JACK THE CLOWN
With Universal Orlando expanded, and a new name to boot (briefly called Universal Studios Escape, but changed to Universal Orlando Resort), Halloween Horror Nights upped the ante. Ushering in a new era for the event, was Jack The Clown. While The Crypt Keeper was the first "unofficial" Icon for Halloween Horror Nights, Jack was truly the first palpable Icon.
Jack would be used just as The Crypt Keeper was. His likeness would be plastered all over billboards, TV commercials, merchandise, and even the park maps. This time though, Jack would be "integrated" into the event. His presence would be felt everywhere. He also had his own detailed backstory. Unlike The Crypt Keeper, Jack The Clown was all original.
Side note: this was the first year that us here at HHN Legacy, attended Halloween Horror Nights. We've been going back for screams every year since then.
ANXIETY IN 3-D
UNIVERSAL CLASSIC MONSTER MANIA
- Location: Jaws
NIGHTMARE CREATURES II
- Location: Kongfrontation
BILL & TED'S EXCELLENT HALLOWEEN ADVENTURE
FESTIVAL OF THE DEAD PARADE
- NAME: JACK SCHMIDT
- OTHER ALIASES: CHAOS, THE RINGMASTER, THE CLOWN PRINCE OF BLOOD
On Halloween 1920, the police were closing in on the Clown killer. Fearing capture, Jack revealed his sinister secret to Dr. Oddfellow in the hopes of possible concealment. The doctor, himself wanted by the police for the accidental death of several patrons in a freak circus accident years earlier under a different name, was not sympathetic to Jack’s cause. He quickly admonished him for potentially bringing the police down upon the entire band of miscreants. He asked Jack to show him what he had done with the bodies of the children. Jack revealed the bodies of thirteen children hidden in the confines of three small trunks that were kept in his traveling coach. Fearing the worst, Dr. Oddfellow had Jack murdered and his body hidden within the traveling carnival's House of Horrors as an exhibit, along with the bodies of the children. Years later, the Carnival was sold by Dr. Oddfellow, and the various dark rides and exhibits were split and sent to various owners around the states, including the House of Horrors and its grisly secret.
Sixty years later, in the Fall of 1980, a television crew from the BBC was documenting the great Dark Rides of America. They journeyed throughout the eastern seaboard looking for forgotten carnival rides and attractions and stumbled upon the House of Horrors as it sat abandoned in a Louisiana junkyard. The crew asked permission to film the interior, and pried open the doors of the forgotten relic to step inside. The smell of decay was overpowering as the bright camera light illuminated the darkened corridors. Moving past the faded walls and hanging fabric, the smell began to increase. The cameraman retched as he panned his camera towards a series of trunks. Behind the trunks was a large wooden box stenciled like a children's toy. One letter filled each side of the box, J-A-C-K. The cameraman steadied his camera as the host of the show investigated the box. He found a large crank on the side of the box and turned it. It started to move with some resistance, but after a few twists, it freely moved in a clockwise rotation.
A clunky musical melody played out as the host turned it. Suddenly, however, the Music stopped and wouldn't start again with his continued rotations. The camera light suddenly died, and then the crank rotated a few spins on its own. The top of the box flew open and a form sprung out. Affixed to a giant spring was the decomposing body of Jack Schmidt. After a thorough police investigation, the bodies of the thirteen children as well as the body of Jack were shipped to the local Louisiana coroner's office for further examination. Around midnight on Halloween, the van carrying the body and box of Jack disappeared into the Louisiana swamp in a freak accident. Later that week, the bodies of the BBC cameraman and host were found as the victims of a grisly and unsolved murder. Throughout the following years, urban legend retelling of the tale started, with a corresponding story about the decomposing body of Jack killing again. The legend states that Jack is searching for Dr. Oddfellow, in a thirst for vengeance. The legend also states that Jack will reward anyone who releases him from his toy tomb by turning the crank with a very special reward.
The now mortal, Jack was soon caught by the authorities and committed to the Shady Brook Asylum For The Criminally Insane, an institution that had suffered an inmate escape a few years earlier. Though often isolated in the Maximum Security Ward, Jack's mere presence seemed to have an adverse affect on the unstable population, who started emulating the crazed clown, much to the staff's dismay. Eventually, the inmates started a mass riot, gruesomely tortured the hospital staff, and put Jack in charge of the facility. During the chaos, Jack found records that his former boss and murderer, Dr Oddfellow, was still alive (but presumably now a very old man since he had been on the job since the 1920s) and running a small traveling carnival.
Jack left Shady Brook, traveling to the depravity of Dr. Oddfellow's Dark Carnival and Emporium. In the dark of night, Jack stalked into the tents and took his long-overdue vengeance. When he emerged, he was changed. During incarceration, Jack got a taste of what it was like to run the show, and he desired to be the ringmaster of his own carnival. He dressed himself in the bright red coat and boots of a proper Ringmaster. He also adorned himself with a crude top hat and terrible trinkets of his liking. He completed the transformation with Dr. Oddfellow's prized possession (which also is presumably what kept Oddfellow alive and in motion for 80 years): a silver-headed cane of souls. Putting the Carnival on hiatus, Jack spent the next few months traveling the world to find the right sideshow acts for his deadly Carnival of Carnage. He gathered a plethora of monsters, mutants, madmen and maniacs, many with egos nearly as large as his own, luring them with promises of fame, fortune, show business, and plenty of fresh victims. After nearly a year of preparation, Ringmaster Jack opened his dark Carnival of Carnage in Orlando, Florida.
In 2015, a weathered, older Jack, returned to Halloween Horror Nights. He presented 25 years of terror to unsuspecting victims. Chaos reigned, as he brought with him new faces, and old, to celebrate the anniversary of Halloween Horror Nights.