After a 5-year break, Jack the Clown is coming back to Halloween Horror Nights to bring his dark, twisted, sadistic ways for the event’s 25th year.
…and rightfully so.
For many, Jack the Clown is considered to be the “Mickey Mouse” of Horror Nights; the official mascot of horror and an icon that has come to represent the essence of the event. But many are unfamiliar with who exactly Jack is.
Thanks to The Walking Dead, Halloween Horror Nights has gained hoards of new fans, shooting the event’s popularity into another realm during the past 3 years. But many of these new fans are unaware of the event’s history and past icons, including Jack.
So, who exactly is Jack? Nothing is really officially “official” about his past, but there is a general idea based on all his appearances at the event:
Jack the Clown was born Jack Schmidt. He was raised in a poor and highly abusive family, so he decided to run away and join the circus. He lived his life as a clown in Dr. Oddfellow’s Carnival of Thrills. Unfortunately, as good of a clown as Jack was – he was also very disturbed, very strange, and very evil.
Child abductions began to occur in the areas the carnival passed through. With the FBI in hot pursuit, Jack revealed his secret and showed Oddfellow what he had done. After Oddfellow saw the bodies of the missing children, he knew he couldn’t afford to have Jack the Clown tied to his traveling circus and had him killed. Jack’s body, along with those of his victims, ended up stuffed in a box in the House of Horrors exhibit.
Years later, Oddfellow sold his carnival and all the exhibits were distributed, including the box that contained Jack. While a documentary was being filmed, showcasing the great “Dark Rides of America,” a cameraman stumbled upon Jack’s box. Intrigued, he began to turn the crank and after a few turns, Jack’s body popped out of the box.
Now back from the dead, Jack the Clown was on a mission to get revenge on Dr. Oddfellow, who he thought was a friend before Jack was betrayed. After terrorizing Halloween Horror Nights, Jack was captured and committed to Shady Brook Asylum. Although he was kept away from the other inmates, his presence affected the rest of the Asylum. After some time, a riot eventually broke out and the inmates decided to leave Jack in charge. When Jack discovered that his old friend Dr. Oddfellow was alive, he left Shady Brook to get his revenge. Jack stalked Oddfellow until he finally got his vengeance.
During this time, Jack realized that he wanted to be the ringmaster of his own carnival and spent years searching for the perfect sideshows for his Carnival of Carnage. After a successful turn as Ringmaster, Jack once again returned to Horror Nights, summoned in the form of Chaos, serving as a minion to the ultimate icon, Fear.
So what exactly is Jack’s importance to Halloween Horror Nights?
Most obviously, he was the event’s very first original icon. He paved the way for Horror Nights to grow into much more than just a pretty poster and random haunted houses. Looking for a way to evolve the event, Universal Creative surveyed guests about their fears. Unsurprisingly, clowns was a top answer. So then Creative went to the drawing board and developed this classic icon of Halloween Horror Nights. The introduction of Jack during Horror Nights 10 also marked the introduction of storytelling. Houses, zones, and in some cases shows, all tied in with the theme and icon of each year.
Jack’s importance to the event was cemented after Horror Nights 11.
Originally, the eleventh event was supposed to feature a different character, Eddie Sawyer, a more “realistic” sadistic killer based on horror movies. However, due to the 9/11 attacks, the event’s blood and violence was toned down, and Eddie was replaced by Jack as the official icon of the event. Since promotional material still featured Eddie, he became Jack’s brother.
Over the years, Jack had many more appearances at the event in some way, shape, or form. For Horror Nights 14, Jack was featured in an ode to the icons in Horror Night Nightmares, which also featured past icons the Caretaker and the Director, while also featuring his brother Eddie. During Horror Nights 15, he was featured in an unofficial “maze” called Rat Run, which was set up in the Boneyard (now Music Plaza) and had guests find their way around while Jack was ridiculing them from a stand above them. For the event’s Sweet 16, Jack was one of 4 icons to host the event (along with the Caretaker, the Director, and the Storyteller) and he was also used in a new twist to Horror Nights’ house staple PsychoScareapy.
Jack returned as the face of the event during Horror Nights’ 17th year, the Carnival of Carnage. Here, Jack served as the Ringmaster as he took his evil carnival “on the road” to Horror Nights. This year was also particular as the first time that Universal really implemented the use of Intellectual Properties (I.P.’s) with Jason, Freddy Krueger, and Leatherface being featured in their own respective houses as well as in marketing material.
Now as the 25th year of Halloween Horror Nights approaches, we have learned that Jack is back, and he is looking darker and grittier than ever before. His return also promises to bring the biggest event yet, with 9 houses and the most scareactors ever seen on the streets. Jack is ready to wreck havoc on the event he helped shape and it should be one for the record books. We can only wait and see what evil fun Jack the Clown has in store for us at Halloween Horror Nights 25!
Events Hosted: X, XI, Sweet 16, Carnival of Carnage.
Event Appearances: Anxiety in 3D (HHN X), Horror Nights Nightmares (HHN XIV), Rat Run (HHN XV), PsychoScareapy: Maximum Madness (HHN: Sweet 16), The Arrival (HHN: Sweet 16), Jack’s Carnival of Carnage (HHN 17), Jack’s Funhouse in Clown-O-Vision (HHN 17), Shadows of the Past (HHN XIX), Fear Revealed (HHN XX), Horror Nights: The Hallow’d Past (HHN XX), The Cabin in the Woods (HHN XXIII), Giggles & Gore Inc. (HHN XXIV).