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30 Years of Fear – A History of Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights: 2000 (Jack Attacks for the First Time)

Welcome back to 30 Years of Fear – A History of Halloween Horror Nights. Frequent Fear Passes are finally on sale, and we got another house announcement! Are you pumped for HHN Icons: Captured? Well, since we’re in an Icon state of mind, there’s never been a better time to look back at Halloween Horror Nights X.

2000 – Halloween Horror Nights X: Not Afraid of the Dark? You Don’t Know Jack

But you will.

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Image source: Palm Beach Post

2000 was the tenth anniversary of Halloween Horror Nights, and Universal went all out in celebration. This included adding more scare zones and debuting the first original Icon, Jack Schmidt, who will be returning to help celebrate the event’s 30th anniversary this year.

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Halloween Horror Nights X ran for 19 nights (the same number of nights as the previous two years) and cost about $44 per person.

The Icon

Introducing Jack Schmidt: a twisted clown straight out of your worst nightmares. Jack worked as a clown (big surprise, right?) at Dr. Oddfellow’s Carnival of Thrills. As the carnival traveled, Jack began to kill children who came to see the show.

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Image source: Universal Orlando

After murdering 13 children, Jack was being hunted by the authorities. He confided in Dr. Oddfellow, who proved to be less than sympathetic. He wasn’t bothered by the murders, being accidentally responsible for several himself. Dr. Oddfellow was more concerned with getting caught. Instead, he had Jack killed and hid his body along with the bodies of the children.

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Image source: Florida Today

Pictured above, Jack holds the Jack-in-the-Box in which his corpse was stored. It was discovered by a film crew exploring the abandoned carnival. During transport, Jack’s body was lost in a mysterious accident.

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Universal, looking for decorations for Halloween Horror Nights, purchased props from the carnival, including the box that had served as Jack’s coffin. It was supposedly empty; however, after an employee turned the crank, Jack appeared. Lucky (or unlucky, I guess) journalists and media received custom replicas of Jack’s box as pictured above.

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Image source: Universal Orlando

Loose on the streets of Universal Studios Florida, Jack took over the event, and the rest was history.

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Image source: Tampa Bay Times

Pictured above is a chilling review from the Tampa Bay Times, wherein the reporters are warned about Jack’s unusual tastes.

The Houses

Anxiety in 3-D

After the success of Universal’s Creature Features the previous year, another 3-D house made the lineup. Anxiety shared Soundstage 22 with Chaos, with the layouts for each house pictured below.

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Guests entered a twisted 3-D video game designed by Jack himself. Before stepping into his world, they donned 3-D glasses dubbed “Jack eyes” to help see the world of terror within. They also had to traverse the infamous spinning tunnel. While it hasn’t been seen at Halloween Horror Nights since 2016, if you visited one of the three daytime haunts last year, you’ll know the spinning tunnel is making a return this fall. I won’t spoil which house for those who don’t know, as it’s much more fun to be caught unaware.

Total Chaos

Total Chaos was a tour through an “abandoned” spaceship and government facility full of aliens. Fun fact: this house was originally called “Screamscape,” as seen on the blueprints above.

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Image source: Universal Orlando

The truss system pictured above should look familiar if you’ve been following along with this series or keeping an eye on our reports on this year’s construction. In another nostalgic nod to the history, the sign has returned to Universal Studios Florida for the 30th anniversary.

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Image source: Universal Orlando

Total Chaos had a unique feature: a slide into a ball pit under floating decapitated heads.

The Fearhouse

The Fearhouse took guests straight into the lab of Dr. Oddfellow, concealed within an attraction from his carnival. In classic funhouse fashion, this maze was chock full of mirrors, some of which revealed the horrors committed by Dr. Oddfellow.

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Image source: Universal Orlando

Located in Sting Alley, the façade invited you to step right through into Jack’s mouth. Don’t worry; he won’t bite (except we know he’s definitely eaten a journalist).

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Image source: Universal Orlando
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Image source: Universal Orlando

The mirrored maze was teeming with the creepy carnival crew.

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Image source: Universal Orlando

In a take on the swinging sawblade gag, a clown sat atop in a bid to ensure you couldn’t escape.

Universal Classic Monster Mania

It’s amazing how often the Universal Classic Monsters were featured in the past, given the (relative) scarcity of their appearances in more recent years. Classic Monster Mania was the latest rendition.

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Universal Classic Monster Mania shared the queue for Earthquake: The Big One with Dark Torment. Above, you can see the special effects blueprint for both houses.

Dark Torment

Dark Torment was a new twist on the haunted house concept. To enter the house, guests first rode Earthquake: The Big One. The story was that you did not survive the experience, and when you entered the house itself, you were entering hell.

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Guests had to face their sins as they traversed the depths of the afterlife.

The Shows

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure

This year, the most excellent duo face off against “The Simpsons'” Mr. Burns and Smithers. Mr. Burns is capturing pop culture icons using the stolen phone booth and selling them via “www.kidnapster.com.” After appearances by Jack and Karen from “Will and Grace,” Britney Spears, The Rock, and the X-Men, Bill and Ted win the phone booth back from Mr. Burns. Dance numbers featured “The Bad Touch” by The Bloodhound Gang, “Slim Shady” by Eminem, and “Bye Bye Bye” by *NSYNC. Looking back, these shows are truly pop culture time capsules.

Festival of the Dead – Bloody Playthings

The Festival of the Dead parade returned with a wicked twist. Jack the Clown lead the parade to the tune of “Pop Goes the Weasel!,” a melody that has stuck with him throughout the years.

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Image source: HHN Wiki

Jack is always the star of the show. In addition to a gigantic Jack float, he was also seen as a stiltwalker in the parade.

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Image source: HHN Wiki

Jacked Up

Jack’s first stage show featured acrobatic performers, dancers, and techno music.

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Image source: Universal Orlando

Concept art pictured above shows the four boxes that contained Dr. Oddfellow’s secrets, as well as a large Jack-in-the-box. These served as platforms for the dancers and actors, including Jack himself.

The Scare Zones

The Gauntlet

Guests had a chance to run The Gauntlet, a scare zone set up in the Boneyard (now the Universal Music Plaza). Most interestingly, you could not reach the entrances for Total Chaos and Anxiety in 3-D without passing through the Gauntlet.

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Image source: Universal Orlando

Midway of Dr. Morose

A new version of the Midway of the Bizarre debuted as the Midway of Dr. Morose.

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Image source: HHN Wiki

Other than the inexplicable name change, no changes were made to this scare zone.

Apocalypse Island

Central Park’s first scare zone featured a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by zombies and creatures inspired by the legends of sewer-dwelling mutants.

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Clown Attack

Creepy clowns lurked and stalked guests through Hollywood. Pictured below, a clown awaits guests on the other side of the turnstiles (likely part of the Opening Scaremonies).

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Image source: Florida Today

We’ll see you next time when we take a look back at Halloween Horror Nights XI.

For more Halloween Horror Nights history, check out the rest of the series below.

1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999

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