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The Wilhelm Scream

Article #254 • Written by Greg Bjerg

Wilhelm about to scream in The Charge at Feather River
Wilhelm about to scream in The Charge at Feather River

In the 1951 movie Distant Drums starring Gary Cooper, a small band of soldiers were crossing a swamp in pursuit of Seminole Indians. While wading through the Everglades one unnamed soldier was attacked and dragged underwater by an alligator. His last sound as he died was a startled scream.

In The Charge at Feather River two years later, a soldier named Private Wilhelm screamed in what sounded like alligator-assaulted agony when he was struck by an arrow. In fact, his cry of pained surprise was practically identical to unnamed soldier's. Both men would soon be forgotten as a bit parts in B-movies, seen by relatively few moviegoers. But the holler they bellowed went on to be heard by millions-- if not billions-- of people worldwide.

Most movie studios will add sound effects for a film during post-production, and of course it's not unusual for them to recycle sound effects from their archives. In the case of Distant Drums, six short screams were recorded in a studio and creatively titled "man getting bit by an alligator, and he screams". The fifth take was used for the alligator attack, and the others came in handy to give voice to some Indians shot during a raid.

Following the movie's release, the distinctive scream was placed in the Warner Brothers sound effects library and used regularly in that studio's films. Among many others, it was heard in Them! in 1954, Swiss Family Robinson in 1960, PT-109 in 1963, and The Green Berets in 1968.

Star Wars Stormtrooper does the Wilhelm scream
Star Wars Stormtrooper does the Wilhelm scream

Eventually a sound effect aficionado named Ben Burtt noticed the same scream wailing from the speakers of movie after movie. When he made the swashbuckler parody The Scarlet Blade in 1974, he decided he wanted to use the scream, so he lifted it from another film's soundtrack. A few years later, he was hired to handle the sound effects for Star Wars, and during his audio hunting adventures he heard a familiar cry emanate from the Warner Brothers archive: the original Distant Drums scream. Delighted, Burtt began to regularly insert the dramatic outcry into the projects he worked on, including Star Wars. He dubbed it the "Wilhelm scream" in honor of the first named character to use it, and from there it found its way into cinema legend.

The scream soon became a kind of inside joke for Hollywood sound editors who started watching for places to insert it. Below are just a few of its appearances:

Star Wars (1977)
A stormtrooper is shot by Luke and falls down a shaft in the Death Star.

The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
1) A rebel soldier screams when his gun explodes during the Hoth battle.
2) Chewie knocks a stormtrooper off the platform of the carbon-freezing chamber.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
1) A Nazi soldier is thrown from the back of a truck into a windshield.
2) A soldier falls from the left side of the truck, ripping the canvas as he falls.

Spaceballs (1987)
Barf uses a section of tubing to reflect four laser bolts back at guards. The fourth one screams.

Batman Returns (1992)
Batman punches a clown and moves him out of his way.

Toy Story (1995)
Buzz Lightyear is thrown out the bedroom window.

Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
The were-rabbit has a rampage near the end of the film, and picks up Lady Tottington

Superman Returns (2006)
When the train set in Luthor's basement is destroyed

Damn Interesting: The Wilhelm Scream (2007)
As the author realizes that the article deadline was tomorrow

Since it was first blurted out upon the world, the scream has been featured in over two hundred movies, TV programs, commercials, video games, and theme park attractions, and it has been heard by countless people. Notable filmmakers have also specifically requested the Wilhelm scream for their movies after learning of its history, including directors Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, and Peter Jackson.

Sheb Wooley
Sheb Wooley

The person who is the actual voice of the Wilhelm Scream remains a mystery, but many believe it to be the voice of Sheb Wooley. Wooley is most famous for his Purple People Eater, a song which was a number-one hit for six weeks in 1958. He dabbled in acting, and he had a small part in Distant Drums; in fact, he was one of only a few actors who were called back after filming for some vocal work on the movie. He died in 2003, but his wife Linda believes it was his scream. She is fond of saying that Sheb was very talented at performing screams, laughs, and "dying vocals" for the movies. If true, given the use of his scream in such an enormous number of films, it could be said that this obscure actor is one of history's most prolific talents.

Sheb's holler has joined a brotherhood of disembodied sound clips which frequently wander into sound editors' booths. Other members include a thunder clap created for the original one of the original Frankenstein movies, a sound which has been raised from the dead many times over since 1931; and a particular recording of the red-tailed hawk's distinctive cry, a sound which is heard almost any time a tall mountain or sheer cliff appears on-screen. Like Sheb Wooley, the storm cloud and hawk which emitted these vocalizations may have passed on, but their disembodied celluloid echoes have given them a strange kind of immortality.

Article written by Greg Bjerg, published on 11 February 2007. Greg was born and raised in Iowa and graduated with a degree in Journalism from Drake University. Sadly, he passed away on 20 March 2011.

Edited by Alan Bellows. Article suggested by Justin Johnson.

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65 Comments
xr4n
Posted 12 February 2007 at 12:05 am

I personally prefer the Vader "Noooooooooooooooooo!" Scream. DI either way. :]

and btw first.


Old Man
Posted 12 February 2007 at 12:37 am

Brilliant!

And may the weird, blood-curdling shriek long continue to entertain generations of oblivious cinemagoers...

Awoooooooooooooooow!


Man
Posted 12 February 2007 at 12:39 am

Very interesting.

I noticed a scream from a Milo ad in Australia was identical to a scream from the casting video that Toby Maguire was in for the first spiderman movie (good scream too).


Kiwi
Posted 12 February 2007 at 12:44 am

Yeah I think we have the same milo ad here in New Zealand. I would never of thought that being a sound editor would be so fun haha

Damn interesting


Lisette
Posted 12 February 2007 at 01:00 am

DI. I'm going to pay attention to the screams in all the movies I watch now!


Taurus
Posted 12 February 2007 at 01:08 am

That Milo ad is atrocious, and needs to be canned.

and now on a relevant note,(well, not really, but more relevant) the "Tarzan scream " is apparently the first quarter of the Wilhelm scream and repeated 5 times.


HunterKiller_
Posted 12 February 2007 at 01:20 am

I can't say I remember hearing this scream anywhere, but I watched the clip on Youtube. Funny stuff.


HiEv
Posted 12 February 2007 at 02:03 am

xr4n said: "and btw first."

<insert Wilhelm scream here>


j4m3sb0nd
Posted 12 February 2007 at 02:03 am

Haha, most entertaining.

Remind's me of alot of other stock sound effects that I've heard on many things before, one that comes to mind is a 'Aiaiaia ah ahh', I first heard it on the command & conquer games, but I've heard it used in movies, tv shows and even advertisements, it has quite a distinct sound, perhaps it should be investigated?


Mark
Posted 12 February 2007 at 02:16 am

That's truly fascinating, I love it!


Sylph-DS
Posted 12 February 2007 at 03:53 am

The same goes for computer games and such, avid players of Command and Conquer games will realize that for an entire series of games only a few dozen screams were used.

Another field where this goes is gunfire, frequent FPS players may well recognize gunshots in other games, movies and series alike.

There really aren't as many sounds out there as you think there are ;)


KiriBlack
Posted 12 February 2007 at 05:42 am

What an awesome article! The sad thing for me, after watching the YouTube "scream" compilation, was the realization that I had seen EVERY SINGLE ONE of those films/shows and never caught that those were all the same screams.

I did, however, immediately recognize the sound as the one my husband makes when he plays golf. Heh.


gsd750
Posted 12 February 2007 at 05:57 am

I've noticed a common sound effect in lots in films, mainly sci-fi. I first heard it as the noise the super-baddie right at the end of Doom II made when it fired it's weapon thingy (haven't played that game since about 1994 !!).
Difficult to describe but anyone who played the game should recognise it!


js305
Posted 12 February 2007 at 06:07 am

Someone mentioned the Tarzan "scream". It was Johnny Weismuller who canned the one that would be used in many of the Tarzan films afterwards. I still hear it from time to time (the recent ad where a chimp and a Tarzan look-alike trying to get a loan or something is a good example).

Speaking of which, if everyone remembers the ad but cannot remember who the advertiser is, was it really a successful ad. For example, everyone remembers the "Where's the beef" ad. Can everyone remember for sure who it was for?

Just rambling...


kungfoofool
Posted 12 February 2007 at 06:26 am

The scream was also used in Lord of the Rings (all three of them, I believe).


Dave Group
Posted 12 February 2007 at 06:52 am

Great article! I first read of this in another article online, and then in the book Movie Mavericks, but this is definitely the most detailed version yet (esp. with the listing of the movies). You could probably do a series of articles on movie trivia like this, with certain actors or directors inserting there own little trademarks in each of their films.


another viewpoint
Posted 12 February 2007 at 07:05 am

...isn't bad enough that movies studios are already copying previous titles and subjects since because they can't come up with many new things (Dr. Doolittle, Parent Trap, Willie Wonka, etc), that now they have to continue to reuse old sound effects as well? You would think that with budgets of millions of dollars, they could afford some fresh sound effects.

Then again, watch the movies with plans landing on a runway, you'll notice that the same 2-3 clips are always used. Sometimes you'll even see a 747 land with 727 landing gear. Or you can watch Silver Streak and realize that in one scene the locomotive controls are on the wrong side of the cab. And there are many more movie gaffs out there...some of which are highlighted in the "extra" features on movie DVD's.

And with that, I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Arggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh!


vallynmar
Posted 12 February 2007 at 07:31 am

Very interesting. Nice change of pace.

Oh and...

js305 said: For example, everyone remembers the "Where's the beef" ad. Can everyone remember for sure who it was for?"

That was a campaign for Wendy's.


Cherubrokker
Posted 12 February 2007 at 07:54 am

I've noticed that the sound effect for automatic doors, guns reloading and ricocheting bullets are used quite frequently in games, television ads and movies. I played the game Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64 quite a lot when i was younger and have heard nearly every sound effect used in that game somewhere else.


davida
Posted 12 February 2007 at 09:04 am

My favorite repeat sound effect was used by Spielberg at the end of his movie Duel when the truck goes off the cliff and in Jaws when the shark sinks after it is exploded....sure hope I wasn't a spoiler for anyone who hasn't see these.

Check out these you tube clips and the "timing" of the dinosaur noise used in both.

Jaws (:42)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X95qg_wJYfY&NR

Duel (1:26)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeLB3yeDwag


quidnuncquixot
Posted 12 February 2007 at 09:11 am

"Other members include a thunder clap created for the original Frankenstein, a sound which has been raised from the dead many times over since 1931"

Not to be pedantic, but the 1931 Frankenstein wasn't the first film adapted from this story. Edison's studio created a fantastic silent film in 1910 that was once thought to be lost (nearly 90% of all silent films have been lost, mostly due to the use of highly flammable nitrate film stocks, rather than celluloid). In the 1970s, a film collector found a print in his collection and had a copy made for a preservation archive.

There are a lot of DI stories about films that have been recovered after having been lost for decades. The famous vampire film Nosferatu was ordered to be destroyed by court order due to copyright infringements with Bram Stoker's Dracula. Luckily, a few prints survived through private collectors who sat on the prints until the controversy died down.


metonnies
Posted 12 February 2007 at 09:36 am

There is another, very obvious, recycling of a scream. In many Disney films, the scream Goffy makes is reused. The only title I can remember off hand is "Mickey's Christmas Carol." When Marley's Ghost (Goofy) leaves Scrooge, he falls cown the stairs and you hear the scream.


MikeDawg
Posted 12 February 2007 at 10:31 am

This is really creepy. I was doing research about the "Wilhelm Scream" on 2/10, as I saw some questions posted about it in the Celtx forums. Then, within 48 hours of me doing all kinds of research about it, it gets posted to DamnInteresting.

Please stop reading my mind Damn Interesting.

Thanks


Techno-Kid
Posted 12 February 2007 at 10:55 am

I personally hate this scream. Sure, it's well done, but its overuse destroys my suspension of disbelief every time I hear it. Which is a serious problem for films otherwise heavy in tone like the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Much like "first" posts I would like those in the habit of creating works with such content to simply cease.


trillian
Posted 12 February 2007 at 11:34 am

Damn, I feel terribly unobservant now. I had never noticed that before...after watching the video, of course, that scream is stuck in my head like a bad song :D


Credhawk
Posted 12 February 2007 at 12:42 pm

I think Sheb Wooley should have been able to collect royalties for artistic property from his scream.


rev.felix
Posted 12 February 2007 at 01:46 pm

You could have an entire chapter of the DI book dedicated to screaming! AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!


Stead311
Posted 12 February 2007 at 02:23 pm

Techno-Kid said: "I personally hate this scream. Sure, it's well done, but its overuse destroys my suspension of disbelief every time I hear it. Which is a serious problem for films otherwise heavy in tone like the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Much like "first" posts I would like those in the habit of creating works with such content to simply cease."

I am so in agreement. I am not going to say BECAUSE of the article but I will say since this has been brought to my attention it certainly cheapens the whole experience for me. Much like that same friggin truck noise you hear in every commercial, movie or tv show. Someone has to know what I am talking about. sort of like a "honk honk ppbbrreewwwww" Hard to miss. Although it may have been a joke at one time... all good things must come to an end. We need new screams people.


Captain Blowhard
Posted 12 February 2007 at 02:36 pm

I have always wondered about that scream, Though I did not know for certain that it was the same one. I too dislike hearing it time and time again.
Very spooky though because I watched the Hogfather yesterday and I think the Wilhelm Scream is used in that too.

I am now very curious about the "Aaaaiiiieeeeeeaaaaa!" that is also over-used when a dude with a suntan and a headscarf gets killed or falls from something.

Great stuff !


vonmeth
Posted 12 February 2007 at 02:53 pm

MikeDawg said: "This is really creepy. I was doing research about the "Wilhelm Scream" on 2/10, as I saw some questions posted about it in the Celtx forums. Then, within 48 hours of me doing all kinds of research about it, it gets posted to DamnInteresting.


Please stop reading my mind Damn Interesting.

Thanks"

http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=417


sh0cktopus
Posted 12 February 2007 at 03:41 pm

Two points. Regarding the omnipresent Baader-Meinhof phenomenon encountered here at DI, it's entirely possible that the author of the article watched the same show or visited the same website that you did a couple of days ago, which in turn inspired the article. And to those whose movie experience will forever be tarnished by recognizing the "Wilhelm scream" in a serious film, does it also disturb you to know that most sound effects in movies are artificial? Horses galloping are actually coconut shells banging together, body blows are the recorded sounds of punching watermelons, bones crunching is celery or bamboo or even a head of lettuce, etc. Not to mention most dialogue is overdubbed later in a studio. Almost everything you hear is manipulated for maximum impact. By now, we're used to the way special-effects are "supposed" to sound, so if they used the real sound of a bullet impact or a limb being hacked off, you would probably think it sounds fake. (By the way, the people who create these effects are called "Foley artists.")

Anyways, after watching the youtube video, I definitely recognized the Wilhelm scream, and I always thought it was weird every time I heard it in the past. After you just took a few rounds in the chest and flew off of a train, I don't think you would be able to make that sound.


sh0cktopus
Posted 12 February 2007 at 04:11 pm

Randomly, I was reading trivia about the "Evil Dead" movies the other day, and it was claimed that in order to get Bruce Campbell to make the appropriate terrified screams, they were poking him off-camera with a sharp stick. I don't think big-budget stars would put up with that. Of course, it's usually the disposable characters who are making that scream, not the protagonist.


bboss
Posted 12 February 2007 at 05:02 pm

This is great, I can't believe how long the list is at wikipedia.


DI Doe
Posted 12 February 2007 at 06:38 pm

Foley doesn't bother me at all. Normally they get the sounds to be quite realistic. If there was ONE particular celery-stomping sound used in lots of movies that I got to recognise then I'd be rather annoyed.

And don't you love the *idea* that there are Foley artists who get paid to stomp on celery?


angryscout
Posted 12 February 2007 at 08:14 pm

Sort of of track I suppose, but Im sure one of ya can settle a debate for me. True or False///The beginning theme music to the Batman television series was actually horns and not human voices at all. ?? Thanks!


pato
Posted 12 February 2007 at 09:29 pm

AAAAAAAHHHHH! I KNEW IT!!!!!! I've heard that same scream in so many different movies, I knew it had to have been recycled somehow! It's from watching Star Wars so many times that even the sound effects are embedded in your brain! AAAAAAAHHHH!!! I can't believe it!!


El Guano
Posted 12 February 2007 at 11:16 pm

Thanks for the origins of scream. I knew about it, even knew that it was from a random sound clip of "man being eaten by alligator," but didn't know the film that sound clip belonged to - Distant Drums! Great work, and DI as usual.


insomniacpyro
Posted 13 February 2007 at 12:10 am

sh0cktopus said: "Two points. Regarding the omnipresent Baader-Meinhof phenomenon encountered here at DI, it's entirely possible that the author of the article watched the same show or visited the same website that you did a couple of days ago, which in turn inspired the article. And to those whose movie experience will forever be tarnished by recognizing the "Wilhelm scream" in a serious film, does it also disturb you to know that most sound effects in movies are artificial? Horses galloping are actually coconut shells banging together, body blows are the recorded sounds of punching watermelons, bones crunching is celery or bamboo or even a head of lettuce, etc. Not to mention most dialogue is overdubbed later in a studio. Almost everything you hear is manipulated for maximum impact. By now, we're used to the way special-effects are "supposed" to sound, so if they used the real sound of a bullet impact or a limb being hacked off, you would probably think it sounds fake. (By the way, the people who create these effects are called "Foley artists.")

First, you can see this article was suggested by someone else. And so what? It's a DI article.

Second, don't clump every movie with all these artificial fixes. There's plenty of films that don't. Sounds and dialog are re-recorded usually because there's too much other noise going on (like filming in large cities, rivers, etc,) and instead of putting microphones right next to the galloping horses feet or have actors wear microphones like the people on the TODAY show, it's much easier to re-record it. Besides that, only bad actors are easy to catch. Foley Artists are just that, Artists, and they do a damn good job at making movies feel more dramatic, which is the idea of movies.


Byrden
Posted 13 February 2007 at 04:00 am

Nowadays they use advanced computer CGI technology to simulate animals and characters, but they still voice them with plain old human voices.


Bill Koch
Posted 13 February 2007 at 04:51 am

Buy one of those "royalty-free" sound effect compilations that come on tons of CDs or DVDs and you too can have quite a few sound effects that are used in movies and video games.


gsd750
Posted 13 February 2007 at 06:26 am

Many sound effects are completely wrong, but go unnoticed. I spotted one in the bike chase in Mission Impossible II - watch when the flyscreen ("windscreen") on Tom Cruise's bike gets shot out, the sound effect is breaking glass. No manufacturer would fit a glass screen to a motorcycle in a million years, they're all perspex! No doubt there are thousands of others...


jarvisloop
Posted 13 February 2007 at 06:48 am

I first heard about the Wilhelm more than 20 years ago when CBS's "Sunday Morning" featured its history. The only item missing from the information here (unless I missed it) is that using it is not all fun and games -- for the directors. According to "Sunday Morning," many directors don't want the Wilhelm in their movies and carefully screen the final edits before the movies are released. For the sound editors, it's fun and games, and it's become a contest to see who can manage to slip in the most Wilhelms in a movie. I don't recall the program stating what happens to sound editors who are caught using a Wilhelm when they were told not to do so.

MikeDawg, you might find this url to be of interest. As a matter of fact, it might be considered to be damn interesting. File this one under "Science Fiction Becoming Reality." The article in "The (London) Guardian" is titled "The brain scan that can read people's intentions." Here is the url to copy and paste, if necessary: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/story/0,,2009217,00.html

I can't decide if the article is more interesting or more frightening.

Jarvis Loop


Dave Group
Posted 13 February 2007 at 07:48 am

There are a lot of DI stories about films that have been recovered after having been lost for decades. The famous vampire film Nosferatu was ordered to be destroyed by court order due to copyright infringements with Bram Stoker's Dracula. Luckily, a few prints survived through private collectors who sat on the prints until the controversy died down."

Don't forget the Spanish version of Dracula, which was filmed at the same time as the Bela Lugosi version, but is far superior (with the exception of the lead role, of course).

BTW, did anyone else look at the film still at the top of the article and think that, if the arrow had hit a l-i-t-t-l-e bit more in the one direction, the Wilhelm scream might be quite different?


Beth
Posted 13 February 2007 at 10:25 am

Stead311 said: "I am so in agreement. I am not going to say BECAUSE of the article but I will say since this has been brought to my attention it certainly cheapens the whole experience for me. Much like that same friggin truck noise you hear in every commercial, movie or tv show. Someone has to know what I am talking about. sort of like a "honk honk ppbbrreewwwww" Hard to miss. Although it may have been a joke at one time… all good things must come to an end. We need new screams people."

Absolutely! I'm so sick of that truck noise!! Every time there is a traffic scene or a semi in a show or movie, they use the same old tired semi-using-its-airhorn noise. I agree also that it does disrupt the suspension of disbelief -- every time I hear it, I think about how tired that sound clip is and miss the next few seconds of the story.


SKURRY
Posted 13 February 2007 at 11:21 am

DI, this reminds me of the rusty gate sound that I constantly recognize in so many shows, movies, and music albums.


mbaesq
Posted 13 February 2007 at 02:02 pm

DI! Interestingly enough I fwded this article to some movie-buff friends of mine and, just as with the thunderclap, the red-tailed hawk, the trunk honk and the rusty gate sound, there's at least 4 more sound items we've noticed in various films:

1) Every time we have an establishing shot of an army outpost/encampment: The same snare drum 'rat-ta-tat-tat' to let you know: It's the military! Note that this tends to be exclusively for the U.S. military or special forces. For example, I don't remember establishing shots using the 'rat-ta-tat-tat' when showing Mexican banditos, terrorist camps of any stripe, or Nazi armored formations.

2) The 'SCHLINGGG!' sound of metal against metal. This is at least accurate when a sword crosses another sword. But listen carefully - you'll hear the same damn thing when the sword is pulled from a leather scabbard, when it's being pushed in (or pulled out) of a human body, even when it is being thrown in midair!

3) Nothing in film says 'It's nighttime' outside like the foleyed sound of crickets chirping. Shoot, I've heard characters note that 'it's dark now' when the crickets chirp, and it's obvious that it's still daytime being filmed through a blue lens.

4) And of course, the kookaburra call. A kookaburra is a little bird from Australia, and yet its call is used as a 'oooh, we're in a steamy tropical jungle' locale, no matter if it's the Amazon, the Congo, whatever. (To see what I mean, check out the sound link on the right of the page below and tell me you haven't heard this in every jungle epic:

http://www.honoluluzoo.org/kookaburra.htm

Hey...maybe for a future article of DI?

- mbaesq


Sir Osis Of Liver
Posted 13 February 2007 at 02:32 pm

...or how many times have you heard the sound of tires squealing on asphalt as the vehicle speeds along a dirt road? As far as recognizable sound effects, I nominate the Star Trek Transporter and the Star Trek automatic doors, among others. Or the sound of the ship swooshing through the vacuum of space...


charlesthehammer
Posted 13 February 2007 at 08:39 pm

Goofy's scream is better.


Adrian
Posted 14 February 2007 at 12:22 am

xr4n said: "and btw first."

HiEv said: "insert Wilhelm scream here"

DI! I think everyone will subconsiously recognize that scream. The first thing that came to my mind was Star Wars.


portsmouth101
Posted 14 February 2007 at 06:13 pm

Just watched Star Wars today! God, I forgot to notice it! >=(


jeff_hotchkiss
Posted 15 February 2007 at 09:17 am

Then again, watch the movies with plans landing on a runway, you'll notice that the same 2-3 clips are always used. Sometimes you'll even see a 747 land with 727 landing gear. Or you can watch Silver Streak and realize that in one scene the locomotive controls are on the wrong side of the cab. And there are many more movie gaffs out there…some of which are highlighted in the "extra" features on movie DVD's.

Also, if you ever watch the Dukes of Hazzard, one scene will show the Plymouth Fury police cruiser. Then next will show a Plymouth Satellite. Then it will change back to a Fury. I guess they only had so many Furys and had to sub in some Satellites.

And about the red-tailed hawk: One of the reasons they use the red-tailed hawk for pretty much every bird of prey in movies and on TV is because the red-tailed hawk is one of the only birds of prey that sounds like that. Most eagles, hawks, ospreys, etc. sound more like songbirds. Seeing an eagle soaring above and chirping is probably not the effect most movies and shows are going for.


Radiatidon
Posted 15 February 2007 at 04:24 pm

jeff_hotchkiss said: "Seeing an eagle soaring above and chirping is probably not the effect most movies and shows are going for."

The lake behind my place has a mated pair of Bald Eagles. Generally the only sound we ever hear from them is a short version of the Red Tail Hawk's scream. Other than that they are quiet. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for the Kill Deers or the Sea Gulls.

Though it is true that there is a library of “canned” sound effects, the Foley artist will still strive to create their own “signature effects”. Such as the Martian ship “thrum” (guitar strum recorded and played backwards) from the 1950’s “War of the Worlds” or the Star Wars blaster sound (high tension guy wire struck with a metal rod “just so”) But its also a “Badge of Honor” in the Foley business if you can sneak in an overused sound byte that gets by the Director.


mwace
Posted 15 February 2007 at 07:58 pm

This is almost as bad as the Dean scream.

Great article!


Dreamsinabadger
Posted 16 February 2007 at 05:35 pm

No one yet comments on how the stock monkey cry for every jungle movie is actually a peacock call... The ubiquitous "ahhhh er-ah er-ah er-ah er-ah."


Viralcraig
Posted 01 March 2007 at 12:18 pm

There is a great puck rock band out fo the Boston, MA area called A Wilhelm Scream. They took their name as a nod to the famous sample.


dewyjuhl
Posted 04 March 2007 at 04:31 pm

haha I always wondered about that scream.


TexasGuy
Posted 12 March 2007 at 08:18 pm

In "Return of the Jedi", the scene where Solo, et al are ambushed in the bunker while trying to disable the Death Star's defense shield, an Imperial Officer yells "Freeze!" and gets knocked into the generator room by a thrown satchel and sort of does a Wilhelm scream. According to the imdb.com trivia section for the movie, that Imperial Officer was portrayed by none other than Ben Burtt.


zenit
Posted 31 March 2007 at 01:55 pm

Damn interesting :)


piper
Posted 13 May 2007 at 05:44 am

There really aren't as many sounds out there as you think there are

And to think that I used to think that my own rear cheek squeeks were unique...


piper
Posted 13 May 2007 at 06:07 am

Not to mention most dialogue is overdubbed later in a studio.

I was on set for the filming of parts of Nuremberg and dialog between Hennessey and Baldwin were shot from different angles, multiple times, with one actor just mouthing the script while the other spoke in full voice. With many "one-on-one" interview shows it's fairly easy to detect that something similar happens (because the budget only allows for one cameraman) for the reaction shots of the interviewer.

Editing of video can be truly evil if not downright deceptive. Unrelated, but another pet peeve of mine is that interviewed peoples' names should be noted onscreen whenever they speak, not just at the beginning of the interview.


BenKinsey
Posted 02 December 2008 at 11:44 am

This scream sucked it certainly failed my expectations.


drewski_brewski
Posted 06 January 2009 at 11:50 am

My wife and I were watching Dante's Peak, and I heard the Wilhelm Scream as the USGS team leader Paul Dreyfus was swept away in a raging torrent of snowmelt and debris. Of course, I cracked up, having read this artile, and had to explain to her what was so funny about a guy meeting his demise in a churning lahar. I hope I never hear the Wilhelm Scream while in a theatre, because there is no hope of containing myself.


alex212
Posted 27 March 2009 at 12:50 pm

The telecom and movie industries in both our countries are plagued by feds and their inventons like 25th masked shot. By the way, it's an invention of yesterday. New things had come to replace it. This gives them a power that could only compete with nuclear. Maybe there was something, say, implanted in that sound, something we can't quite hear but it is heard by our nervous system all right. An ultrasonic code-message maybe? What do you think?


DumbGuy
Posted 26 May 2009 at 05:07 am

...using a scream over and over in different movies...well that sucks. I have noticed too many sounds being used over and over again, and it pisses me off because the last visual stimuli I need are some sounds from C&C while watching xmen...all I can think of is "HARVEST MORE EVERYTHING!"


OutcastMastodon
Posted 27 January 2012 at 09:46 am

I first heard this on a halloween FX track. So hilarious xD


END OF COMMENTS
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