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Clifftop Caterwauling

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A creature, character, hero, villain...stands at the edge of a cliff and lets loose a roar to the heavens, either in a cry of victory, grief, a display of power, or some other strong emotion.

Common variations include:

  • Wolves that can't howl unless they're standing at the edge of a cliff.
  • The top of a castle parapet
  • The top of a skyscraper
  • A rooftop

Common environmental embellishments include:

The one climbing up on a high place to roar at the heavens is almost Always Male. Often there's an implied element of Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter. Rarely to never do we see a female, even the Mama Bear or Action Girl climbing up anywhere to roar at anything.

Oddly enough, the Big Bad never seems to be available or around to take this opportunity to turn it into a Literal Cliffhanger, either.

See also Climbing the Cliffs of Insanity, Dramatic High Perching, Skyward Scream. May happen early in the film, or right after the Climbing Climax. Can overlap with Howl of Sorrow.


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     Comic Books 
  • Spider-Man tends to do angst-filled ones from atop a tall building, when someone he loves has been kidnapped or hurt.

     Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Aslan, at least in the trailers for The Chronicles of Narnia films.
  • Predator films:
    • Dutch in Predator does the tree branch version of this. In this case, he's using the howl to attract the Predator.
    • Predator 2. The Predator does this while standing on top of a building, with lightning striking his metal spear.
  • Red Dawn (1984): "Wolverines!"
  • Superman: The Movie subverts this. He stands at the bottom of a cliff, utters a bunch of little nos, then roars at the heavens before the scene where we're forced to invoke the MST3K Mantra.
  • Also happens in The Incredible Hulk (2008). Hulk no like sky flash and boom noise.
  • In Hard Boiled, after the warehouse shootout, Alan, who has just had to gun down his boss, join Johnny Wong and take on fellow cop Tequila, lets loose with a scream to the heavens while aboard his yacht.
  • In Evil Dead 2, Ash does this on finding that the bridge is out and he can't escape.
  • In Rocky IV, the last scene of Rocky's preparation for his fight against Drago consists of him free-climbing his way up a snow-covered mountain; once at the summit, Rocky repeatedly screams out his foe's name.
  • Garden State, anyone?
  • Mimi-Siku lets loose a triumphant yell from atop a cliff at the beginning of Jungle 2 Jungle.
  • The Tyrannosaurus rex does this at the end of Jurassic World. It's exactly as epic as it sounds, and the triumphant music that plays during the scene makes it even more awesome.
  • The nature documentary Tiny Giants does this one with a grasshopper mouse: a predatory rodent that really does howl to proclaim territory, albeit in a piping whistle "roared" from atop rocks and cacti, not cliffs.

  • Thor in The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams stands on the edge of a fjord cliff and roars (in his rage at Odin and Toe Rag's manipulation and treachery.)
  • A Practical Guide to Evil a rare female example: Villain Protagonist Catherine once screams in frustration and anger from the balcony of the Tower at the stormy sky after being outsmarted by her nemesis Heiress in court.
  • Aslan, in Prince Caspian, roars. First it starts the ground and earth shaking. Then it scares the men in Miraz' camp. Then it wakes the nymphs and the river god. Then it alerts every last animal in Narnia. Then it wakes the trees. Then it scares every mother and wakes every man in Narnia. Then, even the giants on Narnia's northern frontier are alerted, looking out from their castles. This was an Oh, Crap! moment the movie version more or less completely failed to capture.
  • A particularly unlucky version is the fate of Father Feodor, the bumbling rival to the main characters from The Twelve Chairs. He climbed the cliffs to escape Ostap, found out he cannot go down by himself, and eventually went mad from isolation.

     Live Action TV  
  • Robbie celebrated his first "Howling Day" on Dinosaurs on a cliff.
  • Doctor Who: The Master gets a chance to do this to the Doctor in "The End Of Time" in the standard BBC Quarry. Of course by this time the Master's utterly batshit bananas.
  • Geki does this just after his brother, Burai dies. from Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger
  • Most courses on American Ninja Warrior end with a climb of some sort, in particular the iconic Warped Wall. Many competitors will let out a scream of triumph after completing the course.
  • In Walking with Dinosaurs, the female T-Rex climbs to the top of a cliff to give a mating call. This actually makes sense, as it would insure that her call traveled the maximum possible distance, making it more likely to attract a suitor.

     Video Games  

    Western Animation 
  • Anakin does this after defeating Asajj Ventress in Star Wars: Clone Wars. According to supplemental material, this is an actual (albeit involuntary) Force power, officially called the Force Scream.
  • Gargoyles, often substituting skyscraper or castle ledges.
  • After Avatar Kyoshi breaks her homeland off to keep it safe from Chin the Conqueror, Chin lets out a roar of frustration from the newly-created cliff...which promptly gives way from under his weight.
  • Wildebeest does this in Teen Titans when he is cornered by Madame Rouge.
  • Courage does this in Courage the Cowardly Dog after the magic tree of Nowhere gets chopped down. In fact, he screams so loud that he caused the moon to shatter and fall!
  • In Squidbillies, Early Cuyler does this as part of his anger therapy. Most of his screaming is Lynyrd Skynyrd lyrics.
  • An episode of Rocko's Modern Life ends with Heffer with his family (he was literally Raised by Wolves) howling on a rooftop in the night sky; with Heffer though, he just vocally yells out "mooo!".