice and considerate did you? We get that all the time."