One of the easiest ways to scare somebody is to pretend you are a prop. The more made-up and heavily costumed you are, the more effective this is.
Seriously... nobody expects something that’s 8 foot tall with wings to be real. Which makes this whole set-up so much fun.
Mastering the whole ‘prop-stance’ was simple. I would back up against the wall and stretch my arms out in a threatening manner and freeze. I would even find a small spot on the wall ahead of me to focus on without blinking. As people walked past me I remained frozen. I might even let them reach out and touch me to see if I was real. All I am waiting for is the right moment.
That moment is that fraction of a second where they assume I’m fake and relax. And that’s when I get them. Sometimes is a loud snarl and lunge, other times it’s a simple turn of the head with one hell of a stare down. Once they start running there’s 8 feet of sexy gargoyle right behind them, maintaining their speed.
Many a visitors’ crotches have been damped this way.
One night while in my frozen pose I observed my next group of victims. It was a mix of young guys and girls but one guy stood out in particular: ball cap on sideways, overly baggy pants with the waistband below the ass crack, wife beater shirt, walking with an over-confidently swagger like a rooster in a barnyard, complete with head bobbing... you already know the type.
This is the type I normally try to avoid. And I warn my actors of the same. When you see someone that looks like they might be trouble, avoid them and scare the rest of the group.
So I lunge and snarl at the rest of the group. But guess who screams like a little girl and nearly drops to his knees?
Baggy Pants is not as tough as his homeboy exterior portrays him.
Yes, Baggy Pants let out a wail that rivaled your average 8-year-old. Upon regaining his balance he dashed down a short hallway and stopped, cowered in the corner.
And, just like the slogan for McDonald’s, I’m lovin’ it. Looks like we have someone who needs ‘special attention.’
I lumber down the hall and loom over him, growling and breathing heavy the whole time. He’s still trembling in the corner with his arms thrown protectively over his head.
After enjoying this spectacle for a few seconds I decide to add the icing on the cake. I thrust out my right hand and, in a low, beast-like voice I say, “Shake my hand!”
Baggy Pants looks at me and shakes his head ever so slightly.
I keep my hand out and shout again, “Shake my hand!!”
Baggy Pants, still looking very rattled, shakes his head again.
Now, in my normal everyday voice I say, “I’m a GIRL! Shake my hand!”
Baggy Pants has a moment of clarity and, still looking frightened, gingerly holds out his hand. I grab it, give a few strong shakes and turn around and walk away.
Now while all of this has been happening, his buddies have been just a few feet away watching all this go down. My satisfaction comes from knowing that, once they all got outside, his buddies probably gave him grief for the rest of the night:
“Dude, you got scared by a GIRL!”