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Nails on a Blackboard
Gah! That sound!
But it got your attention, didn't it?
Seriously, there's no better way to arrest attention than to screeEEEEeeeeEEEEEeeEEEEEEEK!
[shudder chill] ...no better way to arrest attention than to rake a nail or two across a blackboard. Usually works best with actual nails or a piece of chalk (especially a long, fresh piece), but some Badass Normals
can use their finger
nails. In the absence of a chalkboard, a sharp object against glass produces a similar sound.
Will you STOP that!!!
certain schools of thought posit that the reaction to this sound is an atavistic response to when humanity's pre-evolved ancestors used a similar noise to warn each other of danger that should be fled from at once.
See also Sinister Scraping Sound
, a dangerous Sister Trope
. Believe it or not, Wikipedia
actually has its own article
- Great Teacher Onizuka.
- It was also in Excel Saga, but done with a knife glove. Luckily for the audience, the sound was replaced with music.
- And Crossworlds. Although that was on a stalagmite. It gains extra kudos for being weaponized — the sound being used to disable a sharp-eared cat-person.
- One Piece has it too. It's called Usopp Noise.
- Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu. In the last episode Kaname does this to calm a mass panic. She's badass enough that it works immediately.
- In Dragon Ball, whistling has this effect on Namekians
- In GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class, the main characters have been asked to retrieve an easel from the art room, which the art club has outfitted with a number of horror props. Namiko wants to get the object (though they've forgotten what it was), and leave, but Tomokane is determined not to be defeated in that way. Namiko has Miyabi stop her, and this is what she comes up with... to the displeasure of everyone else in the room.
- Butch and Cassidy do this to try and get Professor Oak to talk in a PokemonChronicles episode.
- The French teacher from the French comic Les Profs does this while writing "Any attempt of ruckus, and I'll do it again".
- Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Since he wears gloves, he makes the noise with the chalk instead.
- Quint, making his legendary entrance in Jaws.
- And it was used in The Pink Panther Strikes Again as Cool and Unusual Punishment. The villain puts on a steel gauntlet from a suit of armor, grins at the tied-up female, walks to the slate blackboard, and — CUT! to quite a distance away, outside, and you STILL hear it. And her screaming.
- Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit: Deloris does this to silence the loudly chattering, music-playing students in her music class. Twice.
- The soundtrack of The Dark Knight somehow manages to incorporate this (fittingly, as the Joker's motif). Have a listen.
- Freddy used this to torture Carlos in Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, as he stole his hearing aid, turned the volume up to 11, gave it back, made it unremovable and dragged his murder-glove all over a giant chalkboard. Then Carlos's head exploded.
- Weirdly and subtly used in the original short film 9, when the cat-beast has 9 cornered and rakes its claws across some nearby cement.
- Inverted in The Final Destination, where the salon scene contains some slightly unnerving shots of the pedicurist scraping a metal tool along the underside of a soon-to-be victim's toenail. The sound of the scraping is plainly heard, and unpleasant.
- The Grinch in the live-action How the Grinch Stole Christmas reproduces this sound by scraping his nails/fingers along the side of a car.
- In Ernest Scared Stupid, a young Ernest does this in a flashback before getting whacked in the head by his teacher.
- In The Lion King, Scar scratches his claws on his cave wall, to the same type of sound.
- The Quick and the Dead. When the Lady is challenged to her first duel, her name is chalked up on a board with an audible screech that shows the tension she is feeling at that moment.
- Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz. When the protagonist drags the Nazi nurse by her feet into her own testing chamber, her nails scrape along the concrete floor.
- One Goosebumps short story features a summer school that punishes failing kids by making them go in a chalk closet to listen to this for all eternity.
- Septimus Heap
- Physik compares Queen Etheldredda's voice to this sound.
- According to Magyk, Magogs enjoy this sound and make it in their freetime.
- Invoked and Played for Laughs on Happy Endings-while Brad, Dave and Max are brainstorming in 'Bros Before Bros', Max interrupts and makes this noise himself-dragging his hand across a wooden pillar that couldn't possibly makje the noise
- An early Invention Exchange on Mystery Science Theater 3000 featured the Mads' "Chalk Man", a record player with a fake hand on the tonearm (with real human fingernails!) played against a chalkboard record in order to compel party guests to leave at 3 AM.
- Subverted and Played for Laughs on Psych. At one point, Shawn drags his fingernails down a whiteboard to get the attention of the people in the room. When it doesn't work (because whiteboards aren't made out of the right material to create the desired noise), he does it again while screeching into a microphone. Can be seen here.
- In an 80's Cracked Magazine sendup about what would happen if the Moral Guardians forced the A-Team to be less violent, the A-Team is forced to use less violent methods of subduing the villains. It concludes with B.A. scraping his nails across a blackboard to make the kidnappers surrender.
- First thing heard in the opening title-track of Krabathor's Orthodox album is a long screech from a chalkboard before the riffs kick in.
- One Garfield strip◊ had Garfield threaten to do this near Jon so he would give him the last cup of coffee in the house.
- The logo box of another strip◊ shows Garfield and Odie standing in front of a blackboard with Garfield's name carved in it. Odie looks extremely unnerved, and one of Garfield's claws is sticking out.
- Yet another strip has Jon refuse to let Garfield into the house... until Garfield drags his claws down the window.
- Part of the theme music for WWE's Dean Douglas, also known as Shane Douglas.
- In Disgaea 3, when you create a Nekomata character, she will make her entrance by scraping her cat claws on the blackboard.
- Crops up twice in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies . In Case 5-2, Athena comments that the scraping of rusty door hinges is this to her ultra-sensitive ears, and in Case 5-3 we get a more literal version of chalk scraping a chalkboard courtesy of Aristotle Means and his blackboard.
- The Simpsons has done this quite a few times — one time featured Groundskeeper Willie doing it on a stained glass window, in a direct parody of Quint's use of the trope.
- In one episode of Arthur, the title character daydreams that a villainous teacher is using the noise for torture rather than for straight attention-getting.
- On the Tex Avery cartoon One Ham's Family, when the villain is indisposed, the main character decides to "heckle you folks out there" while he returns. So he takes out a chalkboard and a piece of chalk and screeches away.
- One South Park episode has Mr Garrison using a rusty nail to write on the chalkboard, because lawsuits have made chalk too expensive for the school.
- In another one, a couple of FBI agents do this to a balloon to force the boys to tell them where Starvin' Marvin is. Cartman gives in pretty soon.
- In Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, a human kid disguised as a monster wins big points with the teacher for doing this.
- The Jaws scene is also spoofed in the Spongebob Squarepants episode "Sandy, SpongeBob and the Worm". The character doing it just wanted to know where the bathroom was.
- Two Stupid Dogs had this when Mr. H wrote his name on a chalkboard when he was substituting a class. It was excruciatingly long, and was enough to blow out the school's windows out. Just when the students think it's over, he adds a final scrEE! for the period.
- In an episode of TaleSpin, Don Karnage puts on a Tiger's Claw glove and proceeds to rake it across a chalkboard to get his victim to talk.
- Alvin does this in the Alvin and the Chipmunks episode The Brunch Club in order to get a confession out of Brittany.
- Used on The Amazing World of Gumball to help him forget kissing his grandmother on the lips.
- Done in The Fairly Oddparents by Timmy as a prank. Since he is invisible at the time, everyone in the classroom thinks the chalkboard is haunted.
- In an episode of Family Guy, Peter and Lois cover the couch with plastic wrap to protect it from Meg's nudist boyfriend. At one point, Peter rubs his hand against the plastic to annoy Lois with the screech.
- In one episode of Men In Black, the M.I.B. had to track down an alien whose voice was absolutely debilitating. Elle comes up with a noise-cancelling device that could counter the alien's ability, demonstrating by scratching her nails on a chalkboard without causing any cringing to the other agents.