The Wilhelm Scream

The Scream

Even as a kid, I knew there were sound effects out there that were being used over and over again in films.  Certain rock-falling sounds, certain gunshot sounds, certain horror sound effects.  Before I started to take a strong interest in post production I could tell that there were sound effects that “did the rounds” amongst sound mixers.

Tonight a student asked me about one of them and he reminded me that this one had a name – The Wilhelm Scream.  For a history of the scream (“screams plural actually) read this brief history from HollywoodLostAndFound.net, where you’ll also find a list of films that it has appeared in. To hear a few different takes of the scream in medium quality, check out this freesound page.  Anyone my age or younger who has watched (and rewatched) films edited and/or mixed by Ben Burtt will instantly recognise the scream(s), but I didn’t realise until tonight how far back its history went – all the way to 1951.

Now if I can just figure out a way to incorporate it into a future project, I’ll be happy.

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