1. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Is this a convincing enough disguise for this scenario?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Ryan Elder, Apr 27, 2015.

    In my script, I want to write it so that these crooks are committing a heist, and a bystander happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. They go after him and search the premises for him.

    He manages to kill one of them and since the crooks are wearing masks, he switches clothes with the dead one, and puts on his mask. He then maims the dead guys face, so he cannot be recognized by the others. The others think that their comrad has now killed the bystander, as soon as they see their comrad in the bystander's clothes, with his face maimed.

    The bystander, wearing the comrad's clothes, then has to disguise his voice by coughing, in order to come up with something to fool them and escape.

    However, is this believable, that they would believe that the bystander is their friend, just because the clothes were switched, as well as putting on the mask, and vice versa, for the dead man?

    I mean Silence of the Lambs, had a similar scenario, so I am wondering if mine is pushing it too far, but what do you think?
     
  2. Madman
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    Madman Active Member

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    Anything can be convincing if you make it.

    How much time did he have to change the clothes?
    Do the crooks know each other well, or are they all contracted strangers who met through a third party?
    How long is he going to try and trick them?
     
  3. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    The crooks do not know each other well actually, and they law low, and only get together in the case of when a major crime has to be committed, which isn't a lot. So that works in my favor. They would be searching the premises for him, while he is switching clothes, so he will have to do it fast, but hopefully just enough time to make it convincing.

    He doesn't have to trick them for a long at all if need be. In fact, he could just give a wave to the others, as they give him orders from further away, and perhaps that will be enough.
     
  4. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I only see one issue with this scenario, and it's not about whether the disguise would work or not. To put it simply, who is this bystander? I understand that he may kill a guy, but to then mutilate him until he's unrecognisable? I doubt your average person would be capable of that, if it would even cross their mind.
     
  5. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Firstly, I'm with @Komposten about the likelihood of a "bystander the crooks are going to kill" being able to kill one of them and then mutilate him. You raised Silence of the Lambs yourself, and it took Hannibal Lecter to do it then!

    This doesn't sound convincing...the idea that these crooks "get together...when a major crime..." means that they'd need to do a LOT of planning, so the main players would now each other pretty well. Especially as there is an implication they've done several major crimes in the past, so they've been knocking around for some time.

    Plus, a major crime boss would know most of the players on his patch.

    Crooks who don't know each other doesn't gel for me.
     
  6. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    It takes inhuman abilities to replicate someone's voice convincingly, even if it is masked by coughing and kept to a minimum. Then again, characters with inhuman abilities are interesting, and as a reader, I personally love to suspend disbelief in just the right amounts.

    But like @Komposten said, the problem is not whether a normal person could pull it off. We already know this bystander is not a normal person from the fact that he has the will to kill someone and mutilate the corpse for cold-blooded tactical purposes. No matter; that actually works in your favor. You just need to emphasize, throughout the story, this bystander's incredible qualities. Treat him like the fascinating anomaly of a human being that he is. Do not let his nerves of steel and his talent for disguise become a deus ex machina, only to be forgotten when the plot moves on.

    Aside from that, I already love this premise. Its particular combination of organized crime and the imitation game is exactly my favorite kind of suspense. I advise you to go all-in with it -- instead of downplaying the robbers' level of organization to make the disguise more believable, make them so well-organized that their sophistication impresses the audience, which makes them interesting characters in their own right and raises the stakes for the bystander.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2015
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  7. AlcoholicWolf
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    AlcoholicWolf Contributing Member

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    I want to add to the discussion the importance of physical similarities or differences. You might have to draw on comparisons between the bystander and the crook he murdered. For instance, is he shorter, taller, bulkier, portlier? Maybe he has to stand on his tiptoes a little to make himself seem larger, or maybe he needs to puff out his chest a little more. Perhaps they are shockingly similar to the point of almost being a doppelganger.

    Also, when he murders the villain, I would definitely go in depth into what the bystander is thinking and feeling. As has been mentioned, not everyone would be willing to just rip a guy's face into shreds. The insanity of the situation would possibly drive someone to do drastic things, the classic "fight or flight" response, but you'd have to go into detail on how it works for this particular character.
     
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  8. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    ...so...while he's changing clothes does he also give the dead body a haircut?
     
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  9. ladybird
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    ladybird Contributing Member

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    I'm sorry this does not sound convincing to me.

    The bystander murders someone than rips his victims face to shreds to disguise his identity. He then undresses the guy and puts on his clothes. He then dresses the guy in his own clothes :scratch: What time frame are we talking here? What are the physical similarities between the two men? And as for coughing to disguise his voice that will not work in my opinion.

    It then brings me back to the question: could a bystander, unless he were also inherently evil, kill another human being in cold blood and effectively rip his face off? It's a heist of what? Not a terrorist attack on an airport or school? I'm not sure what lengths I'd go to protect kids ... but a heist, I don't buy it. :(
     
  10. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. How did Silence of the Lambs make it work though? The cop who Lecter killed was of a somewhat thinner build than he was. What if I had my character, instead of ripping off a face, just blast the guy's head with a shotgun he took from the guy's bag, after killing him? That way, the head is in pieces and you won't be able to tell right off the bat, if the hair has changed.

    And what if after he switches clothes, he is far enough away from the others, that he could give them hand signals, that everything is okay, rather than speaking. If he is far away enough they may not notice the physical differences as much?

    As for the bystander being able to kill in cold blood, since they went after him with the intention to kill the bystander, his kill is in self defense. Especially since the guy attacks him. It's only after the person dies, and the others are looking for him that he gets the idea to destroy the dead man's face and switch clothes. But he is not a cold blooded killer, and it is more self defense, even though he has to make the decision to disrespect a dead body, after, in order for his own survival and escape.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2015
  11. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Lecter only needed to get into the ambulance and away from the prison room (away from the police cordon around it) to complete his escape by overpowering the ambulance crew.

    He was relying on the uniform and the apparent injuries to fool the rest of the cops (in the dark and confusion) into thinking "man down".


    OK, this could work - except, how does he kill a killer who's out to kill him? And who has a shotgun in his bag? Why wouldn't the killer take the easy way out and use the shotgun on our hero?
    You need to work out the mechanics of what weapon the killer is using (if he's using a handgun, why would he have a shotgun in his bag?) to kill our hero, and how our hero turns the tables.
     
  12. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Yep I will have to work out the details like that. The thing is, is that I want the bystander to be the one to legally get in trouble. Basically when he goes to the police, I want the evidence to pursuade the police and the DA that he is making it up, and that he is guilty of second degree murder or manslaughter, based on the fact that the dead body is horrible maimed. Does this add up though? Would the villains leave a dead body behind? Or perhaps I could write it so they had to, and could not bring it with them. But do you think that him maiming the dead body would be enough for the cops to charge him? Or would the villains have to maim the body even more, post mortem to make the DA believe that more?
     
  13. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Depends on the details, but...I would think that DNA evidence would connect innocent bystander to horribly disfigured villain, so the cops would suspect him, and self-defence does look a bit thin, given the degree of p.m. disfigurement. I don't believe that the rest of the gang would hang around to recover the body -this ain't the marines, where nobody gets left behind, and this guy ain't getting no military honours at HIS funeral!
    It's usually enough for manslaughter to connect killer and body. You'd need premeditation for murder, and it's going to be difficult for the cops to prove that, and they probably wouldn't try too hard given that the deceased is (probably) a known villain.
     

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