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Q&A with Scott Hallock and Tracy Morgan of Syfy’s “Scare Tactics”

It is that time of year to frighten, watch scary movies and scare the ever living crap out of people. Are you scared? “You shouldn’t be. You’re on Scare Tactics. It is the line many dread and some people get a kick out of, as hilarious actor and comedian Tracy Morgan (30 Rock” and Saturday Night Live) hosts and executive produces this outlandish Syfy version of Candid Camera. People are set up by their so-called loved ones with elaborate pranks and scary situations that involve everything from special effects to makeup.

These elaborate horror hoaxes are designed to tap into the fears of the unsuspected victims. In the season premiere there is a mist, a lab experiment and something with cryonics. A big mix-up happens, and a fellow lab member winds up trapping his colleague in the room with a “mist.”

What these people do not know is there is in an entire viewing audience watching at home as the hilarious Tracy Morgan does the introductions and hosts the show. During a recent conference call Tracy and Executive Producer Scott Hallock discussed what goes into scaring someone into oblivion and then wailing with laughter, Syfy style.

Scott Hallock discussed the serious process of “pranking” a family member or friend. The crew must first meet with the friend or family member to find out why they would want to do something so horrifying to their loved one. With Halloween just around the corner, and Syfy promoting the 31 Days of Halloween, it makes you wonder if people look for cameras to make certain the Scare Tactics crew isn’t preparing a prank.

Hallock maintains it is all about the back story of the person. When friends and family set someone up for a prank, they inform the crew of their fears, and their workplace is in on the surprise as well. The show usually starts out with people who are in on the scare doing something random at a job or outdoors. They never start out with a jump-off-the-sofa moment. That is saved for when you are very comfy and believe you are watching a great comedy show play out before the chaos ensues. Hallock assures that these people are not showing up blindly, but in fact going through the process of getting to know the crew and what is and is not appropriate for the show.

Much of the focus of the “scare” depends on what the person is into. If someone worships vampires, their episode will revolve around vampires. If they have a thing for aliens, they will land the mother ship and begin looking for members. If you fear spiders or snakes, the crew backs off a bit. They will not place anyone into a dangerous situation.

Hallock said he is frightened by Bigfoot, mainly because he grew up in the Northwest and heard a lot of noises in the woods. He is not fond of the unseen; it’s creepy to him. He brings his own fears to the show, but in a way that the audience can relate to. He offered the example of having a bad day at work and discovering that you will become the test subject for strange medication, with discomfort setting in then minutes later. Or, you could be at work and some type of strange reptile slithers across the office floor. That is what Scare Tactics is all about.

Tracy added that he is mainly afraid of the IRS. You can see where the perfect comic timing comes in and why he is the host. He makes the show even more believable by putting people at ease with his comic relief. No one would ever suspect so many things could go wrong having him involved with the project.

Scare Tactics is going full force and bringing everything and anything the mind may imagine. There are several new tactics that involve everything from “exploding heads to the rarest of them all, alien spores from outer space.”

There is a lot of extensive planning that goes into the show but the comedic aspect of it is what draws viewers in. Everyone is always looking for something different to watch, and Syfy provides it. The show takes on the unknown and adds comic relief.

Morgan said he could not think of a favorite prank off the top of his head. It is true shock value being provided, but “I don’t think I could pick just one.” He did decide that having a “devil baby” make an appearance was a rather interesting prank.

Hallock’s favorite prank involved Tracy’s premiere episode in which the mummy in the museum exhibit comes to life. He believes that Syfy assists with making us believe the unbelievable. He also referenced an episode in which they are shooting a horror film, and they began to kill off the people in the film.

The pranks may push the envelope, but not to the extent of hurting anyone or scaring the life out of someone. Hallock is not looking to scare the person to death but just provide them with a bit of a reminder that life is filled with adventures, Sometimes we are so busy living, we need to have some fun in life.

Morgan believes the show gives viewers something to laugh about. We live in such a serious world with so much going on, to be able to laugh is a relief for many of us. There will be a lot of great things happening on the show. A lot of comedy, some amazing scares, and some great tactics in which he gets to take part in this season.

Scare Tactics has had great ratings, and Morgan adds that extra kick to the show. There are so many levels for this show, but in reality it is all in good fun. At the end of the day, no one gets hurt, and that Bigfoot you thought you saw lurking around is probably an actor trying to find his trailer. So beware, Scare Tactics may be heading your way with all new pranks.

Don’t miss the season premiere of Scare Tactics on Monday, October 10 at 9/8c, on Syfy. Check out our Facebook page and sign up for the RSS Feeds.

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