"Every day was Halloween for Jack Schmidt..."
"You know that old Halloween story about putting razor blades in apples? Well that wasn't urban legend. That was Jack."
-2007 Terror Tram
Jack Schmidt is a fictional character created by the Universal Studios design team as an icon for Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights. He was introduced as the first original icon (but certainly not the first icon in general, as the Classic Monsters, the Cryptkeeper, and Imhotep came before him) for the event during its tenth year, and became so popular that he has been used several more times over the years.
He has appeared in Orlando, Hollywood, and Singapore, making him and The Director the only two icons to have appeared in three of the four Universal Studios parks to feature Halloween Horror Nights events.
- 1 Appearance
- 2 Personality
- 3 Backstory
- 4 Appearances at Halloween Horror Nights
- 5 Domains
- 6 Appearances at Halloween Horror Nights Orlando
- 7 Appearances at Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood
- 8 Appearances at Halloween Horror Nights Singapore
- 9 Quotes
- 10 Pictures
- 11 Trivia
Jack's appearance is a twisted variation on the traditional garish clown getup, most resembling a Grotesque Whiteface Clown . His hair is wild and bright-orange red, and his face is smeared with green and white makeup. Evil, yellow eyes glare out of dark sockets, and he grins with a green-rimmed mouth of yellowed, protruding teeth under a big red nose. His fingernails are long and dirty, and his polka-dotted costume is stained with blood. In PsychoScareapy: Maximum Madness, he was in a strait jacket, with most of his make-up washed off, a beard, and several cuts on his face. In the Carnival of Carnage onwards, his signature polka dot costume was replaced with a red leather coat. With his reappearance at Halloween Horror Nights 25, he retains the leather red coat look, but has traded the classic ringmaster coat for something more akin to a sort of straitjacket. He also seems to have aged, gaining a more weathered look, possibly a side effect of his transformation into the Herald of Chaos during Halloween Horror Nights: Twenty Years of Fear.
Aside from the fact that he is a killer clown, Jack is also a vain glory hound with a huge ego. He considers himself a star performer, and is as quick to throw out a few puns to get as many laughs as he does screams. He loves to be the center of attention and is jealous of anyone who steals the spotlight: it drives him to homicide when he thinks someone is trying to upstage him. He does show some restraint, such as during a performance (or at least until he can improvise the death of the upstart into the act later). He does show some admiration for the work of others however, such as his little brother Eddie Schmidt (his first audience), to whom he sent funds to help restart his murder-for-profit business, RUN and other killers who have a flair for the theatrical. He seems to have little to no respect for "Bio-Exorcist" Beetlejuice, as he says, "I wipe my ass with his striped suit!" or "His ass is on the other side of the park!" He has a romantic side when it comes to Chance, his female clown partner whose appearance and personality was inspired by Batman villain, Harley Quinn.
Halloween Horror Nights Orlando
Jack the Clown was the first original icon with an etailed backstory, and his success prompted the creation of more icons for future events.
Clowns Are Always Laughing on the Outside...
Born in Shady Brook Rest Home and Sanitarium along with his brother Eddie in the late 1800's, John "Jack" Schmidt was a carnival performer who loved to entertain children with his practical pranks and prat-falls during his stint with Dr. Oddfellow’s Carnival Of Thrills. He had escaped a poor and highly abusive family years earlier to "run away and join the circus", leaving behind his younger brother, Eddie. But underneath the greasepaint and clown nose, he was a twisted murderer. He was wanted for the abduction and disappearance of several small children throughout the Southern United States. Police officials and the F.B.I. soon caught on that the missing children followed a pattern that led them closer and closer to the traveling freak show.
On Halloween of 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.
Somewhere along the way, Adaru chose him as one of his Heralds.
Not Afraid of the Dark?
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 clanky musical melody played out as the host turned it. Suddenly, however, the music stopped and wouldn't start again when he continued to rotate it. The camera light suddenly died, and 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 retellings 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.
In 2000, Universal Studios bought the old props from the old House of Horrors, including what was sold as the box that Jack was trapped in for so many years. A Universal employee went to test the legend, and Jack was unleashed on the unsuspecting Halloween Horror Nights guests for the first (but certainly not the last) time.
Taking over Again
Originally Fear chose his brother Eddie was to helm Halloween Horror Nights, but that all changed when 9/11 happened. Having a rare bout of compassion, Adaru decided that Eddie in that particular year would be too tasteless even for him given the events that happened elsewhere, so he once again instructed Jack to take over the event yet again. Jack also softened quite much (probably finding the 9/11 attacks to be lacking in humor or merriment) and had the event lighter than his previous year.
Horror Nights Nightmares
In 2004, Universal decided to make a movie featuring all of the Halloween Horror Nights icons called Horror Nights Nightmares. However, the set and production started to go awry when the icons (including Jack) went loose and started killing all of the crew.
In the land of Terra Cruentus, there was a portal that was filled with relics called Maldaken Pass which would transport guests into the theme park where Jack sprung loose before. Jack would host a chain link maze called the Rat Run where he would heckle guests as they tried to make their way through.
The Loony Bin
The Lord of Darkness resurrected Jack and his icons to take place in the birthday celebration. The now mortal Jack was soon caught by the authorities and committed to the place of his birth, Shady Brook Asylum, 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.
Vengeance at Long Last
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 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, and plenty of fresh victims. After nearly a year of preparation, Ringmaster Jack opened his Carnival of Carnage in Orlando, Florida.
In 2010, Jack, along with the other past icons, has became one of the five minions of Fear himself. His desire to wreak havoc earned him the title of "Chaos".
On Halloween of 2014, the last day of Halloween Horror Nights 24, a package was sent out by Universal to various media outfits, which contained a bloodspotted letter, closed with a wax seal marked with an "S". Inside the letter was a small flashdrive, marked with a white thumbprint and sealed over a strand of orange hair. On the flashdrive was a short clip thanking fans for attending that year's event while showing various terrifying moments from the houses and scarezones from that year. Near the end of the clip, the screen begins to flash with images of Jack laughing while a broken down music box plays Pop Goes The Weasel in the background. In May of 2015, the official Horror Nights Twitter account release a tweet simply saying "May 19th...;)". On May 19th, 2015, a video was released by Universal on YouTube showing a darkened corridor, with a dark figure walking toward the camera. As the figure gets closer, an eerie music box tune begins to play Pop Goes The Weasel, and Jack enters into the light, looking much older and wearing a new Ringmaster's outfit. After a few short moments of a black screen, Jack pops up in front of the camera and snarls, "Did you miss me?" before smiling at the viewer, and showing the official logo for the 25th year, revealing that Jack is coming back.
Someone brought Jack and some of the other characters out of the lantern
Seemingly drunk with power after his transformation into a Herald, Jack decided he wanted his spotlight back from his former master, Fear, and successfully created a sort of cult around himself, which he called "Jack's Maniacs". With his ego in full swing, he committed himself to proving he was better than Fear, believing himself to be Horror Nights incarnate, and decided to prove that to everyone by expanding and improving on his Carnival of Carnage, making it more terrifying than ever. After the conclusion of the event, it was revealed Jack and Chance were detained by authorities, with Jack sealed away back into his box, and Chance being committed to Shady Brook Asylum. It is currently unknown what became of Jack's Box after Chance broke out of Shady Brook.
During Halloween Horror Nights 4 (Singapore), he was one of the many characters in Jonah Goodwill’s democracy. At Halloween Horror Nights 6 (Singapore), he was a part of Lady Death’s Festival where he once again brought his circus.
Appearances at Halloween Horror Nights
His first appearance was at Halloween Horror Nights X, as the icon and overall presence in the park and haunted houses, as well as his own show called Jacked Up. He returned several times after this event. For Halloween Horror Nights XI, he replaced his brother Eddie when he was deemed too gory for a post-9/11 event.
He appeared alongside The Caretaker, The Director, and Eddie in the Halloween Horror Nights XIV house Horror Nights Nightmares, and also appeared as the MC of Rat Run during Halloween Horror Nights: Tales of Terror. He was once again an icon during Halloween Horror Nights: Sweet 16 along with the other three returning icons to rule over the event, and appeared in the haunted house, PsychoScareapy: Maximum Madness.
His backstory was added to for the seventeenth year. In Halloween Horror Nights: Carnival of Carnage, he became the ringmaster of a traveling carnival after murdering Oddfellow. He took the doctor's "Cane of Souls" and made the carnival his own Carnival of Carnage. Jack was seen yet again on the last weekend of Halloween Horror Nights: Ripped from the Silver Screen in the scarezone Shadows from the Past. He, along with all the other icons, appeared in the XX event at the scarezone, Fear Revealed.
In 2014, Jack appeared in Singapore as the owner of his house, Jack's 3-Dementia, plus a new show: Jack's Nightmare Circus; with Chance once again as his partner. In 2015 he returned to the event as the icon once more and appeared in the house Jack Presents: 25 Years of Monsters & Mayhem, the scarezone ICONS: HHN, and the show The Carnage Returns.
"You ready to get jacked up? Hey, you guys who aren't cheering in the back! If you aren't here to have fun, then get the hell out!!"
- -Ringmaster Jack
Thanks to a deal with New Line Cinema , Universal Studios was able to use classic slashers for Halloween Horror Nights: Carnival of Carnage. Jack's pride and joy, the Clown Prince of Pain spared no expense to bring his murderous vision to life. As the Main Attractions, Jack enlisted three of the most famous slashers in movie history, as well as a collection of freaks, mutants and loonies who shared his twisted dream.
Attractions include: Main Ringers: A collection of maniacal madmen never before seen before a live, and still living, audience!
- Freddy "the Springwood Slasher" Krueger- "The Sensational Slasher", and star of the A Nightmare on Elm Street series, a sadistic sandman with a wit to match his new harlequin boss, this burnt-alive soul uses his finger-knife glove to kill his victims through their dreams. He also promotes a new cure for insomnia: Sleepwell, so effective, you may never wake up again!
- Thomas Brown "Leatherface" Hewitt- "The Chainsaw Wizard", has an eye for good cuts of meat, especially if it walks and talks! Born with a skin deformity, this 'good (or is that bad) ol' boy' from Texas likes to make masks from the faces of his victims. He and his demented family also have their own taste in home decorating: their furniture is made from human body parts! This star of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre also helped organize the Chainsaw Drill Team with the sheriff of his hometown of Blair, Sheriff Hoyt.
- Jason Voorhees- "The Masked Master of the Machete" hails from Crystal Lake in Blairstown NJ, and with almost as many movie sequels as kills, the deformed, hockey-mask wearing killer from the Friday the 13th series has an impressive rap sheet. Tormented as a child, this indestructible man, err, thing of few words can more than take a lickin' and keep on tickin', mostly so that he can stop the tickin' in others, violently.
Other Stars include:
- Mary Shaw- and her 101 Dolls. A master ventriloquist from the small town of Raven's Fair, New York, she entertained patrons with her 101 "children", her dummies, until she was murdered by a vengeful mob as revenge for her supposed role in the disappearance of a rich boy who had heckled her during a performance. But death and a missing tongue couldn't keep this star down! Just make sure refrain from screaming in her presence: She's looking for a replacement tongue!
- The Thing- What is it? a demon from hell? A government experiment gone wrong? Or maybe something a little more out of this world? Found in the ruins of an outpost in the frigid reaches of Antarctica, the Thing has no definite shape. Watch as it changes forms, from human faces to dog heads, to spider legs to tentacles, this creature can even perfectly mimic man and beast alike! But don't worry, its container is probably too strong for it to escape anyway...
Appearances at Halloween Horror Nights Orlando
- Jacked Up (2000)
- The Fearhouse (2000)
- Halloween Horror Nights XI (2001)
- Horror Nights Nightmares (2004)
- PsychoScareapy: Maximum Madness (2006)
- Horror Comes Home (2006)
- The Arrival (2006)
- Sweet 16: The Director's Cut (2006)
- Jack's Carnival of Carnage (2007)
- Jack's Funhouse in Clown-O-Vision (2007)
- Horror Nights: The Hallow'd Past (2010)
- Fear Revealed (2010)
- The Cabin in the Woods (2013) (Statue)
- Jack Presents: 25 Years of Monsters & Mayhem (2015)
- The Carnage Returns (2015)
- HHN Media 25 (2015)
- Halloween Horror Nights Tribute Store (2020) (Statue)
Appearances at Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood
Appearances at Halloween Horror Nights Singapore
- "It's time to think outside the box!"
- "You think you know me? You don't know Jack!"
- "Why the long faces? You seem... afraid of me. Hahaha... The moon's afraid of me!"
- "I get a grin again!"
- "Your mama's so fat... I made beef jerky outta her!"
- "Hey there friend, now don't you frown, it's time to die for Jack the Clown!" (The Arrival show)
- "Here's a riddle for ya, see if you can guess the punchline! What's the difference between a scream and a shriek? A longer blade! Ahahahaha!"
- "Jack is BACK! And this time, I'm in charge!"
- "Sorry my good people, I'm a little late. I was babysitting Brittany (Spears)'s children, I'm sorry..." (Halloween Horror Nights: Carnival of Carnage Opening Ceremony)
- Jack's Interruptions on the Halloween Horror Nights: Carnival of Carnage website:
- "Featuring a group of performers that you have never witnessed before in the most disturbing troupe! And they have never been seen in front of a live audience... at least not one currently living!" (Jack's Carnival of Carnage show)
- (on Beetlejuice) "Beetlejuice?! His ass is on the other side of the park!" (Jack's Carnival of Carnage show)
- (to a victim) "Oh c'mon, it won't kill ya to pick a card! I lied! Hahahahahaha!" (Jack's Carnival of Carnage show)
- "Everyone loves a good clown! Except for me, because they freak the hell out of me! Hahahaha!" (Jack's Carnival of Carnage show)
- "Look, he's a real white boy now! Ta-da! Couldn't you just die laughing?" (Jack's Carnival of Carnage show)
- "What do you guys think? I don't know if he looks more like a clown or like Michael Jackson. You tell me!" (Jack's Carnival of Carnage show)
- "C'mon, you're just wasting these people's time, they just wanna get drunk here. Well I'm right, right?" (Jack's Carnival of Carnage show)
- "Oh my, looks like I'm fresh out of volunteers! So Dr. Pennetti will do! Sorry Doc, but the show must go on! And remember: Never try to rub another man's rhubarb! Let's see if he can escape. Oh, did I forget to mention? We're gonna burn him alive! Burn baby, burn! You guys sing along with me: The Doc, the Doc, the Doc is on fire...!" (Jack's Carnival of Carnage show)
- "I said hello, kids! It's me, Jack, your old pal, here for my last hurrah. Me and my fellow Icons, we're coming together to bring you Fear! Are you all ready to be scared? Say 'Hell yeah, Jack!' Well kids, I now present to you Halloween Horror Nights 20! Fear shall be revealed! Hahahaha!!! Well, goodbye kids! You and you and you... Four of you will survive tonight. Hahahaha! Oooh, there's gonna be job openings tomorrow! Ahahahaha...!" (Halloween Horror Nights: Twenty Years of Fear press interview)
- "Always remember that I am the thing that goes bump in the night. I am the Boogeyman, I am Horror Nights!" ([Carnage Returns|The Carnage Returns], Halloween Horror Nights 25)
- "Those of you who don't know Jack... where the hell were you over the past month?" (The Carnage Returns, final show)
- "Who were you expecting, Lady Luck?" (The Carnage Returns)
- "Listen pal. your opinions don't mean Jack!" (The Carnage Returns)
- "Hey, hey, I'm gonna choke the shit outta you." (The Carnage Returns)
- "Everyone say hello, Dicktroll!" (The Carnage Returns)
- "Somebody should have told him to keep all arms, feet, and legs inside the ride at all times." (The Carnage Returns)
- "Now, get the hell out." (The Carnage Returns)
- "Jack's back!" (Jack's Recurring Nightmare Circus)
- "Now, that's what I call a 'headliner'." (Jack's Recurring Nightmare Circus)
- "HA! Photobombed!" (Jack's Recurring Nightmare Circus)
- (to Trick) "She's my favorite Trick, isn't she a Treat?" (Jack's Recurring Nightmare Circus)
- He was inspired by examples of coulrophobia from both real life and fiction, most notably of urban legends of Phantom Clowns who in the early 80's were supposed clowns or men dressed partially like clowns in vans attempting to lure and abduct children. Child killer/party clown John Wayne Gacy also seems to be a major inspiration. The part of his backstory where his corpse was found in a carnival attraction by a film crew may have been inspired by the real-life story of wild west train robber Elmer McCurdy, who's mummified corpse was used by his undertaker as an attraction for years, before being used in a number of carnival attractions, until he was finally discovered by the crew of The Six Million Dollar Man in 1976 in the haunted house at the Nu-Pike Amusement Park in Long Beach, California.
- In 2007, Jack was originally supposed to have a hat. Concept of it can be seen here.
- In PsychoScareapy: Echoes of Shadybrook, he makes two cameos, one written in a schedule under the name Jack C. Schmidt and another that is activated by a big red button pushed by guests. The C could stand for clown, as his official name is Jack "The Clown" Schmidt.
- In 2012, it was revealed that Jack the Clown was a part of The Morphan Legion, most likely due to his playful manner.
- Jack is the very first original icon.
- Jack was born from surveys that were put out in order to find out many guests' frights and phobias, and Clowns was mentioned multiple times.
- Jack The Clown had his own icon video segment alongside the other icons in the HHN 16 Icon Video on the Halloween Horror Nights: Sweet 16 Behind the Screams section of the page.
- Jack is most often portrayed by actor James Keaton. Other personalities to have portrayed Jack include WWE ring announcer Mike Rome (2015) and former HHN Creative Director Michael Aiello (2000).
|Halloween Horror Nights X|
|Characters: Jack the Clown (Event Icon) • Dr. Oddfellow|
|Haunted Houses: Anxiety in 3-D • Total Chaos • The Fearhouse • Universal Classic Monster Mania • Dark Torment|
|Scarezones: Apocalypse Island • Clown Attack • The Gauntlet • Midway of Dr. Morose|
|Shows: Festival of the Dead Parade • Jacked Up • Bill & Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure|
|Haunted Attractions: Bloody Waters • Nightmare Creatures II|
|Halloween Horror Nights XI|
|Characters: Jack the Clown (Event Icon) • Eddie Schmidt (Scrapped Icon)|
|Haunted Houses: The Mummy Returns: The Curse Continues • Pitch Black • Run • Scary Tales • Superstitions|
|Scarezones: Midway of the Bizarre • Nightmare Alley • The Unknown|
|Shows: Boogeymen • Bill & Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure • Dangerous D'Illusions • Nightmares on Parade|
|Other Entertainment: The Ooze Zone|
|Halloween Horror Nights XIV|
|Characters: The Asylum Patient (Event Icon) • Eddie Schmidt • Jack the Clown • The Caretaker • The Director • Gunter Karl Dietze • Jeffrey Dietze • Robert L. Strickland|
|Haunted Houses: Castle Vampyr • Deadtropolis • Disorientorium • Ghost Town • Horror Nights Nightmares • Hellgate Prison • Horror in Wax|
|Scarezones: Field of Screams • Fright Yard • Midway of the Bizarre • Point of Evil|
|Shows: Bill & Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure • Festival of the Dead Parade|