Sunday, October 03, 2010

Halloween Life Lessons: The Scream

After a night of screaming for joy at the very first KMSU PRESENTS: Concert Series, it was kind of a no brainer to make my third Halloween Countdown post all about the scream. You may never have heard of the Wilhelm Scream before, but I can guarantee that you have heard it. This scream has been used in well over 250 films since it's inception in the film Distant Drums in 1951. This scream was originally referred to as the "man gets eaten by an alligator scream", but has since been referred to as the Wilhelm Scream after it's use in the 1953 film The Charge At Feather River. In that film Private Wilhelm is shot by an arrow and the screaming world has never been the same. I found a clip that has compiled a number of examples of the Wilhelm Scream, beginning with the demise of Private Wilhelm. You will recognize it immediately!

It is fun to see that folks in both the Lucas and Spielberg camps have often utilized the Wilhelm Scream in their films as an inside joke. If you are a gamer, the Wilhelm Scream also appears in the Lego Star Wars and Indiana Jones games, Halo:Reach, and Red Dead Redemption. Researchers agree that the voice actor responsible for the Wilhelm Scream is none other than Sheb Wooley, who sang "Flying Purple People Eater"!

I have a favorite scream that I would nominate to use in place of the Wilhelm Scream, and it appears in the film American Movie. You can hear it for yourself at the end of the clip below, and is courtesy of the soft spoken friend Mike Schank. Bono of U2 once described this epic scream as "stopping the traffic" (no he didn't), and you will see why!

Hope you have a great lazy Sunday, and tomorrow is my first opportunity to play Halloween tunes on the show. I'll see you in the morning.


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