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Pinball / Scared Stiff

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So Fun, It's Scary!
Elvira: "This'll scare your pants off... I hope!"

A 1996 Pinball game from Williams Electronics (under the Bally label), and the sequel to the 1989 game Elvira and the Party Monsters . For this game, designer Mark Weyna joined Dennis Nordman in the design, and Greg Freres returned for art duties.

This time around you're visiting the sexiest vamp this side of Transylvania in her humble abode, who's settling down for the evening with some spooky television programs. The goal of the game is to activate the Six Tales of Terror, from "Night of the Leapers" to "Terror From the Crate". Get through all the shows, then hit the crate to start the Stiff-O-Meter and see how Scared Stiff you can get. For more variety, scurry though the Boney Beast, peek at The Stiff inside the coffin, and dance with the Boogie Man.

Along with the upgraded sound system, dot-matrix animations, and a more complex playing field, the table was also known for sporting a spinner on the backboard that would activate during the "Stop The Spider" mode. Stopping the spider on symbols yielded points, mode locks, and other bonuses.

With its lighthearted tone and not-too-difficult gameplay, it's still fondly remembered just as much as its predecessor and certainly one of the most popular tables. This is considered one of Williams' classics, and as such it was made available for FarSight Studios' Pinball Arcade up until their license with WMS expired on July 1, 2018.

Scared Stiff has the following tropes:

  • Adjustable Censorship:
    • As with Elvira and the Party Monsters , operators could configure the game to omit the racier clips, and the game included a "modesty decal" to cover up Elvira's boobs on the backglass.
    • The digital version from FarSight Studios defaults to "Family Mode". However, buying the Pro version of the table enables operator mode, which can be used to activate the more risqué quotes.
  • All Women Are Lustful: Implied in the backglass, where Elvira's bedpost has nearly a dozen notches on it.
    Elvira: "Another notch for my bedpost."
  • Announcer Chatter: Provided by both Elvira and the Stiff.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Whenever you activate "Terror from the Crate", Elvira will usually wonder what will come out, naming off ferocious creatures, with the last one being something mundane like "lawyers!" or "taxi drivers!" Though inverted in one case were she lists off certain dogs ending with "Oooh, werewolves".
  • As Herself: A "special thanks" credit is given to Cassandra Peterson, Elvira's actress, during the credit roll.
  • Blipvert: After successfully completing the Stiff-O-Meter, the game briefly enters a Mind Screw sequence, with the game pretending to go haywire while the lights, display, and sounds start playing in rapid random order.
  • Celebrity Star: Cassandra Peterson reprises her role for Elvira. Accept no substitutes!
  • Company Cross References: The Match Sequence plays sound clips from other Williams games:
  • Creepy Souvenir: Elvira uses an empty skull as a popcorn bowl on the backglass.
  • Dem Bones: The Boney Beast.
    Elvira: "This thing is huge... and ribbed!"
  • Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: Hitting the crate will have Elvira "warning" you about it. Of course you have to do it to activate a multi-ball mode.
  • Double Entendre: True to Elvira herself, the game is LOADED with them.
    (After the player has gotten a Shrunken Head)
    Elvira: "He always wanted a little head!"
    • The "Dead Head Family Album" has a member named "Good Head." Elvira exclaims, "Ooh! My favorite!"
    • In the uncensored version, she just screams "OOOH, YES!!".
  • Eat the Camera: The Leapers do this whenever you hit one.
  • Fission Mailed: Achieving Scared Stiff leads to the machine having a fake breakdown before multiball starts.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: The Stiff in the coffin is wearing boxers with little hearts printed on them.
  • Have a Nice Death: Elvira does it when your game is over.
    Elvira: Unpleasant dreams!
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: During Stiff-O-Meter mode, a heartbeat accompanies the music. For every level, the heartbeat gets faster.
  • Horror Host: Played with, as Elvira is the hostess for the late-night movie-viewing session with herself and the player.
  • Idiosyncratic Combo Levels: The Stiff-O-Meter, which has ten levels from "Hair Raising" and "Pulse Pounding" up to "Heart Stopping" and "Scared Stiff".
  • Killer Rabbit: The Leapers, which look like harmless frogs, but have lamprey mouths and will Eat the Camera when provoked.
  • Lamprey Mouth: The Leapers have 'em.
  • Large Ham: Elvira tends to fall into this trope, but the Stiff (another Tim Kitzrow performance) tends to take the hamminess up to eleven.
  • Leg Focus: The playfield features mirrored shots of Elvira that show off her legs, which easily stand out against that table's red background.
  • Match Sequence: Elvira flips through TV channels displaying different numbers, each playing clips from old Williams tables. After five clicks, if none of the numbers match, she says "Oh, poo" and turns off the TV.
  • Mythology Gag: During the Match Sequence, one of the possible soundbites that can play is from the 1988 Elvira movie:
    "Mother, please!"
  • Oh, Crap!: Elvira does this when you max out the Stiff-O-Meter. Also, The Stiff does this a little when you reach Mind Blowing.
    Elvira: Uh-oh... [machine goes haywire]
    Stiff: MIND BLOWING!!! I'm a little scared myself!
  • Ready for Lovemaking: Elvira's pose on the backglass.
  • Rule of Three: Increased to "Rule of Four" for extra comedic buildup before Terror from the Crate begins.
    Elvira: Monkeys? Chimpanzees? Gorillas? TAXI DRIVERS!
  • Score Multiplier:
    • "Double Trouble" on the Spider Wheel temporarily doubles scoring.
    • Completing the three Deadhead lanes will increase the bonus multiplier, but only if "Return of the Deadheads" has been completed at the time.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One of the faces on the Stiff-O-Meter is "Smarkey", Elvira's Real Life husband and manager Mark.
    • On the bottom center of the backglass is a box of "Lil' Luna Green Cheese" cookies; the girl on the box is Elvira's (then) two-year-old daughter, Sadie ("Luna" is her nickname).
    • Bad Head is a caricature of Steve Ritchie.
  • Sickly Green Glow: A green goo drips all over the playfield.
  • Skill Shot: Gently plunge the ball so it lands in the upper saucer, and the display shows Elvira throwing a spinning knife at her television set, destroying it.
    Elvira: "Man, I hate commercials!"
  • Take That!:
    • Greg Freres admits the faces on the Stiff-O-Meter are his former elementary school teachers (except for "Smarkey"; see Shout-Out, above).
    • One of the videotapes on the backglass is "Black Thursday" by "UM", a reference to a day when everyone at Williams was laid off en masse. "UM" refers to "upper management".
    • The terrors that Elvira guesses for the start of "Terror From The Crate" tend to be Take Thats at the last subject. For instance, one set of guesses goes "Mosquitos? Leeches? Vampires? LAWYERS!"
  • Thing-O-Meter: The Stiff-O-Meter.
  • Title Drop: When going to "Stiff-O-Meter" mode
    The Stiff in the Coffin: "Turn out the lights... it's time to get Scared Stiff!"
    • An in-game one when you get the Stiff in the Coffin mode
    The Stiff in the Coffin: "The Stiff in the Coffin! Hey, that's me!"
  • Vampire Vords: The Stiff talks like this, though it's more subtle than in most cases of this trope.
  • Visual Pun: The television set on the backglass has a rabbit on top of it, with its rabbit-ears antenna.
    • A picture of the Stiff in the Coffin can be seen just below the crate. Look closely enough, and you'll see that his top hat is rather... humorously placed.
    The Stiff: That shot made me stiff!
  • Wheel of Decisions: The Spider Wheel on the backbox.
  • Wizard Mode: Two of them:
    • Monster Multiball, which is reached after maxing out the Stiff-O-Meter. It's a four-ball multiball where both ramps and the crate score one million points.
    • Spider Mania, which is reached after getting all 14 Spider Wheel awards. It's a four-ball multiball with everything lit.

Elvira: "That was a huge bone... US!"