The Boulet Brothers Tease What Terrors Await On Season 5 Of ‘The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula’: “There’s no shortage of filth”
The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula has changed not only the drag landscape, but the horror landscape, as well. Their approach to gender, monstrosity, and beauty captured the hearts of us little uglies who finally felt seen in their competition show. Now entering its fifth season, The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula is back and bigger, better, and filthier than ever.
The initial announcement for season five promised that this season would be the biggest yet. There’s going to be 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 taking over as the series directors.
We spoke with Swanthula and Dracmorda Boulet about what horrors to expect this season, the incredible cast, and how badly Don Mancini and Jennifer Tilly need to appear as judges next season!
Dread Central: Congratulations on yet another season of The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula. This is season five. How does it feel? I know there are big changes this season, so how does it feel to have it almost ready to unleash onto the world?
Swanthula Boulet: It’s exciting. I mean, there’s always such a huge buildup in anticipation and we work at it on every level from pre-production to the final edits and stuff. Jack and I have our hands and our claws all over everything, so once we get to this stage, just kind of like, oh, I mean, she’s almost here. Just let’s get it out. Let’s get it out there. I want to see everybody’s reaction to what we’ve been very busy creating.
DC: Well, and both of you directed all the episodes this season, correct? Is that correct?
Dracmorda Boulet: Yeah, that is correct.
DC: So what was that like to both host, judge, and then direct?
DB: No, honestly, it was very natural and it was fantastic. It was probably the most fulfilling we felt as artists on set before. We have directed things on the show before so we’ve always had a big presence in it. But this is the first time we’ve been able to literally own it 100% interface directly with the crew and the DP and see our vision come to fruition. So honestly, it’s been very rewarding. I think because we are drag artists ourselves, I’ve always felt like the way the drag was presented was not exactly what we had in mind. It was edited in a very music video sort of style, which I love and I think was fantastic and helped elevate the show. But I always felt like I wanted to see more of the looks. I was more interested in seeing the drag than seeing a cool-cut music video. I think we were able to achieve that with the season.
DC: Hell yeah. That’s awesome. And just in the trailer, there are some incredible sets. Can you tease anything about the sets? I know that a big thing this year was constructing some really awesome new places for these challenges and everything to happen, right?
DB: Yeah, I think that’s part of the change that we’re talking about. We wanted a stage that would allow us to showcase the drag the way we wanted, and part of that is there’s even a big rotating platform when you first come out so that it allows us to literally pan up and down each drag artist as they’re spinning all the details.
DC: Oh, that’s cool. I like that you said that about bringing more attention to the looks because these looks that they’re creating are so creepy and scary and intricate, so it’s so cool that we get to maybe even see more of those this year in season five.
DB: Yeah, I want to say I love what our previous director did with the show. He’s so talented and he gave it a unique voice, especially at a time when Drag Race was out and other competition shows, and we had to find a way to present our competition in a way that didn’t seem too reminiscent of that. He did such a great job with that. But moving into the second chapter of The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula, it was important for me and Swan to really make the show what it is, which is about incredible drag. Then how do they make this drag? Then how do we show drag artists doing very dangerous, shocking things. That’s what this season of the show is about.
DC: Wow, that’s so neat. So Landon Cider is joining you this season, right? As a recurring guest judge.
DC: That’s exciting to have a third voice because I know you’ve had guest judges before, but what’s it been like to have Landon joining in as a more regular appearing judge on the show?
DB: Well, I would say he’s not on every episode. This was a first trial run of that, which I think was very successful. We both respect Landon a lot. He’s a very established drag artist. He’s very mature, he’s very wise and a lot of times we do bookings with him and we hang out backstage and have drinks and talk. We’re just on the same page where kindred spirits and we want to have him compete on season one of The Boulet Brother’s Dragula. A lot of people don’t know that, and just for contractual reasons it wasn’t able to happen. So this is a longstanding relationship with Landon. We respect him a lot and I think he adds a very unique voice. And also the fact that we have kings on the show, I think it’s important to have a drag king judging them.
DC: I was going to bring that up. I love that you have drag kings on The Boulet Brother’s Dragula, and I think, again, the show is expanding what people think is the popularized version of drag versus what drag can be. I know you’ve already had drag kings on before, but it’s always just exciting to see how you guys are pushing boundaries and what drag is and challenging what people might think drag is.
SB: Thank you. I mean, that’s very on purpose this season. This season is the most diverse season we’ve ever had, even though we pride ourselves on how diverse The Boulet Brother’s Dragula always is. But as far as everybody is represented, there are drag kings and there are trans artists, non-binary artists, and people who don’t really base their drag on gender. They’re more like creatures and cryptids. It really spans the world and what it looks like to be a drag artist today.
DC: I just want my gender to be cryptid.
SB: Perfect. There are more international competitors this season than that. We have tons of people from the US from coast to coast, but we have someone from China, we have someone from Argentina, we have someone from the UK. So it’s a really diverse verse kind of cross-section of inspirations and the way drag sort of manifests all over the world.
DC: Did you change at all how you were doing casting for this season to get this diverse cast, or is it just because of the impact drag has had?
DB: That’s one of the things that’s important for us to represent diversity, but it’s more important for us to represent diversity in an authentic way. What I mean by that is I could just say I want to be diverse, so let me cast all these randos that have zero chance of meaning. Let me just cast a bunch of drag kings just to say I did and they’ll all go home on the first episode. We didn’t do that.
It is very important for us that the diverse artists we feature have a legitimate and equal chance at winning the competition. And the truth is there are just not hundreds of The Boulet Brother’s Dragula style drag artists. So I think it’s fortunate and we’re lucky when we come across artists that are diverse that actually fit the genre. This year we just sort of hit a goldmine as far as that is concerned. A lot of the artists that tried out and auditioned were just naturally diverse. It’s not something that we sort of make an issue of. It’s not like, “Look, there’s the drag king, everybody! Yay!” We fold in with everybody else
DC: Hell yeah. I love that. Well, and I’m curious now that you’re on season five, have you heard from people auditioning or even cast members this season who are like, I started getting into this kind of drag because of The Boulet Brother’s Dragula?
DB: Yes, and we saw that last season with Hoso. Hoso was sort of the first version of that, and we are seeing more of that. It used to freak me out to think about that. The Boulet Brother’s Dragula comes from such an authentic place that it’s sort of like, what is the interpretation of that place seen only through the lens of the show? So far, I have not seen that manifest in a way that felt unnatural.
DC: I guess that is kind of weird. You’re like, “Wait, hold on. The Boulet Brother’s Dragula ethos is something very different than what you see on your television screen.”
DB: Well, drag in general. I was in before drag was on TV, but there are people who only know drag from it being on TV and have never stepped foot in a club or a theater where drag queens have performed. So it’s interesting. But it’s just as valid, right? There are drag artists that absolutely only exist on TikTok and will never perform live, and they’re just as valid as the fucking drag artist that’s been out there for 40 years with couch pads taped to their ass. I mean, one’s not more valid than the other.
DC: I want to hear about some of the looks that y’all are turning this season because just in the trailer alone, I’m obsessed. Can you tease any of the looks that you guys have coming up for this season and any that you are particularly proud of pulling off and putting together?
SB: Well, everyone’s already seen my absolute favorite hair of all time ever, which was in the trailer, those big swooping wigs.
DC: The ThunderCats-esque wigs!
SB: Yes, I’m very obsessed. I put that wig on and it was like Darth Vader putting the helmet on. It locked in, and I was like, “Oh, yes, this is so correct.”
DB: That was a little reward for us to get those wigs because we’re huge comic book fans. There was a period in the late ‘80s when all the X-Men had that hairdo, even Wolverine for a minute had big drag hair. Polaris had it for a minute. Everybody had that hair and I fucking loved it. It was not real that anyone’s hair could actually do that, but our wig designer is so incredible that he actually was able to do it, and I love him for it.
DC: And I love that he did it twice, too.
DB: They may have to be a new regular wig for us.
SB: Yeah, I really love it.
DC: It’s so good. Is it heavy?
DB: Not too bad.
DC: I mean, I guess comparatively speaking, if you’re used to wearing a lot of wigs, it’s probably not too bad.
SB: Yeah, no, it is not too bad, honestly, because a lot of that wig-building is its own art. It’s its own witchcraft.
DB: We do have a wig that I feel was extremely painful and extremely heavy, and I don’t know if you remember, it was from The Boulet Brother’s Dragula season four and it sort of shot out on either side and hung down. It was very large.
DC: Oh, yes.
DB: That wig, I don’t know if we’ll ever wear it again. It’s going in the museum because it’s a giant metal pole in the middle of it and it rests on the crown of your head and it’s instant migraine. Yeah, it
SB: It weighs 30 pounds. It was actually kind of excruciating to stand there for 10 hours. Even the littlest pressure on your head for any period of time, you feel it immediately, but it’s like once you put that thing on, you really have no choice. It’s like you’re in for the ride and you just have to bear it no matter what.
DC: Can you tease some of your favorite disgusting challenges coming up this season?
DB: There’s something with rats that I think was a lot of fun. I don’t want to tell you what it is, but there were lots and lots of rats and they were a little more bite-y than I thought they were going to be.
DC: Swan, do you have any to tease?
SB: I don’t want to give it away, but I’ll say this: there’s no shortage of filth on this season. That was one of the complaints kind of comments we’ve gotten consistently. “Where’s the filth?” Drac and I even have this moment where we’re making fun of the fans. We like to do that sometimes in a very irreverent way, but at the same time, we’re poking fun at them. We’re also honoring what they want, and you see definitely more filth, filth-focused challenges. It’s really, really fun.
DC: Before we wrap up, I just would love to know what are some of your favorite horror go-to’s to watch this Halloween season.
DB: Well, I think Halloween is a classic, obviously. Also The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. That one’s really cute. I love that.
SB: Once October rolls around, we will usually say, “OK, what are we going to binge this year”? And this year it was Child’s Play, so we’ve seen everything. We went back and we’re like, “You know what? I don’t remember a lot of this stuff from the very early part of that IP.” So we went back and started with just Child’s Play and we watched 2, 3, Bride of Chucky, Seed of Chucky, Cult of Chucky. We watched them all and then we started the series on Peacock too, which is actually really good. That’s been giving us a lot of our Halloween goodness and horror goodness this year.
DC: Child’s Play is one of the most consistent horror franchises out there. I will always stand by that. It is one of my favorites.
DB: I’ve watched so many of them over the years, but I was watching them when they were coming out and stuff, so 10 years in between segments. I never really sat down and let me watch all of this in order in line and try to piece this together. Definitely a couple of moments where you’re like, “What’s happening here?”
DC: Oh, absolutely. I mean, it is nonsensical, but Don Mancini commits to it, and you know what, I respect that.
SB: Speaking of, our next dream is to get Jennifer Tilley and Don Mancini as a judging duo on an episode of The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula. So help us put that out in the universe and make it happen!
The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula season 5 is out now on Shudder!