It’s no secret that an All-Stars, or Titans, season of The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula is most likely on the horizon. Fans are foaming at the mouth for it, and the Boulet Brothers literally asked the Season 4 Monsters who would be open to returning for such an event during the reunion. Hell, that “other show” is going on its 7th iteration of the concept, so four seasons in is as good a time as any to bring back some of our most beloved Monsters for a redemption arc. We are clearly enormous fans of the show here at Horror Press, and the topic of a Titans Dream Team has been discussed quite a bit. Those chosen either left the competition early despite having a knack for the tenants of Horror, Filth & Glamour, came up just shy of the crown, or are simply so damn entertaining we want them back on our television. Without further ado, here are our picks!
Meatball: Certainly one of the campiest queens to appear on the show, Meatball made it to 4th place before being decapitated in the show’s inaugural season. She’s everything my younger self ever imagined a drag queen to be, and the classics remain so for a reason. In the years following her time on the show, she has continued to thrive as a hysterical and irreverent personality in the drag scene. Her Instagram proves mama is booked and blessed, and perhaps it’s time to see if this Meatball has aged like a fine wine.
Abhora: The avian clown of Season 2, Abhora made it to the top 4 after a rocky road of drama and insecurities. Their drag is outlandish to the core, often incorporating stilts or other props and always featuring their distinctive beaked nose. Their floor shows were anything but dull; however, sometimes Abhora was a bit sloppier than her competition; to some judges, it was endearing, and to others, she needed to fly away. After a good handful of years to grow and center themselves, the Titans roster needs Abhora’s brand of casual chaos.
Disasterina: She is a singularly wacky persona fully dedicated to incoherence and a faux accent resembling an evil scientist from an old James Bond movie. If Abhora is casual chaos, Disasterina is determined chaos. She knows exactly what she’s doing and has proven herself a worthy competitor and a capable media personality. A headstrong attitude was perhaps also her downfall in Season 2, as her vision often remained uncompromised despite the judges’ critiques. If she’s able to incorporate constructive criticism into her art, Disasterina could soar as a Titan.
Victoria Elizabeth Black: A special effects and prosthetic god among monsters, Victoria Black almost returned to Season 4 after a jaw-dropping performance on the Resurrection special. I believe she would have won, but her hubris derailed an undead comeback after she flat-out said she would rather return for a Titans season instead of S4, as the competition is fiercest when you’re among the best of the best. I don’t necessarily disagree, and clearly, she was confident enough in her pride to shrug off the $20K prize. Victoria Elizabeth Black will be a force to be reckoned with should she make good on that promise.
Dollya Black: The drag daughter of Victoria Black, Dollya was somewhat of a dark horse on her season, making it to the final 3 despite being undervalued by her competitors. Her somewhat meek and vulnerable personality is shielded by a layer of bitchy armor, which often brought the drama to Season 3. She’s proven she has what it takes to go all the way, and even though I hope she has grown since her time on the show, I always welcome some petty drama in the boudoir. Additionally, it would be interesting to see a drag mother and daughter compete together since Astrud was exterminated from S4 the moment Dahli made their triumphant return.
Evah Destruction: The hairiest Monster to enter the competition, Evah was a frontrunner in Season 3 before her inner demons spilled out, causing her to second-guess her every move. Confidence is key, and through no fault of her own, a competition as exacting as The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula often slays the best of the best. The purpose of a Titans season is to bring back these Monsters after they’ve had some time to simmer in the cauldron, and Evah has already displayed the Horror, Filth & Glamour required to win – she just needed some more time in the pot.
Maxi Glamour: I love a good smurf, and Maxi Glamour frequently paints themself blue in their drag. Automatic Titan pick! Jokes aside, Maxi went home early in her season. Still, in that short amount of time, they displayed drive and determination not seen in Monsters that make it much farther in the competition – they literally jumped out of a plane for the first Extermination of S3! Maxi’s drag is whimsical and heavily detailed, and I would welcome them back to witness next-level Maxi Glamour.
Yovska: One freaky, shady bitch, Yvoska levels up costumed drag. Initially showing great promise, her S3 floor shows proved slightly underwhelming for whatever reason. Nothing that time and a trained eye can’t fix; a glance at Yvoska’s Instagram page shows she’s taken that next step. Dragged out as every sort of angel, demon, creature, and…Peppa Pig (seriously, go look), she is now where she needed to be back on S3. Plus, as I mentioned, her brief time on the show revealed she’s shady as hell, and that’s always good TV.
Astrud Aurelia: The definition of a star snuffed out too soon; Astrud was crushed by the end of episode 2 after decimating the competition the week prior in the first-floor show of the season. Team challenges often spell the demise of strong personalities, and Astrud could not handle the hellfire, resulting in the most explosive meltdown The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula has ever seen. After addressing it at the reunion, it became clear they were not in the best headspace at the time, and perhaps a Titans season will be Astrud’s time to shine. They certainly have the talent, and hopefully, we see it put to good use.
Koco Caine: As I said in my S4 Ep1 recap, Koco is the narrator of Season 4, and she is desperately needed back on television. The big-breasted hooker with a heart of sin, Koco is an endlessly entertaining performer, even if she couldn’t quite cut it against the competition. Hopefully, some time away has allowed her to finely tune her lewks because everything else about Koco Caine screams Star Quality.
La Zavaleta: Zava underwent quite the journey during Season 4, coming in hot as the Regina George of the cast and leaving a fan favorite. Like others before her, she shields herself with an often hilarious brash and cutting personality, but those layers peeled as the season wore on. After a series of ups and downs in the challenges, she was ultimately exterminated in 5th place, just before the coveted Final Four. Zava has what it takes to compete against the best of the Titans, and I can’t wait to see her ass on full display, reading each and every one of them for filth.
Sigourney Beaver: The queen of Season 4, Sigourney is the ultimate glamazon and nearly snatched the crown. However, all that beauty comes with a price, and Miss Beaver had a hard time breaking out the Horror & Filth necessary to become the next Drag Supermonster. With a strong head on her shoulders and a lovable personality, if Sigourney takes her notes to heart and brings blood, guts, and a little bit of vomit to slay the Titans, she might do exactly that.
While these Monsters are the best of the best, some may need to hold off for a second season of Titans so that the show doesn’t blow its proverbial load all at once. Nevertheless, this is a Dream Team roster, and seeing this group bare their souls for the crown would make for an outstanding season. Who’d make it on your fabulous football draft?
The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula is available to stream on Shudder.
Stranger Things Season 4: Vecna and the Hidden Message
Warning: Potential Stranger Things spoilers lie ahead
The Stranger Things Season 4 trailer is here, and it’s left us with a lot to unpack. Of all the images that stand out when watching what’s to come for Netflix’s hit show, two of them have our hearts pumping the hardest. The first is the appearance of Vecna, the seemingly human hybrid who is set to play the villain this season. The second is a secret image hidden within a single frame of the trailer.
What could this villain mean for our Stranger Things friends, and what secret is hiding in the preview? Grab your Farrah Fawcett hairspray and memorize Planck’s constant as we take a look at the series’ newest villain and the mysterious picture lurking in the season preview.
Since Netflix released the episode-title teaser back in November 2021, viewers have speculated that Vecna would be this season’s villain as episode two is titled: “Vecna’s Curse.”
By the time the humanoid-looking bad guy first appeared in the trailer, the Duffer Brothers had officially confirmed that, yes, that is Vecna.
A side-by-side comparison of Vecna from D&D and the villain in the ST4 trailer:
While the ST4 version appears to have played a game of “Got your nose” and lost, the similarities are uncanny, nevertheless. This strays away from previous iterations of Stranger Things’ treatment of D&D characters as many do not typically resemble their namesake.
As Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo) and Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin) explained in season 2, episode 8 of Stranger Things, they only use D&D characters to represent the monster they’re facing:
“Unless you know something that we don’t, this is the best…analogy for understanding whatever…this is”
Given that, examining Dungeons and Dragons’ Vecna and his attributes should reveal at least some of what to expect from the Stranger Things Season 4 malefactor.
What does D&D say about Vecna?
According to Greyhawk Online, he is considered “one of the greatest villains.” This authority for D&D goes on to explain that Vecna was born human, taught magic by his mother, and then was “a powerful wizard who became a lich”.
(To put it simply: A lich is a type of undead creature.)
Furthermore, Greyhawk Fandom describes Vecna as being “the god of secrets” and influencing the knowledge domain.
Given all these things, it is a fair assumption that the Stranger Things version of Vecna may:
- Have once been human
- Possess specific knowledge, especially about the creation, existence, or destruction of the Upside Down
- Be the most formidable opponent thus far.
Perhaps even more prolific than Vecna himself are his hand and his eye. Powerful artifacts in Dungeons and Dragons, Forgotten Realms Wiki explains that these parts of Vecna each give its user different abilities with the same clause: anyone who would wield this power would “[change their] worldview towards a neutral evil disposition.” Meaning, that this person would essentially turn evil and only look out for their interests with no feelings of guilt or compunction toward anyone who should stand in their way.
Will we see someone working with or under the influence of Stranger Things’ Vecna? Is this the “curse of Vecna” that the titular episode refers to? Moreover, if he was once a mortal…
Who was Vecna before he was a Stranger Things Monster?
Interestingly, the actor playing this season’s villain is being kept secret for now. This leaves viewers pondering his human identity.
Given the unresolved disappearance of Dr. Brenner (Matthew Modine) from the show, along with the penultimate episode title: “Papa” (the childhood name Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) had for Brenner), there is speculation that the scientist who started it all may be the new supervillain.
However, viewers have also speculated whether this may be the return of Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery) or the transformation of new cast member Victor Creel (Robert Englund). Even the possibility of a resurrection of Barb (Shannon Purser) has been postulated. Only time will tell. Whomever Vecna may have been; his present form stands to make trouble for our group moving forward.
Hidden Message in ST4 Trailer
There is so much happening in the Season 4 trailer that it is no surprise that the following hidden image snuck right by many viewers.
The image above can be found at the 1:59 mark of the original trailer. Be warned; even at a playback speed of 0.25, it can be difficult to capture.
YouTube channel New Rockstars highlights the numbers lurking in the image:
When examining the numbers emphasized by red arrows, it is revealed that each number correlates to a moment in the ST4 trailer. The hidden message is revealed when a viewer goes to the time listed and superimposes the hidden image over top. It is then that they will find the white portal for the corresponding timestamp now covers a portion of letters from the original scene.
To exemplify this with another screencap from the New Rockstars video:
Going to the fifty-two-second marker in the original trailer, and superimposing the hidden image on top, reveals that the white portal now covers the word “Hell” on the shirt Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard) is wearing.
When this is done with each of the four timecodes, we are left with the jumbled words: “S Master M A I Hell.” When the words are organized by the chronological order of their time codes, the message: “I am Hell’s Master” is revealed.
This has direct ties to D&D as Hellmaster is a class.
D and D Wiki defines this class as such:
“A hellmaster is a mortal who sold his soul to the dark legions for dark powers. He swiftly [learns] how to use his newfound power and conjure powerful nightmarish abilities.”
Could this be a reference to the ST4 villain Vecna, given his presumable post-mortal status?
While that is yet to be seen, what we do know is that this is only the first part of a puzzle.
When we went to IamHellsMaster.com, we were taken to a countdown with a picture of the clock featured prominently in the trailer. Now that the countdown has ended, we can click Enter, which leads us to a virtual Lite Brite with coordinates and different colored pegs.
While we can’t give away all the answers, we can say that June 1st promises to be significant.
Although this has all the trimmings of becoming an augmented reality game, ARGNet is hesitant to call it one just yet.
As the penultimate season of Stranger Things gets closer, we are positive about one thing: We wish this was a never-ending story. *Cue Dustin and Suzie vocalization*
The Most Killer Cold Opens of The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula Season 4
The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula’s move to Shudder arrived with its largest prize to date and some welcome production upgrades – c’mawn Shudder! Aside from a sleeker boudoir, stronger editing, and some other bells and whistles, one aspect that’s been noticeably elevated is the cold open at the start of each episode. I’ve always loved these artistic segments that tie into the week’s theme with flair and reverence for the horror genre, and now the higher-budget shorts are more stylish and spookier than ever.
These openings and their respective closers – in which the exterminated queen stars in a flashy murder scene – truly blend a reality competition series with the horror films that the Boulets and their Monsters treasure so dearly. Like everything else on The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula, the concept is unique and adds to the excitement of tuning in each week. So, in honor of these devilishly entertaining shorts, the following are my Top 3 Cold Opens of Season 4, with a few runners up for good measure.
Episode 1 – The Witch Queens of Samhain: The best opening of the entire series, in my opinion, Season 4’s premiere brings us way back to one of the earliest competitions, The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula: Origins Serving us Galadriel from Lord of the Rings doing ASMR, an ethereal voice narrates the ceremony as a group of unholy peasants participates. We witness a barbaric extermination of yore, and a former Drag Supermonster is crowned, drenched in their competitors’ blood. Suddenly, we’re in the present-day, watching horror fans with newly acquired Boulet Brothers masks ogle their prize. One by one, the masks possess their hosts and transform them into killers on behalf of their Boulet overlords – you really should leave collector’s items in their original packaging, dearies. Later, during the Extermination, we see these masked minions hunt the bottom two through the woods in a music video homage to 80s slashers.
These sequences bookend the episode to let you know Season 4 is here in a big way. This isn’t simply a cute promo teaser or a bad skit…we’re given an actual, fantastical backstory to the series and an introduction to the season in the form of a legitimate short film. The imagery in the flashback is genuinely unsettling, and the present-day bit is the stuff of a classic slasher, gradually building tension as it goes. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think you were starting up Witch Queens IV: Curse of the Drag Queenon Shudder.
Episode 4: Hair Metal Strip Club: This opener welcomes the Boulets favorite episode of every season, the Monsters of Rock challenge. It fittingly and perfectly manifests their bad bitch attitude. After reintroducing us to Season 2 winner Biqtch Puddin’s iconically filthy janitor, we watch as the Boulets enter their club in transcendent hair metal couture and take a seat at the poles. Surrounded by male erotic dancers and (presumably) mounds of cocaine, the duo sits back for a show. Unfortunately, the male in their gaze spills a solo cup full of tequila all over Madame Swanthula, and, with the snap of her fingers, the cold-hearted bitch has him choked out between some meaty thighs. Unbothered, the party continues.
Once American Idol introduced the world to Simon Cowell, every reality television competition felt it needed that one “asshole judge” persona to keep things spicy. The Boulets are not mean, but they don’t take anyone’s crap and effortlessly embody two fabulous c-words who, now and again, show a softer side to their Monsters. These two are who they say they are, not a pair of jesters delivering zingers for our entertainment (although they do have some good ones), and the hair metal opener is entirely their brand of sex, drugs, and rock & roll. The all-white contacts and the fact that we’ve never seen them out of drag certainly help to perpetuate their intimidating mystery.
Episode 8: Murder Marionettes: Pupaphobians beware! This week’s theme may be Killer Clowns, but the real stars of the show are the marionettes made in the Boulet’s likeness. These cackling puppets welcome us to the Circus of Clowns and its journey into madness like the good satanic ringleaders they are. Soon, their clowns are on the attack, and innocent dolls looking for a show are spewing blood at high velocity.
Of course, the creativity displayed throughout a season of The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula knows no bounds, but I was absolutely delighted by the appearance of these Barbies of the Bordello. Their pouty facial expressions and chaotic movements were a joy to behold, and I always welcome a dose of comedy with my horror. By the episode’s end, we’re even treated to marionettes of the Final Four awaiting judgment before the finale. I guess your very own personalized Annabelle is a nice consolation prize for falling short of $100,000.
Runners-Up: These two certainly stood out to me, but ultimately couldn’t murder the hair metal marionettes of Samhain.
Episode 2: Nosferatu Beach Party: In what is surely the zaniest cold open of the season, the Boulets let their guard down to reveal a campier side not often seen on the show. Shot in the style of a 1950s beach party flick, we’re treated to Drac and Swan letting loose with their men and moonscreen until an unwelcome outsider encroaches on their fun. All tea all shade to the exterminated queen of the week.
Episode 7: Exorsisters: This blasphemous opener finds the Boulets in a tiny electric chapel, on the prowl for human sacrifice. Swan spits acid onto a crucifix via a nasty little practical effect, and it’s there they see a hunky priest at the pulpit. He’s forced to disrobe and is left cowering in fear and humiliation as they prepare for ritual sacrifice. It’s no “Judas” or “Montero” video in sheer production scale, but even so is fervently offensive to those of the cloth.
Horror openings often hook you in with a macabre precursor of what’s to come, and these gutsy Season 4 cold opens allow the show’s unique viewpoint to pop from reel one. With another season in the grave, I look forward to experiencing the Boulets one-up themselves for many more to come.
The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula is available to stream on Shudder.