|HauntSearch: First off, where did you get your start in scaring people for a living?
Pogo: A friend at school told me about it, so me and a friend from down the street went and
tried it, and I have loved it ever since that first night.
I even have a scar from my first night ever..LOL
HS: How did you get a scar on your first night?
Pogo: Me and my buddy "Tim" were running in and out of the shadows of the room and smashed heads....
my head started gushing, right above my left eye....I just went with it...
HS: So then your makeup that night must have been the most gruesome out of everyone else working..
Pogo: I wouldnt necessarily say that...it was real blood though...
first night ever consisted of a lame black and white greasepaint job
with a little blood splatter. I had no idea what I was doing yet...
HS: Where was it that you first worked at?
Pogo: Bloodview in a room called the catacombs
HS: You're referring to Bloodview Haunted House in Broadview Heights, OH, right?
HS: What year did you start there, and how long did you stay with Bloodview?
Pogo: 1992 I started...worked
through 96 with the Legion (Of Terror), then they left to Wildwood and
I decided to stay at Bloodview with a new group called the Nightmare
I stayed there until the year of DOD's conception in 1998.
HS: DOD (Demons Of Darkness), for those who may not know, is your acting/makeup group correct?
HS: What made you want to leave Bloodview, and start "Demons Of Darkness"?
Pogo: Well like I said worked with
them (Legion) from 1992-1996, then with The Nightmare Society (now
defunct group) from 1997-1998. Legion Of Terror had many good points
and many bad at the same time. When I started at Bloodview I was given
the option to join right away, I was only 14 at the time if I remember
But they were out of membership forms and said to hit them up next
year. Over the summer they changed their by-laws to where you could not
join unless you were 18.
And if you were not a member, you didnt get any "special privileges"
such as carrying hand props, and acting anywhere other than a closed
setting room within it's boudaries.
So I stayed on until I was 18 and could join, Then I learned of their
"heirarchy" system in which there were ranks you had
to be voted through.
Everyone started as a student, meaning you were either under 18, or
without any rank or privileges. From there you joined and became a
Yoeman, this was their ground level position.
HS: Ground Level, meaning?
Pogo: Basically the same as a
student, only a member of the group. Then you were eligible to be taken
on and mentored by a "Knight" which is one of the highest ranks. Once
you started this process you were promoted to a Squire...(basic King
Arthur type rankings)
Once a Squire you had tasks to complete in a year and at the end of the
year it was put to a vote whether you were to become a Knight. Now to
even be considered for this you had a certain percentage of off season
meetings you had to attend, so many nights of acting, so many approved
makeup jobs, and approved nights of acting.
HS: Personally, this whole
"heirarchy" system, sounds a little bit deterring. I think that you
should be able to audition for a group, and if you're accepted you
should be a member then. Your thoughts?
Pogo: Yes I agree, it creates too
much political tension, and problems within. If you are not in the
higher ranks or in with the people that vote for you, there is a chance
you will not amount to your potential or feel just belittled. I know so
many people that quit doing it alltogether just for that reason...like
my friend Tim who I worked with my first night and season ever
HS: My thoughts exactly, it would
deter me from the group personally, if I had to go through all that
trouble just to act in a haunted attraction.
Pogo: I mean you could act no
problem, but you had no choice over what you did if you werent a
member. Members got first picks on everything before anyone else
HS: I believe that if you are new,
you may have to work a spot that nobody else wants, it's just part of
the game when starting at a haunted attraction, but eventually, through
your dedication, you should be given more control. Not through being
'voted in' through some "political" system.
Pogo: I agree that you have to have
an order to things...you cant just let someone come in that has never
done it before, give them a sharp weapon/hand prop, and not expect
something bad to happen...but there is a point where you can have "too
much" organization and not enough just having fun.
HS: Is the "heirarchy" system why you left the Legion and created DOD?
Pogo: DOD was created around the mistakes we learned from other groups, with different views on an acting group.
HS: Now I've heard some comparisons
between your group, and the Legion, but I've also heard that your group
is less political and a little crazier. Is this true?
Pogo: In some ways...less political
definitely. Crazier...depends how you look at it. I have seen the
Legion do some really crazy stuff. I would say at times we take a lot
HS: How So?
Pogo: Using a lot more props that
they would most likely not let their members use, using things like
meat, animal parts....going farther using things like firebreathing and
fire effects right in with the customer, stilts, etc... Nothing is too
taboo for us.
Sometimes that lets some of our members get a little too carried away...but usually nothing we cant handle.
HS: Have you ever gotten hurt attempting these stunts?
Pogo: Me personally? Not too many
honestly, I can attest for all my haunt related scars, and most were
actually construction related. I've never really hurt myself too
seriously at a haunt...the more you put yourself in danger the more it
puts the customer in danger....I practice everything thoroughly before
trying something dangerous in front of a customer.
But accidents can and will happen...anyone that knows anything about
fire stunts knows that you are in danger at any time, even to the point
of where one wrong move and you could end up dead. Thats why practice
is necessary for anything like that.
HS: Let's talk about your makeup a little bit. How long have you been practicing your makeup techniques?
Pogo: since day one...over 10 years now.
HS: Is there any particular type of makeup, or brand of makeup that you prefer?
Pogo: There are a lot of brands I prefer for certain things...but I can use almost any.
HS: With the development of your
makeup skills, also comes the birth of "characters". How did the 'Pogo'
character come about, and what other characters do you like to perform
Pogo: I kind of just wanted to have
a clown character, and wanted to do something original, so the original
idea was a clown with horns that was scalped....Id never seen that
I only have about 10 characters that I repeat, I try new things every
year, but when I'm stuck for an idea I might repeat a good one. My best
have been Pogo, The Coal Miner (more of a comedy act than anything),
Mr. Zombie (A game show host spoofed off of Rob Zombie), Skinner ( A
Cenobitesque character), My own version of Death including a real
sicle, Crispy ( a burn victim) among others.
HS: And Pogo has seen many makeovers throught the years. Is there any 'variation' of the character that you particularly like best?
Pogo: Pogo is just a morphing
character I think....I think I have just not done a version I have been
100% happy with, it takes a lot for me to please myself with an act
and/or makeup job I do....they always say you are your own worst critic.
HS: Personally, my 2 favorite versions of Pogo were the long hair version, and, of course, the acid-burned version.
Pogo: the burned one actually was
never meant to be Pogo when I started the makeup....Actually was done
over top a different makeup I had done.
HS: it Demons Of Darkness, how many members do you currently have?
Pogo: 10 solid members....15 total, we have lost a lot do to all the bad luck the last couple years.
HS: When mentioning bad luck,
you're of course talking about the Carnival Of Horrors burning down,
among other things.With your 'home' haunt being gone, what are you
planning on doing for this season?
Pogo: Unless we decide on one of
our many options for a "home" this year temporarily, we might just tour
around and check out a few different places...some to act at, some just
to see, and some both.
HS: Before you landed a permanent spot at the Carnival Of horrors, isn't touring is what your group did primarily?
Pogo: When we started, after our
first bout of bad luck with a man named Pete Kolumchiuck....essentially
we were touring looking for a home....did not plan to find one in our
first year of touring.
HS: Would you like to comment on Pete, or would you rather not for the sake of reputation?
Pogo: Personally, I believe he has
created his own reputation as one of the worst business people in the
business. We were not the first, nor the last people that he "screwed
HS: What can guests expect if they go to an attraction where DOD is performing?
Pogo: One hell of a show!
HS: You guys aren't just a bunch of
actors, hiding in a corner saying "boo!", give us a brief description
of what kind of madness one can expect from a DOD performance.
Pogo: Getting into your head,
ripping out your fears, and serving them on a plate for you to
eat...and on the other end of the attraction making you laugh till you
p*ss youself, and somewhere else making you so disgusted you will want
to throw up that hot dog you just ate!
HS: One fear that alot of people
have, is a phobia of clowns, how do you like to capitalize on their
fears when they're scared of clowns?
Pogo: Those people are fun...makes
my job a lot easier and more fun....you can be talking about the
ingredients in pudding and they will still be frightened in tears.
HS: In wrapping up, where can we find out where DOD is going to be performing this year?
Pogo: Hopefully on our website, or in our Yahoo group "demons of darkness" [*]