Friday 18 April 2014

The Wilhelm Scream

The Wilhelm scream is a film and television stock sound effect that has been used in more than 200 movies, beginning in 1951 for the film Distant Drums. The scream is often used when someone is shot, falls from a great height, or is thrown from an explosion.

Sheb Wooley played Private Wilhelm in the 1953 western The Charge at Feather River. In a scene where Wilhelm is shot, he lets out a scream that has been used as stock scream footage in numerous films. The scream has become known as “The Wilhelm Scream,” although the scream appeared in an earlier movie, Distant Drums (1951). Wooley played an uncredited role (Private Jessup) in Distant Drums, and he is listed as a voice extra for that film.

Thus, Wooley “is considered by many to be the most likely voice actor” for the scream, according to various sources, including Wooley’s website. The scream is so well-known that sometimes filmmakers add it to their own movies because they think it is funny. If it is correct that the scream originally came from Wooley, he has indirectly appeared in numerous movies, as shown by this video collage of The Wilhelm Scream.


Ed Love said...

This has always been a favourite of mine! There are a few amusing compilations of scenes using it.

I've thought of using it myself, too.

Unknown said...

Someone has gone to a lot of trouble to show the use of one sound in a number of movies. It's fun to watch, but afterwards you feel sad. Sound so often lets a movie down. I feel distanced in many movies these days because the sounds are so obviously false and made remotely from the action.

Also people are going to grow up believing there is a particular scream made in extremity. Are we clones?