->''"Violins. Oh, no."''
-->-- '''Satsuki Miyanoshita''', ''Anime/GhostStories''

A common audio cue used when you want to establish that something is deeply Insane, Evil, or Unnatural, but the {{Ominous Latin Ch|anting}}oir is off on vacation -- A series of sharp, screeching notes on any string instrument. Sometimes this is paired with the VertigoEffect. When done on strings, like in Hitchcock's Psycho, it is frequently used by three short, fast bow strokes below the bridge -- the wooden piece that holds the strings up -- of a cello.

In most horror movies, if it's not strings, it's probably a [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foSJstDFDfg waterphone]].

Usually part of a PsychoShowerMurderParody. See also ScareChord and DroneOfDread for the deeper pitched cousin.



* They are heard in one Honey Nut Cheerios commercial when Buzz the honey bee realizes the woman he's giving his product to is an entomologist. [[spoiler:Insect collector.]]
* They are used in at least one promo for ''Series/MyCatFromHell''.
* Referenced in [[http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/b9b2/?srp=1 this ad]] for bloody-handprint shower curtains and bloody-footprint bathmats on [[http://www.thinkgeek.com/ ThinkGeek]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* The entire shower scene is parodied in ''Manga/SayonaraZetsubouSensei'', strings and all. It only serves to make Fuura Kafuka even creepier, too--while the stabber changes between every shot (Bruce Lee, Freddy Krueger, and the DrunkenMaster to name a few), it's ''Kafuka'' we see dashing around the corner out of the bathroom.
* Used in the first episode of ''{{LightNovel/Slayers}}'' when the Black Dragon attacks.
* Used in episode 11 of ''Anime/GhostStories''.
* ''[[Manga/FullmetalAlchemist Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood]]''[='=]s track "Tribute to W.C. 1", used near the end when [[spoiler:Greed attacks Father in a last-ditch attempt to stop the countrywide transmutation circle]].
* Used in ''[[LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya]]'' when the SOS Brigade [[spoiler:discovers their host stabbed to death on the island.]] It also makes up the majority of Asakura's theme music.
* ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' has the tracks "EVA-00", "THE BEAST" and "The End of Midsummer."
* Used in a parody of the ''Film/{{Psycho}}'' shower scene in ''Anime/DigimonFrontier'' just as Izumi is about to change into a swimsuit. Interestingly, it doesn't appear to be any more than an excuse to have her scream, alerting the rest of teh FiveManBand.
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=SLA9MIxX-Dw#t=596s Done with Escargoon and Dedede]] in episode 47 of ''Anime/KirbyRightBackAtYa'', in a PsychoShowerMurderParody scene.
* Music/YukiKajiura's composition of the ''Anime/KaraNoKyoukai'' OST [[CrowningMusicOfAwesome used this trope to great effects]], it is most prominent in the OST of Episode 5 ''Paradox Spiral''.
* The [[MonsterOfTheWeek Kowaina]] [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5Cpd7x5A2c&list=PL855003C31693AEB1 summoning theme]] from ''Anime/YesPrettyCure5'' has this on spades.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* ''WesternAnimation/FindingNemo'', when Darla arrives.
* Can be heard faintly in ''WesternAnimation/ShrekFourD'' when a spider comes down in front of Donkey.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Used famously in ([[TropeNamer duh]]) ''Film/{{Psycho}}''. Alfred Hitchcock supposedly wanted the murder scene to be totally silent, but film composer Music/BernardHerrmann had a better idea.
* The very same strings are used whenever ''Film/{{Carrie 1976}}'' uses her telekinetic powers.
* A similar-sounding variation of the shrieking violins plays several times in ''Film/MaximumOverdrive'' when the machines are trying to kill someone. But then, [[SoBadItsGood considering the nature of the movie]] and the fact that it's a "horror" movie [[{{Narm}} that's not scary at all]], the PsychoStrings come across as sort of a LargeHam.
* ''Film/{{Alien}}'' features Psycho Strings-themed music from composer Jerry Goldsmith in the third act, when Ripley, Parker and Lambert have decided to evacuate the ''Nostromo'' on the emergency shuttle. Parker and Lambert split from Ridley to obtain life support supplies for the shuttle, and [[spoiler:the alien corners them. The Strings play most prominently when the alien turns slowly toward the petrified Lambert, its head and arm silhouetted against the emergency lighting. The track is called "Parker's Death".]]
* ''Film/PlanesTrainsAndAutomobiles'' when Neal discovers what Del did to the bathroom, and that he had been washing his face in the water Del was using to soak his socks.
* The background music for ''Film/CabinFever'' features a motif that uses double beats of a creepy string note, adding a sinister undertone to a passionate sex scene. The music cue and dialogue during the scene suggest that one of the characters is passing the deadly disease to their one-time lover. This is later revealed to be true.
* The soundtrack for ''Film/ThereWillBeBlood''.
* In Creator/MelBrooks Hitchcock spoof ''Film/HighAnxiety'', the ''Psycho'' shower scene parody uses the shrill cries of an angry bellhop in place of the strings: "''Here! Here's your paper! Here's your lousy, stinking paper! Happy now?''"
--> '''Thorndyke:''' That kid gets no tip...
* The Joker's signature theme in ''Film/TheDarkKnight'', "Why So Serious?" is built up of this. The best example is probably in the interrogation scene, where upon Joker's revelation that [[spoiler: both Dent and Rachel have been kidnapped]], the music begins, and comes to a climax where the Joker laughs manically at Batman's attempts to force details out of him.
* This is more along the lines of Psycho Synths, but in ''Film/Terminator2JudgmentDay'', that note they play whenever the T-1000 is bearing down relentlessly on someone and it gets faster and more intense the closer he gets.
* Used in ''[[Film/KillBill Kill Bill Vol. I]]''. Said piece, "[[Series/AmericanHorrorStoryMurderHouse Twisted Nerve]]", is also by Music/BernardHerrmann.
* Used in ''Film/DaddyDayCare'' when Max "[[ToiletHumor misses]]".
* To be heard in ''Film/DressedToKill'' right after the hooker picks up the razor blade from the elevator floor.
* Used in ''Film/DjangoUnchained'' when John Brittle is about to whip a slave, before Django confronts him.
* ''Bad Reputation'' uses this whenever it's leading up to Michelle making a kill on one of her tormentors.
* In Creator/CliveBarker's ''Film/{{Nightbreed}}'', the psychotic serial killer Dr. Decker is accompanied by a creepy string-based theme designed to unsettle the viewer during his first major knife-wielding appearance.
* Part of Magneto's {{Leitmotif}} in ''Film/XMenFirstClass''.
* Used in ''Film/AttackOfTheClones'', when [[StartOfDarkness Anakin Skywalker attacks the Sand People]] [[spoiler:who killed his mother Shmi]].
* ''Film/TheShining'' uses excerpts of Pendrecki's ''Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima'', mentioned in the Music tab, as well as material by Bela Bartok and Gyorgy Ligeti.
* Done in ''Film/BigFatLiar'' when Marty Wolf realizes that his skin and hair have been dyed blue and orange, respectively.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Pick any episode of ''Series/{{Lost}}''.
** The whole soundtrack, really.
* ''Series/MysteryDiagnosis'' often pulls this off when the subject of the current segue experiences a new and terrifying syndrome, usually one which puts them at risk of imminent death. A related 'plonk' stock sound is often played as well for emphasising the confusion some of the patients and subjects experience when witnessing symptoms, be it those of their own or someone close to them.
* [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] in an episode of ''Series/ParkerLewisCantLose'': A man in a trenchcoat looks at a journal saying "The Chameleon escapes!", then orders a string quartet (which wasn't there before) to play a chilly music.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** In the new series, whereas the Daleks get the [[OminousLatinChanting Ominous Hebrew Chanting]], the Cybermen get the Psycho Strings. The same sound effect was used for the Family of Blood. And in the classic series, the Daleks get the Psycho Bleeps.
** Also in the revived series, the Master gets his own distinctive PsychoStrings theme, which is four loud drum beats.
** As does [[spoiler: Davros]], which is actually a re-arrangement of the Midnight monster's theme.
** The Weeping Angels' {{Leitmotif}} is nothing '''but''' Psycho Strings.
** Craig Owens's baby son Alfie (sorry: "Stormageddon: Dark Lord of All") also gets his own dramatic chord.
* Used in ''Series/BabylonFive'' when Lyta uses her abilities to perform a PsychicAssistedSuicide on a Drazi.
* In the ''Discworld/{{Hogfather}}'' tv series, these form the leitmotif for PsychoForHire Jonathan Teatime.
* In ''Series/PeeWeesPlayhouse'': "I'm going door to door, to make you this incredible offer..." (AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH! Ha ha!)
* The ridiculously awesome extended version of [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=er-T5FjRc40 Lord Zedd's Theme]] from ''Series/MightyMorphinPowerRangers''.
* These appear in an episode of ''Series/{{Castle}}''.
* ''Series/AmericanHorrorStoryMurderHouse'' uses the ''actual'' Psycho Strings as [[spoiler: Maria is stabbed in the back to death]] at the end of the flashback in 'Home Invasion'.
* ''Series/TheXFiles'' uses a rather ominous violin-string plucking number in scary scenes--usually when the Monster of the Week is stalking (and then killing) its victims.
* Chandler Bing of ''Series/{{Friends}}'' accidentally got the top of his toe cut off to the sound of Psycho Strings. When he arrives at the hospital, a carrot top was brought instead.
* Happens twice in one episode of ''Series/MrsBrownsBoys''. Although, as soon as it's over, she walks to the door, and yells at the violin players standing right there to '''PISS OFF!'''
* Used in the Nickelodeon "Attack Of The Giant Vulture" short when the vulture bursts through the title card and tries to eat the girl at the beginning.

* Parts of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia".
* The opening of Krzystof Penderecki's ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfBVYhyXU8o Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima]]'' (written in 1960) may be an inspiration: all fifty-two string players are instructed to play "the highest note on the instrument" as loudly as possible, producing a very harsh and grating high-pitched tone cluster which sounds a bit like a scream. (Its relation to the subject matter is actually purely incidental; Penderecki originally intended to call the piece simply ''8'37"'', but figured a memorial to the victims of American nuclear bombs would be more likely to be accepted by the government of Poland as more in line with their Social Realist artistic policies.)
** Serial music in general can sound really weird. Anton Webern's ''Fünf Sätze'' could easily be included in a survival horror soundtrack.
** György Ligeti's music, which is also serial in nature, utilizes a similar method in his ''Atmospheres'', where the string players play every chromatic note ''over five octaves'' at once. That's ''60 notes''. This is the largest tone cluster ever written in a serious piece. Then things get weird when the string players start using microtones.
** There's also George Crumb, and his famous piece, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pV6BeeoX474 Black Angels]], the introductort section of which, which is titled "Night of the Electric Insects," literally makes you feel like there are bugs crawling all over your skin. It was used very effectively in soundtrack of ''Film/TheExorcist''.
** Music/IgorStravinsky's ''Theatre/TheRiteOfSpring'' has these in some movements as well.
* Sonata Arctica use this at one point in "Juliet".
* Avant-garde metal band Unexpect use Psycho Strings a lot, but most notably on "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLP7hQkCIyU Silence 011010701]]".
* "O Green World" by {{Music/Gorillaz}} opens with a sort of deranged banjo-plucking solo. The entire song may be a deliberate ShoutOut to Creator/AlfredHitchcock, as you also hear [[Film/TheBirds crows screeching]] throughout the instrumental portions of the track.
* "Opheliac" - the album, not the song - by Emilie Autumn is full of creepy notes on electric violin.
* The Soviet composer Music/DmitriShostakovich was fond of using these for [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar political commentary]]. For instance, the [[ExecutiveMeddling Party-mandated]] Fifth Symphony's grandiose, triumphant finale is rather undermined by the string section sawing away in the background, rendering the whole thing rather hollow, creepy, and artificial. [[StealthParody Not that anybody important noticed.]]
* The intro track to Music/{{Sepultura}}'s ''Schizophrenia'' album features this.
* In Music/JohannSebastianBach's cantata ''Christ lag in Todesbanden'' (BWV 4) the 3rd movement contains a series of 11 very sharp chords played on a solo violin.
* Appears in Music/BillyJoel's "We Didn't Start The Fire" when Billy sings "Psycho".
* Music/KnifeParty's "Internet Friends" breaks into these immediately after ''that'' line. Never block a {{Yandere}} on Website/{{Facebook}}.

* In ''[[Pinball/WHODunnit WHO dunnit]],'' a case involving the murder of a female character will sometimes begin with a [[DeadlyBath shower murder scene]] complete with Psycho Strings.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Not surprisingly, this was included in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BP0jtQxbEpM Sycho Sid's entrance music]].

* Used in many songs in ''Theatre/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet'', "Epiphany" in particular.
* The Creator/ReducedShakespeareCompany uses PsychoStrings as the music cue for Hamlet stabbing Polonius.
* Richard Strauss's opera ''Theatre/{{Salome}}'' uses an effect of this sort as Salome is listening for Jokanaan's death cry. The short sharp sound, made by double basses playing far higher than their usual range, is meant, according to the composer's footnote, to "resemble the stifled moans and groans of a woman."
* Hinted at in the song "Oh The Thinks You Can Think," played in recent productions of ''[[{{Theatre/Seussical}} Seussical The Musical]]'', in which the audience is invited to "Think of something horrible and hairy, something sinister and scary that you've never dared to think of before!" Cue PsychoStrings (big solo for second keyboardist).
* In {{Theatre/Heathers}}, high-pitched violins and electric guitar are often played in the background of J.D.'s songs and dialogue, specifically in his "that school was society" rant towards the end.

* ''Franchise/AssassinsCreed'':
** ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedBrotherhood'' score takes this trope [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnBUK9fO3vc to extremes]].
** ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedRevelations'' also [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frgZ6lH7bLI has its own variation of this trope]].
* ''VideoGame/GrimFandango'': Used a few times, including when Chepito reveals the Demons of the Deep.
* Used often in the ''[[VideoGame/FirstEncounterAssaultRecon F.E.A.R.]]'' games whenever Alma appears, along with other scare events. At least one soundtrack piece uses a waterphone.
* The opening of "One Winged Angel" from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'', as well as Exdeath's theme from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV''.
* Used throughout ''VideoGame/{{Drakengard}}'' to great effect. The composer favored repeated PsychoStrings to set the mood in some cutscenes.
* Dark ominous strings in ''VideoGame/SlenderTheArrival'' ([[HellIsThatNoise coupled with unhuman growling]]) is a sign that [[BrainwashedAndCrazy The Chaser]] is lurking and will hunt you down. Once the fast, 'psycho' strings kick in, ''she has found you''. [[FromBadToWorse And now you have to deal with her as well as]] [[Franchise/TheSlenderManMythos the tall man himself]].
* If Laura Bow has a shower in ''The Colonel's Bequest'', [[ShoutOut and she gets killed for it.]]
** Also occurs in the second game, ''The Dagger of Amon Ra'', whenever she finds the corpse of a murder victim.
** The second game also has it as the first thing you hear while Laura is chased by the killer.
* In ''VideoGame/GrandiaII'', the establishing music for Selene is a flute melody which degenerates into dissonant violins. It can be heard during the second part of "The Broken Seal" theme (OST).
* ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCbqDPQqzCY Heroes of Might and Magic III]]''.
* ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'':
** This is often used during Flood encounters, eg in the songs [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpOVKbM7vlA&feature=related "Devils... Monsters"]], [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llC8DOBE9vk "Shadows"]] (sounds much like the actual ''Film/{{Psycho}}'' strings), [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDUnp0I5YJU "Lament for Pvt. Jenkins"]], [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBbi272U0oU "Ancient Machine"]], [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChGa8k1YfOI "Dread Intrusion"]], and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1hAUE9o-MM "Gravemind"]].
** ''VideoGame/HaloReach'' uses this in the first encounter with Zealots; specifically the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hCAK8OfQGE "Bait and Switch"]] movement of the "Winter Contingency" OST track.
* The music played in X-8 in ''VideoGame/{{Eversion}}'' is basically just this, with the occasional drum sound in the background.
** Also, it ends with a LastNoteNightmare.
* "Purge the Xenos Scum" from the ''[[VideoGame/DawnOfWar Dawn of War 2]]'' soundtrack (usually played during defensive missions when you have to hold the line against waves of enemies).
* In ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar'' and its expansion packs have strings build up as an Aspiring Champion, Chaos Lord, or Chaos Sorcerer [[PowerFloats floats up into the air]] as Chaos energies swirl around them before slamming back onto the ground as a Bloodthirster of Khone appears in realspace.
* Surprisingly, this shows up in ''VisualNovel/KatawaShoujo''. The piece is called "High Tension", and the first time you hear it, it is seriously unnerving. [[MoodWhiplash It comes right the hell out of nowhere and it's not he sort of thing you've expect out of a game like Katawa Shoujo.]]
* Used in various forms in the ''Series/SilentHill'' series. Sometimes it sounds like the aformentioned Psycho Waterphone. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Agq8F6uJXD4&feature=PlayList&p=6DC89B6549805D51&index=40 For example, in this clip.]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdOV-NsdW2M One piece in the first game]] sounds like bowed piano strings, and a variation is pitched an octave down, making it [[NightmareFuel much scarier]]. Also used [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuPh-pMnH6w when Pyramid Head kills Maria]] in the hospital basement. And the first game's [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PXEgoqZ9mk alley sequence]] uses psycho industrial percussion.
* All the [[{{Leitmotif}} bacteria]] in ''VideoGame/Left4Dead''. Can be heard [[http://left4dead.wikia.com/wiki/Left_4_Dead_(Soundtrack)#Bacteria here]]. Also, the main and horde themes for "Swamp Fever" campaign from the sequel.
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'':
** In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkToThePast'', the Cave and DarkWorld Dungeon themes use this.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask''. is [[DarkerAndEdgier fittingly]] fond of these, being used in many tracks, notably in all of the [[EldritchAbomination main villain's]] themes, and the title opening, which has a LastNoteNightmare.
** [[TheDragon Chancellor Cole's]] {{Leitmotif}} in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks''. Also, the Bomb Trains' theme, to [[NightmareFuel great effect]].
** The "Guardians Awaken" theme in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'', which is heard when Link accidentally draws the Guardians' attention while collecting Sacred Tears in the Silent Realm.
* ''VideoGame/ClockTower: The First Fear'' has it in some of the times Jennifer goes into panic mode or discovers something, examples including when strangled by her reflection in the mirror, when seeing blood come out of the sink, [[spoiler: when finding Laura's body, either in her shower or armor deaths]], seeing the zombie in the closet, and so on.
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uf6GfZNDhV8 "Death Marshes"]], [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-4ooTy8FYE "Hive of the Mantids"]] and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrjLkGGGGZo&p=D74247FC704AD924&playnext=1&index=17 "Oblivion"]] from ''VideoGame/{{Turok}} 2''. "Death Marshes" also uses "psycho trumpets".
* The Nightmare in ''VideoGame/MetroidOtherM'' gets these in its [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBbRdWUIZHg battle theme]].
* In ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime: Hunters'', Sylux's battle theme consists of high-pitched strings which actually use the "psycho note pattern" in some parts.
* Used liberally in ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamAsylum'', especially during the Scarecrow encounter. It's even played for laughs once. In the beginning, as the Joker is wheeled through Arkham, a doctor looks over the Joker. The Joker suddenly goes "BOO" accompanied by a scare chord, and scares the poor doctor shitless as he starts laughing. Quite funny the first time it happens.
* The ''VideoGame/InTheGroove'' song "Determinator".
* Used throughout the ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'' series, such as [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGSA9-nKYaE&feature=related Tyrant's theme]] in the original, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhi0KfO4Aig the Bandersnatch theme]] in ''[[VideoGame/ResidentEvilCodeVeronica Code Veronica]]'', [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F89LW0dfUjc the Leech Zombie theme]] in ''0'', and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFQT2_yOFX4 the Neptune shark danger music]] in ''RE 1 Remake''. The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOTgc2neIH8 Noche ]](night battle) music and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XeBKPYFWCI Mendez's battle theme]] in ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil4'' overlap this with DroneOfDread.
* A lot of ''VideoGame/{{BioShock|1}}'''s music uses violins to represent madness, such as in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-GzXp-Fzv4 Doctor Steinman's battle theme]].
* In ''VideoGame/BioshockInfinite'', violins play whenever Booker manages to pull off a Melee Finisher. In addition, [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDhPvrYY0kY the Songbird's Theme]] incorporates a lot of very sudden strings.
* [[TheDragon Dusknoir's]] battle theme from ''VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeonExplorers of Time/Darkness/Sky''. As well as [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9YyCVVSNbs Shadow Lugia's Battle Theme]] in ''VideoGame/PokemonXDGaleOfDarkness''.
* The "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Xm0bzPPYM0 Sniper's Last Stand]]" theme from ''VideoGame/MedalOfHonor: Allied Assault''.
* In ''VideoGame/DeadlyPremonition'', Psycho Strings are widely used.
* ''VideoGame/WarhammerOnline'''s music for Chaos-controlled areas uses these [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhl5UeTsvF4 to full effect]]. To help things sound even ''more'' discordant and unnatural, the musicians played their instruments upside-down.
* Aside from the {{scare chord}}s that accompany some [[Franchise/{{Alien}} xenomorph]] encounters, ''VideoGame/AliensVsPredator'' uses Psycho Strings in parts of its rarely-played soundtrack.
* In ''VideoGame/ConkersBadFurDay'' the music for "Frying Tonight" sounds like a track mostly composed of this.
* TheVideoGame/BanjoKazooie games [[VariableMix remix the music depending on where you are in a level]]. When you're, say, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZ41CdgMANo very, very deep underwater]], strings of this ilk kick in, to [[HellIsThatNoise sometimes unsettling effect]].
* The drowning music used throughout the ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog'' series.
* ''VideoGame/DoomII'''s title music.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Pikmin}} 2'', the theme for the battle against [[spoiler: Titan Dweevil]] is full of this. In fact, the more parts you take off of him, the more intense the PsychoStrings get! Every single song (about to attack, [insert element here] attack, and so on) during this battle has these at some point.
* [[VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite Gothitelle]] uses it as it's BattleCry.
* Used in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHBHltNIDss Molecular Clock]] from ''RayStorm'', alongside {{theremin}}, doubling the creepy factor.
* You can hear it sometimes in the ambient background music while in the [[DreamLand Fade]] in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins''.
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' uses this is in part of the ''Overlord'' DLC's [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rfd88fOmqM boss music]]. It conveys an appropriate [[OhCrap sense of panic]] for the circumstances.
-->'''Base Intercom''': [[spoiler:[[AIIsACrapshoot Node acquired]]: Normandy SR-2 is within range. [[ApocalypseHow Attempting to establish upload link]].]]
* The SNES/Genesis adaptation of ''TabletopGame/{{Clue}}'' uses this as the motif for the knife.
* ''VideoGame/PaperMarioColorSplash'': Psycho Strings are featured in the track "Straw of Doom".
* The track "A Deadly Monster or...?" from ''VisualNovel/CodeRealize'' features them.
* According to Hideo Kojima himself, ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2'' was supposed to feature this at one point, with the source of the Psycho Strings actually [[NightmareRetardant just being a soldier playing the violin]]. The animation for this proved too troublesome for the time, so the idea was scrapped.
* ''VideoGame/{{Terraria}}'': The surface Corruption's theme uses these towards the end of the track, while the underground Corruption music has them at the beginning. The latter also has string sounds halfway through, but the tune is more melodic than psycho.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* The shower scene gets parodied in [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0608.html this]] ''[[Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick Order of the Stick]]'' strip, with the Psycho Strings represented as sound effects.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheRenAndStimpyShow'': In the episode "Stimpy's Fan Club" we see an insane Ren contemplate strangling a sleeping Stimpy. It's after he says the line "Just...one...''twist''!" when the Psycho Strings start to come into play.
** Also used in the episode "Haunted House" when Stimpy's taking a shower, in homage to ''Film/{{Psycho}}''.
* Used in the ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'' episode "Bummer Vacation" in which Sponge Bob's sitting in Patrick's house after being forced by Mr. Krabs to take a vacation and hiring Patrick as his temporary replacement. When Patrick finds him, Sponge Bob looks (and acts) completely insane, complete with Psycho Strings.
** Used in the episode "Squeaky Boots" when Mr. Krabs goes insane with guilt after stealing rubber boots he gave to Spongebob.
* In ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsCloneWars'', [[HeroKiller General Grievous']] [[NightmareFuel nightmarish]] [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown assault]] on the beleaguered Jedi is set to a mix of trumpets and PsychoStrings, proving that that possessing mastery of the force will still mean [[SquishyWizard nothing]] in the face of shock-and-awe tactics and superior swordsmanship. And that Jedi are still ''very much'' capable of feeling absolute terror.
* In ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsTheCloneWars'' the main instrument in Ventress' {{leitmotif}} is a sinister sounding violin, emphasizing how dangerous and unpredictable she is.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', several of the scenes in the series finale, featuring [[spoiler:Azula's VillainousBreakdown]], are accompanied by these.
* SequelSeries ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' does these for [[spoiler:Eska's WomanScorned moment]]. Then it's used whenever she unexpectedly enters Bolin's sight.
* WesternAnimation/KimPossible does it twice, once with Bonnie taking a shower as a homage to ''Film/{{Psycho}}'''s famous scene, and again when music from the film plays after Ron falls off his bike and water comes from his head.
* Hilariously done in ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' in the episode [[Recap/TheSimpsonsS8E10TheSpringfieldFiles "The Springfield Files"]], when Homer hears the strings from Psycho while lost in the woods... [[spoiler:but it turns out to be an orchestra driving by on a bus.]]
** Used in [[Recap/TheSimpsonsS2E9ItchyAndScratchyAndMarge "Itchy & Scratchy & Marge"]] of season two whenever Maggie attacks Homer with a mallet. Also combined with a PsychoShowerMurderParody.
** Used in [[Recap/TheSimpsonsS21E22TheBobNextDoor "The Bob Next Door"]] when Homer, Lisa, and Walt enter a room and find hundreds of pictures of Bart that have knives stabbed into them.
* Heard twice in ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim,'' once when an old lady throws up sawdust on GIR in "Door to Door", and again during one of Dib's crazy fits in "Halloween Spectacular of Spooky Doom".
* In the episode of ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' where Damien, the Antichrist and Son of Satan, arrives at South Park Elementary, and ultimately wants to fit in and be just another kid, his entrance is always presaged by an ominous choir singing a Latin phrase ending in ''Domine'' - "Lord".
* These are used in "Out of Luck" of ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyTales'' when Clover returns home and spots the teapot she believes is making her unlucky. They resurface later when the teapot is returned to the house again.
* Heard in the ''MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' episode "May The Best Pet Win" when Opal bares her claws at the beginning of the Guts test.
* These are used in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/GarfieldAndFriends'' called "Monday Misery", in which Garfield learns, to his dismay, that it's Monday, the day of the week that he hates most. These notes are used to trigger a parody of a horror movie:
-->'''Announcer:''' From the people that brought YOU the terror of Wednesday and the horror of Friday...\\
'''Woman in trailer:''' ''(seeing kids get off a school bus)'' The kids will be home all weekend! AAAAAAGH!!\\
'''Announcer:''' ...comes the most horrifying, terrifying day ever, the day invented just to make the rest of the week seem good... MONDAY!
* Combined with a DroneOfDread in the ''WesternAnimation/ThomasTheTankEngine'' episode "Ghost Train".
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Arthur}}'' has these in its score sometimes.