The spooky season doesn't start at the beginning of October for me. Instead, the season really starts somewhere in August or September. This is because important announcements are made during this month. Announcements about one of the most creative Halloween attractions in Florida: Universal Studio's Halloween Horror Nights.
Halloween Horror Nights, or HHN as it will be known for the rest of the article, has always been a fascination of mine. Since I was about 8, I would see commercials for it on TV and it always looked cool. But what really attracted me to HHN were the stories. Since at least HHN X in 2000, HHN has had a central icon, a being sculpted especially for the park to bring on the horror. The stories have ranged from a demented movie director, an otherworldly undertaker, a sinister storyteller, and today's fear fueled figure of fright. Think you know fear? You don't know Jack.
|"Bozo, eat your heart out. Or let me do it for you!"|
Jack the Clown (weird how all 3 Faces of Halloween Rabbi and I have talked about are all named Jack) is, to my knowledge, the very first original figurehead for HHN. Before Jack appeared, the only mascot HHN had was the Crypt Keeper from Tales from the Crypt. For the new millennium, the creative team for the holiday event decided to crank the fear up a few notches.
Jack has a long, interesting, and creative backstory to him... which I will not be going into on this blog. If you're interested, you can find his whole story and profile right here. In a nutshell, he's a clown who worked for a traveling carnival that wasn't as innocent as it appeared to be. He's a serial killer, a psychopath, and loves to be in the spotlight. He's definitely a bombastic character. So, why do I consider him to be the face of the Dark Side of Halloween?
To start, he's one of the first scary horror icons I was really aware of. I was 8 when he first showed his painted face on TV and he freaked me out. Before I even really came to know Freddy or Jason, I knew Jack was out there scaring the living crap out of people. And he definitely left an impression on me.
Furthermore, where Jack Skellington symbolizes the fun that comes with being scared, Jack the Clown isn't in the fun business. He doesn't want laughs, he wants screams. He wants to make you suffer. This clown is all about the danger. Those moments where you swear there's a monster coming to eat you. Those moments where you're terrified that you're the next on a killer's list of victims. He loves to watch people get tortured by terror and he loves causing pain. This is one guy who isn't just clowning around.
Halloween isn't just about the fun of being scared. It's about being scared, period. It's about watching scary movies at the edge of your seat, begging the character not to open that door. It's about the chills that run up your spine when you feel like you're being stalked. It's about horror that is sometimes loud, crude, and in your face. And Jack the Clown has that down to a T. So, another Halloween comes to a close. Just remember that not all clowns are here to delight at children's parties...