“The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula” has quickly become a Halloween season staple on the horror streaming service Shudder. Luckily, the brand new season kicks off right on Halloween, ushering in a new chapter for the series.
Season 5 debuts on Tuesday, October 31, on Shudder and AMC+, with new episodes airing weekly.
The fifth season promises to be the biggest and baddest yet, boasting a brand-new state-of-the-art set, an army of new talented crew members, the most diverse cast in the show’s history, and the Boulet Brothers‘ themselves, Dracmorda and Swanthula, taking over as the series directors.
Bloody Disgusting spoke with the Boulet Brothers just ahead of the new season, where they teased what to expect from the new chapter and the easy transition into directing.
Dracmorda says of the new season, “When we first started the show, we weren’t exactly sure what was going to happen with it. We made the show from scratch. It didn’t have a network, it didn’t have a production partner or anything, and we just made this dream out of nothing. The first chapter, we call it, evolved from that and morphed until now where we have a permanent home on AMC and Shudder, and it’s such a different beast. We did our Titan season, which was an all-star season, so it was the best of the best competing, and we found a winner there, so we feel like that was the winner of chapter one. Now, we want to move on to update the format a bit, so that’s what we meant by chapter two. Some of the things you’ll see that are a little different is how the floor shows are presented. In the past, it was very cut like a music video, very quick cut. Sometimes, people said it was hard to see the whole outfit. Well, now you’re going to see every single episode. You will see the competitors’ full looks, top to bottom, walking the runway. We actually have a Lazy Susan circular spinning device, so when they first come out, you get to see every competitor, full 360 top to bottom, so there’s no chance that you’ll miss the details of their outfit this time around.”
In other words, expect much of what fans already loved, but with an even stronger emphasis on the artistry and revelry with the Boulet Brothers now directing the series, too.
“We previously hadn’t directed the show in the past,” Dracmorda explains. “We’ve always produced it. We’re the showrunners, so we’re very hands-on, but we weren’t literally in the director’s chair directing everything. This year, we were able to do that. Part of that was this difference on the floor show. We’re putting an emphasis on the art, the crafting, and the drag. We wanted to make sure we were behind the cameras this time and presenting the competitors’ drag exactly how we wanted to.”
Swanthula adds, “I think another aspect of that is after some years of experience, we’re heavily involved with the editing as well. When we watch the floor shows now and when we see the competitors performing live on stage, it’s almost like we’re watching through the camera lens. We know what looks great, how they can best be featured, how they can highlight what they’ve created, their personalities, and how amazing their makeup looks. It’s just much more intuitive to direct them in that way because, hi, we’re on the camera a lot of times, too, but we also know what we like when it comes to the edit. To elaborate on what Drac said, that music video style is still represented in every floor show. It starts off in a very high fashion, turntable runway kind of way, and then it devolves into this punk rock bombastic expression and quick cuts, and I think it’s the best of all worlds.”
The emphasis on artistry doesn’t mean that the competitors won’t be put through the wringer when it comes to the Fright Feat, where the Boulet Brothers subject the artists to face their fears in the most intense ways.
“When we talk about chapter two, what we really have done is, I want to say, simmer down the fat to get the purest form of Dragula,” Dracmorda elaborates. “What you’re going to see is you’re going to see amazing, incredible drag on stage in full 360 view. You’re going to see a drag artist doing crazy stuff like eating bugs, jumping out of planes, things like that, and that’s really what the show is about. I think what you may see less of this season is less drama and squabbling about things that don’t have to do with the competition. That’s one of the differences, I would say, this season is we’re focused on what Dragula is. Dragula is about seeing insane drag, and it’s also about seeing drag artists doing crazy stuff, and so that’s what you’re going to see.”
“I want to also add that it’s also a celebration,” Swanthula says. “It’s back to the fun of watching the show. I laugh so much, even though, through the editing process, I’ve seen some of this stuff a million times. I still get off on it. It still makes me laugh and commiserate with these people or their struggles or cheer for them. It’s really fun.”
Dragula doesn’t just impress for its artistry, but in its casting, where the competitors are assembled from across the globe.
Swanthula tells Bloody Disgusting, “I think social media has allowed us to almost use it as a scrying mirror. We can look through and see on a worldwide scale what other artists are up to. There’s a competitor in this upcoming season from South America. This is our first time bringing someone from Argentina, originally Columbia, but they’re from Argentina now. I’ve had my eye on him for years. He was actually supposed to be cast in season four, but due to the visa and difficulty with COVID and everything, it just didn’t happen. But we tend to scan from different cities, different countries, and flag people that say, wow, this person has potential, or look at this young artist. What an amazing perspective. They need to be shown to as many people as possible. That’s when we really play our hands in the casting process.”
It’s clear that the Boulet Brothers aren’t slowing down anytime soon, either, with horror offering an endless creative well to pull from.
“I got to say the horror world is so vast from really highbrow serious thrillers, chilling, possession, and all kinds of stuff down to child’s play and ridiculousness and just high comedy in camp,” Swanthula reflects. “I think Drac and I speak all of those languages, and we actually love them too, so finding inspiration from the horror world or all of its adjacent genres is probably the easiest part for us. We are in this never-ending conversation. We’re always riffing and creating and talking. I think if there was a fly on the wall, we’d be annoying to them because it’s always this workshop process. There’s literally lists of potential challenges for even seasons to come.”
“I mean, if you think about even the horror genre, I go from Beetlejuice to Hereditary to Alien to Killer Clown from Outer Space. I mean, just those few movies give you so many challenge ideas. To me, I feel like we barely scratched the surface, and there’s a lot more to come,” Dracmorda adds.
“The Boulet Brothers’ Dracula” Season 5 premieres tonight on Shudder & AMC+ at 12AM ET / 9PM PST.