Like many longtime cinema junkies, I was familiar with the "Wilhelm Scream" long before I even knew what it was called. And, yes, you've heard it too. Probably 659 times, actually. Next to that one really unconvincing 'guy hitting the ground' sound effect that's been recycled for decades, the Wilhelm Scream is probably the most oft-used aural gimmick.

Originally recorded for the 1951 western Distant Drums, the silly scream became a favorite of sound designers in the mid-'70s (four-time Oscar winner Ben Burtt is the guy who brought The Scream back to life), and has since been heard in dozens of movies in which grown men fall to the ground in terror and/or agony. It's been in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Toy Story, all six Star Wars movies, two of the Lord of the Rings flicks, and probably a hundred more. And now you can hear what the heck I'm talking about by watching/hearing this Wilhelm Compilation that's been posted at YouTube. Neato.

[Thanks to Movie City News for the YouTube link.]
categories Cinematical