They may be handy in the kitchen but show a Frenchman a waxwork severed head and he'll hightail it.
This is the findings of the London Dungeon, the UK capital's gruesome answer to Madame Tussauds.
They commissioned ‘thrill engineer’ Professor Brendan Walker to conduct tests into the ‘scare thresholds’ of visitors and come up with top 10 rankings.
Among many trouser-troubling features were live rats and maggot-infested meat, all used to study people’s responses, including heart rate, sweat levels and facial expressions.
Walker concluded the French were easiest to frighten followed by the Italians and Brazilians. Next came the English and Scots, with Americans and Germans being made of stronger stuff.
Prof Walker said: “Most of the ratings are in keeping with what one might expect in terms of predicted national responses but there are some curve balls in there.
“I would certainly have anticipated that France, Italy and Brazil would come high up the list of most ‘scared’, but am surprised at some of the Anglo countries’ (USA, England and Scotland) relative ‘squeamishness’ – hardly in keeping with the stereotypes of the unshakeable British bulldog or Scotland the brave.”
The Dungeon is now using Walker’s research to classify its shows by nationality, with ratings reflecting cultural sensibilities as opposed to the more commonplace age classifications given for films and games. Which is odd.
London Dungeon general manager Ben Sweet said: “The results have enabled us to introduce an international rating system across our shows so guests know what level of scare they are in for.
“It will also be very useful for our team of actors, enabling them to ramp up or tone down the experience for different groups.”
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