Wilhelm Scream

Pvt. Wilhelm takes an arrow to the thigh

What is the Wilhelm Scream you ask?

You’ve probably heard the Wilhelm Scream dozens of times in different movies and television shows without realizing it, but it’s one of those things that once you hear, you’ll always be able to identify afterwards.

It’s now become a delightfully obscure  in-joke amongst sound editors/mixers who try to insert it into their films whenever there’s a perfect moment that just needs an over-the-top scream.

It began as a Warner Bros. stock sound effect, but was revived and put to serious use by LucasFilm [Star Wars] sound effects designers Ben Burtt and Richard Anderson. Now the thing just won’t die: Enjoy!

The individual who recorded the scream is unknown. Sound designer Ben Burtt named the sound after “Pvt. Wilhelm”, a minor character in the 1953 film The Charge at Feather River [pictured], who emits the famous scream after being shot by an arrow [although the recording actually originated in the film Distant Drums in 1951]

Recent movies include: Cloverfield, Transformers, Juno, Speed Racer, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Kung Fu Panda, Tropic Thunder, Star Wars: The Clone Wars and The Day the Earth Stood Still [2008]

And as far as Video Games are concernd; The biggest repeat offender on the list is the LEGO series [Star Wars and Indy] and various other Star Wars titles, which is no coincidence, as  sound effect designers Ben Burtt Richard Anderson were the pair credited with starting the trend. And apparently even Halo 3 got in on the action.

List of Wilhelm Scream Games: Giant Bomb

So freaking cool!
You’ll never be able to un-hear it again,

~ by Fionnlagh on December 7, 2008.

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