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
open/close all folders
Anime & 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 try to hide among the statues, waiting to ambush any intruders. Subverted in that the intruder is Kenshiro, who detects and kills them before they are able to do anything.
- In an episode of Pokémon, Ash's Charizard does this as part of a stakeout.
- 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.
Films — Animation
- The Beast hiding amongst a bunch of gargoyles in the climatic fight in Beauty and the Beast.
- In The Jungle Book, Bagheera does this as he tries to hide from a monkey parade, 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 the statues are light gray, it works.
- The Iron Giant poses as one of Dean's junk sculptures to escape the army. Earlier, he stands in front of an Astro Burger billboard to hide from Dean.
- On Mulan, Shang Yu hides as one of the statues atop the Imperial Palace.
- Justin in The Secret Of NIMH hides among the toy soldiers guarding the entrance to the rats' council hall to play a prank on Mr. Ages.
- Bee Movie, the bee poses in front a can of Bumblee tuna.
- The Adventures of Tintin. When Tintin breaks into derelict Marlinspike Hall, what appears to be a dummy standing in the darkened interior suddenly starts to follow him. This turns out to be Nestor, the loyal butler who is protecting the house.
Films — Live-Action
- Land of the Lost. Played straight and then subverted: apparently, T. rexes are too smart for that trick.
- 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.
- 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, Del Spooner (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 The 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:
- 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.
- 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 Vasilievich Changes Profession:
- Ivan Bunsha pretends to be part of a sculpture when fleeing the Streltsy.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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 too 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.
- Used in The Master of Disguise as part of a sequence of events from Disguisey history.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 is dark, and this almost works, but the Imperials looking for him notice that unlike all the others, his face and eyes hadn't been gouged. Fortunately he's 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 one Nancy Drew story, Nancy visits an old estate with a statue that looks exactly like her. At one point, she gets up on the pedestal and stays still to evade some people chasing her (the fact that they're familiar with the statue and know it doesn't have two people on it somehow doesn't occur to them). At the end of the book, the estate is opened to the public with a reveal of the statue, and Nancy again poses as it as part of the festivities (she quickly reveals herself this time).
- Invoked in A Museum Piece by Roger Zelazny. A failed artist decides to leave the world that doesn't understand him and moves to a museum where he pretends to be a Beaten Gladiator, post-Hellenic, "a monument to himself". Then he discovers he's not alone. First he meets Hecuba Lamenting — a girl, who ran away from parents who drove away her artist boyfriend. Then Roman Senators turn out to be retired art critics who wish to kill them to keep the masquerade. Then a mobile Xena ex Machina turns out to be a friendly shipwrecked alien ("somewhat narcissistic" and enjoying being admired).
- There's also a very Nightmare Fuel-ish version in Highlander: The Series. The enemy of the moment an evil clown/mime, has a room FULL of mannequins with painted faces and identical clothing. He hides among them for the chance to stab Duncan.
- On Scrubs Dr. Kelso pretends to be part of the painted mural outside the hospital. Dr. Cox has to literally touch his arm to convince him to give up the act.
Bob? I am physically touching your arm now. (beat
) Oh, for God's sake, Bob. You're three-dimensional.
- Done in an episode of The Suite Life on Deck where Zack, Cody and Bailey put on white paint and pretend to be greco-roman-esque statues. Points for the fact that they interact with their teachers and Mr. Moseby and no-one notices.
) Mr. Moseby? Does those statues look familiar to you? Mr. Moseby:
) How old do you think I am?
- In an episode of Saved by the Bell, Zack, Kelly, Lisa, Screech, Jessie and Slater all dress in wedding clothes and pose as store mannequins in an attempt to hide from two guys who they believe are after them on account of a paper bag full of money. This produces some amusing poses as the group continues to bicker when no one else is around.
- Each time El Chapulín Colorado has to help somebody in a museum, this eventually happens, more often pulled by El Chapulín himself.
- Lucy of I Love Lucy has been known to do this a time or two.
- Get Smart When in a KAOS bad guy's formal garden, his standoff with Max is broken by the reveal of a CONTROL agent posing as a statue — unbroken when a KAOS agent is also a statue — then again when another CONTROL agent... eventually the KAOS guy has to give up, as he's all out of statues.
- In one episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures, Clyde hides from some robots by pretending to be a store mannaquin.
- There's (possibly more than one) The Benny Hill Show sketch where Benny's character is pretending to be a statue when a sexy maid comes in and starts dusting him between the legs with a feather duster...
- In the Re-Animated Pilot Movie, Jimmy tries to evade Sonny Appleday, and takes the opportunity to test Sonny's stupidity by simply acting out the Milt Appleday hologram presentation from earlier in the film. Sonny turns away screaming for him, then turns back when Jimmy stutters on saying "Crocco the Alligator".
- In the second season of Blackadder, every episode's closing credits came with a Couch Gag where Edmund chases an annoying minstrel around a garden; in one episode, the minstrel poses as a statue and bonks Edmund on the head with his lute the moment Edmund's back is turned.
- Wizards of Waverly Place in that episode with the paintings Mona Lisa hides behind the frame.
- Batman: Used a few times by the villains of the show to surprise the Dynamic Duo.
- "The Joker is Wild". The Joker hides himself and his band in statues from the Comedian Hall of Fame.
- The Riddler pulls this trick with all his henchmen in Madam's Soleil's House of Wax in "The Ring of Wax".
- And in "The Zodiac Crimes", Joker's moll Venus (and some of his goons) disguise themselves as statues of the Gotham City Museum of Modern Art.
- Doctor Who:
- Used to horrifying effect by the Weeping Angels. They're living creatures, but as soon as you look at them (or observe them) they turn into stone statues. Oh, and they move at very high speed. So if you are looking at one about fifty feet away, then blink, BAM! They're right there. Their top speed is hard to determine, but an experiment based upon the events of "Blink" indicates that their acceleration is about 8 meters per second squared (gravity on Earth is 9.8). Taken to its extreme in "The Time of Angels" when a Weeping Angel hides out in a giant multi-storey cavern filled entirely with thousands of statues. Except no, they're not statues. They're all Weeping Angels.
- This is also done in "The Day of the Doctor". The Doctors and Co know that something came out of the pictures in the gallery, but they can't find anything out of place. However, there is a lot of stone dust on the floors even though all of the statues (covered by sheets) are accounted for. Osgood eventually figures out that the Zygons broke out of the pictures, smashed all the statues, and hid under the sheets until the opportune time to attack.
- In "City of Death" (4th Doctor) the TARDIS is left in a Paris art museum. Some of the visitors to the museum see it and start discussing it as a work of art — and then the Doctor and two other people turn up and go dashing inside it. And then it dematerializes. And the visitors love it.
- In an episode of Are You Being Served?, Miss Brahms poses as a mannequin to avoid the notice of a couple of robbers. Of course, she sneezes and is taken hostage.
- An episode of Mission Top Secret has Big Bad Neville Savage and his Henchman Of The Week infiltrate a museum this way to steal a vase containing clues to a treasure.
- 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.
- 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.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- gargoyles can very easily disguise themselves as stone statues thanks to their rocky skin.
- Even statues of humanoids can become animate and attack; living statues and golems are favorite guards in a wizard's abode.
- The Statue spell allow any character to duplicate this effect. He can even return to animate and back into a statue in a blink.
- The Perfect Stillness Merit in Changeling: The Lost allows the possessor to hold perfectly still, making this trope much easier to enact.
- 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!"
- Metal Gear:
- 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 The Elder Scrolls 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.
- A level which takes place in a decrepit mall in Condemned has enemies wearing cracked plastic shells over their heads who hide in plain sight among the actual store mannequins.
- 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 a strip from Dawn of Time, 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).
- Looney Tunes:
- Daffy Doodles: Police officer Porky holds a frame in front of him to catch a graffiti artist (Daffy) who keeps drawing mustaches on posters.
- Louvre Come Back to Me: A cat pounces at Pepe LePew in the halls of the Louvre, but when he catches a whiff of Pepe's aroma, he freezes in mid-air, turns pale and falls to pieces. Pepe then muses out loud how he doesn't get modern sculpture.
- A Hare Grows in Manhattan: Bugs Bunny hides from a bulldog in an Egyptian-themed billboard.
- From Hare to Heir: Yosemite Sam hides in a (miniature) suit of armor on a staircase to ambush Bugs, but whiffs with his axe and falls 10 stories, cursing all the while.
- Gossamer tried this once with a suit of armor, but his hair leaked out of the edges of the parts of the suit.
- Done by 21 and 24 in The Venture Bros. by pretending to be exhibits in a museum. They even Lampshaded it. Doesn't hurt that they had another person who wasn't doing this to distract the pursuer. Then get surprised by the Pirate Captain, who they mistook for part of another exhibit.
- The first episode of Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?? Zack and Ivy try to hide from Carmen's henchmen in an art museum. They try to hide by posing as statues. The henchmen recognize them right away and capture the two. Ivy berates Zack for such a stupid plan.
- Occurs accidentally — and gets discussed — in a Futurama episode when the robotic janitor at the Wax Robot Museum (who happens to be made of wax) takes a break, and Fry mistakes him for an exhibit.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "It's About Time", Twilight Sparkle sneaks into the Canterlot Archives with Pinkie Pie and Spike (for reasons that made perfect sense at the time). At one point, Twilight disguises herself as a statue to avoid an approaching guard, and encourages Pinkie Pie and Spike to do the same. Hilariously enough, it seems to work. However, this is later subverted, as the guard apparently did notice Twilight, and he just wrote off the behavior as another of Twilight's odd character tics. And Twilight wasn't doing anything wrong (she was allowed in both the Royal Garden and the Archives), so she had no reason to hide from the guard anyway.
- In Transformers Prime episode "Partners", Bumblebee tries to get Airachnid by pretending to be hit with the Immobilizer.
- In the Lilo & Stitch: The Series episode "Sample", Lilo, Stitch and the titular experiment of the week attempt to hide from the self-proclaimed alien hunters Merwin and Dean as tiki statues. Which works... until Sample blows their cover.
- A Chuck Jones-era Tom and Jerry cartoon is set in a department store where Jerry hides on a shelf of lookalike toy mice. Tom picks up one at a time and pulls its tail. We hear "Ma-ma!...Ma-ma!...Ma-ma!...YEEEOWCH!"
- King of the Hill: They're probably not fooling anyone, but Bobby and a girl he meets at the mall pretend to be mannequins.
- 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.