If someone breaks a bone in fiction, usually they'll inform the other characters, and people will act accordingly. But sometimes, a writer may want to make the viewer or reader realize the character has been injured immediately, perhaps convey that it's serious or incredibly painful.
In TV, this means making the sound of a broken bone (crack!
) a bit louder, frequently with the foley noise of a breaking stick or a stalk of celery. In literature, this means taking the time to describe the sound ("...with a sickening crunch"). It doesn't have to be a broken bone, either. Maybe a character's heart is struggling, and the viewer will hear that character's heartbeat from time to time
This is a good way to make a Gory Discretion Shot
still really unsettling
Compare with Kung-Foley
and Hell Is That Noise
. May be a Stock Sound Effect
Anime and Manga
- In the anime of Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure Diamond Is Unbreakable there is a disturbing crunching sound when Yoshikage Kira's head gets run over by an ambulance truck.
- During the Chuunin exams, Neji damages Hinata's heart during their fight. A heartbeat sound and a picture of a heart appears from time to time, and she reacts as though she's in pain. (This example is from the Anime; it may have been depicted differently in the Manga)
- From the same arc, a crunching sound is heard when Sasuke, under the influence of his then-recent curse mark, dislocates Zaku's shoulder.
- In One Piece, when Usop is hit in the face by a 4-tonne baseball bat. Complete with the picture of his bones shattering. Good thing he had the Heroic Resolve on that time...
- Dai Mahou Touge reigns over this trope. Punie's submission holds are really painful to behold and hear.
- Attack on Titan makes liberal usage of this trope, mostly the horrible noises made when victims are crushed by Titans or falling rubble. But perhaps the best usage is the quiet but distinct *crack* heard when Levi breaks his ankle during the battle with the Female Titan — he winces and keeps going, but afterwards is forced onto the sidelines for several weeks.
- 127 Hours: It's a movie about a man who gets his arm crushed under a rock. Three guesses where you hear this sound.
- The Dark Knight: Batman holds Maroni off the edge of a building, threatening him for information. When Maroni informs him that it's not high enough to kill him, Batman agrees, then promptly drops him. The crunch when he lands on his feet is sickening to say the least. Maroni spends the rest of the movie barely walking with a cane.
- Insidious: The sound that heralds the appearance of the demon is supposed to be the sounds of bones breaking, adding an extra shiver factor.
- The Ruins: Two girls decide it is a good idea to pick up and move a man who has just fallen 20+ feet and says he can't feel his legs. Sickening "Crunch!" Ensues.
- Even worse is later when a character breaks the injured friend's leg with a big rock... So he can amputate it with a tiny pocket knife.
- We hear one in Superman II as Superman, of all people, crushes the bones in Zod's hand.
- The Princess and the Frog: A softer, but nonetheless sickening crunch is heard when Dr. Facilier steps on Ray.
- The Three Stooges used this effect to an absurd extent, which added to the hilarity. For example, even Moe twisting Curly's nose or ears would be accompanied by a loud crackling noise.
- Undercover Brother: Subverted. The title character is about to stomp a Mook who's lying on the ground. We see him stomp and hear a horrible crunching sound as he twists his foot but we don't actually see the stomp connect. Just when you think he's smashed the Mook's head in, the camera looks down and we see that UB actually smashed a bag of potato chips. The mook moans that he just bough those chips before losing consciousness.
- A typical feature of a Steven Seagal action flick, notably used in the jewelry store fight in Marked for Death.
- Star Trek Into Darkness gives us one of these when Khan crushes Admiral Marcus's skull with his bare hands. If the sound makes you want to throw up, then that's perfectly understandable.
- Immediately before that, Khan stomps down on Carol's leg with the same effect.
- During their fight, Spock breaks Khan's arm over his shoulder.
- Tom Yum Goong has three-and-a-half solid minutes of Tony Jaa destroying the bones of everything wearing a suit out of rage and grief for his killed elephant.
- When the Kraken attacks the Black Pearl in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, it pulls one man out through a gun port, and he gets stuck. We see his twitching legs, hear the crunching noises, and see Pintel and Ragetti pressing themselves to the wall on either side of the port, scared out of what few wits they possess, trying desperately not to vomit.
- So much so that it is edited off the soundtrack, Javert's suicide in Les Miserables.
- Discworld: Used from time to time. How could it not be?
- Pops up in A Storm of Swords when Ser Gregor Clegane kills Prince Oberyn Martell. It's not shown just how exactly the former kills the latter, but judging from the sound and Ellaria's and Tyrion's reactions, it was a horrific way to go.
- Turns up in The Stand - Stu hears it when he falls down a ravine and lands hard on one leg, snapping it.
- In John R. Powers' Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?, one of the characters, Timmy Heidi, is a member of the tumbling team performing at a high-school basketball game's halftime show. He misjudges his last landing, and the whole audience hears the crunch!
- The backbone breaking is described when Wulfgar finally manages to kill Yerrininae in Companions Codex. By the end of their prolonged fight in the burning forge, he latches on to him and bends his back backward for so long that Yerrininae's spine snaps.
- Call of Cthulhu
- Supplement Fearful Passages, adventure "Sleigh Ride". The PCs and an NPC named Chance are lying in ambush to try to bag some monsters when one of them sneaks up behind Chance.
- Campaign setting The Fungi From Yuggoth, adventure "Castle Black". When the star vampire attacks Vetch it will inexorably bend him backward until his spine snaps with a sickening crunching sound.
- The Good Witch: The previous good witch jumps out a window, and a crunch is heard. When we're shown where she landed, all that's left is her clothes.
- The Order of the Stick gives us a cleric who's about to get revenge on someone for betraying him. We see the following sound effects come from off-panel: Thunk. Thunk. SQUILCH!
- Yes, bones make sounds when they break. However, particularly if you break a bone by falling from a height on to it, the sound is not loud enough to be heard over that of the impact with the ground.
- Also, for most bones, there are a few layers of muscle, fat, and skin that can do a lot to muffle the sound, making it sound more like a cross between a crack and a pop (crack your knuckles, you'll get the idea.)