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Hell Is That Noise: Film
  • The Alien series:
    • The motion trackers in Aliens. Not only does the rising tone of the detection chime become outright terrifying, especially in the tense build-up to the "Last Stand" scene, but even the soft "paf" of the tracker when it's not detecting anything causes fear because you just know what it's leading to. Tip: if you want to wake up quick, program this sound to be your alarm clock's sound the night after watching Aliens. Additionally the screeches and hisses of the aliens themselves are quite terrifying.
    • There's also the infamous siren. It's made all the more unnerving because it isn't a traditional-sounding siren, instead being a rhythmic, high-pitched noise that sounds like someone screaming.
  • The sound of Jafar in Aladdin laughing. Especially his laugh at the end of Prince Ali the reprise.
  • Altitude: After the characters have been flying through the storm for a while, and it doesn't seem to end, and their altimeter says they should be in the stratosphere... all they can hear on the radio is this horrible screaming sound.
  • One, two, Freddy's coming for you...
  • Apaches: Sharon screaming and crying in pain as she dies after unintentionally drinking weed killer earlier that day. This is actually one of the film's most nightmare inducing moments, thanks to those hysterical bone-chilling shrieks.
  • The movie Audition had "Kiri kiri kiri kiri kiiiii....". Coupled with a SLOW Eye Scream.
  • Berberian Sound Studio, being about horror movie sound engineering, is utterly LOADED with these.
  • The lone shriek heard while all the main surviving characters of The Birds are huddled in the living room, terrified at the idea of having to pass a whole night under siege by the eponymous volatiles.
  • An innocent child's laughter should be heartwarming, right? Take that very same laugh, place it in the woods in the dead of night. Courtesy of The Blair Witch Project.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier: The titular Winter Soldier's Leitmotif of what sounds like a electronically-pitched wailing siren.
  • Carrie (1976) has the Psycho Strings that announce Carrie's power.
  • Children of Men"You know that high-pitched ringing sound you hear? That eeeeeeeeee? That's the sound of the ear cells dying, like their swan song. Once it's gone you'll never hear that frequency again. Enjoy it while it lasts."
  • A Clockwork Orange and "I'm singin' in the rain, just singin' in the rain..."
  • Clover Field: Clover's roar.
    • The emergency sirens and evacuation alarms near the end of the film.
    • For some, the lice monsters' roars can count, too.
  • Don't watch Come and See if you like twin-boom aircraft.
  • The Dark Knight has three examples, all of which (surprise, surprise) involve The Joker.
    • First off, his Leitmotif. Just that one, screeching note(made by using razor blades on a piano string) is enough to terrify you.
    • Second of all, his laugh. Not your average Evil Laugh—a wheezing, high pitched one that makes it very clear the clown is out of his mind.
    • And, of course, "Why. So. Serious?!"
  • The "ping" sound of the sonar picking up the enemy sub in Das Boot.
  • All the normal sounds that you should be hearing slowing down, distorting, and finally fading out, leaving absolute silence behind.
  • District 9
    • The metallic droning screech given off when the spaceship starts up.
    • There is a high-pitched noise as if one's ears are ringing whenever the fluid's effects on Wikus become apparent but the exact extent of it isn't known yet. It's first heard when he's sprayed in the face with it, then when he throws up, when he experiences a nosebleed, when his fingernails come off, and when he trows up again at home.
  • Dracula (1931). Renfield's laugh. "Nhnn, hnn, hnn, hnn, hnnnnn..."
  • Drag Me to Hell uses this quite effectively.
    • For example, in one scene, Christine is alone in her house at night when she starts hearing strange noises, including screeching sounds, creaking, and thumps from above. The lights then go out, some hanging pots and pans suddenly clang together, and then light enters the house showing the shadow of a demonic figure. An invisible force then blasts her backwards into a counter, leaving her with a bloody lip.
  • In the movie Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story the presence of the samurai armor clad demon is accompanied by convincingly realistic off-screen shrieks of agony and fear. Considering where this demon had just supposedly come from, this might be the most literal example of this trope yet.
  • Oh god, Eraserhead. Throughout the whole movie, there are a lot of jump scares involving noise, like the artificial chickens, the demon baby thing getting sick, and the sound of a baby crying. For about fifteen minutes straight. The last ten minutes or so are nothing but high pitched static and the sounds of a baby screaming.
  • The sound of a hand sliding against tent material...
    • "Liberate.... me..." Free me. Except that's all they could hear over the horrible distortion and grisly screams. It's later found out to be "liberate tuteme ex infernis", or "save yourself from hell." And the sounds were the crew and ship tearing each other - and themselves - apart in a horrible orgy of violence and madness. One of the more literal interpretations of the trope in question.
  • Indio's watch chime in For a Few Dollars More. Every time it plays, you know someone is going to die horribly.
  • 1408: A cheerful song by The Carpenters, playing on the clock radio even after it's been unplugged. "We've only just begun..."
  • Friday the 13th: Chi-chi-chi-ha-ha-ha...Ki-ki-ki-ki...ma-ma-ma-ma...
  • Godzilla: Boom....boom.....boom....boom... "SKREEEEEOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNK!" So iconic that the first teaser trailer for Godzilla (2014) shown at Comic Con managed to tip people off as to what it was for and introduce the Darker and Edgier tone by having a frightening update of the roar sound out over a blank screen.
  • Godzilla (2014):
    • Needless to say, Godzilla’s roar was best described by Gareth Edwards, himself. He said it was, "A roar of nature. A roar of rage."
      • Erik Aadahl refused to reveal how he created the Godzilla roar — even to Gareth Edwards — so as not to diminish its capacity to incite fear.
    • The MUTOs. Have a listen. In context, that's what the female sounds like while building her nest in San Francisco.
  • In the original Halloween, at the end, after Loomis shoots Michael six times, and the body just disappears, we hear the main theme, with Michael's heavy breathing in the background.
  • The Haunted Mansion: The ringing telephone in the middle of the empty secret corridor.
  • Hostel Part 2, that woman rubbing the tip of the scythe against Heather Matarazzo's skin, and then her screams.
  • I Am Legend manages to turn a window closing into the scariest thing ever.
  • This sound in Inception.
    • And if that doesn't give you chills, try listening to it for five minutes straight. Spooky.
  • The shriek at the end of the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
  • You hear that? That's Sergeant Donny Donowitz. But you might know him better by his nickname...
  • Irreversible contains a nearly-inaudible, low-frequency noise intended to make viewers uncomfortable. It is apparently there to cause sensitive viewers to leave the theater before things get really bad.
  • It: The inhuman noise Pennywise makes whenever he gets those fangs.
  • The Ju-on films, and their remakes, The Grudge films. The croaking sound made by Kayako (her death rattle) will haunt your nightmares for weeks. Same with Toshio's piercing cat meow.
    • The No Budget Ju-on ripoff Ju-Rei used the same croaking sound effect for some of its ghosts.
  • The earth-shaking noise (and the water rippling usually coupled with it) whenever the T. rex is walking in Jurassic Park. You are so screwed now...
    • The raptors tapping their claws in the kitchen chase scene. The whistling-chirping sounds the raptors make to communicate are also very unsettling.
  • In Kiss Me Deadly there's the hideous, dissonant sounds when the mysterious suitcase is opened. It's supposed to be a nuclear explosion gearing up, but it sounds more like something out of Hell itself.
  • Parodied in Kung Fu Panda - the jar that contains a thousand souls makes a deliberately ominous "oooOOOooo" every time someone even touches its pieces.
  • The screeching synthesizer chords as Phyllis is stabbed to death in The Last House on the Left.
  • Gabriel's horn in Legion, which sounds like the sky turned into a big sub-woofer.
  • Les Miserables (2012): The unholy sound of Javert's spine cracking as he jumps into a river and hits a stone partition.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Moria has the drums...drums in the deep... doom, doom, doom... Best of all, when the first drum is heard, everyone in the audience and in the scene can tell that the shit has hit the fan.
    • One of the things Jackson had not merely right, but perfect.
    • Also, that tapping noise that happens right after Pippin drops a stone in the well in the same chapter.
    • The Nazgűl screeching. It's so horrible that in universe it causes people to just fall where they are and scream while covering their ears. Created by recording and blending numerous sounds, including co-producer Fran Walsh screaming. She had a throat infection at the time. Fans joked that Jackson got her to make that sound by telling her he was going to do a film of The Silmarillion next.
  • Lost Highway: The sound of the Mystery Man laughing.
  • The Loved Ones tells the story of a deranged girl who kidnaps a boy and tortures him. One of the first things she does is inject his vocal cords with bleach to silence him. When she eventually begins her Cold-Blooded Torture his resulting screams are this trope times a thousand.
  • Mama': Anything that comes out of Mama's mouth is this.
  • Man of Steel gives us General Zod's terraforming devices and ships, which emit this horrible droning noise that even makes the ground shake.
  • That scream in Men Who Hate Women. It will haunt you in your dreams, as well as return later in the series.
  • The squawk Bing's violin makes when the shadows swallow him in MirrorMask.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail for such a silly, entertaining movie, the eerie howls that can occasionally be heard in the background (such as when Galahad's limping towards Castle Anthrax) are genuinely disturbing. Can you imagine being in the rain, wounded, locked outside a castle, listening to those mournful howls come closer and closer?
  • The really loud Bug Buzz produced by scarab beetles in The Mummy Trilogy. Especially since these scarab beetles are capable of killing you and the most effective weapon against them is a flamethrower.
  • Subverted in My Cousin Vinny. Seeking a quiet place to rest, Vinny and Lisa have borrowed a cabin in the forest. The silence is broken by a horrific screech, Vinny jumps up WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT and starts shooting at random into the trees. The culprit, a screech owl that could fit in the palm of your hand, merely blinks and turns around on its branch.
  • Night of the Demon features a high-pitched chittering sound that precedes the appearance of said demon, or at least threatens imminent arrival.
  • Night of the Living Dead did this a couple of times - the zombie feast was understated and otherworldly; the death of Helen Cooper was a series of highly distorted screams; even the last bit of music during the photo montage of the posse disposing of the bodies...
    • In Day of the Dead one character's head is slowly pulled off by a horde of zombies. As he screams, his vocal cords are pulled taut and finally snap...
  • Oblivion (2013): The drones', well, electronic droning, consisting of dissonant warbles which almost sound like an attempt to form words. In practice, they resemble someone hitting a digital keyboard at random notes; in effect, it's an extremely unsettling "voice."
  • One Missed Call has the ringtones. Here is the American version, and here is the Japanese version. Both qualify, although YMMV on which fits this trope more.
  • The screaming, invisible ghost children in The Orphanage.
    • Also in The Orphanage, the knock on the wall game that the protagonist plays with one of the ghosts. She has to face the wall to knock on the wall and say a little rhyme and each time she turns around, the ghost is a little bit closer.
    • And Tomás's rasping breathing.
  • Paranormal Activity has a a trigger sound of the presence arriving to do its business, which sounds like some sort of rumbling, which was probably meant to be the audio track being distorted by the presence.
    • The footsteps of the demon 'walking' down the hall during the preliminary hauntings turn out to mirror the shuffling noises we hear just before the 'pop out and scare you' moment in the last scene.
    • Katie talking about her paranormal experiences that include hearing long scratching sounds and the calling of her name.
  • The titular Piranha announce themselves with a watery echoing gargling/burbling chitter. It's creepy to young impressionable ears, but when you're older it sounds like a flock of scuba-diving turkeys.
  • Pontypool: Sydney Briar is alive. Sydney Briar is alive. Sydney Briar is alive.
    • The opening narration is rather unsettling as well. Hell, anything Mazzy says could be registered here...
  • The clicking sound of the Predator.
    • How about it playing back the soldiers' conversation?
    • From Predators, when they realize the Mexican dude is dead, but the Predator keeps playing his voice. Then it starts playing some variations of that same voice. It sounded like a five-second chorus of disturbingly calm souls begging for help FROM HELL.
  • Wet sneakers in the first Resident Evil movie. Think it's a survivor? Dead wrong, it's a zombie with a broken foot.
  • Red State: And I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. The horns of the apocalypse sound an awful lot like an iPod playing shofar blasts over an air raid siren.
  • The squeaking, creaking sounds the Wheelers make as they roll around in Return to Oz, and especially their laughs.
  • In the American remake of The Ring, the cursed videotape contains an odd, rising-and-falling-in-pitch squeaking sound that loops constantly. It's scary because it quickly becomes associated with Samara's attacks, but the repetition - it's the exact same sound every time- is creepy on its own.
    • In the original Japanese movie, the videotape contains a grating, high-pitched squeaking sound which is heard multiple times throughout the movie. It is creepy. Also, during the ending, a single, high-pitched squeak is heard repeatedly when Sadako is coming for Ryuji... and it only rises in pitch as she gets closer to emerging from the TV.
      • In the same movie, the barely-audible speech of the "Towel-Headed Man" from the video (used twice in the first film and then used once towards the end of Ring 2) will haunt you.
    • There's also a short, incredibly high-pitched whine (for those of you watching the Tape: it's the sound of the finger pushing down into the nail) that tends to come up every once in a while.
    • You'll also never listen to forest sounds, like insects and birds, the same way. (These precede the infamous Well Scene.)
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show: The sound of Eddie screaming, and the sound of Frank hacking him to pieces with a pick-axe.
  • The Silence of the Lambs: "Thhhp-thp-thp-thp-thp-thp-thp-thp."
    • "Good evening, Clarice."
    • Buffalo Bill clicking his night vision lenses into place and turning them on.
  • Simon's voice from Session 9. But especially the way he says that last line, over the final shot drawing away from the abandoned asylum, just before the credits roll and shortly after watching everybody die except Gordon, who went Ax-Crazy and killed them all. "And where do you live, Simon?" "I live...in the weak...and the wounded, Doc."
  • Clicking noises and baby monitors. A winning combination in Signs.
  • Silent Hill: The air raid siren that sounds just before bad things happen.
  • Sleepaway Camp: That disturbing hissing/moaning sound that Angela/Peter makes at the end.
  • The sound of Doc Ock's approach during the balcony scene in Spider-Man 2. As Roger Ebert describes in his review: "We hear him coming, hammering his way toward us like the drums of hell."
  • The music pieces that play for the tapes in Sinister.
  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture
    • The blaster beam sound associated with V'ger tends to be this.
    • Lori Ciani's death scream in the transporter.
  • Star Wars
    • HHHHHHGGHHH-PHRRRRRR. HHHHHGGGHHH-PHHHHRRRR.
    • Everything about Jabba's palace; the screams of possibly sentient droids being tormented by a sociopath, Oola's screams of terror as she's devoured by the Rancor, those damned gates opening up for R-2 and 3PO, even Jabba's distant and derisive laughter can be terrifying with the right timing. All of these are a testament to Ben Burt's sound design, and one damned good screamer.
  • QUICK SILVERGIRL---QUICKSILVER GIRL---QUICKSILVER GIRL---QUICKSILVER---QUICKSILVER---QUICK---QUICK---QUICK---QUICK-
  • The ghastly mechanical-sounding GROAAAAAAN noise that plays whenever a Terminator shows up. Terrifying, yet awesome at the same time.
    • Especially the repetitive version of this accompanying the T-1000.
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: *chk-whrrr*...it's only a camera flash bulb going off, but still...
  • The Thing (1982): The blood test scene where MacReady casually puts a heated wire to a tray of Palmer's blood and the blood explodes with a hideous screeching sound. It should be hilarious but it's horrifying.
    • The Thing is overall one of the greatest masters of this trope in cinema. The scene where the lights go out in Fuchs' room (it only attacks in the dark) and as he walks to the door with a candle, a shadow darts by with a...sound so alien, there are no words in the English language to describe it.
    • The Bennings-Thing's scream. It still disturbs many fans of the movie. And in some fanfics, it causes a reaction of horror in the individual cells of any non-Thing life form.
    • The combinations of sounds from the Jed/Kennel Thing. Especially that insect droning.
  • The ticking of the Geiger counter that heralds the approach of the title creature in The Thing from Another World.
  • In Titanic, the ship herself can be heard groaning louder and louder as the film progresses. The passengers are all too aware of what these sounds mean, especially when the top levels of the ship start going under water. The groaning directly before the grand staircase dome breaks and the ship splits in half are downright ominous and haunting.
    • Many real-life survivors claimed that despite the darkness, they could literally hear the Titanic and her remaining 1500 passengers slowly dying in the night. And then the silence came...
  • Toy Story 3 has one. When night falls on Sunnyside Daycare, a Cymbal-Banging Monkey sits in the second-floor security office, watching all the screens. If a toy tries to escape, he turns on the center's P.A. system and screeches into it while banging his cymbals.
  • In the second Tremors movie, about 48 minutes into the movie the Graboid screams, and it is one of the most chilling sounds you'll ever hear.
  • The Troll Hunter has an absolutely nerve wrecking build-up to the first troll being revealed. First, flashing lights in the distance accompanied by the sound of trees being uprooted. Then, the audible sound of some very heavy footsteps. Wait.. is that growling?
  • In 2001: A Space Odyssey, there's the wailing and high-pitched noise ("Requiem" by Ligeti) that the Monolith appears to make. Which sounds like the voices of hell.
  • Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds:
  • "Warriors, come out to pla-ay!" *clinkclinkclink*
  • Judge Doom's high pitched voice in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
    Remember me, Eddie? When I killed your brother, I talked just... like... THIS!
  • The Wizard of Gore has a prolonged screeching sound frequently used in scenes where the heroes realized something is horribly not right with the scene. Contrasts heavily with the cheery jazz music as Montag gleefully rips gobbets of flesh out of his victims.

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