Who says it’s too early for spooky season? The Boulet Brothers are here to cast a spell on spring with the gift of Halloween. The Dragula duo and Shudder have teamed up to bring us The Boulet Brothers’ Halfway to Halloween TV Special, arriving on the horror streamer and AMC+ Tuesday, April 25.
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io9 recently caught up with Queens of Darkness Dracmorda and Swanthula Boulet to crack open the crypt on all the fun. Along with David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad), who co-produced the musical and comedic skit variety spooktacular, the special will feature guests like Kevin Smith (Clerks), Emily Hampshire (Schitt’s Creek), Taran Killam (Saturday Night Live), Matthew Lillard (the Scream film series), Jorge Garcia (Lost), Steve Agee (Peacemaker), Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, Chopping Mall), Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp), Katya (RuPaul’s Drag Race), Derek Mears (Friday the 13th, Swamp Thing), Satanic doo-wop band Twin Temple, and Kendra Onixx, Koco Caine, and Melissa Befierce (all of The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula).
Watch the trailer and find out more about the frightful fun in the interview below!
Sabina Graves, io9: Good to be in the company of fellow live-Halloween-every-day type of folks. I’m very excited to talk to y’all about your special! Can you tell me a bit about how it came to be and the process to make it into a fun, spooky variety show?
Dracmorda: So, we are horror host characters that hosted our own show for a few years, and this is our first TV special that is all scripted. It’s something we wanted to do for a long time. It’s like a Halloween-themed Saturday Night Live kind of vibe: a variety show with lots of scripted content We do a few skits ourselves, and we also have some musical guests, Twin Temple and Katya. We just have a bunch of stars from the horror space. They came together to help us make it and to do skits. We’re very excited about it.
io9: I saw some of the names that are joining in—you mentioned Katya, but also David Dastmalchian, Kevin Smith, and others. Can you share a bit more about getting them to come on board?
Swanthula: We’ve made a lot of connections in the horror space and early in the drag space, too with The Boulet Brothers Dragula [reality show]. But we joined forces with David Dastmalchian as a working partner. We’ve become really good friends and I think as soon as we did that, we realized our aesthetics are very similar, our sense of humor is very similar. We have this celebration of darkness close to all of our hearts. And once we decided, “Hey, we’re going to do this Halfway to Halloween special,” so many people came forward and said, “Hey, I love that concept! We haven’t seen it in years. We think you guys would handle it correctly. We want to be a part of it.” And it was just name after name after name, like Barbara Crampton and Matthew Lillard. I mean, just so many people came forward and said, “Hey, I would love to do this.” And it just happened very naturally from there.
io9: I love how the horror community is game for anything and so embracing and excited for something like Halfway to Halloween, even though the normies might be like, “Why?”
Swanthula: Hey, it’s true and they’re so passionate that it’s like, I don’t know, like a secret society, right? If you love that, if you ever go out to a Halloween convention or a horror convention, you can just look around and you know that you’re kind of amongst family.
Dracmorda: We are now the Queens of Halfway to Halloween, it’s real. We’re making it a thing.
Dracmorda: It’s happening. Midsummer Scream, a Halloween convention that happens in Long Beach—I mean, it is massive, we are officially headliners at that this year as well. So I think Halfway to Halloween is our new holiday.
io9: I love that. I know y’all had a bunch of events that you would host here in LA, then obviously you went on to produce your show, Dragula. What has that evolution been like for you, to take this from a community space into a bigger realm and onto a platform like Shudder?
Dracmorda:I think the special like this was the plan all along, you know, [Dragula] grew out of an event that we did. The whole concept was for it to develop into a reality show from the moment that we sort of created it. And the road has been interesting. It’s been very rewarding. But look, it’s interesting—there’s a lot of challenges that you would never expect to happen. We didn’t go around and pitch this as a traditional series, The Boulet Brothers Dragula.
Swanthula: It was too weird—we knew if we put this in front of the executives, they would be like, “Okay, and drag queens, killing, horror? What are you talking about?” So we decided to make the show and sort of put our money where our mouth is and really put it out there. And I think a lot of people say that’s what you should do—stand by your work and put all in on it. I don’t know that very many people actually end up doing that in the real world. But that’s what we did. We’ve been kind of risk-taking and really believing in our own work from day one, and that’s gone very far.
Dracmorda: The day we launched the show, it ended up on Netflix. And then from there, you know, it gained so much hype that AMC and Shudder took it over and it’s just sort of been growing since then.
Dracmorda: I think with this special, we really just want people to have fun and enjoy themselves and exist in a nonjudgmental way. There’s a subtlety in the terms—we’re mixing really huge celebrities with some unknown drag artists and they’re on the same bill. And then people just sort of see the representation in that presented in a natural way. And I think that that’s the most easily digestible way for people to consume content.
Swanthula: The special is so fun. For us it’s been this idea that we’ve been kind of like boiling in the cauldron for a while. It’s all these little segments and when we put it together, we sat down as a team for the first time and watched it, it, we were giggling. Some people were emotional, like it came together in such a crazy, fine, wild, kind of warm and fuzzy, odd kind of way. It’s super special. I really hope fans love it as much as we do.
io9: Yeah. And you now that you’re on the road with it, can you tell me a bit more about the Dragula Titans shows that you’re currently touring?
Dracmorda: Yeah it’s a celebration of the first chapter of Dragula. So we’ve had four seasons now. We’ve had our Resurrection spinoff and now the Titans season, which was the culmination of everything we’ve done up until that point. And the tour is just a celebration of all that, all the stars that we’ve had on, the Titans and their work culminating in Victoria Black being crowned as the first Titan of Dragula. It just all interweaved and the live celebration of that.
io9: I want to know just personally, for each of you, what were your first fandoms and how did that inform your career path? What were the first books, movies, characters, or personalities that inspired you growing up?
Dracmorda: For me [it was] the horror space. I grew up sort of a loner kid [with] social anxiety and all sorts of things. I just kind of preferred darker, quieter aesthetics. I remember being on my grandparents couch when I was four or five years old watching Dracula on TV all night by myself. And I found a first copy of Bram Stoker’s Dracula at a yard sale of all things—I think I was 10 years old. It’s always sort of been around me and I’ve always been interested in it. I always pictured horror scenarios and stories in my head and fantasy things. Swan can speak to her experience but when we came together, we had so many similar inspirations that we just clicked on those things. And that’s where everything was born from.
Swanthula: I think for me even going way back to my childhood, I’ve always had like a fascination with fantasy and darkness. The things like the movie Legend and Dark Crystal and certainly the horror world like Anne Rice books and even comic books—and things like Masters of the Universe. These were the things that lit with my imagination on fire. I was doing a lot of theater acting and working in the local haunted house. And then when Drac and I met, it was like, wow—we saw each other kind of like mirrors and a lot of our inspirations were from the same place. So we just sort of joined forces, and we’ve been in this, like, never-ending artistic collaboration forever.
The Boulet Brothers’ Halfway to Halloween TV Special will premiere on Shudder and AMC+ on Tuesday, April 25.
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