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Loves the Sound of Screaming
aka: Loves To Hear Them Scream
A melody of angry growls
A counterpoint of painful howls
A symphony of death, oh my!
That's my lullaby!

Some people find happiness in hearing a peaceful stream, or the laughter of children, or maybe a beautiful symphony. Others... not so much. Sometimes you'll find people who very openly find joy, solace, or at least, familiarity, in the sounds of suffering and violence.

Expect this trope to crop up if there's a torture scene, particularly if someone's being Interrogated for Nothing. If the victim is The Stoic, The Spock, or Defiant to the End, they'll probably resist giving their captor the satisfaction.

Usually a sign that the person you're dealing with is a Psycho for Hire, or at the very least a sadist (it's not exactly a heroic quality). These types may be prone to Reminiscing About Your Victims. For characters who actually feed off of feelings of suffering, see Emotion Eater. Related to Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Sailor Moon Abridged's version of Sailor Mars, at a theme park: "I LOVE THE SCREAMS OF CHILDREN!"
  • Ren from Tower of God.
  • Kimblee from Fullmetal Alchemist loves more than anything the sounds of destruction. Explosions, buildings falling down, and especially screaming are sure to get at the very least a Slasher Smile from him. Usually it's more along the lines of maniacal laughter and monologuing, though.
    • When he is consumed by Pride and trapped in a typhoon of anguished souls, he is able to maintain his sense of self solely because of this trope. That's right, Kimblee's practice of this trope was a Chekhov's Gun.
    • Also somewhat implied with Lust.
    I look forward to the day when those eyes will be wide with agony...
  • In Jojos Bizarre Adventure, J. Geil's main reason to do anything was for the sake of hearing his victims' screams; he outright states that Polnareff's sister had a nice scream.
  • The Snake Baron from Berserk says he prefers the sounds of humans screaming under a fiery apocalypse rather than material goods.
    • There is a much more sympathetic one present in Farnese. In her case, her sexual gratification from burning people alive is shown as a serious mental disorder that she is well aware of, and frightened by. It is traced to her Lonely Rich Kid childhood, where she discovered that the only thing that distracted her from her loneliness, depression and powerlessness over her own life was the sound of screaming and the light of fires. As an adult, she uses her powers as a Church Militant to indulge these desires and excuse herself of responsibility for it, but is shown to have a great deal of self-loathing about it, and tearfully tries to convince herself "I am not wrong". The contrast between the apostles who have chosen to fully embrace their sadistic nature, and a flawed human being who tries ultimately successfully to overcome it is done very well.
  • When Death the Kid was being tortured in Soul Eater, Face-Heel Turn Justin Law took out his perpetual earphones so that he could listen. Even the other villain raised an eyebrow.
    • Giriko, at least when it comes to Maka. In the anime, Asura seems to get a kick out of her screaming too, crushing her ribs just for the desired effect.
  • In one scene, Jakotsu tells InuYasha that he wants to torture him before he kills him. He then says "at least give me one sweet little scream of agony."
    • "Oh, yeah, that's the way! I can't wait to see you cry!"
  • In Katekyo Hitman Reborn! during Glo Xinia's fight with Chrome he demanded "Give me MORE!" after hearing her screams of pain.
  • Sadi-chan from One Piece, having the sadomasochism theme.
  • Hellsing has several examples:
    • In the 7th OVA, Zorin Mind Rapes Seras, hacks off her arm, slices her eyes, and stabs her with her scythe. As Seras screams in agony Zorin screams back "More! More!"
    • In the manga, the Major has half a chapter devoted to this trope. To wit: "And it is superb when the enemy prisoner screams in time with the shriek escaping from the schmeisser I hold as I mow him down." And that's only the SANE portion of the speech.
    • When fighting Tublacan, Alucard tells him to "squeal like a pig."
  • Black Lagoon: Because of their horrific past where they were forced to rape and kill other children for their tormenter's amusement, Creepy Twins Hansel and Gretel grew to love killing in general, which includes "the sound of screaming".
  • In Super Dreadnought Girl 4946, Makoto Tobita sister Kuumi fights and kills demons soley because she loves to hear their screams. However she comments that she prefers her brother screams the most.
  • Hiei from YuYu Hakusho. Has been savagely killing everything around him that breathed since he could walk, and describes their cries of pain to have been like a child's music box to his ears. No wonder we never got any scenes of Hiei as a child.
    • There are scenes from his childhood. He was a creepy baby with creepy eyes, even with teeth, and when he smiled, it was a Slasher Smile. And as a kid, he slaughtered demons because it was fun, and the demons who adopted him abandoned Hiei.
  • In the Saint Seiya spinoff Episode G, a Giants enters the Cancer Temple and realizes the place is covered by countless human faces as if they were trophies. When Deathmask appears, the Giant asks him how he can stay sane with all the endless moans, cries and screams of agony coming from said faces; Deathmask smiles and calmly replies the only thing he hears from them are exaltations towards him.
  • Greg from A Cruel God Reigns thoroughly enjoys hearing Jeremy screaming in agony. Somehow he thinks that translates to "love."
  • In Fairy Tail, Midnight enjoys screams, so he drags his fights out and slowly tortures his opponents.

     Comic Books 
  • "Scream for me!" is practically Sabretooth's catchphrase.
    • Parodied in a Deadpool comic, when Creed was about to do something terrible to Wade, before he started:
      Sabretooth: Scream for me!
      Deadpool: Scream? Well, if you insist... AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! AAAAAAAH! AAAAAAAAAAAH!
      Sabretooth: Enough Wilson.
      Deadpool: No, wait! Now I'll do it like a little girl! EEEEEK! EEEEEK! EEEEK!
      Sabretooth: I said enough!
  • The entire reason the Scarecrow's Fear Toxin exists is to make his victims scream.
    "SCREAM OR I'LL MAKE YOU SCREAM!!!"
    • He even appreciates them scientifically. In Arkham Asylum: Living Hell, the main character Warren White screams after finding a fake eye ball in his cafeteria food. Crane, who's sitting next to him, notes that his scream had an interesting pitch and timbre and asks if he can do it again. When White says he can't, Crane stabs him in the leg with a fork. He's disappointed, because now White is screaming in pain instead of terror.
  • Roark Junior, the title character of the Sin City story "That Yellow Bastard," is a Serial Killer who rapes and murders little girls and who Loves To Hear Them Scream. As Nancy Callahan reveals during her Cold-Blooded Torture at his hands eight years after his first attempt on her is foiled by Hartigan, the screams of his victims are the only way that Junior can receive any kind of sexual gratification, to the point of being practically impotent without it.

    Fanfiction 
  • In cloneserpents' "Screams" series Hermione, broken by extensive torture, needed to hear a certain amount of screaming in order to function psychologically. At one point, after she was separated from an equally-broken, mute Harry and had been without screams for several days, she lapsed into a catatonic state.
  • In Diaries of a Madman, Kat loves this and jumps at the chance to showcase her torture skills. Discord also describes the screams of his enemies as "like music".
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, Dr. Wily and Bass are like this.
  • In Opening Dangerous Gates, Daemon wanted to torture Lucy for the desired effect.

     Film (Animated) 
  • A rare heroic example, Jack Skellington, the King of Halloween, laments that he has "grown so weary of the sound of screams," indicating that he used to enjoy them. The screams he's referring to are those of fright from Halloween pranks, and not torture.
  • As the page quote shows, "My Lullaby" in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride is almost entirely Zira saying how much she loves cries of pain.
  • The Monsters, Inc. monsters don't just like to hear screams; they need them as a source of energy.

     Film (Live Action) 
  • In the first Harry Potter movie, Filch mentions how they used to hang up disobedient students by their thumbs for punishment in the good old days.
    "God, I miss the screamin'."
    • In the fourth movie Voldemort puts his finger to Harry's forehead which causes him pain and he screams in agony. Voldemort watches this with an excited look on his face and screams along with him, almost like he's urging him to continue screaming.
  • The Addams Family: Screaming is a way of life and perfectly normal to the Addams.
  • At one point in the movie Virtuosity the villain SID 6.7 uses a roomful of hostages as a source of a variety of screams, which he then remixes into a symphony of fear for his enjoyment. If not aware already that he was a psycho, this scene should put any lingering doubts to rest.
  • In The Dirty Dozen, Maggot demands a woman do this before he knifes her, nearly warning their targets.
  • In Batman Begins, Dr. Jonathan Crane is implied to enjoy using his fear toxin to force people into panic attacks. Just consider what he said about his patients to Falcone after spraying him with said fear toxin.
    "They scream and they cry, much as you're doing right now."
  • In The Dark Knight, the main reason The Joker loves using knives is so he can "savor all of the little emotions", which you miss out on when using a gun.
  • Sabretooth, as Storm has the unpleasure to find out in X-Men.

    Literature 
  • The Black Wind, Machin Shin, of The Wheel of Time, is composed only of the very vocal desire to hear people suffering.
  • Cazalla, the commander of the dread fortress of Matanceros in Michael Crichton's posthumously published Pirate Latitudes is known throughout Port Royal to find the screams of his dying victims restful and relaxing.
  • One of the Red Knights in Arthurian Legend was cursed to require the continuous din of screaming ladies to rest. Without the noise, headaches and insomnia would quickly drive him mad.
  • Ray used to be baffled by this in Christopher Brookmyre's A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away. Then his wife had a baby, and he understood how people got desensitized.
  • In one of the Magic: The Gathering novels, Crovax has a torture machine that's a pipe organ with people getting Electric Tortured instead of pipes. His only problem with it is that whenever one of the victims finally dies, he has to find someone who screams at the same pitch to replace them.
  • DomDaniel in Septimus Heap is specifically mentioned to love the last scream of a dying person.
  • The Elric Saga: The Melnibonean court has a choir of surgically-altered human slaves who can only scream in one particular note each.

     Live Action TV 
  • The villain in the Criminal Minds episode "Limelight" treated audio recordings he made of his victims being tortured to death like pornography.
  • Some Super Sentai villains. Bandora, for example, says she loves to hear children crying, and the villains of Samurai Sentai Shinkenger use suffering to raise the water level of the Sanzu River where they live.
  • In Babylon 5, this is why Cartagia finds torturing G'Kar so frustrating. They eventually turn to a whip that induces ever-increasing-pain with each blow, with the fortieth blow causing death. At blow thirty-nine, G'Kar screams.
  • In the Doctor Who story "The Sun Makers", the villainous Collector goes into overtly sexualised raptures when anticipating the sound of Leela screaming as she gets scalded to death, and boasts about how sophisticatedly the death chamber is wired for sound.
  • The Barrel Girl Gang of Dexter, especially Jordan Chase of Season 5, seemed to do what ever they could to their victims to get them to scream. To the point Dexter was sickened by their actions.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Vampire!Willow and Faith (after she's turned evil) explicitly share their love of this. They're also two of the most psychotic characters in the series.
    • Played for homoerotic Foe Yay when Faith is about to torture Buffy in "Enemies".
    "Before we get started, I just want you to know — if you're a screamer, feel free."
    • When Spike is about to chomp on Willow, she threatens to scream. Spike just says, "Bonus."
    • Adam. "I do appreciate violence."
  • In Heroes, when Sylar is about to munch on Isaac and Claire, he is disappointed that neither scream.
  • On an episode of Hill Street Blues, Buntz and a rookie cop are held prisoner by a serial killer. Buntz assures the younger man that the killer only wants to hear them beg, and that he'll keep them alive until that happens. The rookie nonetheless breaks down and winds up getting killed. Buntz triumphs over the killer by taunting him.

     Music 
  • The Blue ÷yster Cult's Dr Music is, on the face of it, a dance-themed track referencing discos and dancing, upbeat, poppy and lyrically undemanding. But listen closely to the lyrics...
    Girl, don't stop that screaming,
    You're sounding so sincere;
    So much music,
    In the tracks of your tears!
    But if you wanna face the music, open up your ears -
    To my friend, Calamity Jane,
    Hear the rhythm - in the sound of her pain!

     Newspaper Comics 
  • In a Baby Blues story arc, both of Daryl and Wanda's parents visit them for a couple of weeks. Being deprived of children for several years, the grandparents are eager to help out with everything around the house. One day Wanda and Daryl both reflect on how organized the house is then, how much quieter, how much cleaner. For a second they smile, and then they look at each other, and their faces change. Suddenly they both shout "I want my chaos back!" This happened again in a Sunday strip in which Daryl tries to relax when he discovers he temporarily has the house to himself. No screaming, no yelling, no grabbing at his pant legs, just him, a beer, and quiet... "How did I stand it??!"

     Tabletop Games 
  • In Warhammer40000, the Chaos Space Marine Night Lords Legion is fond of this. However, the Dark Eldar of Warhammer 40,000 have based their entire society on inflicting and enjoying other people's pain. When launching another terrifying raid on a hapless foe, their favored transports are open-topped skimmers, "the better to hear the screams of our prey as we ride them down, to savour the fear etched on their faces, to taste the tantalising tang of their blood in the air as an appetiser before the feast." Their leader Asdrubael Vect's most famous quote is "Death is my meat, terror my wine."
  • Magic: The Gathering: Braids, at least according to Mutilate.
    • Liliana Vess as well, according to another edition of the same card.

    Theatre 

     Video Games 
  • In RuneScape, the player controls a forgotten warrior whose friends and brother are all slaughtered by a quartet of adventurers (long story). The ghost of Taevas, her brother, comes back to haunt her and to encourage her to exact ruthless vengeance.
    "Gut her. Rip her in two. Make her suffer...When she least expects it, crush her. Let me hear her. Let her screams comfort me in the darkness."
    • Quite creepy considering that many claim RuneScape is a kids' game.
  • Kefka.
    "Hee-hee... Nothing beats the sweet music of hundreds of voices screaming in unison!"
  • Luca Blight claims to love "hearing those pigs squeal," meaning the innocent bystanders that he tends to slaughter while they're begging for their lives.
  • Papa Cesar in House of the Dead: Overkill:
    "As you well know, Isaac, I enjoy pain. It's like a good Chinese dinner, you know? With the sweet and the sour? Expanding on that analogy, I will smile with delight - that's the sweet - as you scream for your fucking life - of course, that's the sour."
  • In Valkyria Chronicles, Jane has the 'Sadist' ability, which kicks in randomly to make her deal more damage. When it activates, she says "Hmm, Scream for me." She's also given the moniker "Sadistic Jane".
  • One of the level ending quotes of Dungeon Keeper:
    "Knife. The streets run with the blood of the slain. Screams of pain and howls of anguish rip the night air like a vengeful siren's song! This really is a place you can take the kids for a weekend."
  • Bayonetta has this trope in SPADES. One of the reasons she gives in the game for killing angels is that they aren't annoying when they are dying.
    "You know, you're not nearly so ugly when you're screaming."
  • Sniper Wolf explains that gunfire, sirens and screams were her lullabies when giving her death speech to Solid Snake in Metal Gear Solid, although in this case, they may have been her lullabies considering the fact that she was born and raised in the battlefield around Kurdistan/Iraq.
    • In Sniper Wolf's case those sounds were beyond her control and something she did not enjoy. A straighter example could be found in the character of Colonel Volgin from Metal Gear Solid 3 who loves torturing his victims. During World War II he and the Russian units under his command were ordered to execute thousands of Polish citizens and soldiers, he personally beat many such victims to death with his fists and took off their blindfolds so that he could enjoy the look of terror in their eyes as they died. During the game's story he subjects the young Big Boss, then known as Snake, to Cold-Blooded Torture where he beats him within an inch of his life and electrocutes him, and when Snake pisses himself because he can't hold it in through all the pain Volgin reacts to it by saying, "Yes! Now that's what I wanna see!" Ocelot, a man who ruthlessly tortured Snake with electricity during Shadow Moses which means this is saying something, watching this is disgusted at first, but slowly begins to view torture as an art form after the torture session ends.
  • I-No of Guilty Gear gleefully admits that she enjoys anyone else's screaming, as shown in her winquote against Bridget.
    I-No: Ahh, the sweet sounds of a child screaming. It strikes right at my heart. Cry some more for me!
  • Though it doesn't come up within the BlazBlue canon itself, the vocal version of Unlimited!Hazama's theme, Endless Despair, states outright that the sound of unbridled screaming and wailing is like wonderful singing in his ears. He isn't particularly keen on what causes the screams, it can be pain, rage or sorrow, just as long as it is derived from misery. Considering what a horrible being Hazama/Terumi is within canon, though, it does not require a great stretch of the listener's imagination to believe that all of this holds true outside of his theme song as well.
    • Confirmed in the third game, Chronophantasma, by Hazama's alternate form, Yuuki Terumi. Especially notable since one of his dislikes is "Loud noises"... In other words, he has a If It's You, It's Okay relationship in regards to peoples' screams.
  • Leanne, the initial protagonist of Theresia: Dear Emile, associates screaming with her beloved mother.
  • Dr. Weil in Mega Man Zero 3 upon leaving Crea and Prea to deal with Zero, says "I've got some pig squeals to enjoy.", in reference to the humans who are currently at the mercy of the Dark Elf-brainwashed, currently insane Reploids.
  • Several demons have lines like this in the Raidou Kuzunoha games.
  • In Mass Effect 2 there's a prisoner on board the Purgatory that, if you try to talk to him, only says "I hear the screaming in my head. It's nice."
  • The first Parasite Susan encounters in The Cat Lady, Doctor X, describes a woman's screams as like 'poetry without words' and dances merrily as he tortures her.
  • Anghel, in Hatoful Boyfriend, aspires to write manga. One of the villains in his Forbidden Epic says "What a nice voice you cry out with!" in a drama CD.
  • On the IOS version of Mirror's Edge there is a achievement called "Scream For Me" earned by doing this to ten enemies. Either Faith is a X-Men fan or she likes to get her Faith on.

    Webcomics 
  • Played with in Girl Genius. The "Red Playroom" in Castle Hetrodyne has a machine that generates screams. With all kinds of adjustments, volume, guilt-innocence, agony-ecstasy, sad-mad, etc.
  • Goblins plays this straight with Dellyn Goblinslayer, as with Riss, who considers taking an interest in the suffering of other to be a natural survival mechanism. On the other hand, Kore narrowly avoids this one. Sure, he tortures Chief just to make him scream, but there's a practical reason: to guilt the other goblins into coming to the rescue so he can kill them too.
  • Umbria/Zaedalkah from Our Little Adventure. In one of her first appearances in the comic, she commented that the worst thing about Hold Person is that her paralyzed victims can't scream when she stabs them.
  • Milder example in Schlock Mercenary. Captain Tagon certainly seems to be enjoying bringing a smug perp down a notch by destroying their recording equipment and chance at selling videos of their space parkour, and declares the resultant inelegant bawling to be 'sweet, sweet music.'

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation 469, "The Many Winged Angel", which feeds off noise.
    "Any human or animal that touches or gets too close to the surface of the creature will be quickly enveloped by the outstretching wings and drawn inside. Despite the feathersí soft appearance, each hair has a sharp point that quickly pierces through clothing and into bare flesh, releasing a neurotoxin that immediately stimulates all the pain receptors in the body, as well as other stimulants to keep the victim from passing out too quickly."
  • This gag song falls into this eventually, after pretending it's about sunshine and happiness.
  • The Gungan Council has Karma thoroughly enjoying torture, with Kaelin getting off on it.
  • The Nostalgia Chick is delighted to see the guys in her life breaking down in some way, and the only reason she can give for Frollo been seen as sexy is his smirk after hearing the old captain get whipped.
  • Trolls often are an example of this trope. Granted, it's more often screams of rage or disgust that they seek, but still...

    Western Animation 
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot had one villain who became more powerful and muscular whenever he heard the sound of people screaming in humiliation and pain. And gets weaker and thinner when people laugh.
  • The Transformers: Soundwave's quote in his original toy bio was "Cries and screams are music to my ears." No sign of this sadism appears in his show/comic appearances, though; he's rather businesslike about evil.
  • Beast Wars
    • The homicidal Rampage, who loves the taste of fear.
    • In "Other Voices Part 1" when Optimus is being scanned/tortured by the aliens:
  • Bane demands that Batman scream his name for him after he has him dead to rights in Batman: The Animated Series. Batman doesn't give him the satisfaction.
    Bane: "SCREAM MY NAME! SCREAM!"
  • In the Mickey Mouse cartoon "Runaway Brain", the Mad Scientist Dr. Frankenollie tortures Mickey through electrocution and he remarks "I love it when they squeal!".
  • In the Metalocalypse episode Dethkomedy while the band are discussing possible concepts for their next album, William Murderface suggests "Hey, why don't we just record people dying? Like all the world's leaders, or a bunch of ladies."
  • In the Teen Titans episode "Transformation", the Cironielian Chrysalis Eater tells the captive Starfire she will enjoy her screams.

    Real Life 
  • In one of the most horrifying examples imaginable, British serial killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley would record the dying screams of children they tortured to death and listen to them later for their amusement. One of these tapes was supposedly played at their trial, and veteran police inspectors left the courtroom weeping openly.
    • In a similar case, Roy Norris and Lawrence Bittaker, aka "The Toolbox Killers", murdered five teenage girls. As with Ian and Myra above, they recorded the girls screams as they subjected them to unspeakable things. One of the tapes was played in the trial of Bittaker and it traumatized everyone. Well, everyone except Bittaker, he found it funny.
  • Arthur Leigh Allen, a convicted child molester who was suspected of being the Zodiac killer; he loved the attention he got from being a suspect and played up his creepiness by claiming that he kept a record of children screaming.
  • In a non-evil example, plenty of metal or screamo music involves screaming to sing the lyrics or as a background instrument. Although this is theatrical screaming and not produced by actual torture (we hope).
  • Also non-evil: parrots. They're extremely social, noisy birds that naturally live in huge flocks and easily become bored or lonely. A lot of screaming for them is basically a plea for attention or "I'm here! Where are you?" and tired owners who start shouting or screaming back are accidentally reinforcing this.


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alternative title(s): Loves To Hear Them Scream; The Sound Of Screaming
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