Bally Scared Stiff

Scared Stiff Elvira
Scared Stiff Elvira

Scared Stiff is the second game to feature Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. The first pinball machine, Elvira and the Party Monsters, was so popular that Bally decided to make another Elvira themed game.

Scared Stiff looks beautiful. The cabinet is a crate with a monster of some kind in it. In the backbox there's a spider that rotates and you use to select modes in the game. The playfield also looks great, with very bright colors, a skeleton ramp, a coffin, a laboratory and some other spooky references.


modes to complete
I find Scared Stiff to be quite easy. It's not a very challenging game, there is not enough change in gameplay.

There are 6 modes you have to complete: the six tales of terror. Most of them only need a few shots to complete. These tales are:

  • Terror from the crate
  • The Monsters Lab
  • Night of the Leapers
  • Return of the Deadheads
  • Eye of the Boney Beast
  • Stiff in the Coffin

Once you have collected all these modes, an 'easy' wizard mode starts: Scared Stiff. In this mode you have to try to get the stiff-o-meter to 10.

My main complaint with the game is that the left orbit is too important. For three of the six modes you have to complete, you need to make this shot (to lock balls, to reach the deadheads (although that you can do also from shooting right of the crate) and to reach the laboratory).
And the other shots needed: the ramps and crate, are wide and easy to shoot at.

If you want a real challenge then you can try to complete all the backbox modes. That will start the wizard mode for experienced players. But if you do so, you will probably get tired of shooting the right saucer over and over and over and over..

I know this is the way the game was designed, it was aimed at the casual player. But to me this doesn't make this game a keeper. It's fun to play though, it's certainly a good game. But there's too much repetition in it, you always have to make the same shots over and over. Trying to get a high score by keeping multiballs running for a long time and scoring multiple jackpots is a challenge though..

My game

I had a Scared Stiff for a few months but after a few weeks already became bored with it.
I do play it when I come across one, as it's a fun game, but I certainly don't miss it that much to own one again (or want to get rid of one of my keeper games to make room for it).

Things to look for when buying

Right scoop. The edges of this scoop wear.
The ramp above this scoop can also break when the ball is shot up from below the playfield..

The crate decal usually needs to be replaced because it wears a lot by getting hit all the time.
The left ramp should have a red decal on it (missing in picture). This decal is often damaged (sometimes even the ramp itself is damaged). This because of a flasher underneath the ramp that is too close. It is advised when shopping the game to position this flasher a bit further away from the ramp.

faded pinball cabinet
Cabinet fade. The cabinet in the picture has faded a lot.
'STIFF' should be red (not yellow) and in the grey boards are also dark red letters.

Springs. The crate and coffin use a special type of spring. This is still available but often is broken.

The crate lock. The door is locked by a long metal pin which sometimes breaks.

Tech tips

There are some mods you can do, like make the slingshot monsters move, install an eye ball shooter, or make the deadhead eyes light up. Check Leons site or Clays site for instructions (same projects but both sites do it in a slightly different way)

If you shop the game, you'll notice both ramps are very difficult to remove. They're very long and one goes around the other. Remove the black backpanel of the playfield, then it's easier to remove them as you can move the ramps more towards the back of the game.


Some games have fluorescent bony parts on them, like the ribs and skull on the ramp, flippers and lane dividers.

Early games had 'RRR' on the cabinet artwork, on later games this was scratched.

Very first designs included a small upper playfield in the upper right corner above the slingshots (the ramp nicely goes around it) but that was left out soon from designs.

The goodie bag also included a special shaped spiderweb decal. This one could be stuck on Elviras cleavage on the backbox in case the location complained..

More information about Scared Stiff and prototype features can be found at Robert Winters Scared Stiff website.

Click here to see the IPDB entry of this game.