Flat Scare

Sometimes people are so tense it doesn't take much to scare them. Cue either a smarty alec team-mate or a foe with the taste for irony simply stating "Boo". This results in the jittery character either freaking out or begin running in a panic while screaming. Usually a Comedy Trope but appears in genuinely scary works to show how threatening the monster/villain's presence is.

Compare Cherry Tapping which is a minor attack downing someone rather than a minor spook and The Last Straw.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Episode 2 of the Little Lulu anime, Lulu says "Boo" to Tubby in a deadpan tone while pretending to be a monster, which sends Tubby running off screaming in terror.

    Comic Books 
  • The Scarecrow pulls this on Judge Death in "Judgement on Gotham", a Batman/Judge Dredd crossover comics. Death is not amused...
  • Christopher Champion (Tempest) pulls this on a guard at a museum where the Scanner One spaceship was stored in the Atari Force series.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Bloom County, wheelchair-bound Vietnam vet Cutter John is having tea with his girlfriend's mother. He asks if she's nervous, since some people are nervous around the handicapped. She, smiling, says no. Last panel is him saying "Boo." and her tossing her tea and shielding herself.
  • In one Halloween comic strip of FoxTrot, Jason dresses up as a ghost and practices booing. The problem is that he's booing not like a ghost, but like a dissatisfied spectator.
  • U.S. Acres: the original strip has an example of Roy trying this on Wade after tying his beak up.

    Films — Animation 
  • Shan-Yu greets the Emperor this way in Mulan. Played for scares, though the Emperor himself does not freak out.
  • Space Jam, after the Nerdlucks transform into the Monstars.
    Blanko: Hey, little pig... boo.
    Porky Pig: AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH! (beat) I w-w-w-wet myself.
  • In Madagascar, after Alex fights off the fossa, he scares off the few that remain standing with a simple "boo".
  • In Batman: Assault on Arkham, after escaping from his cell, The Joker simply walks out of the shadow toward a warden and says "Boo." This being the Joker, of course, the warden seriously freaks out.

  • The main character in Eden Green concentrates so hard on aiming her gun into the shadows, she doesn't notice the playful psychopath Tedrin sneaking up on her until he whispers, "Having fun yet?" This gets him shot.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The live-action Casper movie has the clock strike 8 o'clock, showing Casper's a ghost. With a little "boo," the entire party flees Whipstaff Manor.
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas! has the titular character give a little "boo" when he shows up in Whoville to collect the Holiday Cheermeister award. The gathered crowd screams, which the Grinch responds to by saying "Hot crowd."
  • Used by the Lunar Ghost in the first Scooby-Doo live-action movie. Naturally, Scooby screams.
  • The Joker Pulls this on Vicki Vale in Batman. Understandably, Vicki screams.
  • Undercover Brother. When Lance gets into the limousine next to James Brown he's clearly nervous. James Brown says "Boo" to him and he almost jumps out of his skin.
  • Played with in Ghost, where the title character freaks someone out by writing "BOO" on his mirror. Considering that Sam is, well, a ghost, and the person he's freaking out is watching the word trace itself into a fogged mirror, it's not really a "minor" scare at all.
  • In The Ninth Gate, Boris Balkan does this after killing Liana in front of her coven, making them all jump.
  • In Pete's Dragon, Elliot does this to Hoagy the second time they meet, when Hoagy comes to deliver the message that Pete's been captured.

    Live-Action TV 

    Puppet Shows 

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 
  • Variation in Brawl in the Family. Dedede and Meta Knight are stuck together by a Gooey Bomb and as Dedede is sweating Meta Knight flatly says "Boom" to get a rise out of Dedede.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court on page 153, when Mort tries to sneaks up on Kat and Annie sneaks up on him.
  • In Punch an' Pie, Angela comes home to this when she meets Erik for the first time.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In the Tex Avery cartoon Slap-Happy Lion, a mouse scares a lion with a flat boo. Doing it repeatedly drives the lion mad.
  • Droopy, given his nack for Offscreen Teleportation, has done this a few times.
  • Variant in 2 Stupid Dogs. The big dog will scare cats by going to up to them and giving a deadpan "Woof." The cat will then comically seize up in fear.
  • In the U.S. Acres episode "I Like Having You Around", Wade tries to convince a bug that he's not afraid of him. However, the bug just says "Boo" to him in this manner, causing Wade to freak out and run in a panic.
  • Raven does this to Beast Boy in an episode of Teen Titans.
  • This was also exhibited in the first act of the Mr. Bogus episode "Bookstore Bogus" with a pair of ferocious worms that Bogus encounters in a book about bugs. When Bogus claims that he's not afraid of them, the worms look at each other for a few seconds before saying "boo" to Bogus in this manner, causing him to run in a panic with the worms hot on his tail.
  • In a first season episode of The Venture Bros. 21 threatens Brock Samson with a lightsaber. After finding out the beam isn't solid, Brock leans in close and says "boo" making 21 run away. 3 seasons later after 24 Took a Level in Badass, Brock tries to do the same thing, and ends up getting round house kicked in the face.
  • Chow does this to Tohru in Jackie Chan Adventures when he gets the first Oni Mask. Tohru, who has an immense fear of the Oni, freezes in terror before Jade tells him to snap out of it. Tohru later returns the favor when the mask is removed, and Chow flees with his tail between his legs.
  • On one SpongeBob SquarePants, SpongeBob and Patrick claim that they weren't frightened by a scary movie. A flat boo from Squidward proves otherwise.
  • An episode of the Beetlejuice cartoon has Lydia's friends look into the hollow of a tree they believe to be haunted. Beetlejuice calmly says, "Hey, how ya doin?" Lydia's friends flee in terror.