Naming screams

04Feb09

I’m trying to identify a scream. I’m sure you’ve heard it before. If you’ve ever gone trick-or-treating or to a cheesy haunted house, it has probably been playing on the tape of scary noises that someone picked up at the dollar store. You know, this one:

I pulled that sound clip from the Buffy episode “The Harvest,” an episode from the first season when the effects budget seemed to consist of the change Joss Whedon could dig out of the seats in his car. But I know that I’ve heard the scream used in other TV shows and even a movie or two, and I’m curious about where it came from.

In trying to find information about those three distinctive shrieks, I discovered that there is an even more famous scream in Hollywood. The Wilhelm Scream, named for Pvt. Wilhelm who emits the scream in the 1953 film The Charge of Feather River, has supposedly been used over 140 times, most notably in films by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.

That’s not a very brave scream, is it? That’s a scream of fallen enemies and cowardly minor characters.

I read further and discovered a scream that I was much more familiar with: The Goofy Holler, perhaps more recognizably transcribed as “Aaaaaaah-hoo-hoo-hoo-hooey!”

The Goofy Holler has made the rounds in Disney productions, but it has also been used in such quality live-action fare as Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde and Street Fighter: The Movie.

But I have yet to find the origin of Darla’s scream of holy-water-inflicted pain. It seems to be used for work made in the horror genre, but it’s not included in horror scream collections such as this one. I wonder if it has a name. If it doesn’t, I wonder if I could suggest “Incredibly Phony and Easily Identified.”

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One Response to “Naming screams”

  1. 1 Hazel

    Buzz Lightyear does the Wilhelm scream? Oh the shame of it. I am noe quite freaked out by hearing it all those times.


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