Skyward Scream

A Camera Trick where the camera is placed directly over the actor, pointing down, while the actor looks up into the camera or at the sky overhead and screams. For extra hamtacularity, the camera may even be spinning or panning upward.

This can be done to show intense anguish in the character, implying that they are screaming at the sky because there is nothing on the planet to hold responsible, possibly cursing some deity. This is especially likely if they are screaming phrases rather than pure noise.

If the cause for this is as simple as running out of Cheesy snacks, the trope immediately becomes comedic.

Showing something like this from the front results in a Volumetric Mouth. See also Big "NO!", The Scream, Say My Name, and Death Wail. Often accompanied by Milking the Giant Cow and Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter. Do not confuse with Skyward Sword.


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    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 


    Live-Action TV 
  • Xena: Warrior Princess featured this once, with Xena, in the episode "The Ring".
    Xena: ... who am I? WHO AM I?!?!
  • Seinfeld parodied this three times. The first time was George yelling "KHAAAAAAN!" after realizing his life must be dedicated to the Susan Ross foundation.note  The second time was Elaine yelling "SUUUUUUUUUUZIE!" after realizing her life must be dedicated to the Susie foundation, a fake character she initially made up to avoid troubles and later "killed" her to avoid exposure. The third time was George screaming "TWIIIIIIIIIX!!" after people ate up his candy lineup, which he set up to catch his candy's thief in a car dealership.
  • The Klingon death ritual first seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation invokes this, roaring into the sky to warn the afterlife that a Klingon warrior is on their way.
  • Jon Stewart does this a lot on The Daily Show, and was especially gratified when the scientist found to be supplying rogue regimes with nuclear technology was actually named A.Q. Khan. They once even subverted/failed to do the shot.
    "How does a glissando make sense there? Am I introducing a toaster?"
    • A great recent example was Stewart switching bodies with Justin Bieber. When they switched back, Bieber told Stewart, "Hope you don't mind the new tattoo."
    Stewart: Did he say something about a tattoo? And why is my ass sore? *cut to screencap of Stewart's tattoo* '#neversaynever'?! *cut back to Stewart* BIEBEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER!
  • Duncan does this once in Highlander: The Series, when he screams Darius's name after finding his dead body.
  • Like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report also has engaged in this trope occasionally. ("MANILOWWWWWW!!!")
      • "Vigoda?"
  • Along those same lines, who can forget Conan O'Brien's tortured scream... "BOOOLLTEEEENN!"
    • And again, when he realizes he cannot have Rebecca Romijn-Stamos. "STAAAAUGH-MOS!"
  • Wade in the first season finale of Sliders: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
  • In the TV movie finale of Prison Break, T-Bag does this. "SCOOFIEEELD! SCOOOOOOOOOFIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELD!"
  • Parodied in an episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway?? During a game of Weird Newswcasters (in which the comedians had to portray certain characters while being in a newscast), Ryan (the weatherman) was assigned a character of a self-centered actor about to give his "Oscar-worthy performance". Ryan finished off his bit with his character bellowing his last line as he looked up towards an overhead camera—while he spun instead of the camera. The audience burst out into applause at the end. View the whole game here (Ryan's performance starts at around 2:40)
  • Riget: Danish... Scum... DANISH SCUM!
  • Used in an episode of The Big Bang Theory. After realizing that Wil Wheaton tricked him into losing a card game, Sheldon screams "WHEATON!" as the camera zooms out. A somewhat odd example, in that the moment resembles the actual scene from The Wrath of Khan instead of the Beam Me Up Scotty version.
  • Boy Meets World has Cory scream this way when he suffers from a very bad hairdo. Worse for him is the fact that he still has to go to school that day — without being permitted to wear a hat inside the school building.
  • The X-Files: "This is not happening! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
  • In the classic "Dreams" episode of M*A*S*H, each main character's nap is disturbed by nightmares. Hawkeye's ends with him staring helplessly at a bleeding Korean girl, armless, as a patient-loaded helicopter flies low overhead, ending with a bloodcurdling No.
  • Done twice on Dexter, both involving the serial-killers-o'-the-season: in season three there's a "MIGUEEEEEELL!", complete with room-smashing although it was revealed he was just imagining how he'd like to react, and in season four, after the Trinity Killer evades his clutches once again, "ARRTHURRRR!"
  • Used in I Shouldn't Be Alive, to emphasize a stranded survivor's isolation as they yell for help and the camera zooms out to show they're alone in the midst of hostile terrain.
  • Smallville: Lex does one at the end of the episode "Persona" after his hired assassin informs him of successfully murdering Grant Gabriel, a clone that he created of his dead younger brother Julian, who turned his back on him for Lionel. This normally would have counted as his Moral Event Horizon, but because of the grief and regret that he showed by doing this, he was still considered at least a little sympathetic among most fans.
  • Merlin screams desperately for help from the Great Dragon when Arthur is dying in the Grand Finale.
  • The Legend Of William Tell Will finds himself brooding over his parents' death for no apparent reason.
  • Gotham features one in the first few minutes of the pilot from a young Bruce Wayne after he and his parents are confronted by a mugger in a dark alley and...well, you know the rest.

  • The whole process is described in Razorblade Sigh by Gamma Ray.
  • Simple Plan's Untitled music video has the singer perform a skyward scream during, appropriately enough, the lyrics "I just wanna SCREEEEEEAAAAAAAAMMMM!"

     Video Games  
  • Used by the Joker in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe's DC story mode after Captain Marvel tells Superman and the four DC villains the name of the Original Generation Big Bad (Dark Kahn, a merger of DC's Darkseid and MK's Shao Kahn). Though the camera is above him, it cuts thrice, each one more distanced from him (and echoing his voice) rather than pulling away smoothly. Then Deathstroke tells him to shut up.
  • The first major turning point in Star Ocean 3 ends with Fayt screaming "WHAT THE HELL AM I!?!?!"
  • Super Mario Galaxy has a happy example, for a change: "WELCOME! WELCOME NEW GAAAAAALLAAAAAAXXXYYYYYY!!!"
  • In Warcraft 3 in the scene when Grom Hellscream kills Mannoroth there are some pretty dramatic screams, that however being wordless don't quite qualify as Big Nos, and at the end of the scene, following Grom's death, a very powerful Khan Scream.
  • When von Karma sees that his goose is cooked in the first Ace Attorney game, he can't help but cry "EEEEEEEDDDDDGGGGEWOOOOOOOOOORRRRRTTTTHHHHH!"
    • In Case 4 of Apollo Justice, when Kristoph Gavin realizes that he's been ultimately outdone, he screams: ** "WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWRRRRRRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT"
    • Quercus Alba takes this Up to Eleven when he starts screaming Edgeworth's name so forcefully, he can't even finish the name before continuing into high pitched shrieking.
      • Dude even gets fireworks in his Skyward Scream!
  • Haseo from the Dot Hack GU games whenever he unleashes his hidden powers.
    • "Come on... come on... I'm right here... SKEEEEIIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTHHHHHH!!!!
  • Metal Gear Solid: LIQUIIDDDDDDD!!!
  • In Final Fantasy IV DS, during the disaster at Mist, Cecil does a textbook one.
    Kain: "He wished this village torched!"
    Cecil: "But why? WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?!?!"
  • At the end of Crisis Core, Cloud, after Zacks death.
  • Played for Laughs in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. Zelda, now a wandering spirit, learns that The Dragon is going to use her body as a vessel for the Big Bad. Her reaction? She flies up and screams right at the camera.
  • The ending(s) of the original Diablo, after the Player Character jams Diablo's soulstone into their own forehead.
  • Dr. Nefarious: '''QWAAAAAARRRRRRRKKKKK!'''
    • LAAAWREEEENCE! might also count, but without the camera angle.
  • Iori lets out one in the anime opening of Dreamcast-only The King of Fighters 1999 Dream Match. We don't hear his voice, but the image is there.
  • In Over Blood Raz shouts Pipo's name like this when he "dies" (he is a robot).
  • Kingdom Hearts II, when Roxas, upon discovering that all of his memories are fake, that he has no right to exist, and that to restore Sora's memories and wake him up, Roxas must be sacrificed. He attempts to attack DiZ for putting him through all of it, only to find out that he isn't even in the room, just showing him a projection of himself. Roxas's anger, despair, and frustration reaches a boiling point there, and he just screams. Poor kid has gone through some serious sh*t.
  • Garlot of Blaze Union is prone enough to doing this (sans corny camerawork) that the game developers saw fit to give him an actual dialogue portrait devoted to passionate yelling.
  • Dead Rising: At the end of Overtime Mode, Frank belts out a fantastic scream, complete with camera pan and spin.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, Genis does this when he and Lloyd realize the monster they just killed was actually his friend Marble.
  • The Safe ending of Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors has Junpei doing this. KANNNNNYYYYY!!!
    • Also Ace's "ZEEEEEROOOOOOOOOOO!!!" in the same ending
  • The Tales Series RPG characters are known to do this when performing their signature Limit Break attacks.
  • In TimeSplitters: Future Perfect, Sergeant Cortez lets out a furious 'Urgh... Gawd-DAAAAAAAMIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!' after unwittingly giving the Big Bad the details of his plot. This takes place in the middle of the 21st century, but the skyward scream is so intense, it echoes through time, being heard by ally Harry Tipper in 1970, and a man implied to be Tipper's elderly son. Bonus points for the implication that Tipper is at the point of conceiving said son.
  • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn wrings a Big "NO!" from Eoleo this way during the Grave Eclipse, when his father dies of monster-inflicted wounds.
  • Miguel in Tekken 6.
  • Done multiple times in NieR, most notably by Nier when the Shadowlord and Grimoire Noir kidnap Yonah, and by the Shadowlord himself with Gestalt Yonah commits suicide.
  • In Tales of Innocence, when Luca finds out who caused the Fall of Devaloka, he summons this trope - camerawork and everything - to curse him for all the suffering it has caused.
  • Asura's Wrath: Asura gets in on this one a few times, though it's actually rather rare that we see him doing so. His Skyward Scream for his wife is a single howl of rage and grief, though he does scream his daughter Mithra's name out as he goes to rescue her. However, when a human girl who looks like Mithra dies in front of him, he has a long moment where he seems like he can't breathe OR scream, and then the overhead view of the trope comes into play and very bad things happen to very bad people.
  • Final Fantasy X: HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEYYYYYYYYYYYYY! (Tidus, realising that he's stranded and alone in Spira. The camera even pans upward as he yells.)
  • In Dragon Age II, this gets Played for Laughs in the Mark of the Assassin DLC, where Hawke's idea of finding a way past the Chateau guards, involves taking a massive bite out of the scenery whilst pretending to be a foppish noble, stung by a bee.
    Hawke: If I die, makes sure world knows... *Falls to their knees* I DIED AT CHATEAU-HAINE!
  • Brock lets out a real primal one in Poker Night 2 if he loses with a strong hand.

     Web Comics  

    Web Original 
  • The Nostalgia Critic has this reaction when he meets the NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERD. Each time he says it, he draws it out longer and longer. The most recent time he was interrupted with a punch to the face.
  • Also used on That Guy with the Glasses by Angry Joe, in the parking lot of a Chick-Fil-A when he realizes that it's Sunday and the place is closed.
  • Wouldn't you know, in another TGWTG example, Linkara does it in the "previously on..." segment at the start of Uncanny X-Men 424, "IIIIINSAAAAAAANOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!"
  • This 5 Second Film.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged: "MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!!!!"
  • Strong Bad's poorly-done home movie series Dangeresque features the title character and his partner yelling the villain Perducci's name like this. In Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People: Dangeresque 3 it becomes a running gag, with Dangeresque almost unable to say Perducci's name without screaming it.
    • In Homestar Ruiner, Strong Bad's response to finding Homestar is hiding at his house because of all the damage Strong Bad did to Homestar's reputation is to direct one of these at IIIIIIIRRRROOOOOONYYYYYYY!
  • Used in The Dr. Steel Show, Episode 1. As Doctor Steel checks his email, he becomes frustrated that his inbox is full of spam, and cries to the heavens (with accompanying jarring chord), "Damn thee, spam! DAMN THEEEEEE!"
  • The Dreamland Chronicles: ALEXANDER!!!!! The author specifically says he was going for a KHAN! vibe and proceeds to link to a youtube video of the event.
  • Phase in "Ayla and the Breakfast Brawl": "Why do I get all the crazy firebitches!?!" The crazy firebitch doesn't take this well at all.
  • Oh Phelous loves these.
    (During his review of Pulse 3) The Internet ghost of a record player? THE INTERNET GHOST OF A RECORD PLAYER?! (To the sky with the camera spinning above him) THE INTERNET GHOST OF A RECORD PLAYER! IT MADE ME DO THE SPINNING SCREEN THING AGAIN!!!!
  • In Pokémon Apokélypse, Ash does this when Professor Oak is killed.
  • In Bonus Stage, Joel performs a Big "NO!" this way, and immediately after being tricked by Satan, screams "YOU DOUCHEBAAAAG!" in the exact same way.

    Western Animation 
  • Rolie Polie Olie did this once. It was quite Narmy.
  • The Critic.
    William Shatner: Hello, I'm William Shatner and this is Celebrity 911. Tonight, we devote the entire hour to police calls involving James Caan...(makes face) CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!
  • In the season 3 finale of Jackie Chan Adventures, the last scene shows the demon Shendu, petrified again, yelling "CHAAAAAAAANNNN!!!!!" as the "camera" pans out.
  • Leela does one of these in the Futurama episode "Love's Labors Lost in Space" after waking up from a night of pity sex with Fake Ultimate Hero Zapp Brannigan, who is himself a parody of William Shatner.
    • Also Nibbler in the Futurama film Bender's Big Score: "Doooomed!"
    • Bender himself has one in an episode wherein he takes a big breath and says "DOOOOOOOOOME-" before he's cut off by a scene change. His was the third in a series of the characters having progressively longer skyward screams.
    • "Ghost in the Machines" had Bender screaming "DAMN YOU, OBAMACARE!!!"
  • In the season 2 opening of Legion Of Superheroes, Imperiex does one of these. WITH SPINNING of course.
  • Cartman after Scott Tenorman burns his money.
  • "STAMOS!"
  • Parodied in The Simpsons with Rainier Wolfcastle's "MEN-DO-ZAAAA!"
    • Also done in "Bart's Comet", three times by Principal Skinner. The first is when Skinner gets back to Bart, only to find he's called the observatory with his find of a comet and they're gonna name it after him. The second is when Skinner accidentally lets go of the "Hi! I'm big butt Skinner!" weather balloon. The third is when Skinner read a disparaging remark about the Elementary school from a newspaper landing in front of him. Each one is accompanied by a Big "NO!".
    • Also, Homer's reaction to Mr. Burns failing to recognize him again in "Who Shot Mr. Burns, Part 1":
    Homer: Kids, would you step out side for a second? (kids run out, Homer stands up, looks skyward) F— (cut to church organ hitting a minor chord)
    Flanders: Dear Lord, that's the loudest profanity I've ever heard!
    • And from season 5's "Bart Gets an Elephant", whereupon Homer mistakenly believes Blackheart, the ivory dealer, took Bart along with Stampy:
    Homer:He took Bart, too? (runs to window) That wasn't part of the deal, Blackheart! THAT WASN'T PAAAARRRRRRRT!
  • "Stroker and Hoop" parodied this with the character Stroker screaming "KHAAAAAN-ja" after being swindled and taken to a mental asylum by a woman, pretending to be an alien, (though later revealed to be a real alien) named Khan'Ja.
  • Demona from Gargoyles mixes this with a Big "NO!" when she discovers her planning got her own clan brutally killed, complete with her falling to her knees and raising her hands to the sky.
  • KUH-LOOOOOOOOOWNS!!!! (Clowns, clowns, clowns...)
  • Super Mario World:
    Mama Luigi: Mario! Wherever you are, HHHHEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLPPPPPPPPP!
  • Dan does this Once an Episode in Dan Vs., when declaring his desire for revenge on the episode's subject. He even manages this while stuck to the ground in a pool of maple syrup.
    • Elise does this in a flashback in "Dan Vs. New Mexico" that shows why she hates New Mexico too.
    • At the end of "Dan Vs. the Dinosaur", Tyra the dinosaur does this when Dan mails her his car repair bill.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Candace does this in "Gaming the System" when it looks like her brothers have been killed by the final boss of the video game they've been pulled into.
  • Ed Eddn Eddy:
    • "Over Your Ed" opens with Edd taking a bath, and freaking out in this manner over "STUBBORN GRASS STAINS!"
    • "Rambling Ed" feature's Rolf's frustrated cry of "THE BURDEN OF HOSPITALITY IS TOO GREAT FOR ROLF!", which is loud enough to be heard across the cul-de-sac.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Spike does this twice (accompanied by a Big "NO!") in "A Dog and Pony Show", first when Rarity gets kidnapped by the Diamond Dogs, then again when he and Rarity's other friends end up lost in the Diamond Dogs' tunnels.
  • Coop from Megas XLR gives one of these (Retracting his robot car's convertible hood to do so) when he realized his battles with the alien robot of the week have destroyed the last Mega Slush machine in the greater Jersey area.
  • A parody of the A Streetcar Named Desire example above occurs in Over the Hedge.
  • In Transformers Prime, Starscream curses Megatron's name in an episode.
    • Arcee provides an incoherent one after Soundwave teleports her to the Arctic before she could reach an amnesic Optimus on the Decepticon ship.
    • Suprisingly, Optimus does this in "Inside Job" when Starscream steals the Omega keys. Dreadwing does it again in the following episode when he learns of what Starscream did to his brother's corpse and hearing Megatron's advice on keeping that secret from him.
  • As stated in Powerpuff Girls Doujinshi, Prof. Utonium is not a fan of parent teacher conferences.
    • Bubbles does this in "Mime For A Change" upon being the only person in Townsville who hasn't been drained of life and color by the evil Mr. Mime (just before she gets the idea to sing everyone back to color and life).
  • Gravity Falls
    • Grunkle Stan does this in "Headhunters" when encouraging Dipper and Mabel to track down the vandal who decapitated the wax dummy of himself.
    Grunkle Stan: Avenge me, kids! Avenge me!!
    • In "Irrational Treasure", it's done as a Shout-Out to Dan Vs.: PIONEER DAAAYYY!
  • The beginning of Astérix and the Vikings, when Timandahaf realizes that village his crew are sacking is empty.
    "Hello...? Anyone home...? By Thor...WHHHHYYYYY!?"
  • In Pooh's Heffalump Movie, Piglet does this when Pooh eats the jellybeans he left on the ground to find their way back.
  • Total Drama All-Stars: Sierra screams "CAAAAAAAAM-OOOOOOODDDDDDDDYYYYYYYYYYYY!" when she loses Cameron (who she thinks is Cody).
  • Codename: Kids Next Door Operation: I.N.T.E.R.V.I.E.W.S.: Father combines this with a Big "NO!" when he realizes that Numbuh 1, who stole his pipe as part of the scavenger hunt, has vanished off the face of the Earth with no clue as to where he's gone.
    Father: Nigel Uno! I'm done playing games with you, boy! GIVE ME BACK MY PIPE THIS... (Explodes onto an empty cave) No. No! NOOOOOOOOOO!! (Pan up to the night sky- with one star twinkling.)