Thirty years of fears: “Horror Nights’ celebrates anniversary

This story was originally published in the first edition of The Lion’s Tale (October 7th, 2021).

Among the list of the 2021 haunted houses, we see returning staples from the event’s iconic past years in-
cluding the ‘Halloween Horror Nights: Icons’ house which is a heart wrenching house in which we meet all of the iconic names behind HHN. This house is also based off of this year’s theme which is ultimately about them as well.

Starting off with a little bit of history on the hometown clown–Jack otherwise known as Chaos or the Ringmaster– born Jack Schmidt, the sinister clown was a run-away who escaped to the circus from an abusive family, turned serial kid killer.

After seeking vengeance on an old friend-turned-foe Doctor, who outed Jack and his crimes to the police decades prior, Jack wished to be the ringmaster of his own carnival. He dressed himself in flashy new clothes and granted himself the power to age extremely slowly with the Dr.’s cane of souls, and opened his Carnival of Carnage in Orlando, Florida.

Which sparks a new era for Halloween Horror Nights introducing one of the events most known and beloved names to ever host the carnival.

Alongside Jack, is the Harley to his Joker, Chance. The Hostess of Horror is Jack’s right hand woman when it comes to running the show, making her fi rst debut way back in 2007 during the Carnival of Carnage. She and Jack made more appearances in the 25th anniversary in 2015, and in the year later she was named the icon of the event for 2016.

Jack’s origin story is more than just connected to Chance but also to his brother and fellow HHN icon, Eddie. Eddie was meant to be the event’s icon for 2001 but due to other very-real and very horrific incidents occurring in the United States just a few weeks prior to HHN’s opening dates- 9/11- they decided to scrap his character as the icon. This was due to the concerns that his appearance would remind others of rescue officers and even had to rename houses like “TerrorLand,” and tweak the whole event to make it less scary because of the historic event.

Some smaller but still notable fan-favorite icons include: The Usher, The Caretaker and his daughter Cindy, The Storyteller, The Terra Queen, The Director, Fear, Lady Luck, Bloody Mary, The Iniquitous and The Crypt Keeper.

Dating all the way back to the 5th Halloween Horror Night event in 1996, we were presented an awfully horrifying invitation to come explore the ghoulish event by none other than HHN’s first unofficial icon and host for the night, the Crypt Keeper.

The Crypt keeper is most famously known for his hosting duties on the 90’s HBO horror anthology show: Tales from the crypt. Tales from the Crypt was backed with some insanely high profi e talent and had some killer guest stars like Brad Pitt and Tom Hanks.

Moving on to the kings of the silver screens we have The Usher and The Director. Both scarily fascinated with horror movies and how the concept of death and horror were captured, these two twisted men’s evil origin stories both have much to do with film and cinema.

The Usher, otherwise known as Julian Browning, worked as an usher at the Universal Palace Theatre in the 1920’s who dealt with the extremely rude, and extremely rich patrons who would attend the showings.

His untimely, slow, and painful death by strangulation at these theatres caused the natives to suspect Julian was seeking vengeance against those who disrespected his beloved cinema. The place has been haunted ever since.

The Director’s origin story is short, simple, and scary-Paulo Ravinski had a fascination with capturing death on moving film, this fascination began when Ravinski was only 8 years old. He would take his fathers camera and film dying birds- birds that were dying because he shot them out of the sky with a BB gun…

The Storyteller, The Terra Queen and Fear are our slightly less notable icons with no set-in-stone story to be told about their origins.

And last but not least the Lady of Luck, Lady Luck is a shape shifting demon whose origin dates back till the time men began taking chances. Lady Luck had a direct connection with each house at HHN 21. Each scenario involved some kind of decision made, which Lady Luck was responsible for. In every case, the choices made were the wrong ones.

Lady Luck also has two forms that she takes. One is a beautiful temptress, and the other is a savage demon. It is believed that the ancient people associated her with Tyche, the Greek goddess of luck, or her Roman counterpart, Fortuna. Lady Luck actually causes bad things to happen to whomever gambles with her and loses. Bad things also happen to people if she gives them a choice, and they make the wrong choice.