|BMR Magazine Cover Flashbacks
|For interview with Bryan
Hogue aka Jack Shadow
of Chiller Night Theater,
For interview with Liz
Butcher, click here
|Interview with Bryan Hogue aka
Jack Shadow of Chiller Night
By AL J. Vermette
Bryan Hogue has had a love for the horror
genre since childhood, and it is with that love that drives him to create such wonderful and
entertaining TV shows. He is the man behind Jack Shadow, a horror host personality for Chiller
Night Theater, an internet-based TV series as well as the host of Chiller Chat, another one of
Bryan's creations. As Jack Shadow, Bryan also hosts a live broadcast called Friday Night Frights
that is shown right on Facebook along with a live pre-show broadcast each Saturday night at 8:
00 that acts as an intro before Chiller Night Theater begins. For a year now, I have been a fan of
Bryan's shows and take part each week in the Saturday Pre-show events on Facebook as I
interact with Bryan and other members of the fan group. It is a pleasure to have you, Bryan, a
part of our 20th Anniversary issue, and thank you for letting us into your world.
AL: At what age did you first become interested in horror and science fiction?
Bryan: First of all Al, I want to thank you for inviting me to be interviewed for your 20th Anniversary Issue of
Blood Moon Rising Magazine! It’s an honor and I appreciate you thinking of me. As far as me being first
interested in horror and science fiction? It goes back as far as my memory can stretch. As a small kid, I
remember watching the Universal Monster movies and having toys of Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolfman,
the Creature From The Black Lagoon, as well as King Kong and Godzilla.
AL: Who or what was your inspiration in your decision to become a Horror Host?
Bryan: I was inspired to be a horror host by watching Bill “Chilly Billy” Cardille every Saturday night. Chilly
hosted “Chiller Theater”, a program that aired out of Pittsburgh’s WPXI. My family never missed it!
AL: How did your alter ego Jack Shadow come to be?
Bryan: The character originated in one of my haunted houses. The
first one I opened was in 2006 and I was determined to have a memo-
rable character in the first room to greet the guests, perform a spooky
speech and usher them into the horrors beyond. Another actor had
committed to play the part but got nervous due to “too much pressure”
of lengthy dialog and the theatrics. That actor bailed out a week be-
fore we opened. Since I had written the speech, I reluctantly took on
the role of the character. I say reluctantly because I was the owner/
operator of the attraction and I hadn’t planned on performing in the
The character was a huge hit with patrons and I found that I really
enjoyed playing Jack Shadow. I was approached by an individual
about a year later who wanted to launch a hosted horror show. My intent was to produce it and stay on the
discreet end of the camera. I pitched the idea to our local television station and they liked the idea. They
had asked if Jack Shadow would host the program since several of the council members had been
through the haunted house and had enjoyed the character. I hate to say this, but I really didn’t want to do it
at first because getting into the costume is kind of a pain, but I later agreed and that’s how I got into the
hosted horror business. The individual who had wanted to do a show originally became my co-host for a
while prior to me re-launching the show in 2015 under its current title, Chiller Night Theater.
AL: Jack has a cool and debonair facade about him,
what was the process in creating his look, dress, and
Bryan: Thank you! Well, as far as the façade goes, I con-
structed the castle walls by carving Styrofoam panels and
painting them to resemble stone blocks. I had built Jack
Shadow’s chair for a haunted house I did in 2007 prior to
beginning the hosted horror show, so I just decided to incor-
porate it into the show. I studied several personas prior to
my original performance as Jack Shadow in 2006. Through
developing his personality, I decided to go with a Victorian-era ‘gentleman’ look. The top hat, the laced
sleeves, the long overcoat and colorful vest complimented the personality I was going for at the time.
Jack is a story-teller and somewhat of a Carnival Barker for the haunted houses, and later the shows I did.
It seemed like a natural part for him to be the narrator for my Saturday night horror show. I found that to
become that character, I had to abandon my inhabitations, my insecurities and my own personality. I had
never acted before and Jack moves in a very flamboyant manner, with a distinctive flow. I was determined
to make this character stand out and to be special. I developed a slight accent that was not outright
English, not outright American. I wanted a blend to represent a European/American mix of Halloween
tradition. Jack’s voice is done more with tempo and a certain cadence rather than a deliberate emphasis
on a specific accent.
AL: As a fan of your show myself, please tell my readers how you got started doing Chiller Night
Bryan: I appreciate that, Al! Thank you. Well, as stated, I started a version of the show I do now back in
May, 2008. Again, it’s weird for me to think about it, but I wasn’t supposed to be the host at first. I had no
intention of dressing up and playing the part, which is kind of ironic because that was my mind-set for the
haunted house as well. In both cases I was either cornered into the part or talked into it. I had instructed
the workers in the haunted house and on the show not to disclose the identity of Jack Shadow. I actually
turned down an interview with a newspaper in Erie, PA because I would not tell them who played Jack
Shadow. The would-be interviewer said that she could not do the article because she could not accept an
interview from an ‘anonymous’ source. I thanked her for contacting me and for her interest, but declined to
disclose the identity of my alter ego. That was a lot of fun, too! From 2008 until 2015, I never associated
my name with Jack Shadow. If you were to see the credits of my original show, it listed Jack Shadow as
‘Himself’. In 2015, after relaunching the show under its current title, I revealed it to an interviewer for his
online radio show. At that point it was getting difficult to continue with the secret so I figured it was time for
AL: What is your process of picking out a movie to show each week?
Bryan: I try to switch from Black & White to color every week. I also consider the era the movie was
released. I wouldn’t want a string of movies from the 30’s or 40’s every week, so I like to mix it up. One
week it might be a B&W feature from the 40’s and the very next week a colorized movie from the 70’s.
They have to be listed in the Public Domain, of course.
AL: Along with Jack shadow, the host of Chiller Night Theater,
who are some of the other characters in the show?
Bryan: The other characters are Aura, the Queen Witch of Jack’s
realm, the Dark Domain. Aura is played by my wife, Ava Hogue. Ava
actually has ties to Salem Massachusetts, as she is an 8th generation
descendant of Rebecca Nurse, who was executed during the witch
hysteria in 1692. Ava played a witch in my 2007 haunted house
(where we met) and I wanted her to bring that character to the show
when we launched it in May 2008. Ava has been with the show from
the very beginning! Another character is Elle Von Nacht, a vampire
played by Samantha Dehner. The name means “of the night” in
German, I believe. Samantha started with the show in either 2009 or
2010, so she’s been with us off and on for a while. I reached out to her
a few years ago to play Elle again and she happily agreed!
AL: How long does it take to film an episode of Chiller Night Theater each week?
Bryan: At the Stream TV television studio, it takes several hours. The studio is 30-plus miles away from
where I live, then I have to get in and get situated, change, mentally get into character and take it from
there. So I’d say 3 or 4 hours, because I like to tape several episodes in one trip due to the distance to
and from the TV station.
AL: I love your live pre-shows that air on the Chiller Night Theater Facebook page each week
before the show where I am a fan myself. How did that idea come to be and what’s it like
interacting with your fans live.
Bryan: Thank you! I really appreciate hearing that and I always enjoy your interaction during the shows. I
love doing those! The idea came to me a few years ago when I kept asking for some newspaper articles
and local publicity for the show but wasn’t seeing any. I had tried several times to get an interview and get
some coverage, but the local paper is very reluctant to do something unless you’re buying an ad. That’s
the newspaper in Oil City, PA. Oil City has a small population, but they are very stringy about promoting
anything creative or new unless they are getting paid. It’s very frustrating.
Anyway, since I couldn’t get any publicity for the show, I decided a little over two years ago to do a live
announcement on Facebook an hour prior to the Stream TV Chiller Night programming. I simply did the
show on my phone and began to interact with viewers. I then set up two cameras and taped one version
for Facebook and another for YouTube. I didn’t know how to multi-stream at that time, so that was the way
I did the show for a while until I looked into streaming it live on both Facebook and YouTube at once. I then
set up a virtual background on an OBS Studio program and ran the show through a multi-streaming
service. That way I could use my green screen and put a castle in the background with certain effects
I’m basically supposed to be sitting outside of Jack Shadow’s castle (you can see his castle behind me
during the show) during the Pre-Show. If viewers look close enough, Jack is actually in the top window of
the castle moving around. I have torches lit on the castle, have zombies wondering about outside in the
courtyard area behind me, and even had a UFO fly by every once in a while. It’s a lot of fun and I love the
interaction between myself and my viewers. They definitely keep things fun and interesting! Honestly, it’s
an absolute highlight of my week doing the Pre-Show on Saturday nights.
AL: Speaking of live shows, you also do The Friday Night Frights with Jack hosting a live show
before the airing of a movie, what is that like to do?
Bryan: It’s pretty similar to doing a show that I tape at the TV Studio. I got the idea from doing my weekly
Pre-Show. I have always wanted Chiller Night Theater to be a live show, and hopefully someday I can
make that arrangement with the TV station. But for now I thought, if I can do the Pre-Show, why not take
the same technology and stream live Chiller Night Theater episodes? So I put an image of the TV station
Chiller set in the background behind me as I stand on certain markers while performing as Jack Shadow.
As much as I love taping at the Stream TV television studio, I probably love the live Chiller Night Theater
episodes even more. There’s something ‘theatrical’ about doing the live shows as Jack Shadow. There’s
no room for error, dialog-wise – just like doing a play.
Then I add the viewer participation by having Jack gaze into a crystal ball to “read” viewer comments in
real time. It’s a lot of work to prep for the shows, but I love it! I have to have my movie segments pre-
edited with my bumpers and sponsor spots/commercials already put together and organized, ready to go.
I prefer live to pre-taped shows because there’s a certain thrill, a certain ‘pulse’ to it that you don’t get with
the mental safety net of doing a pre-taped episode at the TV station.
AL: Beside Chiller Night Theater where you play
Jack Shadow, you also host as yourself a show call
Chiller Chat, please tell us about that?
Bryan: At the time I was starting up my original hosted
horror show in 2008, I was also toying around with the
idea of a talk show where I would talk to guests about
topics dealing with horror, science fiction and the para-
normal. I have chatted with guests over the years like
Tom Savini, Russ Streiner, John Russo, Bill “Chilly Billy”
Cardille and so many others from movies like Night of The
Living Dead, Dawn of The Dead, Creepshow, etc. I’ve also
interviewed paranormal investigators and have accompanied them ‘in the field’. I’ve had Stan Gordon on
the show a few times, a nationally-known paranormal investigator who has appeared on shows like
Ancient Aliens and Unsolved Mysteries over the years. I thought it would be fun to do an interview show,
so we came up with the name Chiller Chat. It was done in fun at first, just being silly with the name with the
intent on changing it later, but then it just caught on and I found that I wanted to keep the name. When I first
started Chiller Chat, it was presented during episodes of my hosted horror show, in between movie
segments and Jack Shadow skits. Later it became its own 30 minute weekly show on Stream TV.
AL: Who are some of the guests you have had on Chiller Chat?
Bryan: Besides some of the names I mentioned above, I’ve also had George Kosana (Sheriff McClelland
in Night of The Living Dead), Jim Krut (‘Helicopter Zombie’ in Dawn of The Dead), Phil Wilson – animation
artist who worked on Creepshow, Creepshow 2 and the new Creepshow series on the Shudder channel. I’
ve also had Donald F. Glut – author and filmmaker who wrote the novelization of The Empire Strikes Back
and wrote for many television shows over the years, and Bill Eadie (The Masked Superstar & Demolition
AX from the former WWF). I’ve had a lot of paranormal researchers/investigators on the show over the
years, as well as several independent filmmakers.
AL: Who have you not had on Chiller Chat that you would most like to interview and why?
Bryan: Greg Nicotero! He seems like he would be such a down to earth guy to chat with. I have loved his
work since his “Dead” days working with Tom Savini and George Romero and I absolutely love The
Walking Dead and the new Creepshow series that he’s doing on Shudder! Another appeal is that he’s
from Pittsburgh and was involved with the Romero ‘Dead’ movies, like quite a bit of my guests over the
AL: Please tell our readers about the haunted houses you have produced over the years.
Bryan: I’ve done haunted houses at various locations over the years in NW Pennsylvania. My first one
was in 2006, called the House of Terror. In 2007 I added a second haunt (yes, I ran two at once that year)
called the Dark Domain! I took a break after my 2014 Dark Domain until I started up the Harrisville
Haunted House in 2019 (and again this year in 2020). The reason for the break was due to me moving
and beginning a new job in 2015, which made it too difficult to start one up that year and for the next few
years afterwards. My haunts showcase Jack Shadow as the greeter. Just like my hosted horror shows,
Jack sets the mood through his performance before ushering the guests into the horrors beyond. I make
them gory, but nothing Satanic or depicting the devil or stuff like that. I don’t mind making it scary, but I
always like to draw a line between my ‘big, dumb fun’ monsters and stuff that is truly evil. I can do fake
monsters all day and night, but there is a real sinister element to the other stuff and I want no part in it.
My TV shows are the same way... yes, people are getting attacked and killed off by TV monsters, but I still
like to keep a ‘family friendly’ feel to it. I didn’t necessarily start out with that idea, but by the second
Halloween season when my TV show was brand new, I had a lot of families come through the haunted
house with their kids. The parents and kids seemed genuinely thrilled to meet and talk to Jack Shadow
and that kind of made me look at things through a different lens. I wanted my shows and haunts to be
something that parents could experience with their kids. It would scare them, but they could laugh about
how scary it was on the way home!
AL: What is it like owning and operating a haunted house event Halloween season?
Bryan: It’s a great experience! I love seeing people having fun with the fear. There’s an excitement to it,
like going on a roller coaster, or listening to a ghost story at night around a camp fire. There’s a chill you
get with those experiences, but in the end you know it’s all in fun and I like being part of who and what
brings that to life for many people.
AL: And lastly Bryan, where and at what time can my readers tune in to find Chiller Night
Bryan: They can watch Chiller Night Theater every Saturday night on Stream TV at 9 PM (ET) at www.
streammedia.tv by either watching it, streaming on that site, or by connecting to Stream TV’s Roku
channel. You can also catch episodes of it on the Chiller Night Theater YouTube channel. You can also
catch Chiller Chat on Stream TV every Saturday night at 11 PM (ET), and of course it’s on the YouTube
channel as well. Folks can also join me every Saturday night for my Chiller Night LIVE Pre-Show! This
show streams online on the Chiller Night Theater Facebook page and the Chiller Night Theater YouTube
channel Saturdays at 8 PM (ET). For more info about the shows, they can always visit www.
chillernighttheater.com. Al, this was a lot of fun and I want to thank you for the invitation for this interview!
Thanks for having me in your 20th Anniversary Issue of Blood Moon Rising Magazine! It was a real