Tag Archives: First Star
We all love good action and adventure movies. Whether we’re in the movie theater or at home watching Netflix, exciting movies capture our imaginations. Who doesn’t love eating junk food while watching actors and stunt doubles portray fictitious characters capable of superhuman feats? There are several common themes that accompany good action movies throughout the generations: good triumphs over evil, love conquers all, the heroes live happily ever after……and the Wilhelm scream will be uttered at least once.
Anyone who enjoys movies with at least a trace of violence will instantly recognize the Wilhelm scream. It’s that unmistakable shriek you hear when someone gets killed, knocked off a ledge, or rocked by an explosion. The Wilhelm scream is a stock sound effect that has appeared in over 200 different films, dating back to the 1950s. The sound effect was originally recorded for a 1951 film called Distant Drums, but was later named after “Private Wilhelm” — a character in a 1953 western that takes an arrow to the leg. There’s a cool website at http://wilhelmscream.net/ that allows you to hear the famous scream whenever you have the urge (arrow to the leg not a prerequisite).
The first time I remember hearing the Wilhelm scream was in the black-and-white creature feature Them (the 1950′s horror flick featuring giant ants and running people — scary stuff when you’re six years old). The Wilhelm scream became the stuff of legend though when Ben Burtt, the sound designer for the first Star Wars movie, incorporated the sound effect into the scene where Princess Leia manages to pick off an Imperial Stormtrooper with a blaster, sending him plummeting to his death. Burtt went on to use the sound effect in several Lucas and Spielberg movies to the point that it became an inside joke. Other sound effects engineers started using the Wilhelm scream as well, and the rest is history.