Hidden camera prank shows are never not lame: from Candid Camera to Scare Tactics to Howie Do It to Just For Laughs Gags, the genre is based on messing with the livelihood of random people for no real reason apart from good old-fashioned schadenfreude. Throw in some dopey music, canned laughter, and the optional smarmy host, et voilà! You don’t need a cost–benefit analysis to know that shoestring budget + high ratings = financial gold, baby.
Which brings us to Programa Silvio Santos. The Brazilian show’s latest prank? Stick some unsuspecting folks in an elevator, have it stall between floors, black out the lights, and suddenly have a young actress — decked out like a creepy dead girl holding a doll — appear. And disappear. And reappear. And let out a blood-curdling scream. Funny? No. Mean? Oh yeah. Borderline sociopathic? You be the judge.
Actually, screw that, I’ll be the judge: it’s borderline sociopathic. What’s up, Brazil? You’re the guys that brought us such sweet cultural exports as Bossa Nova and Carnival. When did you turn into the geographic equivalent of Jeffrey Dahmer?