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Someone is sitting in a spinning chair, facing away from a character who's trying to talk to them. The chair swivels around, revealing a different person than who they expected, or even a dead body
. Or, two people are talking in front of a presumably empty chair. Cue a dramatic swivel to reveal that the chair wasn't so empty after all. Can happen when Trespassing to Talk
Quite often, the chair will be cool
, and the posture will be villainous
A variation of the "Chair Reveal" is the "Chair Entrance", when the visual device of a slowly-revolving chair is employed simply to make an actor's first appearance more dramatic. This is not a straightforward Chair Reveal because it's used solely to introduce the actor, not to produce a surprise or a plot twist.
"Chair Reveal" examples:
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Anime and Manga
- Mai-HiME also uses one with Mashiro, but it turns out what's in the chair is a doll, the real Mashiro already escaped.
- Yes! Precure 5 did it with a member of the Quirky Miniboss Squad instead of the school headmaster. Justified (not that this trope is as much in need of justification as some others) in that the girls had never actually met the headmaster before, so they didn't realize she wasn't the real thing until they realized who she was.
- In Petshop Of Horrors, Leon thinks he's reporting his suspicions regarding D to the mayor... but finds D sitting in the mayor's chair.
- Lelouch Lamperouge indulges in a Bond-villain-esque Chair Reveal in Code Geass. It's every bit as fabulous as you might expect.
- One baddie in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex pulls this when Section 9 breaks into his office to arrest him, and turning his chair around reveals a blow-up doll.
- Weiß Kreuz uses the dead body version when Ken goes to assassinate Koga Kenji only to find him already dead.
- In Canaan Hakko who can hurt and kill just by speaking talks all way to chair, thinking she is talking to Liang Qi, only to see a completely different person tied to it...
- In Kirby of the Stars, Customer Service of Holy Nightmare Corporation does this when he and Dedede first meet face to face showing that he's just as small as any other character on the show. No legs, just feet where his upper torso ends.
- The Helmet of Fate was revealed this way in DC Comics' 52, except that no turning was involved - the detectives approach the person sitting in the chair and he suddenly collapses, revealing himself to be dead.
- Danger Girl and the Army of Darkness #4: Agent Zero shoots what he thinks is his target through the back of a chair. He then walks round to the front of the chair and instead finds a dummy rigged to a bomb with three seconds left on the timer.
- Diamonds Are Forever
- After James Bond enters Willard Whyte's penthouse apartment, Blofeld reveals himself by spinning his chair around.
- The villain and the chair are, of course, parodied in Austin Powers.
- In The Lives of Others, Christa-Maria Sieland is being interrogated by Ministry for State Security Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler. Both are sitting in chairs with a desk between them but his has its back to her. The audience knows who the interrogator is, but she doesn't. When he does swivel his chair around, she gasps, as she encountered him before and told him he was a good man, unaware he was spying on her.
- The dead body thing was in Psycho. It's a very creepy scene, despite the fact that a light tap on the shoulder shouldn't be enough to swivel the chair completely around.
- Parodied in High Anxiety, when they spin around his chair to reveal the poor doctor slumped over horribly with his eyes and mouth hanging open? But he wakes up when they scream.
- The remake of The Parent Trap had the mother and one twin arrive home to find the other twin sitting at the grandfather's desk. In this version, though, her face was covered by a newspaper.
- My Favorite Brunette, a Bob Hope film, has one of these. Since Bing Crosby turns up somewhere in just about every Bob Hope film, the audience is carefully set up to expect him to be the Cool Tough Guy Detective across the hall. The chair swivels, and...it's not. It is, in fact, the Cool Tough Guy actor whose name Hope has just mentioned - Alan Ladd.
- The House on Haunted Hill (1999) remake had the dead body version.
- Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004). Totenkopf is revealed to be dead in this manner.
- His German Meaningful Name (Skull) may have revealed the spoiler in advance, though.
- Considering that a more literal translation would be 'Dead Head', he was probably just listening to Jerry Garcia. In the forties.
- Rachel's ex(?) at the end of The Ring.
- Walter Donovan does this to Indiana when he shows up again in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, except it was an ordinary non-swiveling chair, and Donovan revealed himself by standing up and turning around.
- The end of The Adventures of Pluto Nash reveals that the villain has in fact been a clone of the hero in this fashion.
- In Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Kirk is transported to a Klingon ship after being nearly killed, and is introduced to the person who just saved his life. The chair swivels round to reveal Spock.
- In fact this movie has two invocations of this trope: earlier on, Sybok communicated by viewscreen with the "captain of the Enterprise." The captain's chair on screen swivels to reveal ... Chekov. It's a ruse to hide the fact that the real captain, Kirk, is down on the planet executing a sneak attack, but it comes across as a joke at Chekov's expsense (the movie seems to be saying "Ha ha, it's Chekov in the captain's chair, as if.")
- Lampshaded in Black Dynamite as the Big Bad, Richard Nixon, reveals himself this way... in less of a dramatic fashion than intended, as it takes a few pushes of his chair in order to finish it.
- This is done with the Brainwashed and Crazy heroine Nastasia at the end of Warrior of the Lost World.
- Played with in The Avengers. During the mid-credits sequence that reveals Thanos as the Bigger Bad, rather than turning around in a spinning chair, he gets up and looks over his shoulder. However, he plays this trope straight in Guardians of the Galaxy.
- The Big Bad in Exit Wounds is revealed this way.
- Ryan O'Neal gets a pointless chair reveal in An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn. It's one of the many things Roger Ebert makes fun of in his review, along with a callback to the reveal of Frank Sinatra in Mike Todd's film version of Around the World in 80 Days.
- Done in The Beast Must Die with Pavel's corpse.
- Voldemort did this in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, shortly before killing Frank Bryce.
- At the end of the novel and film Captain Blood, one of the villains is brought before the Royal Governor to be punished for his crimes, and is shocked when the Governor turns to face him and is Blood himself, who the last time the fugitive saw him was as an escaping slave.
- In the final book of Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy, Simon discovers (the unfortunately very alive) King Elias via this trope, while he's prowling around in Pryrates' tower.
- In the Star Wars EU book Solo Command, the pilots are sitting in their lounge on the flagship discussing the failings of their higher-ups and the moves they would make if they were in charge. A heretofore-ignored chair spins away from a computer terminal to reveal General Han Solo, leader of the entire task force. Being Han, though, after an initial Oh, Crap moment, he congratulates their insight and takes their suggestions to heart.
- In The Last Command, Mara and Luke go to Wayland, and cut through the Emperor's throne room there. Turns out Joruus C'baoth is sitting in it.
- In The Eyes of the Dragon Prince Peter, serving-boy Dennis and his friend Naomi corner Flagg in the late King Roland's study (the scene of his fatal poisoning). Flagg is surprised when the chair by the fire scootches around to reveal a surprise eyewitness to his crime; the younger Prince Thomas who proceeds to shoot Flagg through the eye with his father's great bow.
- Death does it in the Discworld novel Mort.
- In The Dresden Files book Changes, Harry returns to his apartment to find two allies have been cocooned by his sometimes crazy, always dangerous Fairy Godmother there. She reveals herself in this way, which is particularly impressive because, as Harry notes, the chair she's sitting on isn't a swivel chair.
Live Action TV
- In Hotline Miami in between chapters eleven and twelve, Jacket finds his apartment broken into and his dead girlfriend on the floor. When the player walks upwards from the body, he sees the killer sitting on the couch.
- Reginald Griffin's dead clone in the sixth generation videogame Agent Under Fire is revealed this way.
- Done by The Soda Poppers in the second season finale of Telltale's Sam & Max: Freelance Police games. On the DVD are loads and loads of fake alternate endings with different characters revealed to be in the chair, including Future Sam, a bottle of Banang (which gets a round of applause and an "encore"), Homestar Runner, Sybil and Abe (on an old black-and-white film backed with terror), the C.O.P.S, a "Will Return" clock, Mr. Featherly and Hugh Bliss.
- Also done in episode 304, where Monsieur Papierwaite has his chair faced away from Sam and Max and is begging them not to look at him. Max swivels the chair around, and reveals the Elder God Yog-Soggoth embedded in Papierwaite's chest. They stare in confusion for about two seconds, then shrug.
- Oswald the Lucky Rabbit does this in the 2010 Game Epic Mickey, when the titular character meets the Rabbit for the first time.
Gus: Well that was an exhibition. All it needed was a gift shop.
Mickey: It's a little disturbing. I mean, I get that he resents me...
Oswald: Ya think? *Chair Reveal*
- Near the start of Hydrophobia Kate comes across a security guard sat in a chair. When going up and reaching out to him he falls back revealing that's he's dead.
- When Jowd makes it to the submarine control room towards the end of Ghost Trick, the masked muscleman answers his question about Yomiel by spinning Sith's chair and displaying Yomiel's abandoned shell. This sets up the fact that Yomiel's spirit is elsewhere and about to be trapped in the sinking sub without his body.
- The Nancy Drew game Danger on Deception Island has an interesting subversion: after seeing incriminating evidence suggesting her friend Katie is behind the crimes, Nancy finds her sitting in chair in the culprit's headquarters. Turning the chair reveals that Katie has been tied up by the actual criminal.
- In The Phoenix Requiem, when Anya arrives home from Aubeny, he finds out that Dr. Blythe is dead this way.
- In the Relativity comic (most of the stories are literature) "28 Minutes", Zephyra is looking for a bad guy, and sees a figure sitting in a chair facing the wall. She thinks it's a dummy, set up to fool her. She's wrong.
"Chair Entrance" examples:
- This is how Hatter is introduced in Alice.
- Captain Sheridan's first appearance in Babylon 5 has him seated in his command chair on the Agamemnon, at first facing away from, and then swivelling toward, the camera.
- In the low-budget science-fiction film The Bamboo Saucer, which starred B-list movie actor Dan Duryea (in his last role) at the top of a cast list of obscure actors, Duryea makes his entrance when another character enters an office and sees the chair behind the desk turned away from him. The chair revolves slowly to reveal Duryea.
- It's not the first time the audience sees him, but when Luke is brought before the Emperor in Return of the Jedi, the Emperor is facing out of the observation window before turning his chair to face him.
- On Sesame Street, in the "Alphabet Chat" sketches, Mr. Chatterley slowly turns his chair to face the audience during the theme music.
- Subverted with the second season of Space1999: the opening titles feature Martin Landau swiveling in his chair, jumping to his feet, and firing his weapon at an off-screen threat. One of the most dramatic scenes in the whole series!
- Used in the James Bond section of the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony to show that that really was HM the Queen alongside Daniel Craig as Bond, not an actress!