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Hell Is That Noise: Live-Action TV
Examples of Hell Is That Noise from Live-Action, where a sound terrifies the characters because they know something dangerous is nearby.
  • Babylon 5: The sound of a Shadow vessel. They like to scream telepathically into the minds of their prey, to add terror to their attacks. As though their cleave beams which can split most ships in half with one shot need added terror.
  • Doctor Who has a few, especially due to the "screaming companion" effect, and Steven Moffat's philosophy of "Doctor Who takes place under your bed, in the dark.":
    • The two-part story "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances": The characters become terrified of a little boy asking, "Are you my mummy?", because very soon, they will, too!
    • "The End of Time": There's a pattern of beats that creeps out even the Doctor. "dat-dat-datóDAT". The sound of the Master. It gets really complicated, too. That sound is coming from inside the Master's head, from when he looked into the Vortex of Time-Space. That sound of knocking also heralds the death of the Tenth Doctor. Plus, the Master's drumbeat was in the theme tune from the very first episode of Doctor Who. note 
    • "EXTERMINATE!!!" If you hear a Dalek say this, there's a good chance you're not going to survive. It's no wonder the Doctor was horrified when he found out that Daleks managed to survive the Time War. Used to its most terrifying effect in "The Stolen Earth", where it was broadcast by thousands of alien ships invading Earth. Anyone having any idea what the broadcast means is terrified beyond sense, with one character declaring "There's nothing we can do. I'm sorry, we are dead."
    • The classic series made use of electronic music more prominently than the revived series, resulting in many such moments.
      • One of the most famous times this happened is right there in the very second story, which introduces the Daleks (as if that won't be obvious enough). The reveal of the Doctor's new nemeses is accompanied by sliding, metallic walls of sound, and a high-pitched electronic screech.
      • "The Underwater Menace" has the first primarily electronic soundtrack in the whole of Doctor Who, an incredibly unsettling score made up of Ominous Latin Chanting, eerie church-organ-like music and sudden distorted tape samples. This was in 1967, when such things were at the cutting age and still alien to most listeners.
  • Parodied in an episode of FamilyMatters. In the episode "The Good, the Bad, and the Urkel," Carl punches Steve's father over a dispute about his compost heap and Steve vows revenge. Carl then slips into a Dream Sequence while watching a Western. He dreams that the dispute happens in the Old West. Inside the saloon, Ominous Background Music continuously plays after dramatic lines, causing everyone in the saloon to look around for the source. After a final toot of the brass section when Steve challenges Carl to a duel, he says that before the duel happens, they have to form a posse to "track down that dang orchestra."
  • In-universe example on Friends: Chandler flinches every time he hears, "OH. MY. GOD!" and realises he's run into Janice again.
    • Ross's "sound," his term for the discordant music he plays on his keyboard, which everybody except Phoebe hates, in "TOW Chandler Crosses the Line":
    RACHEL: "Oh, I can't believe I ever let him touch me with those fingers."
  • In Game of Thrones Season 3, The Boy's Cold-Blooded Torture of Theon Greyjoy includes blowing an unpleasant-sounding horn, slowly driving the victim mad.
  • The music that plays whenever Helena in Orphan Black appears (or is about to appear) was this for the first season and a half. It still plays to herald her entrance, but her less villainous nature makes it less "hell" and more "something kickass".
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: One episode had dozens of whispers start up once an already disturbed cast member turned off the light to go to sleep. Hearing the voices would make her turn the lights on, and break her glass. Just ordinary whispers, very loud and very numerous, when the good doctor is supposed to be completely alone. She gets even more disturbed by finding out who's making the whispers.
    • On a very similar note, the clicking language of the extra-dimensional aliens in "Schizms," one of the more terrifying episodes of The Next Generation, at least before Voyager over-did that same plot, in "Scientific Method," among others.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: In "Equinox," the (unrelated) extra-dimensional aliens have to open portals into our universe to attack. When a portal forms, the first thing they hear is a high-pitched, whining hiss. It's pretty creepy for the characters, who are asking, "WHERE IS IT? WHERE IS IT?". If they aren't fast enough, it's the last sound they'll hear.
  • The X-Files episode "Avatar" involves an old woman spirit-thing that visits AD Skinner in his dreams. When she appears, she makes a sound made up of garbled, distorted, agonised-sounding voices and a high-pitched shriek. He is terrified.
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