Created By: Prophet on August 7, 2011 Last Edited By: Dravencour on May 12, 2017

Inhuman Scream

When a character's scream is much worse than any normal person's.

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Trope
Gwen Cooper: I'd never heard a sound like it. This primal howl. The scream lasts 20 hours every day.
Torchwood, "Adrift"

A quick way to have a character slip into the Uncanny Valley is to turn their screaming into something unnatural. Maybe it's just far too high or low pitched, maybe it lasts for an impossibly long time, or maybe there are just one too many voices. Either way, it's clear that something is very, very wrong.

If the scream is used as an attack, see Make Me Wanna Shout. May overlap with Brown Note.

Needs a Better Description, Up for Grabs

Examples:

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    Film 
  • The Brides' screams in Van Helsing have odd echoes and a distressing pitch.
  • The Nazgûls' shriek in The Lord of the Rings films, which was a modified recording of screenwriter Fran Walsh.
  • The Matrix: After Neo takes the red pill and begins to be pulled out of the Matrix, he lets out a scream that quickly becomes digitized before turning into the distinctive squeal of an analog modem.
  • Monsters from The Thing let out a distinctive, warbling howl when in danger.
  • The eponymous Screamers let out a high-pitched keening sound when on the attack.

    Literature 
  • In Hercule Poirot's Christmas, a horrible Inhuman Scream brings everyone to the scene of the murder. It turns out to have been a novelty balloon deflating, to establish a false time of death.
  • Inverted in The Princess Bride. Westley's death scream from being hooked up to The Machine is described as much worse than that of the dog Count Rogen tested it on earlier, not because The Machine was set over three times higher with Westley, but because it was a human making it.

    Live Action TV 
  • Occurs in the Torchwood episode "Adrift" as illustrated in the page quote. Looking into the time vortex drives one of the characters insane, causing him to scream for hours on end every day.
    • And in Children of Earth when the 456 uses all the children in the world to transmit their signal through their screams.
  • Jool on Farscape had a grating scream that could melt metal.

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • Comedic example: It's a Running Gag on The Fairly Oddparents that Timmy's Dad screams like a girl when under stress.
    Timmy's Mom: Timmy, you know you're not supposed to make your father scream like a girl three times in one day!

Rolling Updates

Community Feedback Replies: 41
  • August 7, 2011
    LeeM
  • August 7, 2011
    ZarbiNerada
  • August 7, 2011
    Moosebomber
    Lola in Run Lola Run has one of these. It can shatter glass and causes everyone in the vicinity to cover their ears.
  • August 8, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    • The Brides' screams in Van Helsing have odd echoes and a distressing pitch. Of course, the Brides are vampires, so it's justified.
  • August 8, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Black Canary's Canary Cry.
  • August 8, 2011
    benjamminsam
    I believe that in Space Cases, Catalina's power was a super-sonic scream. Can any other children of The Nineties confirm this?
  • August 8, 2011
    Generality
    The Nazgul's shriek in The Lord Of The Rings films. The sound was a modified recording of screenwriter Fran Walsh, as I recall.
  • August 8, 2011
    Antheia
    @69BookWorM69 Most examples will be justified, so there's no need to note it.
  • August 8, 2011
    AFP
    • The Matrix: After Neo takes the blue pill and begins to be pulled out of the Matrix, he lets out a scream that quickly becomse digitized before turning into the distinctive squeal of an analogue modem.
  • August 9, 2011
    celticwhisper
    Alex's Nightmare in Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete has something like this. "Alex...A-lex...ALEX! ALEEHHHHHHHUUHHHHALEEEHHHHUUUHHHHHALEEEEHHUUUUUUUUHHHHH." Really creepy the first time you hear it.
  • August 11, 2011
    Prophet
    Any examples of a sonic scream as a super power would go under Make Me Wanna Shout.
  • August 12, 2011
    kjnoren
    Compore Brown Note, though the many examples there of non-vocal variations make it hard to mine for examples.
  • August 12, 2011
    NetMonster
    Cacophonix in that Asterix movie.
  • August 18, 2011
    Prophet
    Bump
  • November 27, 2012
    MarqFJA
    Bump.
  • November 28, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    Live-Action TV

    Jool on Farscape had a grating scream that could melt metal.
  • November 28, 2012
    chihuahua0
    We need to consider the definition, since some of the examples given in the comments are Make Me Wanna Shout.

    Is Inhuman Scream a scream that's supposed to characterize a character in a negative light, or just a scream in a horror context? This is important, to avoid problems in the future with shoehorning.
  • November 28, 2012
    dvorak
    Film
    • Monsters from The Thing let out a distinctive, warbling howl when in danger.
    • The Emponymous Screamers let out a high-pitched keening sound when on the attack.
  • November 28, 2012
    JonnyB
    The screams of the headcrab zombies in Half Life 2, when they catch fire, are pure Nightmare Fuel.
  • November 29, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    Hmm, I can think of two screams that are really hard to watch but they're from normal human characters. They're hard to watch because the characters screaming are in massive pain (from The West Wing and Game Of Thrones, if you know the incidences I mean). Would these count?
  • November 29, 2012
    Duncan
    It's a Running Gag on The Fairly Oddparents that Timmy's Dad screams like a girl when under stress.
    Timmy's Mom: Timmy, you know you're not supposed to make your father scream like a girl three times in one day!

  • November 29, 2012
    Randomman5
    Most of Asura's screams probably fall under this, considering how ungodly loud he can get.
  • November 29, 2012
    StarSword
    Flagging as Up For Grabs since the OP hasn't been here for ages.

    Literature:
    • Inverted in The Princess Bride. Westley's death scream from being hooked up to The Machine is described as much worse than that of the dog Count Rogen tested it on earlier, not because The Machine was set over three times higher, but because it was a human making it.
  • January 26, 2013
    SqearBear
    Western Animation:

    In "The Iron Giant", the titular character's mechanical, inhuman scream of rage can make Chuck Norris shudder.
  • June 10, 2014
    Doodler
    From Wolfs Rain, Cheza's scream, so much that it physically hurts the wolves who hear it.
  • June 10, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    Fixed the broken folder tags + took the title of Asuras Wrath out of the Pot Hole.
  • June 10, 2014
    DAN004
    Uh... some of the examples are monsters. This is supposed to be humans letting out an unnatural scream, right?
  • June 10, 2014
    arbiter099
    I'm wondering how this relates to Hell Is That Noise
  • November 1, 2016
    blkwhtrbbt
    A fantastic page quote, one that really captures the essence of the trope described:

    The Nazgûl were they, the Ringwraiths, the Úlairi, the Enemy's most terrible servants; darkness went with them, and they cried with the voices of death. — The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age", 346
  • November 1, 2016
    intastiel
    So where The Scream means bad news in general, the Inhuman Scream has connotations of monstrosity or serious horror going on?
    • In Hellbound Hellraiser II, when Doctor Channard is pushed into a machine that horrifically transforms him into a Cenobite, he starts out screaming normally in pain and fear, but the sound distorts into something like a tortured cat as the Body Horror really begins. Reference
    • In The Avengers, Bruce Banner's screams get more and more distorted as he loses control to the Hulk, culminating in an inhuman howl when he transforms completely. Reference
  • May 8, 2017
    Getta
    • One Piece: Big Mom is said to have done a very inhuman scream when something bad happened to her treasured photo of "Mother Carmel", such that everyone in her whole palace would be disoriented with it, unable to do anything until it stops.
  • May 9, 2017
    TonyG
    The Fairly Odd Parents example falls under Screams Like A Little Girl rather than this trope. And by the way, Screams Like A Little Girl is related to this.
  • May 9, 2017
    NightShade96
    • In the Phineas And Ferb episode "Split Personality", when the Candace obsessed with busting Phineas and Ferb finds out that the other Candace has gone with Linda, she lets out a high-pitched unnerving shriek before pursuing them.
  • May 9, 2017
    DrNoPuma
    • Ace Attorney: Manfred von Karma is described as having a "demonic" scream.
  • May 10, 2017
    1810072342
    May be used to show the sufferings of the Tortured Monster.
  • May 10, 2017
    Chabal2
    The Light Fantastic: During the exploration of an Eldritch Abomination's temple, Twoflower hears something like a sliver of a scream. He wonders how exactly that could be produced, then regrets having that thought in the first place.
  • May 10, 2017
    ZuTheSkunk
    • In one Silver Surfer episode, the titular character encounters a civilization of people with superpowers who are trapped under an impenetrable dome. Their leader chooses to never speak, because his voice has a tremendous destructive power. By the end of the episode, he decides to scream, which proves destructive and loud enough to destroy the dome and all the buildings underneath it.
  • May 11, 2017
    Arivne
    ^ Based on my knowledge of the Marvel Universe, I think you're talking about Black Bolt of The Inhumans.

    It's also an example of Make Me Wanna Shout.
  • May 11, 2017
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
    • Roger Ramjet: Gangster villain Noodles Romanoff kidnaps Dee, the youngest of Roger's associates, the American Eagles. Dee informs Romanoff that, unless she's freed, she'll scream. Romanoff sneers and dares her to try. Dee's scream gives Romanoff and his band of no-goods conniptions and jiggles the scenery. The gangster ends up begging Roger to take her back, and imprison himself in a nice, quiet cell.
  • May 11, 2017
    Omeganian
    In Wizard's First Rule, when Kahlan is told by Demmin Nass that Richard is dead, she lets out one of these, Zedd, who's standing magically paralyzed nearby, is scared out of his wits - this means Kahlan is going into Con Dar, a Confessor's Unstoppable Rage/Deadly Upgrade mod...
  • May 12, 2017
    Dravencour
    Changed the Matrix example to the red pill — the red pill pulls you out of the Matrix, while the blue pill means you stay.
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