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Scared Review

Official Review

June 29th, 2011 9:59am
Reviewed by Eugene Burger
First of all, I was asked to review this DVD because I have performed Al Baker’s Pack That Cuts Itself for over 50 years. Second, I really liked Jamie Daws' version. Third, let’s be clear about what this is and what it isn’t.

The cover of the DVD describes this effect as an “Impromptu Haunted Deck.”

Well, no, it isn’t the same as the Haunted Deck — which is an effect marketed by Tannen’s (and involves a special deck of cards) and is based on Al Baker’s creation.

The effect of both Al Baker’s Pack that Cuts Itself and Tannen’s Haunted Deck is that the deck cuts and then the top half of the pack moves back, exposing the selected card. The effect of Scared, on the other hand, is a self-cutting deck. The top half of the deck moves over but does not move back.

Is this an important difference? Well, I have seen the reaction of thousands of people to the deck cutting and then moving back and, yes, there is definitely a surprised response from audience members when the deck moves back. It is an extra boost, as it were, that makes the overall effect even stronger.

The next thing I think we need to consider here is the claim, often repeated, that this is an impromptu version because the simple gimmick can be made on the spot. Yes, the gimmick can easily be made but, nevertheless, I think this is an empty claim. If the performer is using his or her own deck, why wait until you are ready for – or in – a performance to prepare the gimmick? If it is your deck, why not prepare it at home? On the other hand, if it is a deck borrowed from your host or hostess, you better hope for a Joker in the deck that you can destroy — or you are ruining the deck of cards for most card games!

But if you are preparing a card at home, it takes only a few more minutes to attach a thread to a belt loop and do Al Baker’s original effect.

Having said all this, I repeat that I really liked this effect. It is fun to practice and rehearse. I particularly like the idea of the performer and one other audience member touching the deck with their little fingers. A small circle of people could be formed, in fact, touching little fingers and thumbs with the deck as part of the circle. Then, with the deck in full view, the top half moves and cuts to the side. With candles and a sense of atmosphere, this could, indeed, be scary.

One other point: the rising card effect that Jamie and Dave Forrest mention several times is Jeff McBride’s Kundalini Rising.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Scared

Author: Daws, Jamie
Publisher: Full 52
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $35.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

Imagine that at any time, anywhere and under any conditions you could channel energy through your fingertips that would cause a deck of cards to mysteriously animate, slowly begin to shift and, as though of its own accord, cut directly to a selected card. Imagine no more - this is SCARED!

Jamie Daws (creator of smash hit effect 'The Gathering') is back with SCARED - an impromtpu haunted deck effect. A creation so devious, so ingenious and so practical, it's SCARY! And, this incredible animation of a deck of playing cards is SUPER EASY TO DO! In fact, it's almost SELF WORKING!

Jamie has taken an age old principle and invented a super streamlined, hyper-practical method to make it happen. Now there's no need to carry extra gimmicks - no thread, no wires and no magnets - the SCARED DVD arms you with the ability to fashion a cunning gaff 'on the fly', meaning you can cause any regular deck to eerily cut itself directly to a selected card at a moments notice.

On this DVD and download you'll learn the basic principle and how to fashion an ordinary playing card into an incredible 'haunted deck' gimmick in less than FIVE SECONDS! Then Jamie, together with Dave Forrest, will walk you through a variety of refinements of the original gaff and teach you everything you need to know about animating the deck including a number of exciting handling variations.

Plus, you'll learn no less than FOUR complete routines using the SCARED gaff in very clever ways that will ensure you get maximum impact out of the gimmick.

1. SCARED AGAIN - A spectral drawing on a Joker causes the deck to cut itself to a selection, then the drawing is discovered on the selected card!

2. SCARED BLUE - Two selections are made. The deck eerily cuts to one of them and the other changes from red to blue!

3. SCARY THOUGHTS - A spectator jots down a card they have in mind. The paper is balled up and placed onto the deck which then cuts itself directly at the card!

4. TRIPLE SCARED - The deck eerily cuts to a selected card. The second card reverses itself and the third card is written on its back!

Running Time Approximately: 1hr 5min

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