Scared Stiff

There are Christmas families, Thanksgiving families, Easter families, Independence Day families, and I’m sure there are even some weird Arbor Day families out there. I was born and raised in a Halloween family. My parents were fairly conservative on one hand: movies with nudity or excessive profanity were off the table, but for one reason or another, violence was never a big deal. That said, Elvira (aka Cassandra Peterson) was the type of figure who straddled the line between the two; which is probably why I found (and still find) her to be one of pop culture’s more titillating¬†icons.

As I grew into adulthood and started getting pinball machines (that sounds funny), Scared Stiff was one of those games that was always on my radar, but never really in my reach. They would never pop up locally, and the ones that were within driving distance (like CA or NV) were always priced astronomically.

Finally, one day, I came across one at a – I’m not going to say great – but very fair price in Texas, so I pulled the trigger and had it shipped. Ironically, the game arrived in AZ while I was working in TX for a week. Go figure. A buddy of mine hung out at my house to sign for it while I was away. When I got home, I hugged my wife (love you!) and then quickly brushed her aside to see if Elvira was okay.

She was.

Much like the Millennium Falcon and The Mistress of the Dark herself: she’s got it where it counts. The playfield certainly has some mileage on ir, but it still looks good and plays without much of a fuss. This is such a fun machine! It’s certainly not the deepest game in the world, but it’s got great flow, an easy-to-grasp rule set – and with all of its playful innuendo – it’s arguably the funniest pinball game ever made.

As far as modifications, here’s what I’ve added to the cauldron: CoinTaker non-ghosting LEDs, painted boney flippers/return lane guides, green superbands, autographed translite (more on that below), gory eyeball shooter, repro plastics/inserts, light-up skull pile, flickering candles, backboard decal, mirror blades, dancing boogie men, a Color DMD, and a skull pile topper that’s rigged to a fog machine.

The newest modification is two mini LCD screens that replace the LED lights in the eyes of the Boney Beast. Each screen plays synchronized video of the eyes looking around and occasionally blinking. It’s a trip!

In the summer of 2014, my wife and I went to the Mad Monster convention in Phoenix, where we got the opportunity to meet Elvira. I’ve met a lot of horror celebrities over the years, but I can say with 100% honesty, that Elvira may very well be the nicest. In the pic below, I’m the dork on the right, and my wife is on the left. This might have been the first day ever that Elvira wasn’t the prettiest woman in the room.