A character finds something out, sees something frightening or has something utterly horrible happen to them, and as a result, they scream. Cut to a shot of the surrounding area with the audio of the scream still going, then to the countryside (where it might disturb livestock or a farmer or must cause birds to burst from the brush in a panic), and possibly further back to a shot of Earth from space all the while with the scream still looped in the background (it has been applied to the Big "NO!"
Sometimes this is abbreviated by showing the character as they see something frightening or as they inhale, and then cutting away to a distant location
while a muted scream plays in the background.
As an alternative, this can be done as an explicit parody of Edvard Munch's painting The Scream
; in particularly well-done instances, the art style will morph rapidly
to match Munch's expressionist style for a few seconds.
Almost universally a comedic trope. If it's not, expect a HUGE Tear Jerker
For a superpowered version see Make Me Wanna Shout
See also Big "NO!"
, Skyward Scream
, Scream Discretion Shot
, Death Wail
, Screams Like a Little Girl
, Overly-Long Scream
, Screaming Woman
and Distant Reaction Shot
for the non-scream version of the cut. Say My Name
can be screamed in dramatic moments. Sometimes overlaps with Atomic F-Bomb
or leads to a Heroic Blue Screen of Death
. Not to be confused with And I Must Scream
Generally a discredited trope from overuse and narm
: more modern media created after The Noughties
or The New Tens
will usually have the Big "NO!"
or the Screaming Woman
or some other screaming trope if it's intended to be fairly kid-friendly, and an Atomic F-Bomb
or Cluster F-Bomb
alone or combined with the previous if it's aimed at older audiences.
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- Used for parody effect in a late 2004 commercial for the "Geek Squad" computer tech support service.
- A Taco Bell ad featuring short-lived mascots Nacho and Dog (no relation to the chihuahua) had the two screaming loud enough to crack the glass on a distant alien spacecraft... because they had reached the bottom of the food bag. A moment later, they remembered they had plenty more bags in a short reach.
- Greenpeace is using a radiation symbol in the shape of the Scream face as a protest against nuclear power.
Anime and Manga
- In Gundam Wing, when Duo Maxwell sees his Gundam Deathscythe destroyed right in front of him, he lets out an overblown, reaching-into-space scream. When his English voice actor Scott McNeil was asked how he came up with such a scream, he said that it was a copy of a scream he did when his wife was backing out of the driveway and accidentally ran over and damaged his motorcycle.
- Done by Setsuna in episode 23 of Gundam 00 when he arrives too late to save Neil!Lockon. Made even more moving by the fact that you see him shudder and try unsuccessfully to hold back from crying, then the camera cuts away to the backdrop of space just as you see his tear stained face and then the scream ensues. "LOOOOOCKOOOOOOONNNNNN!!!"
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Hohenheim pulls one in his Backstory. It's totally justified.
- Greedling pulls off one when he remembers his friend Bido, who he just killed in cold blood.
- Scar does it too at one point, as, in all likelihood, did most of the fanbase after reading chapters 100 and 104 of the manga.
- Edward starts off the 2003 anime version with one. Not that we blame him.
- Used for serious effect in the Soul Eater anime. Maka is fighting Asura unconscious and in her weapon form. Asura fights her off by stabbing his hand into her chest. Maka let's out a scream so chilling, anyone who's ever had a serious injury will remember it.
- Used in an episode of D.Gray-Man when Road stabs Allen in the eye with a pointed candle and also beforehand, when he rips his once-stuck arm from the wall. Fridge Horror kicks in when you realize he can't see Akuma without his formerly good eye. The scene cuts all around the room until he pulls the candle out, not allowing you to look at it.
- Used repeatedly in El-Hazard: The Magnificent World as a Running Gag.
- Excel Saga, Azumanga Daioh, Naruto, Great Teacher Onizuka, Oruchuban Ebichu, and Ranma ½ all contain examples of the Munch-parody variation. Excel Saga took it a step further by parodying the parody on its second use - the parody turned out to be a standee, which fell away from the characters.
- In the twelfth episode of the TV series of Ah! My Goddess, Sayoko gives The Scream on waking up next to Mara.
- Taken to an extreme in Pani Poni Dash!, where Becky Miyamoto screams so loudly that the onomatopoeia splits the ceiling and calls down a Pillar of Light. Meanwhile, a crowd in Cairo is shown to be alarmed.
- Another example of being caused by anguish, in Tenchi Muyo!'s second OVA, the android Zero, having taken Ryoko's form and memories, is ordered to kill Tenchi due to how her emotional reactions (inherited from what she copied of Ryoko) are interfering with her mission of capturing Washu. Reflecting on the order, she makes to stab Tenchi with a dagger, and the image cuts away to her agonized scream as we pull out from the room to the house, to the exterior galaxy...all the way out to Dr. Clay's ship hovering (potentially outside of conventional reality itself). However, the next episode makes it clear this is an exaggeration, as not only does this not wake up the entire house, but Tenchi sleeps right through it AND Zero plunging the energy dagger into his pillow inches from his head.
- In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: "OYAJIIIII!"
- Renton from Eureka Seven unleashes a horrifying scream in Episode 20.
- Cheza from Wolf's Rain definitely fits this. Upon seeing or just sensing spilled wolf's blood nearby, she gives an unnervingly loud and high-pitched scream. The first time she did, Toboe went crazy. His increasing hysteria overlapped with a wolf's howls of pain can be unsettling.
- Also a potential subversion in the fact that only the wolves seem to notice it.
- Another time Cheza screams is near the end, when Giant-Crazy-Wolf!Darcia hauls her around in his jaws by the spine. Very much on the Tear Jerker side.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Shinji Ikari gets to do this a lot. A lot. His biggest one comes in End of Evangelion when he comes across what's left of Unit-02 and Asuka after the Mass-Production EVA are through with them, which rockets the poor guy across the Despair Event Horizon at record speed. Very much NOT Played for Laughs.
- End of Evangelion also had a shot where the entire humanity screams (wordlessly and in a very unpleasant pitch) when they realized that The End of the World as We Know It has begun and they are disintegrating into their base components.
- Asuka gets in on it as well.
- A comedic version occurs in Fushigi Yuugi when Nuriko, sleeping peacefully, is woken up in the morning by Miaka cracking open his eye and shining a flashlight into it. Cut to the palace exterior and Chika Sakamoto issuing a truly fantastic scream that's both bloodcurdling and hilarious.
- Lelouch lets one out in Code Geass R2 after he sees Shirley die in front of him. Tear Jerker variety.
- He gets one early on in the first series with his mother's assassination and Nunnally's injury at Aries Villa (in this case, combined with Nunnally's name). He only screams like this twice in the whole story, and they both hurt.
- A mild instance of the trope is used for comedy in one of the Harukanaru Toki no Naka de - Hachiyou Shou OAV episodes: when Yasuaki unexpectedly pops up behind Tenma at the worst possible moment, the camera very briefly cuts to a shot of Kyou from above, with Tenma's scream in the background.
- Hitsugaya from Bleach lets out one of these when he's tricked by his arch enemy Aizen (via his shikai) into stabbing his childhood friend Hinamori to almost death.
- And Loly does this in the manga after Grimmjow tears off her leg and in the anime when he stomps on her instead of tearing off her leg.
- Shinji lets out a good one in the flashback arc, when he realizes just how badly Aizen screwed him over. Made even more horrifying by the fact that he was being hollowfied at the time.
- Rukia does this after Gin breaks her resolve with words.
- Soifon does this as she's being hit with Barragan's "Respira" attack which has the power to age flesh and bone into nothingness.
- In Dragon Ball Z, when Super Buu is frustrated enough, he can scream so hard it tears holes in the barrier between dimensions.
- In the climax of the third Kara no Kyoukai movie, Asagami Fujino, already dying from a ruptured appendix at the time, is at Shiki's mercy. With the knife poised over her Fujino screams BEND!!!!, and the view zooms out to the entirety of the bridge where they were fighting, followed by the said bridge bending and collapsing entirely. A Crowning Moment of Awesome for Fujino, followed by a Tear Jerker.
- The piano scene from episode 3 of Kaiba uses a skyward anguished sob that's powerful enough to be a scream. That single scene, plus the buildup over the first episode...Did you know crying can sometimes be like yawning?
- Shusei does this in episode 10 of Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru as Ashley tortures him via a voodoo doll.
- Harima from School Rumble turned into The Scream when Yakumo showed no fear toward the anime editor.
- In a tragic example from Berserk, Guts lets out a rageful one of these in the climax of the Eclipse after Casca falls limp out of the arms of her rapist Femto and lands on the ground in front of him — the last thing he sees before the demons holding him down claw out his right eye.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh!, the pharaoh realizes that Bakura's voice was somehow still resonating even when he was supposedly gone in the past. This is impossible, unless, he realizes: "Unless... this is all just a game?" The word 'game' echoes as the scene pans and expands, until it reveals that indeed, the entire world is a game board.
- An epic one happens in Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt when Stocking goes on an extreme diet to the point of starvation, only to find herself gaining weight regardless. Cue Stocking gorging out on Swiss rolls, fueled by Unstoppable Rage.
- During episode 15 of Baccano!, we are greeted to a flashback of a younger Nice Holystone experimenting with explosive chemicals. The mixture explodes in her face, scarring her, destroying her eye, and making her deliver an ear drum rattling scream, that lasts until the flashback ends.
- In Tenchi Muyo!, Z's laughter at his newfound power and victory is quickly replaced by one of these when he sees Tokimi behind him.
- One of the Naruto OVAs has Naruto invoking this trope, complete with Art Shift into the Edvard Munch painting.
- Otani of Lovely Complex does this after Maity blows in his ear to wake him up during class.
- Comedic example in Fruits Basket when Kyo wakes up and sees that Ayame, who Yuki has kicked out, has snuck into bed with him. Cue The Scream.
- Black Butler II episode 10. It begins with Hannah talking to Ciel and saying that she has something to show him. Then her mouth opens unnaturally wide to reveal this black abyss where the inside of a human mouth would be. The eye she stole from Alois Trancy is rooted in the back of her throat, and since Ciel's soul has been partially fused with Alois's at this point, he's basically staring at himself from inside her. Hannah watches calmly while Ciel suffers a severe nervous breakdown and screams before falling unconscious.
- In Deadman Wonderland, Ganta does this understandably as he's being forced to watch the Carnival of Corpses.
- In Elfen Lied, Kouta does this after he sees his sister get killed in front of him by Lucy.
- In Black★Rock Shooter, Mato does this when she wakes up in Black Rock Shooter's body... a few seconds after BRS just impaled Dead Master, who has the same face as Mato's friend Yomi, on a katana.
- Used to unique effect with the Marvel Universe character Black Bolt, whose voice was a sonic weapon; early in his run, his scream could destroy cities. As time went on, it became his whisper that could destroy cities. The possibility of him screaming made gods stand at attention!
- Deadpool played with this in the game Marvel Ultimate Alliance, by trying to get Black Bolt to say the word spatula, just to see how much destruction it would cause.
- Used in the World War Hulk story to show how tough Hulk was. He didn't come to hear Black Bolt whisper. He came to hear him scream.
- In Earth X, he screams his loudest scream yet, but does not use it for purposes of destruction...
- You want overblown? In a Donald Duck story from Italy or someplace, Donald manages to really mess up Scrooge's finances while the latter is on an enforced vacation. Nothing happens for a moment, then the nearest TV cuts to a special bulletin about a deafening blast of air that's crossing the globe, just in time to have it strike the studio. "-AAAAAAAAAAAAA-"
- An extended Don Martin story has Fester making a fortune displaying his sidekick Carbunkle's imperviously hard head, but falling objects intended for his head usually land on Fester's foot - one example resulting in a yell that can be heard by the Yeti in the Himalayas.
- Mild example: A couple of times when the father in Curtis hurt his back, his scream accompanied a diagonal view of the outside of the apartment building.
- In one Calvin and Hobbes strip, Calvin, upon learning that Rosalyn is coming to babysit again, lets out a large "AAAAAAUUUUUUGGGGGGHHHHHH!" that takes up the top half-inch of the entire strip, and continues throughout the next strip, prompting his mother to say "For heaven's sake, Calvin, take a breath before you pass out on the floor!"
- Happens twice in Kyon Big Damn Hero, both times when girls are seeing evidence of a voyeuristic illegal photography ring in their school.
- Two dramatic examples in Diaries of a Madman. The first is Discord realising he screwed up his own plan, with the scream of rage being heard for miles. The second is Navarone's scream of despair at being trapped in female form.
- In the first Home Alone movie, when Kevin applies aftershave and "feels the burn."
- Ferris Bueller's Day Off: "Here's where Cameron goes berserk."
- In The Princess Bride, Westley is being tortured by Count Rugen. When the evil Prince Humperdinck pushes Rugen's device to its maximum power, and Westley starts screaming, the camera cuts to the countryside, again to the castle, and again to the village beyond, where the townsfolk look about, wondering where the scream is originating from. It's a plot point, in that Inigo and Fezzik start looking for Westley because of the scream.
Do you hear that, Fezzik? That is the sound of ultimate suffering. My heart made that sound when the six-fingered man killed my father
. The Man in Black makes it now.
- In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Khan traps Kirk et al on the Regulus planetoid, then refuses to rise to Kirk's baiting. Kirk screams "Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!" which somehow can be heard outside the planetoid, echoing through the vastness of space.
- Back in the 1930s, this was still serious, and an early scene in M has a distraught mother calling for her missing daughter as the camera cuts further and further away. Somehow avoids Narm, and is a chillingly effective scene.
- Played straight in the 1973 version of The Wicker Man, with the line "In the name of God, THINK WHAT YOU'RE DOING!" Cut to the sunset, with "doing" echoing. And guess what? It's really creepy.
- Used in The Godfather when Woltz finds the head of his prized stallion in his bed and screams, and we then cut to the outside of his house and still hear him screaming.
- Michael himself lets out one of these in The Godfather Part III after his daughter Mary is gunned down.
- The Big "NO!" from Treebeard in The Lord of the Rings. Cut to hundreds of miles away... Doubles as an Epic Hail.
- In the same movie, Aragorn finds out he's too late to rescue Merry and Pippin, and he kicks a nearby helmet and lets out a massive scream of frustration. May also count as a Skyward Scream.
- Made all the more impressive in that Aragorn's actor, Viggo Mortensen, broke his foot kicking the helmet. That scream is genuine.
- In the Extended Edition, Éomer gets a pretty impressive one when he finds Éowyn near death and Théoden dead.
- Done often in the Scream movies usually when someone is being chased by the killer. The opening scene of the first movie ends with one where Casey's mother finds her mutilated body hanging from a noose on a tree.
- Also, the Ghostface mask looks similar to the aforementioned painting, which may be where the film got its name.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark - after Indy stoically endures getting dragged behind a truck, shot in the shoulder, and generally beaten while retrieving the Ark, he and Marion are ensconced in the captain's quarters of a freight ship. As he achingly examines himself in a floor mirror, she pivots it from the other side, smacking him on the chin. Cut to long shot of ship and pained yell.
- Looney Tunes: Back in Action does this when Bugs, Daffy, and Elmer Fudd chase each other in the Louvre's paintings. Inside Munch's masterpiece, Bugs steps on Elmer's toe, causing him to briefly morph into the "Screamer."
- In Batman Begins this is Falcone's response when Crane sprays the fear toxin in his face. And it's unending too implying that he descended into insanity out of fear.
- In Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Harold screams his head off when he sees Neil Patrick Harris has stolen his car.
- Barry Godber's cover art of King Crimson's In The Court Of The Crimson King depicts a man wearing an expression similar to the Munch painting.
- This is part of the soundclip that plays when the ball is eaten by the T-Rex in Jurassic Park.
- This was used in Legend of the Five Rings RPG. A group of clan champions had gathered at the castle of the Crab clan, which essentially borders that universe's hell (called the Shadowlands). While there, the three visiting champions saw a single Crab soldier standing at the wall, looking out. They ordered their yojimbo to stay outside their quarters for the night, along with the Crab champion, that their soldiers would not fail in their duty. In the middle of the night, there was a piercing scream that woke up the three champions, and moments later, a demon burst through their room. Almost overwhelmed, their host managed to kill the beast. Shocked, they left the room to find their soldiers dead, frozen in terror, or torn limb from limb. When they exited the building, they saw the lone Crab soldier, still standing, head slumped forward. One of the champions murmured that it seemed like none of them won the bet. The Crab champion snorted, "His job was to scream."
- Warhammer 40,000: Many a foe of the Imperium has uttered something like the following: "How?! The Imperial commander must be some kind of tactical geniu—CREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED!!!"
- TimeSplitters: Future Perfect has a version where Sgt. Cortez shouts "Goddamnit" so loud, it can be heard approximately 100 years in the past
- Yume Nikki: aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
- Very much non-comedic example: in the manga detailing the events leading up to Sengoku Basara 3, Date Masamune of all people gets one of these when he runs up against Ishida Mitsunari. Oh, not for himself, even though Mitsunari beats the shit out of him and actually gores him through the stomach; it's when he regains consciousness in the ruins of the battlefield and sees what Mitsunari did to his army of dorky mooks and his beloved Battle Butler Katakura Kojuro when they tried to protect Masamune while he was passed out from blood loss. Watching one of the most Bad Ass fighters in a series that practically runs on Badass break down screaming and crying is...slightly upsetting.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, the facial expression of the Zora Elegy of Emptiness statue uncannily resembles Munch's painting.
- In Asura's Wrath, the second half of Episode 12 has Asura unleash one of these when the girl who looks like his daughter is killed in Olga's orbital bombardment, with the scream being an outpouring of both his helpless grief and his pure, unadulterated, mindless RAGE. And accompanying the scream is a blast of raw power so intense it destroys half of Olga's thousands-strong fleet of warships — and this is before Asura goes into Berserker form and begins utterly annihilating the other half.
- The Continue screen of the Sega video game Air Bike Cop.
- Welcome to the Tales Series, in which every other line is either a Big Word Shout, Calling Your Attacks, Say My Name, very loud Memetic Mutation (CLAIREEEEEE! RRRREPLICAAA! TOMODACHIIII!) or this trope. Please enjoy.
- In Phantasmagoria, Adrienne shrieks in anguish after she's activated the torture chair she's strapped into, and its pendulum has fallen and impaled her husband Don from behind.
- In Eric Schwartz' animation Plight of the Artist, Sabrina loses several hours' work in a blackout, which causes her to scream loud enough to knock a Starfury off course as it approaches Babylon 5.
- Robert Winchester's "Runesuck": Rob screams "PLAYING RUNESCAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPE?!" when Johny answers his question that he's playing RuneScape.
- The Prime Mover Driver and the Forklift Operator both have the same scream. This was from Safety Choice by the W.S.H Council. And Come on, what do they do? they scream. The Forklift Operator is the best known one.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQe3DjelHWE
- "The Scream" has been spoofed twice so far in Two Lumps.
- Black Mage from 8-Bit Theater hollered an enormous "FFFFFFFFFFFF-UCK!" when he lost his powers as ruler of hell.
- In Sluggy Freelance, when Bun-bun finds out his collection of Baywatch tapes has been magnetically erased. What's really hilarious/terrifying about this is the implication of what he's going to do to the other main characters once he catches them.
- In Dubious Company, Walter needs to upgrade his ship with a homing device in order to find Tiren. Leeroy thinks this is taking too long and decides to help while Walter is sleeping. Walter wakes up to find his Cool Ship in ruins. Cut to Tiren asking Izor if he heard that scream.
- El Goonish Shive: So far, there have been two different screams heard by aliens.
- xkcd shows us the people's reaction to endless wings.
- One episode of SpongeBob SquarePants does this with Squidward during the episode "Clams", when Spongebob catches his nose, after getting his book, chair, and shirt.
- The Earl of Lemongrab from Adventure Time does this a lot, especially in his premiere episode "Too Young":
Princess Bubblegum: Yo, Earl!
Lemongrab: (from far away) WHAT?!
Princess Bubblegum: Hey—you're fired! Ya BUTT!
Lemongrab: (from far away) HHHHRRRRRUUURUUUUGGGGHH!!!!!!
- In "Wizard Battle", Finn screams so loud at the prospect of Abracadaniel getting a chance to kiss Princess Bubblegum that it turns into a sonic attack that knocks out his opponent, winning Finn the contest.
- In an episode of Invader Zim, a little girl's scream is heard by The Tallest, who are on a spaceship on the other end of the galaxy.
- But the crowner is in "Battle of the Planets", when Zim uses Mars as a giant steamroller to flatten Earth. The planet comes down gently and crushes a man's soda can. The man's screams go on for about a minute onscreen without end.
- The Simpsons use screams for comedic purposes quite often. Usually with Homer who will typically overreact to something with a high-pitched yell.
- A variation appears on the first half of the "Who Shot Mr. Burns"; on realizing that Mr. Burns has forgotten his name yet again despite all his efforts, Homer takes a deep breath and yells a profanity (starts with an "F", the rest is covered by the sound of an organ playing). It's given exactly the same treatment as The Scream.
"Dear lord, that's the loudest profanity I've ever heard!"
- Subverted in "Mona Leaves-a". Homer arrives in the living room to apologize to his mother for his jerkish behavior to her lately, but then asks her name when she doesn't respond (as she had died). It cuts to the outside of the house, yet Homer says "...Mother?" in the exact same tone and volume as he did before the cutaway point.
- South Park's "The Red Badge of Gayness": when Kyle rips the beard off of Cartman's General Robert E. Lee costume, Cartman's scream can be heard all the way to the planet Marklar.
- In episode "A Smith in the Hand" of American Dad!, Stan does this when he first gets his family jewels burnt, and then a second time when he discovers masturbation.
- In an episode of King of the Hill when Bobby joins a modeling agency for overweight boys he shows Hank a bunch of pictures they took of him and when he finds they are going put one of him wearing trapdoor pajamas, holding a tray of cookies, and putting his pinky finger to his mouth in the newspaper Hank lets one out that echos.
- In one episode of Total Drama Island Heather screams after her hair gets shaved off and Chris tells her she has to leave the island the scene then cuts to the eliminated campers at the Playa Des Losers Resort all looking up in surprise.
- Used in Lilo & Stitch when Pleakley and Jumba spend their first night on Earth, and Pleakley discovers a very painful truth about one of the so-called wildlife preserve's inhabitants:
Pleakley: Look! A mosquito has chosen me as her perch. She's so beautiful. Look, another one! And another one! Why, it's a whole flock! They like me! They're nuzzling my flesh with their noses! Now they're... they're...
(Cut to a distant shot of their campsite near the house as Pleakley screams in pain)
- Done hilariously in an episode of The Replacements when all the characters suddenly went into "The Scream" style during a GASP! moment.
- Stewie does this in Family Guy when he walks in on Lois and Peter having sex.
(Cut to Mayor West sitting in his office several miles away)
Mayor Adam West
: So, it's a shouting match you want, eh, Quahog? Well game on
! Aaah aaah aaah aaah aar - I'm beating you!
- Goliath in Gargoyles does this several times.
- On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Beezy and Heloise do one of these after they share an Accidental Kiss.
- Rugrats: "It's 4-o-clock in the morning. Why on earth are you making chocolate pudding?"
- Happens in Darkwing Duck Just Us Justice Ducks episode.
- Ren of The Ren & Stimpy Show frequently does this.
- Two-Face does this at the end of his introductory episode in Batman: The Animated Series.
- Courage the Cowardly Dog does this a lot, such as Courage after getting stung by bees in "The Magic Tree of Nowhere".
- In the Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "Rambling Ed", Rolf reaches his Rage Breaking Point and shouts "The burden of hospitality is too great for Rolf!!", leading to a series of reaction shots from the other kids.
- In ''Wat's Pig, when the invader hits the king in the foot, he lets out a scream of agony that can be heard all the way in Wat's cottage. Wat shrugs, not knowing it was the king screaming let alone his brother.