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.
  • In Another Period, ditzy heiress Beatrice Bellacourt is variously called upon to feign grief or sing; in both cases, the most she can muster is a bizarre squawk.
  • 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.
  • BattleBots: The sound that Minotaur's drum spinner makes as it spins up. The commentators compare it to to a jet engine, but the truly terrifying part is that it keeps getting louder... and the louder it is, the more destructive it is.
  • 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.":
    • Those who aren't familiar with the noises the TARDIS makes might be freaked out when they hear a ship take off with a sound like a large animal dying of respiratory failure. However, because that noise is generally synonymous with the Doctor arriving to fix things, it has become a Most Wonderful Sound for most of the universe.
    • 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."
  • Game of Thrones:
  • The appearance of The Devil with the Yellow Eyes in Legion is always accompanied by a frantic-sounding warbling trumpet noise.
  • 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".
  • Pris-Ma, a monster from Return of Ultraman, has a chilling cry that has to be heard to be believed: [1]
    • Zetton, the final monster from Ultraman, has a roar [2] that can make one extremely uneasy, due to how foreboding it sounds.
  • Robot Wars contestant Hypno-Disc, one of the deadliest machines on the show, was armed with a high-speed horizontal flywheel that, once it span up to speed, produced a horrendous metal shriek like a mechanical banshee (or "Satan having an orgasm", according to one YouTube commentator). Considering the kind of destruction it was capable of, opponents had every right to be scared upon hearing that disc rev up to speed.
    • The rebooted series had Carbide, a robot armed with a vicious spinning bar that emitted what the presenters referred to as a "death hum" as it spun at full speed. And rightly so, given that it once tore an armor panel off an opponent with such force that it went flying across the arena and embedded itself in a panel of bulletproof glass and left said opponent so badly damaged that the team had to resort to duct-taping its armor back on in order to get it battle-ready for its next fight.
  • 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.
  • Twin Peaks has the iconically bizarre backwards-reversed speech of the denizens of the Black Lodge. Pretty much any time they appear to the characters, something very bad is about to happen.
  • 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.
  • In the universe of Kamen Rider Ryuki every reflective surface is a gateway to the Mirror World; an alternate dimension where bloodthirsty monsters live. Whenever such a monster preys on a human, a distinct shrill whistling sound can be heard, indicating it is about to attack. It seems only Riders are able to hear the sound.
  • In an episode of Frasier, Frasier makes friends with a man named Bob, who is in a wheelchair. Bob turns out to be both the most boring friend alive and a Stalker Without A Crush. The wheels on his chair squeak horribly, leading Frasier to dive behind the board to hide from him.
  • In the Sherlock episode "The Great Game", Sherlock makes a scraping racket on his violin to get his older brother, Mycroft, out of his flat. Some commenters on YouTube have taken to calling this piece "Get the Hell Out of My Flat, Mycroft".
  • The 1972 TV-movie adaptation of "A Warning To The Curious" makes double use of this trope, heralding the approach of William Ager's ghost with either the sound of brush being chopped (in the woods) or that of tubercular Ager's gasping breaths (in Paxton's hotel room).