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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.

Examples of Nobody Here but Us Statues include:


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.


Comicbooks

  • Done in a ~Li'l 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 Asterix 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 Gen 13 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.


Film

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mystique does it in the X-Men movie. 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 the Extraterrestrial 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.


Literature

  • 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 "taking a length of pipe out of his mouth". 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.


Live-Action TV

  • 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.
  • 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.

 Ms. Tutveiler: (To Moseby) Mr. Moseby? Does those statues look familiar to you?

Mr. Moseby: (Slightly annoyed) 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 Chapulin 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 a Benny Hill sketch (possibly more than one) 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 second season of Blackadder, every episode's closing credits came with 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.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: Used 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.
  • Used to HORRIFYING effect by the Weeping Angels of Doctor Who fame. 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.
    • 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.

Music

  • 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.


Theatre

  • 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 Winters 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.)


Videogames

  • 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.
  • In Super Mario Bros 3, the Tanooki costume has the power of temporarily turning into a statue, which monsters will just walk past.
  • 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 Solid Snake, 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.
    • This is for squicky laughs - The statues themselves are in homoerotic poses, leading to Snake having to disguise himself by joining in with the Greco-Roman sex. There's one statue where Snake integrates himself into the statue by holding onto another statue's penis - if you do this too many times, he can accidentally break the penis off. Obviously, this alerts any guards in the area. While hidden, Snake can also get crapped on by birds, or peed on by Mooks. This is fairly typical for a Hideo Kojima game.
  • Sly Cooper does this in the second game, to hide from some Mooks looking for him and Bentley.
  • 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.
  • 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 and Conquer: Nobody here but us trees!
  • 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.


Webcomics

  • The Board Game of 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.


Western Animation

  • The Beast hiding amongst a bunch of gargoyles in the climatic fight in Beauty and the Beast
  • 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.
  • Nearly any Scooby Doo series, including the live action movie.
  • 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.
  • Goliath and Lexington pull this off among a roof-full of their structural descendants to ambush The Pack in Gargoyles.
    • Later in the Goliath Chronicles Lexington poses as a doll in a toy story. Leading to this exchange:

 Store Owner: These things get uglier every year. (walks off)

Lexington: (under his breath) Who's ugly?

    • Needless to say, the gargoyles' daylight "stone sleep" makes invoking this trope both mandatory and extremely convincing from dawn to dusk.
  • Done by 21 and 24 in The Venture Brothers by pretending to be exhibits in a museun. 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 "It's About Time", Twilight Sparkle sneaks into the Canterlot Archives with Pinkie Pie and Spike in a desperate attempt to avert a crisis she was warned about by her future self. At one point, Twilight disguises herself as a statue to avoid an approaching guard, and encourages Pinkie Pie and Spike to do the same.


Real Life

  • 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.
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