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MirrorHall

A standard Hall of Mirrors shot.


An excellent place for final confrontations with heroes, the Hall of Mirrors wins high marks for ease of use. All you have to do is lure your victim inside by dashing in yourself, and then cackle with glee as they find you reflected back not once but a thousand times... When you have had your fun, seal the exits and fill the cramped space with some kind of liquid. Plain water works as well as anything, but why not add food dye for color. Or, for a touch of whimsy, use a sickeningly sweet fruit punch.
How to Be a Villain, Neil Zawacki

During The Chase, especially if at a carnival or Amusement Park, the quarry will duck into a funhouse. When the pursuer follows, he will be confronted with a Hall of Mirrors, dozens of panes of glass -- every one of them reflecting an image of his quarry, taunting him. The pursuer has to figure out which is the real one before he escapes.

Though it often is so, the Hall of Mirrors need not be in an actual funhouse, or even in a carnival setting. It can also be used outside a chase scenario, perhaps in its natural setting or even for a generic kaleidoscope effect.

And now, Here Comes the Science!:

Most of the trouble characters encounter in a Hall of Mirrors results from the mirrors not behaving the way real mirrors do. This is justifiable with mirrors that are magic or otherwise likely to behave oddly anyway, but it also happens with mirrors that are supposedly ordinary.

Frequently, a main character will collide with a mirror, having not realized they were looking at a reflection. In reality, as you approach a mirror, your reflection appears to approach from the other side, which really should be a tipoff. However, when a mirror is reflecting another mirror or two or three, it can create the illusion of there being a place to run to without the viewers own reflection appearing to tip him or her off. In many real life hall of mirror set ups, however, the mirrored panels also have some clear glass (or clear plastic) panels mixed in just to make things even more confusing, and you can very easily walk into these as well since there is no reflection to warn you. A character who "walks into a mirror" may just be a director misremembering exactly why he mashed his face in that midway ride when he was seven.

Occasionally, a character will often see multiple reflections of an object, all of them quite close to the mirror surface, but will not be able to find the object. In reality, if the reflection of the object appears one inch behind the mirror, then the farthest that the real object can possibly be from the surface of the mirror is one inch.

Often these are combined, in which case it starts to seem like the "mirror" is actually just a sheet of glass and the object actually is on the other side (which is almost never the intention -- although in real life it may be exactly the case). See also House of Broken Mirrors.

Examples of Hall of Mirrors include:


Anime

  • In one episode of Betterman, Keita and Hinoki are lost in a hall of mirrors. The situation turns desperate when it becomes clear that they can't find a way out. When they find one another, they collapse into each other's arms, crying... when their schoolmates reveal it was an elaborate prank.
  • Also used in Flame of Recca during the second fight between Recca and Mikagami. Like Batman and Lee, Recca smashes the mirrors to find the real Mikagami.
  • The panel at the bottom of this scanlation credits page makes fun of this trope.
  • Akira uses this as a strategy in Samurai Deeper Kyo.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, Aki and Misty's final showdown takes place in one of these. Also, Misty has a field spell called Mirror Labyrinth, which apparently brings the monster's reflections to life.
  • In one episode of Magical Angel Creamy Mami, the eponymous protagonist uses her Transformation Trinket in a mirror house. The reflections generate another Creamy Mami of the completely opposite personality.

Comic Books

  • An issue of X-Men featured Cyclops and Colossus chasing Mystique into a Hall of Mirrors; by getting Cyclops to fire his Eye Beams at her reflection, Mystique tricked him into shooting through an energy amplification device which blasted Colossus, which in turn allowed her to get the drop on Cyclops.
  • The Flash's longtime opponent(s) Mirror Master is extremely fond of this setting, for obvious reasons.
  • In The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel, Batman chases the Joker into a Hall of Mirrors.
    • They do it in The Killing Joke as well. Like Bruce Lee before him, Batman's solution is to smash the mirrors.
    • And again in Batman/JudgeDredd: Die Laughing.
      • In one of his first appearances, Mysterio was savvy to this solution, so he coated the mirrors in a deadly poison that could be delivered by any shard that could scratch Spider-Man's skin.

Film

  • The James Bond film The Man With The Golden Gun uses this in the final confrontation between Bond and Scaramanga, and in The Teaser as well. Scaramanga ends up falling for the mirror thing in the finale.
  • Enter the Dragon uses this in the final showdown between Bruce Lee and Mr. Han. Bruce defeats Han by smashing the mirrors.
  • The Lady from Shanghai has a climactic shootout in one of these. The surreal shoot out is probably the Trope Maker.
    • The climax of Woody Allen's Manhattan Murder Mystery is a very nice homage to that shootout.
  • The Circus by Charlie Chaplin. Twenty years before The Lady From Shanghai--THIS is probably the Trope Maker.
  • A variation in Jurassic Park: a Velociraptor runs into a polished metal door whose angle reflected Lex, trying to hide in a different place.
  • Another variation in Titan A.E., where Captain Korso follows Cale into an ice field, where his ship's image is being reflected everywhere. Preed thinks he's found the ship several times, only for the reflection to come to an uneven part of the ice, causing it to bend. Like many things in the movie, a rare case of something actually happening correctly.
  • Yet another variation takes place in the 1994 film version of The Shadow, when Shiwan Khan has escaped into a storage area full of mirrors. Ultimately, the Shadow uses his powers to shatter the mirrors (rather than his guns).
    • The original plan was to have a more prolonged chase through the hall of mirrors, including flashbacks and banter. However, an earthquake struck before the scene could be filmed, shattering many of the mirrors. Since it would be too expensive to simply replace them, the directors went with a simpler version.
  • Az én XX. századom features a Denouement in a funhouse hall of mirrors, involving twins.
  • In the film F/X, Rory uses a sheet of reflective material to rig a decoy reflection of himself and lure a gun-toting thug in the wrong direction.
  • * The Man Called Flintstone (The Film of the Series of The Flintstones). While fleeing the Green Goose in an abandoned amusement park, Fred flees into one of these.
  • The film adaptation of the Phantom of the Opera musical includes a hall of mirrors in which the Phantom traps Raoul. The hall of mirrors is only mentioned in the musical, but in the original novel, Raoul and the Persian fall into a maze of mirrors that the Phantom uses to convince them they are trapped in a desert.

Literature

  • In Ray Bradbury's novel Something Wicked This Way Comes about a hellish carnival, a school teacher gets lost in a Hall of Mirrors while chasing a girl who looks like her at a young age.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel Witches Abroad has a variation, wherein Granny Weatherwax and her sister Lily each face their own reflections in a Hall of Mirrors and are challenged by Death to find the one that's real. Lily searches endlessly through the mirrors, while Granny Weatherwax, after asking a couple of questions, looks down at herself and says "This one."
  • Garry Kilworth's Welkin Weasels: Heastward Ho!: Maudlin ends up as bait to trap a wolverine ghost, and has to wait inside a mirrored labyrinth-box owned by the conjuror/ghosthunter. The conjuror claims the box, when closed, is of infinite internal dimensions and the only way to get out is to open the lid from the inside.
  • In the Slayground by Richard Stark, Parker, corned by rival criminals in a closed up amusement park, takes a precaution to assure that he will not end up confused by the Hall of Mirrors. He spraypaints a white line across the mirrors in the Hall of Mirrors. That way, when he does not see the white line, he knows he has the actual person in his sights.

Live Action TV

  • Star Trek: Voyager had an episode where the ship was in a reflective cave with a hostile vessel. Their solution was to fire a lower powered phaser which bounced around until it hit the non-reflective enemy ship.
  • Odd Bob the Clown does this in The Sarah Jane Adventures episode Day of the Clown in order to freak Sarah Jane out even more than she already is. It doesn't work. She uses her sonic lipstick to destroy one of the mirrors, revealing the way out of the hall.
  • Claire in Heroes uses the Hall Of Mirrors at Samuel's carnival to turn the tables on a Self-Duplication villain.
  • The Time Trax episode "Almost Human" has Captain Lambert battling his clone in a mirror house.
  • When MacGyver is chased by a brainwashed friend, he uses this to trick the friend into running out of ammo so he can approach and subdue him.
  • A scientific example of infinite reflections occured in Mr Wizard where he had a child step into a small enclosure created by three mirrors and closed up the top with another mirror. Then, the camera zoomed out, suggesting that the kid was trapped there forever surrounded by himself...
  • The Twilight Zone episode "In Praise of Pip".
  • Appears at the climax of the Lois and Clark episode "Illusions of Grandeur."
  • Leverage: In "The Carnival Job" Roper confronts a concussed Eliot in the a hall of mirrors, seriously screwing with the already disoriented man.
  • Dark Oracle: In the Season 1 finale, Blaze and Violet chase Omen down one, ultimately trapping him in a final hidden mirror at the end of the hall.

Video Games

  • In Sonic Adventure, Amy is being chased by a robot, and she has to go through one of these in Twinkle Park. As it features such things as booby-trapped sections of floor, it's not exactly easy, which is odd as Twinkle Park is her first stage.
  • In Spider-Man 2 for the Play Station 2 one of the rooms of Mysterio's fun house is a hall of mirrors which create deformed clones of Spider-Man that attack him. The mirrors must be destroyed in order to progress.

Web Comics

  • This episode of Zap
  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, Dr. McNinja encounters one of these on Dracula's moonbase. This is a problem because vampires "don't show up in mirrors, you see." (Dracula is hiding on the ceiling, and the doctor cannot notice him there in a mirror.) Doc, being the badass he is, manages to turn it around on him, though.

Western Animation

  • An episode of The Simpsons had a corrupt detective being taunted by Homer in a hall of mirrors. In a subversion, the detective manages to shoot the real Homer on the first attempt.

 Homer: Heh heh heh, whaddaya gonna do now? Ya can't shoot all of us. [BANG] Dammit!

    • Lisa then promptly pulls out a laser pointer and aims it at the nearest reflection, blinding the detective several bounces later.
  • Teen Titans: in one episode towards the end of Season 2, Slade chases Beast Boy and Terra through a causality-defying Hall of Mirrors.
  • Kim Possible runs into these while chasing Adrena Lynn through an amusement park.
  • One episode of Aladdin had the heroes try to find a certain magic mirror to ward off an obelisk whose shadow destroyed whatever it fell on; they would know it because it reflected one's true self. Aladdin found it when, although he was dressed in his royal garb, it reflected him as a "street rat".
  • Batman pursues Baby Dahl into a hall of mirrors at the end of one Batman the Animated Series episode. She breaks down and surrenders after seeing herself reflected in one mirror the way she should look (as an adult, instead of the looks-about-6 body she actually has).
  • This happens to Batman a lot, really: he chases the Joker into one during the first season finale of The Batman.

  "If you think this is confusing, try living inside my head!"

  • In the Disney cartoon Bone Trouble, Pluto ducks into a hall of mirrors to escape an angry bulldog, and amuses himself by playing with the reflections. When the bulldog appears, Pluto scares him off with multiple reflections of himself.
  • Subverted in Static Shock. When a villain runs from Static into one he uses what must be the most obvious trick that nobody ever uses: He looks at the floor.
  • In the Pac-Man episode "Nighty Nightmares", Pinky's dream is that Pac-Man has followed him into a hall of mirrors.
  • An episode of Superfriends had Wonder Woman in a hall of mirrors. The reflections said to her, "You can't run away from yourself!"
  • In the Family Guy Exorcist parody episode, Carrot Top leads Peter into one of these, and the latter is too busy watching the reflections to notice a trapdoor which he walks into. This being Family Guy, he escapes via the use of a see-saw.

Real Life

  • When Mafia hitman Albert Anastasia got whacked in a barber shop, his assailants timed their attack well, entering when he had a hot towel over his face. Hearing their sudden arrival, Anastasia pulled the towel off, spotted their reflections in a full-length shop mirror, and instinctively lunged toward their images, having mistaken them for the actual threat. As this placed his back to the killers, he was shot from behind so fast he may never have realized he'd fallen prey to a Real Life variant of this trope.
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