The profession of noisemaker is great, it’s a lot of tinkering and unexpected tricks to reproduce hyper realistic sounds. But from time to time, we prefer to reuse sounds that have already been created by other noisemakers, for a specific purpose or out of laziness, to pay homage, for lack of budget or not to be bored redoing a sound that was already fine as it was. That’s how you end up with sound effects used so many times, in so many different works. Some have even become cults.
1. The Wilhelm Scream
This somewhat grotesque cry of pain mixed with fear is the most famous sound effect in the world. You must have heard it before, and a good part of you must already know its name. We first saw him in the movie The Adventures of Captain Wyatt in 1951 (well, we didn’t hear it because we never watched this film), and since then it has been reused everywhere. Really everywhere: all 3 Lords of the Rings, Batman: The Challengeat least 8 Star Wars, IndianaJones, Toy Storyvarious Taxi, Money Heistvideo games The Witcher 3, Assassin’s Creed III, Grand Theft Auto IV and V, Red Dead Redemption… In short, it has become a sort of game and homage to place it in a work. You can find a good list of places where we find the cry on his wiki page.
2. Truck horn
It doesn’t have a particular name, but you’ve probably heard it in a lot of movies and even some video games. It’s the sound of a truck horn going by at high speed, which can be identified with the Doppler effect (yes, this story of wave frequency which makes the noise not the same when the truck is approaching than when it is moving away). It is often found in scenes with a character who is a bit lost on the road and who has to suddenly step aside because he is on the verge of being run over. Concentrate while listening to the sound, you will necessarily visualize the trick.
3. The Diddy Laugh
It’s one of the most terrifying laughs in cinema, the kind of unhealthy laugh that a character hears when he’s in the dark or in a scary situation. But it is also regularly used in the first degree, to illustrate children having fun without committing any murder. It takes its name from the video game Diddy Kong Racing released in 1997, and we could hear it in movies like Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Monsters Academia, Taken, The memory in the skinor the horror movie Mirrors. Don’t listen to it right before you go to bed.
4. Castle Thunder
First appeared in 1931 in the film Frankenstein, this sound of thunder is called “Castle Thunder” because it illustrated the lightning that lit up a castle. You can hear it in Star Wars: Episode IV, Back to the future, Baby or Citizen Kane. He’s aged a bit though.
5. Police radio communications
In a lot of movies, mostly action movies, when you have a cop in his car, his walkie-talkie turns on and he receives communications indications from other cops. Most of the time, it is this sound that is used, generally low enough so that we do not understand what the few voices are saying that respond to each other. It can be heard especially in Unstoppable, Police Academy 3, Straight Outta Compton Where The Hobbit (no ok we kidding for the last one).
6. The Howie Scream
It’s pretty much the same delirium as the Wilhelm Shout, except it’s used less often. There, we are faced with extreme suffering, but always a little grotesque. The name of the sound effects refers to the death of the character Howie in the film Broken Arrow released in 1996, but its origin would date back to 1980, in the film The Ninth Configuration. It can be found in particular in Captain America at the time of Bucky’s death (RIP).
7. Gabriel’s Horn
Made famous by the trailer ofInception in 2010, we find the “trumpet of Gabriel” in quite a few other films to create an apocalyptic atmosphere. The sound takes its name from the Bible: the angel Gabriel sounds his trumpet to trigger the Last Judgment, suddenly we understand the dramatic side of the thing. The problem is that it very quickly became a cliché of American movie trailers, even if the sound varies a little each time.
8. The Goofy Holler
Or, literally, “Goofy’s Howl.” The sound is from the cartoon The Ski Lesson, released in 1941, in which Goofy, Mickey’s pal, skis (yeah, that was pretty obvious). The Goofy Holler is used in many animated films when a character falls. Besides, in Toy Story, we can see Buzz Lightyear linking a Wilhelm Scream with a Goofy Holler, the height of the cliché. Otherwise, there are also The Lion King, Monsters and Company, Star Wars or Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s a bit of a private joke that isn’t so private anymore.
9. The Cat Scream
Another great classic that you will inevitably recognize and which has been worn to the bone. The cat’s cry is often used as a comic trigger, like when a character throws a cat out the window. You can always hear it offscreen, why not accompanied by the sound of overturned garbage cans, finally you see the delirium. We can cite The Mask in which a poor cat gets tossed around, but there are plenty of others, you’ll pay attention to them now.
10. The call of the red-tailed hawk
The “cry of the eagle” that we hear everywhere is not that of an eagle but of a buzzard. That doesn’t stop movie producers from sticking it on any bird of prey out of laziness. It’s hard to say who used it first, but between film and video games, it’s really been overused.