What started as an inside joke has become something of a compulsive faux pas: the Wilhelm Scream, a canned shriek that was first cleverly inserted into films as a wink and a nod between sound designers, has gotten a bit out of control. At least some sound designers are now disguising their Wilhelm Screams.
But leave it to online chronicles to compile the use of this signature shout. “Ah,” say you, “but I have to watch more than one YouTube compilation to see all those Wilhelm Screams in one place. I want to show them to my sound design class, and I have to, like, open three tabs.” No more. Now, thanks to the folks at Cinexcellence.com, we have the mother of all Wilhelm Scream compilations. It’s thrilling. It’s spine-tingling. It’s about time for sound designers to cut it out with the Wilhelm Screams, already. (Via Coilhouse, who offer some further reflections.)
Then again, perhaps the Wilhelm Scream has transcended being only an oft-repeated sound effect. It’s got a “hardcore melodic” band taking its name. It’s got a song by indie darling singer James Blake, below. There’s even an iOS app. (Review: “Operates exactly as advertised. Continuously funny. If I am ever shot with an arrow while sitting atop a horse, I am finally prepared. My family is very proud.”) Feature request for version 2.0: I want to see a mode in which the alligator drags a character offscreen, true to the pre-Private Wilhelm use of the sound effect.