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Sounds Familiar: Funny Stock Scream Effects from the Movies

using audacityIf you think shooting videos with your phone is fun, then wait until you get to the editing part. You know what’s more exciting? Adding sound to your video clips. Simply download free audio software and use it to record or edit your own sound effects. You may also use downloadable stock sounds that Hollywood sound engineers often use:

Scream of a man getting bitten by an alligator

The Wilhelm scream is a well-known cinematic sound cliché. You may not be familiar with the name but it’s likely that you’ve heard it a couple of times. It’s been used in over a hundred films, usually in scenes where people are shot or falling to their death.

Character actor Sheb Wooley originated the scream for the 1951 movie “Distant Drums.” He let it out in a scene where an alligator is attacking his character. Being the good actor that he was, he shrieked as convincingly as he could. And a scream was born.

The name, however, is in reference to a character named Private Wilhelm in a film called “The Charge at Feather River,” which came out in 1953. In what could only be described as a flash of genius, the movie’s sound editors dubbed the stock scream over the character’s shriek after he was hit by an arrow.

Since then, the Wilhelm scream has become a running joke of sorts among sound effects professionals. It may sound comical but film directors, such as Quentin Tarantino and George Lucas, often use it in their movies. The most recent films that feature the now famous scream are “Despicable Me 2” and “Monsters University.”

Gut-wrenching scream with fall

Another famous film stock scream that you can use is the gut-wrenching scream with fall. It’s dubbed as the Howie Scream, after the actor Howie Long, who made the sound in his death scene in “Broken Arrow.”Its origin, however, is attributed to a 1980 film titled “The Ninth Configuration.”

The Howie scream basically goes like this: “EEEAAARRRUUUAAAGGGHHH!” Okay, it doesn’t have that much effect when you read it. So just check out the dozens of clips online that feature this gut-wrenching scream.

Just like the Wilhelm scream, the Howie scream has been used in a number of films, television shows, and even video games. Half-Life 2, Starcraft, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare are just some of the games that have used it.

Using any of these stock sounds will make your video clips more interesting to watch. With all the homemade videos flooding the Internet, you’re just a scream away from creating the next viral video.