What Exactly Is This ‘Dragula’ Rob Zombie Won’t Shut Up About?

It’s something you can slam in the back of, I know that
What Exactly Is This ‘Dragula’ Rob Zombie Won’t Shut Up About?

With the announcement of Rob Zombie and weirdly conservative, aged shock rocker Alice Cooper’s 2024 Freaks on Parade Tour, it’s a massive time for people who think calling Halloween their favorite holiday is strange and unsettling. Whoa, you enjoy Halloween? The devil’s night? How twisted, yet mysterious. The fear in my heart is matched only by the stirring in my loins. Jocks like it too, you spooky motherfucker.

Anyways, Rob Zombie is an artist who’s made circuses and spookery an essential part of his brand. Halloween-core quasi-industrial metal isn’t exactly a genre most people have on repeat, but there is one song of his that’s achieved shocking crossover appeal. Whether it’s karaoke, Twitter memes,or an overheard “oh hell yeah, this song” around 12:41 a.m. at a dive bar, the song “Dragula” has claimed permanent space in a surprising amount of brains. Not just the ones you’d expect, either. Throw that shit on at a wedding, and you’d have surprisingly strong participation in a drunken sing-along.

This despite the song being really weird. Not in a genuinely unsettling way, just in a “what exactly is going on here?” way. The instrumental itself is not a combination of noises and notes that most people generally would be hurting to hear, given that it sounds like a groovy furnace. The lyrics vacillate between vaguely gruesome lines like “dead I am the rat, feast upon the cat” and random rock-and-roll bullshit like “knuckle crack the bone, twenty-one to win.” We’re playing blackjack for three seconds, I guess!

The centerpiece, of course, being the almost hypnotic chorus of:

Dig through the ditches and
Burn through the witches and
Slam in the back of my

Ditches and witches, these are part of the Queen’s English, except for one word: Dragula. It’s fun to yell six beers deep, I can tell you that, but for years I never knew what the fuck it actually was. Was it just more made-up creepy nonsense, a word created when there was an accident at the Rob Zombie factory and Dracula and hot rods were finally together? It turns out, though, the Dragula is actually a real, previously existing vehicle to slam in the back of.

The original Dragula is a car from an episode of the goth 1960s sitcom The Munsters (speaking of things with inexplicable crossover appeal). In an episode titled “Hot Rod Herman,” in order to compete in a drag race, Grandpa Munster and Herman construct a drag racer out of a coffin and organ pipes, which does sound exactly like the sort of thing that would have Rob Zombie suddenly leaning forward on his couch with fingers steepled. A nameplate on the front bears the name “Drag-U-La,” also kind of explaining the specific speaking rhythm Zombie uses on the word in the song. 

Given that the body is made from an old coffin, with a vertical door enclosing the driver into the seat, the “slam in the back of my” part may be more literally about slamming the coffin door closed instead of any kind of rock-and-roll nonsense.

In all honesty, knowing that, Dragula is kind of a perfect encapsulation of the Rob Zombie experience: It seems badass, but it’s actually just a dude who won’t shut up about old TV shows.


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