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Scream Discretion Shot

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The Doctor: Messages? Mayday? SOS?
Duke: Pretty much all the satellites had been whacked out of orbit. They managed to send back some...screams.
Doctor Who, "Kill The Moon"

Another of the Discretion Shot siblings, the Scream Discretion Shot is when something horrible and/or unspeakably painful is visited upon a character (whose significance to the viewer varies, but who is usually important to the heroes or the plot on some level), but the viewer doesn't see it directly. This is usually applied to Cold-Blooded Torture, Rape as Drama or a Cruel and Unusual Death. The viewer is often presented with a different visual, such as background scenery, a villain's sinister reaction, or the hero or another sympathetic character looking on in horror, accompanied by the audio cue that lets us know we'd rather not be watching — a protracted scream that goes on for several seconds.


It isn't always horror in the classic blood and gore sense. Sometimes it exists in the mind of an individual, and the scream is their reaction to perceived or imagined situations or consequences. But don't confuse it with Distant Reaction Shot.

However, the trope isn't strictly horror related, as it can also overlap with a Sexy Discretion Shot. Such as the camera cutting away just as the lucky girl screams in orgasm. Another variant is to quickly Fade to Black, followed by her scream.

It can also be parodied by having strange items fly at the onlookers and odd noises. The sound of a chainsaw being revved is especially popular. Related to That Poor Cat. For comedic effect, the shot may be accompanied by a Precision F-Strike or a witty quip from the narrator.

A subtrope of Sound-Only Death and The Scream.



    open/close all folders 

  • Played for laughs in a commercial for Terminix pest control centers. It consists solely of a shot of a house at night, although the viewer can see a light coming on in a bedroom, can hear footsteps, and then a light presumably in a kitchen. Eventually, a woman can be heard screaming, followed by an announcer stating that "it's roach season".

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, we have these starting from the very second episode. Typically Shinji Ikari, the protagonist, screams at some Nightmare Fuel he has just witnessed, as the camera pans away or the screen blacks out. When his screams are due to "physical" injury, however, this trope is averted.
  • In the first episode of Higurashi: When They Cry, after joining an after-school club that formerly consisted of four girls, Keiichi loses a game where the stakes were that the winner could do whatever they wanted to the loser. As a result, three of the club members grab him and hold him still while the winner Mion approaches, slowly and mock-sinisterly, while holding a marker. The scene changes to outside of the school and we hear Keiichi scream. In the next scene, we see that Mion drew black circles around his eyes and nose, as well as whiskers on his cheeks. In the last episode of the first chapter, something similar happens, but it isn't played for laughs. Mion and her friend Rena are in Keiichi's bedroom, and Rena is holding Keiichi still again. Mion approaches sinisterly while holding what Keiichi suspects is a hypodermic syringe filled with a drug that causes suicidal insanity. One Scream Discretion Shot later, Keiichi realizes he's just beaten two people to death with a baseball bat and he has no idea why.
    • It gets worse when in Tsumihoroboshi-hen, we discover that Keiichi has been hallucinating all along, and the syringe was a marker.
    • Towards the end of the last episode of Yakusamashi-hen (the anime-only arc at the start of Kai), Ooishi visits Satoko in the hospital, and talks at length about the Hinamizawa disaster, and eventually hands over Rena's hat, covered in blood. Then we're treated to a flashback, where we see Rena running through the mountains. When she is inevitably cornered by several men with knives, we see a final look of fear on her face, and then we cut to her blood-stained hat falling down towards the river while she gives off a blood-curdling scream.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, when Miaka is shown Yui being supposedly raped through a magic mirror, all we see is Miaka, Tamahome and Chichiri's horrified reactions as Yui screams for Miaka.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Kamina's fatal injuries are portrayed in this way. It's a Tear Jerker, especially when his adoptive brother sets off a VOLCANO with his anguish. That's hardcore.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers has this when Japan stabs China In the Back.
    • Don't forget his "private lesson" with Greece, which doubles as Sexy Discretion Shot.
    • On a different note, America screams when Russia's scarf starts to strangle him.
  • In Naruto's Three-Tails arc, after Hinata realizes that her attack against Nurari was ineffective, Nurari counterattacks, and the scene pans upward as only her screams are heard, and she is next shown seriously injured.
    • In addition, this is used twice in Itachi and Sasuke's final battle, the first of which during a flashback of Madara taking his brother Izuna's eyes, and the second being when Sasuke gets his eye ripped out by Itachi. It was All Just a Genjutsu though.
    • Heck this was done in the first chapter/episode when Naruto was tricked by a villain ninja named Mizuki to bring him him a scroll to a secret art. After Iruka, one of Naruto's teachers, saves by taking a ninja star in the back. Naruto retaliates by activating the multi-clone justu he learned from the scroll and surrounding Mizuki. As the clones close in to attack, the screen pans into the sky as we hear Mizuki scream and punches being landed.
  • Black Lagoon has this, most noticeably in the vampire twins story arc.
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga, only shadows are shown when Dark Marik skins his father alive.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi has a comedic one when Asuna goes after Negi during the aftermath of a Forceful Kiss incident.
  • Allen Walker from D.Gray-Man fits this trope when Road messes with his mind before stabbing him in the left eye with a really sharp-ended candle. Instead of showing the real action, we see Road laughing with a huge speech bubble of Allen screaming his head off. Luckily, it's toned down in the anime, where Road commands a candle to shoot straight at Allen's eye. Still, we see a bunch of floating toys while we listen to poor Allen screaming.
  • Partial case in Code Geass, with the Emperor giving Lelouch his Fake Memories.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS there is a scene where you only see the gloating of the Big Bad and then one of his minions cringing while the screams of the victim resound. To make it more terrifying, the victim is Vivio, a six year old girl, and she was calling for her mother to save her.
    • Hardly the first time Nanoha had this. In the very first season, the really cruel scene where Evil Matriarch Precia Testarossa viciously whips her nine year-old daughter Fate for failing a mission takes place almost entirely offscreen. In the Compilation Movie, it takes place entirely offscreen, so we only hear the whip and Fate's screams. To make matters worse, we are given to watch Fate's familiar Arf sitting outside, jerking painfully with every scream — and it's not their magical bond that makes her feel Fate's pain.
  • In Noir, Silvana aka Intoccabile has a treacherous underling's wife and baby daughter executed in a neighboring room, so we only hear their screams, shots, and the poor guy's face at that moment. While this was allegedly done to avoid offending the network censors, the end result was much more horrifying than any graphic death they could give them.
  • Oto x Maho, where Jou, off-panel, after refusing to give Kanata what he wants, screams "Ahhh! Don't make my arm turn 360 degrees! Gyaaaaaaaaah!"
  • This is how a monster in Devil & Devil is introduced : It sneaks behind a young woman who's about to go back home, then attacks her and regresses her into an infant as we hear her scream (Well, not really "hear", since it's a manga) and see a close-up of the monster's eye. It is properly seen some time later as it regresses a young girl into another baby, on-screen this time.
  • The flashback to Czeslaw Meyer being tortured in the Baccano! anime uses this trope.
  • In Dragon Ball Z when Piccolo finishes off Raditz after mortally wounding him, all we see is Piccolo thrusting his hand towards his head and it cuts away as he screams.
  • The Pokémon episode "It's Mr. Mime Time" has a rather infamous scene with Brock creeping up on Ash to "convince" him to dress as a Mr. Mime in order to impress a female ringleader of a Pokémon circus and to save her show from being a failure. He advances towards him and the next scene we see is of the outside of the tent with the cameras quickly panning up towards the sky and Ash delivering a blood-curdling scream.
    • A far less humorous example from "Tracey Gets Bugged" has Jessie, who has had her hair chopped off by a random Scyther, getting revenge on a group of them to punish the one who did it and capture the others. As she and the rest of Team Rocket throw a net over them, the scene transitions to the top of the trees where their nest is and the group all crying out, "SCYTHER!!"
  • Played for Laughs example in Soul Eater. When Black Star sneaks into Dr. Stein's lab to steal the answers for an upcoming exam, he is caught almost immediately by Stein. The next shot is of outside Stein's lab as Black Star's rather girlish scream is heard. The following day, Black Star is shown beaten, delirious, bloody, and hung on the chalkboard by his shirt.
  • In the YuYu Hakusho anime, the flashback describing how Shigure implants the Jagan Third Eye in the middle of Hiei's forehead is treated like this. The scene goes from Shigure talking to Hiei prior to the process to outside Shigure's compound, and then the viewers hear a bloodcurdling scream from Hiei...
  • The rape of Fighter in the first episode of Goblin Slayer is handled this way, with her horrible screams following Priestess as she flees with Wizard, the two of whom Fighter had sacrificed herself in order to allow to escape the goblins, all while poor Priestess can only repeat the words, "I'm so sorry..."
  • Doraemon: Occurs in "Soap Bubbles". When Big G punches Sneech, we hear Sneech scream but we don't see him in pain.
  • Oddly used in the Little Garden Arc of One Piece, when comic-relief Team Pet Karoo defeats an implicitly defenseless Miss Goldenweek. For a time, this led to a grisly (though possibly trolling) fan theory that Karoo had ate her.

    Asian Animation 

    Comic Books 
  • Though we don't get it as it is happening, in Sin City, we see Marv get caught near the farmhouse where Kevin, the farm boy cannibal who murdered Goldie lives, and thrown into a dungeon with Lucille, his parole officer, who already lost her right hand to Kevin, and the stump sewn shut. We leave the scene on a bloodcurdling scream from poor Lucille: "HE MADE ME WATCH!"

  • Star Wars
    • A New Hope: Darth Vader and a torture droid enter Leia's cell, and then the door slams shut, and the camera follows a guard walking past.
    • The Empire Strikes Back: When Han is being tortured, we can still see him when it just starts - resisting. Then flinching, then trembling and gasping in pain, and then, just before he loses control, it cuts to the passageway, where Lando Calrissian and Boba Fett can now hear him screaming through the walls.
  • The directors of Captain America: The Winter Soldier credited The Empire Strikes Back with providing the base inspiration for their own horrifying scene, in which the titular Winter Soldier, who has just been revealed to be Bucky Barnes as an amnesiac Sympathetic Sentient Weapon, gets his memories painfully erased while the camera follows Big Bad Alexander Pierce strolling away as if he can't even hear the screaming.
  • The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension: When Lizardo puts a lectroid taser at Buckaroo's crotch, the shot pulls back to Buckaroo's wide eyes and his screaming mouth.
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street does this with the rape of Lucy Barker at the climax of the "Poor Thing" scene, not showing us anything beyond Judge Turpin descending upon her with the big cloak, showing us instead the nightmarish image of the masked crowd surrounding them and laughing at her, as well as the Beadle's sinisterly grinning face. We do get to hear Lucy's screams as the flashback/musical number concludes, as well as Sweeney's Big "NO!" when the scene snaps back to the present.
  • The Apocalyptic Log on Miranda from Serenity ends with the speaker trying to shoot herself before the Reavers get her. She's not quick enough. We don't see what happens next—but the Serenity crew does, and it's apparently horrifying enough to get tough-guy Jayne to say "Turn it off."
  • In Jurassic Park, when Dennis Nedry gets a nasty surprise in the form of a Dilophosaurus eating him in the Jeep, the camera pans toward the ground as the Jeep is shaking wildly and he's screaming.
  • In Jurassic World, a worker is grabbed by the Indominus Rex while he and Owen are searching its enclosure. The scene cuts to the control room as they listen to the poor sap being ripped to pieces.
  • Serves as a crucial moment in the film Mr. Frost, starring Jeff Goldblum. A psychiatrist treating a patient/Serial Killer (Goldblum) who claims to be Satan is approached by a former police officer who apparently believes the same. He gives her a video that the killer gave to him — a "home movie" he shot of his crimes. She watches the video, but we never see it. Instead, we hear screams in the background as her face contorts in horror.
  • In Reservoir Dogs the camera "looks away" as Mr Blonde hacks off Marvin's ear. Quicky subverted though, as the camera cuts right back to show the after effects.
  • Used for comedic effect in The Birdcage when Albert walks into the apartment which has been emptied in his presence.
  • Alien features this at the death of Lambert. The camera cuts away from the Alien doing horrible things, to Ripley who reacts to Lambert's lingering death scream.
    • There's another death wherein the camera cuts away from the death to the cat, who is curled up cringing in fear but unable to look away from the horror.
  • Midsommar This happens not long after one of the visitors to the commune, Connie, tries to leave. Her blood curdling screams are later heard by three different characters. We don't see Connie again until the final 10 minutes of the movie where she is now a bloated, waterlogged corpse being carted in a wheelbarrow by a cultist, confirming she was violently drowned off screen by members of the cult.
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark uses this for comedic effect for the scene on the ship out of Egypt. Marion rotates a mirror — banging Indy in the face. Hard. Cut to a shot of the ship from the outside with Indy's howling scream audible.
    Marion: What'd you say?
  • Madison's death in My Super Psycho Sweet 16.
  • The famous scene from Ferris Bueller's Day Off when Cameron finds out that the valet stole his dad's car.
    • The scene would be parodied on Family Guy with Brian being the one who screams.
  • The Blob (1958): Admittedly this was because technology was limited at the time, so it couldn't show too much skin corrosive gore without, y'know, actually torturing the actors with acid. Whereas its 1988 remake left nothing to the imagination. But surprisingly enough, it actually works for the 1958 version in hindsight, because the viewer never seeing the blob eat its victims, makes it feel a lot more unknown and sinister. I.e. is it quick, is it painful? You don't know.
  • A particularly frightening example occurs in the notorious 1977 public information film Apaches, when Sharon wakes up screaming and crying in pain and calling for her mother in the middle of the night as the effects of the weed killer she unintentionally swallowed earlier that day, which would end up killing her, kick in. The only thing the viewer sees during that scene is the outside of her house as the lights turn on. This particular scene is one of the film's most nightmarish moments.
  • The Grey Zone: Set during the Auschwitz-Birkenau uprising of 1944 and shown from the point of view of the Jewish prisoners who were forced to assist in the killing, there are two scenes which use this. There's the collective screaming that Hoffman hears coming from the gas chamber after the door is locked, and an earlier scene where Simon listens to the screams of a nightly group.
  • Subverted in No Such Thing, when Beatrice must undergo spinal surgery without the use of anesthetics. Moments before the surgeons make the first incision, the camera cuts to the doctors watching from the gallery and the diegetic soundtrack drops out. The observing doctor's reaction to her screaming is enough to signal how painful the surgery is.
  • In The Stepford Wives (2004), when Joanna gets fired from her job as a TV executive, she puts on a cheerful smile and acts understandable. After she steps into the elevator and the doors close on her, however, she lets out a loud, piercing, pained scream while having a complete breakdown.
  • In Bordello of Blood: Two examples
    • In the prologue, when Vincent offers the last of the expedition team to Lilith in return for her servitude. We see Lilith shooting out her tongue at said team member and him screaming before cutting to the Mummy and Cryptkeeper, the former telling the latter how the scene is playing out.
    • Rafe has managed to sneak into the Bordello to look for clues where Catherine's brother, Caleb, disappeared. At one point he passes by a room where the vampiress, Lilith, is talking to a very unaware interviewee named Tammy who was recommended to work at the building. Rafe continues on, but as he's going downstairs, he hears Tammy suddenly scream followed by a loud, meaty thud. Considering we see Lilith a moment later, picking her teeth, it's not hard to guess what happened.
  • In Loose Screws, this takes place when Steve Hardman got whacked in the groin when a golf ball lands near that area while he is still lying down on the ground in the woods and the golfer persists in playing it where the ball lies, cutting to a shot outside the woods soon after the golfer starts his swing.
  • The Return of Count Yorga opens with one of the orphans, Tommy, playing with his ball near an abandoned graveyard just as Yorga is summoning his vampire brides to rise from their graves. When Tommy eventually notices them, he quickly flees only to run into Yorga himself in complete vamp Game Face. As Tommy screams, it cuts to the local fundraiser party.
  • Venom (2018): The first trailer ends with Eddie grabbing an attacker by the throat, going full Venom, and slowly slithering his tongue toward the man's face. The screen cuts to black and the man's scream is heard along with a monstrous roaring/growling sound effect. However, the scene in the final film (part of which is more accurately depicted in the second trailer) only sees Venom lick the villain's face before being shot at by someone else before he can do anything else to the would-be victim.
  • In War of the Worlds, Ogilvy's death plays out like this. When Ray goes into the room and closes the door behind him, we hear a few grunts followed by Ogilvy screaming, while Rachel holds her ears tighter and sings louder to block it out. We don't hear anything else.
  • In A Field in England, the alchemist O'Neill takes his prisoner Whitehead into a tent. There is a long moment with the other prisoners covering their ears while Whitehead's horrific screams can be heard... and then he emerges from the tent in a strange trance. The audience never learns what happened inside the tent. Although given O’Neill’s creepy I Have You Now, My Pretty attitude towards Whitehead in an earlier conversation, some viewers have speculated it was very nasty indeed...
  • The Real Life documentary 9/11, which contains the only footage from inside the World Trade Center before they collapsed: When Jules enters the lobby a woman was screaming, on fire.
    Jules Naudet: There was a person that was on fire just out of shot, and I decided that I didn't want to film that. I said, "No one should see this".

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Bellatrix throws Harry and Ron in the dungeon while she personally tortures Hermione. All the boys can hear are her screams. But before this, there is a strong hint that Greyback will get Hermione when Bellatrix finishes with her. Try not to think about what this sounds like.
    • His favorite targets WERE children.
    • And during the entire scene, Ron is about to go berserk which shows just how much he cares for her.
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel First & Only, Ghosts infiltrating the Patricians' quarters learn that Rawne is being tortured by his screams.
  • Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Dart has a scene where Phèdre is drugged and then tortured by Melisande Shahrizai. It's described by Phèdre as not being rape because Melisande would have heeded the signale. We only hear Phèdre's very short and non-explicit summary of it, which is bad enough.
  • Used at the end of the first scene of the Conan story "A Witch Shall Be Born," when Queen Taramis's Evil Twin Salome, before throwing the queen into the dungeons and taking her place, hands her over to her Dragon, Constantius, to be raped. Here, the audience is shown Salome's expression of sadistic delight as she leaves the scene.
    Constantius smiled with a glint of strong white teeth under his thin mustache. "Very good; but you would not deny me a little—ah—amusement first?"
    "Not I! Tame the scornful hussy as you will." With a wicked laugh Salome flung her sister into the Kothian's arms, and turned away through the door that opened into the outer corridor.
    Fright widened Taramis's lovely eyes, her supple figure rigid and straining against Constantius's embrace. She forgot the men marching in the streets, forgot the outrage to her queenship, in the face of the menace to her womanhood. She forgot all sensations but terror and shame as she faced the complete cynicism of Constantius's burning, mocking eyes, felt his hard arms crushing her writhing body.
    Salome, hurrying along the corridor outside, smiled spitefully as a scream of despair and poignant agony rang shuddering through the palace.
  • In A Storm of Swords, this is played completely straight when Jaime Lannister's hand is cut off. You "see" the knife flashing through the air, and the chapter ends with his scream.
  • In the Kane story, "Cold Light", Kane's lover Rehhaile is being raped upstairs by Lord Gaethaa's men, while downstairs Lord Gaethaa is talking with his second-in-command Alidore. Their conversation is sometimes interrupted by her screams.
  • In Traitor Queen when the king's spymaster Serin tortures a woman in front of Aren to make him talk, we see only a glint of metal and then hear her wordless screaming.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • The Anointed One's death.
    • Downplayed in one case during School Hard when Drusilla goes to feed on a girl named Sheila Martini. Poor girl has her mouth gagged and can only let out a gasp when she see Drusilla go to vamp face. The trope is still present when the scene cuts away just before the bite connects as Drusilla's growl is still heard.
  • FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman': In the episode "Ruff's Big Break" right when a zealous Ruff goes outside to do some karate chip dance moves on a fence. The scene cuts away to Blossom witnessing Ruff hurting himself.
    Ruff: [Off-screen] Check it out! Wo-Wah! (Gasps) AGH! [A crash is heard] AAAOOWWWW!!!.... (in pain) Oh, okay not good!... Ugh... call my vet!... Now....
  • In Heroes when Sylar kills someone for their powers he opens their heads, but we almost never see this, instead the camera shows us Sylar and we hear the victim scream.
  • Subverted in the Babylon 5 episode "Falling Toward Apotheosis". G'Kar has been stubbornly refusing to give Cartagia the satisfaction of hearing him scream; the episode ends with Cartagia ordering a guard to pluck out one of G'Kar's eyes, followed by a long silent view of G'Kar's cell door.
  • Done twice in I, Claudius. First with Caligula's attempted abortion on his sister's baby where we only see a bit of blood around Caligula's face when he leaves the room and Claudius' reaction to what he sees. And then when Macro orders the rape of Sejanus' daughter, which we never see but only hear her scream. These were cut for American audiences.
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Resistance", the audience never sees the bad guys torturing Tuvok, but Torres realises she should be more worried about him after she hears his screams through the cell walls.
  • This is done a lot on Supernatural.
  • Season 5 of Dexter introduces Lumen, who spent some time being raped and tortured by 5 men. They were also responsible for the rape, torture, and murder of at least 11 other women. In one episode it's revealed one of the men made DVDs of it. Mercifully virtually nothing is shown, but you can hear the victims screams just fine. Played with in that all of them, especially Lumen's, are terrifying.
  • Happens several times in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Such as when Philip takes Hilary's credit cards and snaps them all in half (she was jobless for half a year and still spending hundreds of dollars a month on luxury goods), or when Will rips Carlton's hands off his head (they were feuding over a girl and Will mixed superglue into Carlton's hair gel, with Will deciding to help him out after they reconciled).
    • Possibly the best known example was in "The Baby Comes Out" and the episode begins with a scream discretion shot from both Uncle Phil who is announcing to the family that the baby is coming and Will, who had seen him naked. "And he was running!"
  • In an episode of BBC's Jekyll, Tom Jackman wakes up in an almost totally empty apartment shortly after his son was nearly fed to the lions, only to discover Christopher (the mook that put said son in the lion's den) is in the next room, all tied up. After a couple of questions from Tom to Christopher, Hyde "calls" Tom, convincing him to set an example to their enemies by basically unleashing Hyde on Christopher. The phone is hanging on its chord, all we see is Jackman's/Hyde's back, Christopher begins to ask nervous questions... then Hyde turns around, grins widely while the camera focuses on his eyes, and Christopher screams. Cut to Hyde walking in a hospital with a very deformed and bloody bundle.
  • Justified in that the action takes place entirely in one shot, and the characters are all silhouettes: in one episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, when a Shadow Archetype that Crow accidentally let on board the Satellite sneaks into the theater and bothers Tom Servo, he gets increasingly annoyed and attacks the creature. A few moments later, judging by speculative commentary, Tom is clearly losing the fight and we hear his muffled sobs and screams for help coming from under the seats. The next thing we know, he's encased in a pseudopod on the bridge.
  • Done at the very end of the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "Never Again", when the protagonist discovers that she killed her boyfriend during an alcoholic blackout.
  • Doctor Who: When the Cybermen are created and when they "upgrade people", which involves Unwilling Roboticisation.
  • Subverted in Helix. When Dr. Peter Farragut, a research scientist infected with The Virus, breaks into a lab full of his fellow researchers to attack them, the viewer only sees what seems to be a sudden blood spatter on the glass of the lab door, accompanied by a woman's scream. But the subsequent episode's opening scene shows no one is wounded, and reveals Peter's Bad Black Barf as the method of viral transmission.
  • "During Barty's Party", an episode of Nigel Kneale's Beasts ends with a horrified couple watching helplessly as the family next door are attacked in their driveway by a swarm of rats. The audience sees nothing except the faces of the couple, but hears the squeaking of the rats and the screams of the neighbours
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Done when Ramsay Snow moves on his pinned-down prisoner, Theon Greyjoy, with a gelding knife. We only hear Theon screaming and see the screen go blurry.
    • The sacrifice of Shireen; her burning and death aren't shown on camera. It doesn't do much to alleviate the viewer of discomfort, though, as the poor girl's screams and cries for her parents go on for what feels like forever and get heart-wrenching when she apparently catches on fire. The Gory Discretion Shot includes the reactions of her parents (an increasingly disturbed Selyse and a resolute Stannis) and Stannis's men, whom are visibly disturbed and upset. And then the screams cut off...
  • Played For Laughs in Hangin' with Mr. Cooper when Charles Barkley guest starred and Mark Curry talks to him the credits. Mark claims he can probably take him in a basketball game but states there isn't any time. Charles promptly orders the credits stopped and we cut to the outside of the house where Mark is heard screaming.
  • Done in Frasier when Frasier, fed up with Bull Dog's constant pranks. Tries to get him back only to accidentally hit his station manager instead which apparently knocks her into a coma. He goes to visit her in the hospital and apologizes. But just as he leaves, she wakes up and seen grabbing his arm. Cut to hallway where we hear Frasier scream.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In the final scene of "The Jungle", the lion leaps towards Alan Richards. His screams are heard as the episode ends.


  • The ballet Fall River Legend has a famous version of this, in which the Accused (Lizzie Borden), just about to hack her father and stepmother to death, mimes an agonized, protracted scream. Cut to Dream Ballet.

    Video Games 
  • Tomb Raider (2013): when Lara Croft has to cauterize a deep torso wound using a red-hot arrowhead.
  • Eversion: Why this happens in the good ending as well as the bad one is anyone's guess...
  • Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII does this once, the main difference being that Vincent's screams are a reaction to past torture; the player only sees his reaction to what's already been done to him.
  • Averted in Heavy Rain: As Ethan cuts off his finger, the camera stays focused on him, even as he's screaming in agony.
    • And on Madison, should she be killed by any of the various means which do her in. Played Straight if Jayden is dumped into the car crusher.
  • In Tekken Tag Tournament 2, both Paul Phoenix and Feng Wei's endings end this way.
    • In Paul's ending, after Paul beats the crap out of a large bear cub that was attacking him and the Laws, an even bigger bear shows up and prepars to beat them up. Cue black screen and Paul and the Laws screaming.
    • In Feng's ending, we see him training in his dojo, when Asuka shows up. She challenges him to get her own dojo's sign back, but Feng easily dodges all of her attacks without dropping the sake cups he was holding, though Asuka does eventually manage to break them. Cut to her about to leave with her sign, when she bumps into a pissed-off Feng who's slowly approaching towards her. The scene ends with poor Asuka screaming as Feng is about to attack her.
  • Ghostbusters: The Video Game: "Handcuffs? Why, we hardly know each other...Wait...what are you doing? No! Please! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!"
  • In one death scene of Brain Dead 13, at the sound of a gong, Lance looks up and becomes shocked as Fritz pounces on him and they both go offscreen. Fritz's arm is then raised up onscreen before it turns on the egg beater, and Lance's scream is heard before Fritz's arm goes back offscreen. The scream is still heard as bits of Lance's hair fly up before fluttering back down. When all of the screaming is done, Lance gets back up heavily damaged and battered, his shirt ripped up, and going bald in black eyes, lasting for a few seconds before Fritz's hook pulls him back down offscreen to finish the job.
  • In BlazBlue (from Continuum Shift onwards), Relius Clover's Astral Finish has him restraining the enemy in several different ways inside his laboratory, so he can subject them to his experiments. Then the doors of said lab close, and either a line from the victim or a SCREAM are heard...
  • In Simon and Richter's reveal trailer for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Luigi has just had his soul sliced from his body by Death when Simon arrives to beat the latter back. Luigi's ghost is just starting to lay back into his body when he sees Carmilla outside the window crying Tears of Blood. Cue a long distance shot of Dracula's Castle as we hear Luigi's scream.
  • In Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, this is how Fernand meets his end. Berkut has just gone completely mad and sacrificed Rinea's soul for Duma's power, and Fernand stumbles upon him in the immediate aftermath. Berkut sics Rinea on him, and he screams in horror as the camera cuts to Berkut's Evil Laugh.

    Web Comics 
  • Played for laughs in Aoi House when Elle finds out Alex and Sandy are not gay.
    Elle: Oh believe me. If you weren't gay before you walked through those doors, you're sure as hell gonna be after we get through with you!
    outside shot AAAAAARRGGHHH!!!
  • Sleepless Domain: At the beginning of Chapter 4, Heartful Punch meets up with several of her friends at school, and offhandedly mentions hanging out with Undine while on patrol the previous night. Her friends are shocked to hear that the latter is still going out on patrol at all after going through what she did — unbeknownst to HP, Undine's entire team was killed just a few days beforehand. When her friends explain the situation to her, the scene cuts to the school hallway for HP's reaction:

    Web Video 

    Web Animation 
  • Chadam: The villain kidnaps an artist from their bed, and then as the screen goes black, all we hear is the artist screaming for help.
  • Rock 'n' Roll Dad: Michael Jackson screams like a girl as he gets mauled by a dog off-screen.
  • The Walten Files:
    • Ashley Parks's death in Relocate Project isn't shown on screen, but the screams indicate it to be anything but pleasant.
    • The "Hide-And-Seek" segment of Bunnyfarm ends with Sophie Walten finding out about her mother's death, hearing her screaming as Bon dismembers her.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: In addition to an inverted Shadow Discretion Shot, the audience also gets to hear an agonized scream of pain from Zuko at the tragic ending of the Agni Kai against his father in "The Storm".
  • Blinky Bill: In the Season 3 episode "Poisoned Penelope", Penelope Poodle does a loud, ear-piercing shriek when she sees herself covered in spots, due to being poisoned by a flower. All we see is a view over the Amazon jungle, with the birds flying in shock from the screaming.
  • Ben 10: Alien Force: A prisoner gets forced into the ranks of the bad guys. We get a shot of the toothy squirmy thing about to be applied to him; then the shot changes to the closed door of the room he's in, and we hear him screaming.
  • The 1990s Spider-Man had a big moment in the "Mutagenic Nightmare" storyline as a Scream Discretion Shot done one second too late. We actually see Peter Parker abruptly (but bloodlessly) sprout four additional arms. Then the shot pulls back to the house and we hear not one, but two Big Nos.
  • Lemongrab gets one in the Adventure Time episode "Too Young", after Princess Bubblegum fires him and calls him a butt.
  • Justice League Unlimited: At the end of the episode "For the Man Who Has Everything," Mongul's mind gets trapped in the Black Mercy plant, which lets him dream of his heart's desire. As Wonder Woman wonders what he's dreaming about, the camera zooms in on his smiling face — to the sounds of horrific screaming.
    • Another one from JLU was when Lex Luthor tried to resurrect Brainiac. He did this by hooking Tala up to a machine that sucked the life out of her, which given the timbre and volume of her scream, was exceedingly painful. Bruce Timm has stated in several interviews that Juliet Landau (Tala's voice actress) literally scared him with her performance.
    • In Superman's nightmare during "Only a Dream", Lois' death takes place this way. The audience hears her scream, but the focus is on Superman's face, Eye Beams shooting out. It's subverted when he accidentally crushes Jimmy Olsen in the next portion of the nightmare.
    • Also from the DCAU, Lois Lane has quite the reaction to find that that something (a giant chimpanzee) had totalled her apartment. Done for laughs.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: In "The Magic Tree of Nowhere", Courage climbs into a hornets' nest. The camera pans left, showing a picturesque sunset and a remarkable specimen of butterfly flying past, as the sounds of chirping birds and a loud, agony-filled scream are heard.
  • Happened a couple of times in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, usually to Baxter Stockman or Hun, after they failed the Shredder again.
  • Invader Zim pulls this a few times, such as when Zim decides to test which one of the schoolchildren is most suited to be his friend. To do so, he measures their absorbency, electrical conductivity, and then holds up a beaver and a toy taxi while smirking ominously. Cue the camera shifting over to the clock and the horrified screaming.
  • Played for Laughs on Jimmy Two-Shoes, where Beezy and Heloise have one thanks to an Accidental Kiss.
  • Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers: Scarecrow attacks a local sheriff and deputy. After the entity grabs both of them, the scene cuts to their patrol car, and all you hear is the Scarecrow laughing and the poor bastards screaming. They're never seen again onscreen, and Goose states they were "found" on the side of the highway the next morning.
  • Rugrats:
  • Played for Laughs in Lilo & Stitch. Pleakly gets attacked by a giant swarm of mosquitoes. When he finally figures out what is going on, the camera cuts away just in time to hear a yell loud enough to be heard across the island. When shown again, everything except his eyeball is covered in bandages.
  • The Powerpuff Girls The girls and Bellum turn the tables on Sedusa in "Something's A Ms.". We get a shot of Sedusa begging for forgiveness as Bellum brandishes the scissors. Then we get a silhouette of them all, and the shot pulls away to the night sky, with Sedusa's screaming ringing out.
  • Happens in Daria in the episode "Through a Lens Darkly" where Daria went to the Lawndale Medical Arts Partners building for new contacts. To show the doctor how to adjust the contacts to her eye, Daria tries it and the next scene cuts to the front of the building as Daria is heard screaming loud.
  • Subverted in Transformers: Prime, when Starscream offs the last of his clones. There is a scream, but since Starscream feels the pain of his clones, it's almost immediately followed by him complaining "that hurt!"
    • Used more straightforwardly with the death of Breakdown. Airachnid moves in for the kill and we cut to a shot of some Disturbed Doves as Breakdown screams.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
    • Played straight during the Citadel arc. A clone is literally cut in half by a security door. Another door slams shut in front of him right before his gruesome death.
    • In "Lair of Grievous" the scene of Grievous getting patched up cuts away right as Grievous' medical droid starts removing his damaged faceplate and he starts screaming in pain.
  • Star Wars Rebels, "Stealth Strike": Played with as the bridge's doors close and cut off the view just as Rex's torture starts and he screams, but this never actually happens. It was a premonition and Kanan was able to get on the bridge in time to prevent the Empire from torturing Rex.
  • Used in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated when Professor Pericles kills Ed Machine to "deliver a message" to his former companion Mr. E. Yes, Scooby-Doo played it straight.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In the episode "Clams", SpongeBob accidentally rips off Squidward's nose with his fishing hook. It cuts to a far shot of the ocean with the boat in the middle of it while we hear Squid's scream. It's obviously Played for Laughs.
    • In "Band Geeks", Patrick ticks off Sandy after accidentally kicking her, and she chases him outside. We hear Patrick screaming in pain, and when he comes back in he's somehow been stuffed inside a trombone.
      Patrick: Whoever's the owner of the white sedan, you left your lights on.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic plays this for laughs in "Pinkie Apple Pie". The Apple family's raft is about to go though a cave which Granny Smith thinks is not the scariest cave in Equestria. Turns out it was, but as the raft goes though the cave, we only see the outside of the cave, and hear the Apple family's screams of terror. We never get to see what made the cave so scary, outside of a brief glimpse at a picture Pinkie took of some of the monsters in the cave.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • Played for Laughs in "Dipper vs. Manliness". The first test of manliness the Manotaurs offer Dipper is to put his fist in "the Pain Hole". Dipper works up the nerve to do so... cue Smash Cut to another part of the forest as Dipper screams in pain.
    • Also done less comedically in "The Stanchurian Candidate" as Bud Gleeful is possessed by his son Gideon, with the camera focusing on his smiling face on a campaign poster.
  • In The Smurfs cartoon adaptation of "The Purple Smurfs", the tail-biting that the purple fly and the Purple Smurfs engage in is never shown onscreen, mostly just the reactions of the Smurfs whose tails are getting bitten.
  • Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker was edited for television and, rather than have Joker get shot by a brainwashed Tim Drake, he's instead electrocuted offscreen and howls in agony while the camera evacuates the room. This was supposed to be less violent than the original scene but it just turned the whole thing into Nightmare Fuel.
    • Batman Beyond has one of its own when Mr. Freeze murders his doctor in revenge for her betrayal. He aims, shoots, the camera cuts away to the facility main room while her death scream gets broadcasted all over the place, and when it cuts back there's nothing left but an enormous ice crystal.
  • Happens on The Simpsons from time to time. Some notable examples include Homer's Atomic F-Bomb from "Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part 1)", Bart receiving an ice-cold thermometer from Grandpa after faking sick in "Marge Gets a Job", Flanders being attacked by zombies in "Treehouse of Horror III"'s "Dial Z for Zombie" after letting them in thinking they were people in need of assistance., and "ToH IV"'s "Bart Simpson's Dracula" when the camera cuts away as Burns shadow looms over Bart and closes in on his neck while Bart screams.
  • Kaeloo: In the Halloween Episode, Quack Quack does a really scary thing with his head offscreen while Kaeloo and Stumpy watch. The scene then cuts to Mr. Cat hearing Kaeloo and Stumpy scream in horror.
  • Pink Panther: In "G.I. Pink", Drill Sergeant Nasty has set up an obstacle course. We get the overview of what is more a Death Trap (including a crocodile pond and whatnot), then the camera stays at the starting point while he gets, as expected, Hoist by His Own Petard. Cue screaming plus noises of various traps going off.
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Harley and Ivy," the Joker is furious because his hideout is a filthy mess, his pet hyenas have not been fed, and he can't find his socks. One of his goons nervously informs him that Harley Quinn used to do all of the housekeeping, but now that the Clown Prince of Crime fired her, things are going to pot. Joker angrily states that Harley has always come back before, and demands to know where she is, prompting the goon to reluctantly hand over a newspaper declaring Harley and Poison Ivy the new "Queens of Crime." The camera cuts to the outside of the Joker's hideout as he lets out a horrified screech—Harley is outdoing him as a criminal.
  • The Ollie & Moon Show:
    • In "Finding the Rhythm in Cuba", when Ollie suddenly goes missing in the Cuban jungle, Stanley calls out for Ollie, to the point of screaming out his name while a wide shot of the jungle is shown.
    • In "The Russian Doll Disaster", when Ollie and Moon are lost in the forest:
      Ollie: Without the map, we'll never find a way back to Sasha's!
      Moon: Those cookies made me really thirsty.
      Ollie: I don't have any water, do you?
      Moon: (shakes her head, while chuckling nervously)
      (Beat, as we cut to Ollie's shocked expression. We then cut to a wide shot of the forest shaking.)


"My Pants Are Very Expensive"

Well Nevel, that's what you get for duping an MMA prodigy.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / ScreamDiscretionShot

Media sources: