Season two of Dragula proved that not only is there is a thriving world of drag outside of RuPaul's Drag Race, but that fans are just as ready for filthy horror queens as they are for Instagram-ready pageant stars. Dragula creators the Boulet Brothers are passionately committed to showcasing all the horror, filth and glamour of the underground drag world, and there are thousands of fans along for the ride. OUT chatted with the Boulets about season two, winner Biqtch Puddiń and beyond.
OUT: We’re now a week out from the end of season two, although of course it’s been in the can for you for much longer. Looking back, how did Dragula evolve from season one to season two?
Boulet Brothers: Well season one was almost a pilot season for us. We were not attached to a network at the time and just produced it on a wing and a prayer. We fully believed it would blow up and resonate with people, so we gathered up all of our resources and just made it happen. With Season Two we had been picked up by Out TV and were on Amazon and so there were more resources available to us to really flesh out what we wanted to do with the show. It allowed us to explore the concepts we presented in season one more fully. The spirit of the show was the same, but it was all much bigger and more fully realized!
When a season starts, do you immediately have favorites, or girls you know you want to keep your eyes on?
We don’t cast people to go home, so we feel every contestant that we bring to the show has the potential to win the whole thing. There are queens who we assume will be front runners, but it never ends up that way! They always surprise us… or don’t.
Your extermination challenges can be very extreme. Are you ever worried a contestant will simply refuse to take part?
No because the people we cast are tough, they know what they signed up for and they want to be there. They’ve seen the show and we talk to them extensively about what they are going to have to do when they are cast. We’ve seen some viewers be outraged because someone had to get tattooed or something and it’s ridiculous – it’s like being outraged that someone who wants to be on Survivor gets sent to an island on the first episode.
What were your favorite challenges this season? Favorite extermination?
We love all of them honestly, though I think we were most happy with episode one because it really set the bar and let the audience know that we weren’t playing around. The looks that the contestants created for the Clive Barker horror challenge showed the world that these contestants were extremely talented artists and that they were going to bring it this season. Likewise the piercing extermination was shocking as well. We did not intend for them to take it as far as they did but all of the queens in the bottom three were asking the piercer to take it further and make it more extreme so it let us know that these girls were going to blow our minds.
You put your queens in some extreme circumstances: 100 degree heat, the desert, etc. Why do you think it’s important that they be able to survive such harsh conditions?
People may not realize this but the entire show is based on the Boulet Brothers’ history in nightlife and drag. Everything you see on the show is literally pulled from our playbook. The Science Fiction, 80’s camp, and glam rock challenges, these are all reoccurring themes from our events. Likewise a majority of the exterminations are things we have done ourselves on stage before or are things that happened at our events. Keep in mind we threw huge fetish events for many years in our past, and so things like surface piercings or tattoos are fairly standard from our perspective. Our rise in nightlife and drag was gritty and so the idea of the show is that we’re putting the contestants through our school of drag and having them follow in our footsteps. The Wasteland Weekend festival from episode 8 is a perfect example. That’s an event we’ve hosted for years and is a pretty extreme environment to do drag in. We feel it’s important for our winner to be able to thrive in situations like that if they are going to represent the brand we are building.
How did the queens surprise you this season? What were some of the shocking moments?
Again, how far they took the piercing extermination was shocking. One contestant in particular (Erika Klash) shocked us repeatedly because she was a lot tougher than people assumed she was – she seemed almost bubbly but she took all of the extermination challenges like a champ and usually took it farther than we asked. For a minute we joked that she was going to come out winning the whole thing and be missing an arm and have a tattoo on her face and be smoking cigars (which would have been amazing).
When a queen is exterminated, do they have input into their final death scene, or are those already pre-determined?
We conceptualize and produce all of the death scenes for them.
A lot of the queens this season had prior history with each other. Is that the nature of how small the drag community is, or do you take it into consideration when casting?
We would love to take credit for being that innovative with our casting, but we actually had no idea about their previous histories until they came together on the show. We don’t want to write storylines or do that whole reality TV thing, so it is what it is. When they see each other for the first time, we all start to see what’s going to happen. We push them to develop and resolve their relationships but we’re not into generating issues that are not really there. Next season they may all love each other!
Was there anyone you sent home early that you wish had made it a little further?
All of them honestly. We fall in love with the contestants when we cast them, and we always wish we could see more of them. Dahli in particular was a shocking extermination and we wanted her to go farther. That being said we’re never going to manipulate the outcome of the show. If you fuck up, you’re out. We want this to be a real reality show.
Can you tell us anything about season three?
I can tell you that if people were shocked or offended by our last season than they better take a Xanax before watching this one. It’s going to be nonstop, in your face insanity! It’s going to gross you out, it’s going to shock you, and it’s going to offend you and make you think. Our best advice to viewers is to lighten the fuck up and enjoy the ride or turn the damn channel!