Nobody Here but Us Statues
To be fair, they were allowed in but didn't know it, so the guard is just ignoring them
Alice tries to hide from Bob, so she pretends to be a statue (or, in more cartoonish settings, even a painting or a relief) in a museum, art gallery etc. Sometimes she has to Walk Like an Egyptian
to fit in, or get in a suit of armour, or end up holding an empty picture frame in front of herself. Bob typically doesn't catch on, though he looks at Alice suspiciously (bonus points if he says "I'll never understand this modern art
" or "What an ugly statue!"). Sometimes Alice will accidentally reveal herself, typically by sneezing
, or in worst scenarios, Bob will sneeze and she will respond "gesundheit".
Attempting to pass as a doll or a department store mannequin is a variant on this trope, particularly in big front-window displays.
Compare Mobile Shrubbery
, Stand-In Portrait
and Wallpaper Camouflage
, as well as Mistaken For Exhibit
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Anime and Manga
- Subverted in the Appleseed manga where Alephia tries to hide from A-9 by covering herself in plaster, but nearly suffocates under it.
- Hotori and Tattsun pull one of these on Moriaki-sensei, the squarest man on Earth, in Soredemo Machi Wa Mawatteiru.
- Honey does this in the original Cutey Honey manga, using her Voluntary Shapeshifter powers to color herself bronze. She successfully escaped Panther Claw, but then Danbei and Junpei show up and start groping her and licking her breasts . . . because it's that kind of series.
- In Hellsing, Alucard and Anderson start a fight in a museum. Seras breaks it up by guiding a group of Japanese Tourists through said battle. Cue this trope.
- In Fist of the North Star a few Golan soldiers tried to hide among the statues, waiting to ambush any intruders. Subverted in that the intruder is Kenshiro, who detected and killed them before they were able to do anything.
- Done in a Lil Abner strip when Sandra Deepfreeze is pretending to be a statue (quite successfully, since she happens to be frozen in 'blue ice' at the time) and a bunch of art critics disparage her appearance for not being pretentiously abstract enough. This makes her so angry she thaws out.
- Roman Secret Service agent Dubbelosix does this in one Astérix volume, while covered entirely in gray dust. It is surprisingly effective.
- Parodied in a The Simpsons comic, when the police dress up as statues to catch "El Barto". Bart and Lisa watch them.
"If you squint your eyes and ignore the blinking and breathing, they do sort of look like statues."
"I wonder if they left parts of their bodies unpainted to allow their pores to breathe?" *sees supposed statue being taken away in ambulance* "Guess not."
- Happens in a very early issue of Cat Claw, when the titular heroine is in a mall at night trying to find a suitable hero costume, and tries to hide from some burglars by posing as a half-dressed mannequin. It almost works, until one of the burglars feel her up while remarking how "these things feel almost real" and she decks him. Mostly over the "almost real" remark.
- In one issue of Gen13 Grunge and Roxy strike a suitable pose to hide among an array of marble statues. It works, mostly owing to Grunge being able to turn himself and what he's touching into various materials.
- Zig-Zagged by Angelo in an issue of Generation X. His mutant power is having extra skin. It's usually treated as low-grade Rubber Man power. Normally it would be useless when he's on the run from a mutant-hunting villain, but when he finds himself in a carnival, that happens to have a wax museum, which happens to have a theme of movie monsters... the X-Cutioner figures that Angelo is disguised as a Grim Reaper-like figure with the face hidden in its hood, and blows that one up. Behind his back, the Mummy statue reveals himself as Angelo by unraveling his "bandages," stretching a flap of skin up to a skylight, and escaping that way.
- Buster Keaton pulls this gag more than once (see "Cops" and "The Scarecrow.")
- Land of the Lost - Played straight and then subverted. Apparently, T-Rexes are too smart for that trick.
- It works in the first Jurassic Park.
- This isn't always a comic trope. It's played seriously in Blade Runner, when Deckard is hunting down Pris and Roy at Sebastian's apartment. Sebastian makes lots of very realistic human-size doll-thingies, and Pris pretends to be one, which lets her manage a surprise attack on Deckard.
- Done in Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny.
- Wild Wild West. A group of armed Mooks hide as characters in paintings to guard a room from intruders. It almost works, until another character gives it away by looking at one of them. The Genre Savvy hero kills that mook, and then shoots every other picture.
- In the movie I, Robot, Will Smith find himself looking for a rogue robot inside a factory that makes that exact model of robot. And the bot in question is very good at standing still...
- In a classic Little Rascals short, Spanky and Alfalfa are being chased by Butch and the Woim and they run into a ballet theatre. In the next cut, they have put on ballerina costumes and wigs to hide as mannequins. Unfortunately, Alfalfa was dumb enough to answer Butch's question of where they are with "Nobody here but us dummies" while Spanky can only turn his head and glare at his friend, the only real dummy in that room.
- James Bond substitutes as a statue of himself in The Man with the Golden Gun in order to trick Scaramanga. Also done earlier in the film by Nick-Nack and a pair of sumo wrestlers to trick Bond.
- Played with in The Living Daylights with Whittaker standing amongst a line of statues of famous historic military figures, initially unresponsive until the camera stops on him for a few seconds. It was more to impress Pushkin than to hide though - it doesn't impress him in the slightest.
- Mystique does it in X-Men. Helps that she's a Voluntary Shapeshifter.
- In the horror film Amusement, the killer hides by pretending to be a life-sized clown doll in a room full of clown dolls.
- ET hides from Elliot's mother by pretending to be one of Gertie's stuffed dolls.
- Ivan Bunsha pretends to be part of a sculpture when fleeing the Streltsy in Ivan Vasilievich.
- Miloslavsky also gets into a suit of armor to hide.
- In Operation "Y", another Leonid Gaidai film, one of the robbers pretends to be a mannequin standing between two actual mannequins. It works.
- Bagheera does this in The Jungle Book, as there are a bunch of statues of panthers in the ruined human city, with one conveniently empty spot for him to sit in and assume the same pose as the statues. Even though he's solid black and they are light gray, he goes unnoticed by the monkeys who pass right by him.
- There's a moment in Zardoz where the resurrected Arthur Frayn conceals himself amongst a group of wax figures, so he can startle Zed by coming to life.
- Done in the first live action Scooby-Doo movie, when the gang is on the run from mooks in a haunted house. In classic Scooby Doo style they manage to climb into suits of armor in two seconds flat.
- Done in The Muppet Movie, when Fozzie and Kermit were trying to escape from Doc Hopper in their rainbow colored Studebaker. They pulled up in front of a billboard with wild coloring that exactly matched the car.
- The Witch Watch has a darker example, where the guards of the Big Bad routinely get mistaken for statues, possibly because of magic. It doesn't end well for people.
- Done both ways in 'Shanghai Knights'' - the scene starts with Chon Wang and Roy o'Bannon entering a waxworks museum to track down the boy who stole the Imperial Seal from them, and Wang walks right past two waxworks who turn out to be two Mooks sent by the Big Bad after the same thing. Wang tries to battle them, then makes his escape, just as more Mooks head his way - upon which he goes completely still, and they miss him entirely.
- In Home Alone Kevin hides from the Wet Bandits by becoming part of the 1/2 scale Nativity scene outside his church. They run right past without a second glance, or even a first.
- They do it in the sequel. They're hiding in mini-houses in Duncan's Toy Chest, and when people walk by they freeze, and the customers assume they're part of the decoration.
- In Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Blart puts on a hockey goalie uniform and stands still outside a sporting goods store, pretending to be a display mannequin — not to hide from the bad guys, per se, but to get the drop on the first one to walk by him. Obviously, the fact that he was wearing a mask probably helped the illusion.
- They Call Me Bruce (1982). Bruce is being chased by gangsters, so he hides in a dress shop disguised as a dummy. The gangsters are Genre Savvy however, so one of them stabs each dummy. As he's about to stab Bruce, the shop owner shrieks distracting their attention so Bruce can change his position in the line.
- In Sleeper, Woody Allen's character is on the run from the authorities - he ducks into a van full of domestic servant robots and hastily makes himself up as one. Maybe its a sign of intelligence in the future that everyone who sees him is fooled.
- Incredibly subtly done in Pyramids, by Mericet, the Assassin's Guild instructor, who hides as a gargoyle from Teppic. In fact, the only clue you have that he did it is the description of him "wiping grey dust off his bony face". Of course, in this case it also helps that there are animate Gargoyles in the Discworld.
- Also, the Death of Rats briefly took the place of the cardboard fairy atop a Hogswatch tree in Hogfather.
- The dragon from Guards! Guards! was mistaken for a piece of rooftop statuary by the Night Watch. It's unclear if this was a deliberate ruse, or if the creature just happened to be sleeping there.
- Corran Horn tries this in an X-Wing Series novel; he's in the Emperor's private museum of Jedi memorabilia and he even puts on the old robe one of the statues or models was wearing. It was dark, and this almost worked, but the Imperials looking for him noticed that unlike all the others, his face and eyes hadn't been gouged. Fortunately he'd also come across a working Lightsaber.
- In one installment of the French Langelot XXX series, the protagonist must suddenly hide in the workshop of a light artist and decides to impersonate a customized trompe l'oeil holographic statue of himself. This necessitates not just standing still, but actually repeating the same characteristic movement whenever the suspicious inspector walks past him. Needless to say, he pulls it off.
- One of Susan Dexter's early fantasy novels has a scene where a young wizard hides a dancing girl from pursuit by disguising her as a statue in a courtyard. She's not actually frozen, but has to use her dance skills to hold perfectly still for several hours so the illusion won't be broken until she can slip away under cover of darkness.
- Done in Welkin Weasels: Vampire Voles when Scruff is hiding from Count Flistagga in the crypt.
- In The Witch Watch, the guards on the villain's estate are made to look like statues by an illusion, which fools everyone except wizards until they move.
- In Kids Praise 2, two boys, freaked out by the sight of an approaching troop of kids being led by a giant anthropomorphic songbook, pretend to be statues to avoid being noticed.
- Has apparently been done in some productions of Twelfth Night when Toby Belch and his accomplices eavesdrop on Malvolio reading the fake love letter.
- At the end of The Winter's Tale Hermione (long since believed dead but actually in hiding) is disguised as a statue so she can effect a "magical" resurrection in front of Leontes. (That's assuming one doesn't accept the alternative interpretation.)
- One of the lazzi, or classic bits, from Commedia dell'Arte plays with this. Harlequin is romancing a young woman when a knock at the door signals the return of Pantalone, the girl's father. To escape, Harlequin pretends to be a chair by squatting with his arms outstretched; the young woman then throws a blanket over him to complete the illusion. Of course, when Pantalone returns, he immediately sits in the chair, only to jump up, as a "pin" has hit him in the backside...but it's no problem, as the pin was extremely small.
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution has this happen with Namir. You think you've cornered the Big Bad in a room full of very odd statues of skinless humans constantly switching poses, then Namir (whose augmentations make him look like this naturally), who was standing behind you the entire time and acting like the rest of the statues, grabs you from behind and throws you against the wall.
- The animatronics in Five Nights at Freddy's; they don't move while you look at them, but constantly using the cameras to spy on them drains power. And if you run out of power, they either stuff an animatronic skeleton in you, or you in an animatronic costume.
- BioShock has 'Plastered Splicers' in Fort Frolic that appear as statues until awoken by a certain event. At which point they all attack the player in complete silence.
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2: The Allied Mirage Tank has the ability to disguise itself as a tree when not moving. One of his quotes? "Nobody here but us trees!"
- You can have Snake pull this trick early in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, with the help of his active camouflage, which makes his suit match the texture of the statues. Do it too many times, though, and Snake will accidentally snap the nads off another statue while posing.
- Before that there was Metal Gear 2, which featured several rooms full of mannequin soldiers, with a couple of real soldiers hiding among them. Alert players would have to keep an eye on their radar to see which ones were real.
- A strange (and terrifying) version similar to this trope occurs in Silent Hill 3. When Heather walks into a room full of mannequins, only for nothing useful to be in the room, she turns to leave. A hideous scream is then heard, and if the player chooses to walk back over to a particular mannequin, it will be covered in blood. Knowing this series, this could mean any number of things, none of which are comforting, but many speculate that this means that every mannequin in the game is actually a monster and is watching you.
- Sly Cooper can do this in the second Prague episode of Sly 2: Band Of Thieves to hide from some Mooks looking for him.
- In Super Mario Bros. 3, the Tanooki costume has the power of temporarily turning into a statue, which monsters will just walk past.
- Mario gets disguised in this manner (with a full-body gold paint job) to infiltrate Nimbus Castle in Super Mario RPG. It works perfectly, except that there's a minigame involved: an irritated Dodo marches in and takes out his frustration on the statues, and you have to jump his beak. Jump too early, or get hit by the beak, and he catches you. If you succeed, you get a special item, but still drop your disguise after a couple guards take out their frustration on you with spears.
- In a few rooms in Super Princess Peach, Peach must copy the pose of the statues as the wall opens its eyes, or else the wall will eat her.
- Zack in Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure has to do this before he gets a weapon.
- In Blood, levels are peppered with gargoyle statues. Some of them are real gargoyles in disguise. Some aren't, and there isn't any way to tell which are.
- Gargoyles in TES 5: Dawnguard behave more or less the same as ones from Blood.
- Happens in Paperboy, of all games. One of the house owners is painted white as if to blend in with the tombstones and other statues, then runs at you.
- The Board Game of The Order of the Stick has Haley's Hide skill demonstrated by standing in a dramatic position upon a podium.
- In this Dawn of Time strip, when Dawn and her triceratops Blue are being chased by paleontologists in the 19th century, Blue takes refuge in a garden of dinosaur sculptures. The gag being that none of the sculptures (which are based on real ones) looks anything like the modern conception of what dinosaurs looked like.
- Ian Samson's Idle Minds combines this with Taken for Granite, by having a girl petrified but conscious so she can spy on the Big Bad. She finds the experience... unusual.
- There's a variation in the science fiction webcomic The Stormrunners. Ssuara, a warrior on ancient Mars, is a member of a species that can (among other things) camouflage themselves by taking on the appearance and texture of Martian rock - literally "going to ground". Image here (NSFW: female humanoid nudity).
- Cassandra Peterson once did this at a wax museum for a Candid Camera - type show.
- Done naughtily in a segment for the "adult" Candid Candid Camera video spinoff series in the 1980s ("they're a little more candid"). A nude woman pretends to be a white marble Greco-Roman statue in a museum to fool an unsuspecting curator (who, incredibly, failed to notice the woman's pretty conspicuous patch of brown pubic hair).
- Happens at least twice on the 80s British game show Treasure Hunt, with "waxworks" coming to life to startle the runner and give her the next clue.
- Increasingly common are street artists dressed up as stone or metal statues, standing still for a while and then suddenly deciding to move in a nicely choreographed manner. They can be quite good at scaring the shit out of unsuspecting tourists, although probably mostly due to the Uncanny Valley rather than actually being mistaken for real statues.
- In the London Dungeon museum, the employees wearing heavy make-up often stand still among the various wax figures, to scare the unsuspecting visitors. All part of the historical experience, of course.
- This is a common prank pulled by visitors to wax museums, since the statues are so realistic it can be hard to tell it a person is real or fake is they are perfectly still.
- Miranda Hart has a go.