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Series / Scare Tactics

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Syfy's Candid Camera Prank show that put unsuspecting people into weird and often frightening situations. Tracy Morgan hosts.

Formerly hosted by Shannen Doherty. It puts people in seemingly paranormal experiences, sorta like Punk'd but with aliens and vampires.

Contains Examples of:

  • Blood Bath: One prank set up the target as a new employee at a health spa "for professional clientele" that uses "very expensive ingredients." Along with female clients who come in for rejuvenation treatments is a list of younger women and their corresponding blood types. The exact scare prank involved the target walking in as one young woman is being bled over a bathtub that an older client was bathing in.
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  • Catchphrase: Usually to end the pranks, an actor would ask the victim, "Are you scared?" The victim would say some variant of "yes" or just be too scared to say anything and the actor would say "You shouldn't be. You're on Scare Tactics."
  • Chainsaw Good: One prank had a woman working for a kitchen, only to walk in on the chef using a chainsaw to cut off a homeless guy's leg. Not knowing what to do, she handed the homeless man a paper towel.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Though bleeped by the network, this is a fairly common reaction of people on the show to either the horrors they're subjected to or when they find out they were on a hidden camera show.
  • Creepy Child: A lot of pranks featured these—psychic creepy children, murderous creepy children, Yandere creepy children, a creepy child-ghost...
  • Deadly Prank:
    • Somewhat averted in that a couple of occasions, the actors clearly cut a scare short when the target is showing signs of excessive distress.
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    • There's also another form of prank they do, in which the victim believes THEY are pulling the prank for a show called Fear Antics. The prank they think they're pulling usually results in a (supposed) death, and then we see the real prank beginning.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Shannen Doherty
  • Distracted by the Sexy: How they lurned their victim into their sacrifice circle.
  • Don't Try This at Home: The disclaimer at the beginning of the show, and with more than good cause.
  • Genuine Human Hide: One prank involves a leather works that uses human skin.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: A trophy hunter who keeps human victims in cramped cages, then releases them to shoot down, features in a Season 1 scenario.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: A fair number of pranks involve encounters with cannibals. One note worthy example involves a wine maker who uses human blood as his secret ingredient.
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  • Land Mine Goes "Click!": One prank involves the victim and his "friends" caught in a minefield when this happens to him.
  • The Mafia: Some of the pranks involved them.
  • Playing with Fire: At least one scare involved a pyrokinetic child.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Some pranks involve one.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: A few pranks ended prematurely with the victim escaping before they finished the bit; for instance, one woman squeezed past a Mook trying to box her in and fled into the streets. One had to be ended in an extreme hurry (with all the actors breaking character mid-sentence) due to the victim preferring to jump out of a window rather than stay.
  • Shameful Strip: To the accomplice half-naked. Subverted that he agreed to this to fool the victim
  • Shotgun Wedding: One prank had the victim almost getting one.
  • Shout-Out: During the prologue of "Convo with a Killer", a scripted scene occurs with the smiling murderer being driven to the scene of his interview. The cop driving the car asks, "What are you smiling about?" The murderer replies, "We're getting close."
  • Show Within a Show:
    • "Fear Antics" is the fake version of Scare Tactics, where the victim thinks they're setting someone else up before things go horribly wrong.
    • Another gimmick revolves around a parody of the program Cheaters, in which the victim is set up with a camera crew as they spy on someone cheating on their spouse. One victim saw a cheating man enter an abandoned warehouse with his lover, and then entered the warehouse only to see the man surrounded by black garbage bags and holding a bloody knife.
  • Special Guest: Matt Hardy. Unlike Punk'd, he was the one doing the scaring. After The Reveal, the victim claimed to be a WWE fan.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: Some victims take the crazy stuff that's thrown at them exceedingly well.
  • Survival Mantra: During a prank involving a vampire biting people, the victim kept repeating "Everything is fine" to herself. Even when things... weren't.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Or rather, what you are at your most vulnerable. Oftentimes victims will beg for their lives, or even make desperate, less-than-righteous bargains when threatened. Once in a while, though, victims will display some degree of bravery and try to protect their allied actors. One victim even tried to scare away aliens who were closing in on him and a young girl on an abandoned bus.
  • Yandere: Some of the pranks involve the actor playing this. One of the earlier pranks had a man keeping his "wife" chained to the bed and drugging her daily, then offering to do the same for the victim.
  • You Look Familiar: Several actors appear in various pranks.
  • Your Head A-Splode: One scare involved experimentation of a dog collar — with human subjects, including two lab techs and the victim. The draw of this collar is that it cannot be removed by force — it requires the remote control. During testing, a man enraged that his patent over it was stolen seizes control and murders the testers, including remotely causing the collar on one of them to explode.