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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.

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 death-related, as it can instead be used(even comically) to simply accentuate a person's pain. It may 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.


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  • 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".

    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!"

    Fan Works 
  • Arrow 18 Mission Logs: After realizing that she just ate meatand enjoyed it — Twilight quietly excuses herself into another room. Despite shutting the door behind her, Randall can still hear her scream... in fact, it's so loud that it affects the freighter's power supply.
  • The Frozen Heart's Star:
    Kirby: (as the screen cuts to black at the end of Chapter 4 where he gets struck by the frozen heart by a Deadly Gaze) POOOOYOOOAHHHHHHHHH!!!
  • Harry Potter and the Prince of Slytherin: Tiberius Nott trained his Hellhounds to sniff out and hunt down muggles and squibs. When he tries hunting down Harry and his friends, Theo manages to trick him into breaking an Unbreakable Vow, resulting in him instantly losing access to his magic... right in front of said hounds. They smell the difference and turn upon their master, resulting in one of these as Nott is chased off, screaming.
  • Ffreire's NaruFox AU: Circumstances lead to Sasuke facing Zaku in their preliminary match. Zaku taunts his opponent, mocking how hard Sakura fought to protect her teammates in the Forest of Death... but when Sasuke gets behind him, he stops laughing. Hard cut to the reactions of the proctor, Kakashi, Naruto, and Sakura as Zaku's agonized screams weave between them.
  • In the Turning Red fanfic The Great Red Panda Rescue, Mei is kidnapped and one of her captors pulls a knife on her leading to a description of her screams.
  • Unbreakable Diamond, Protean Rain: In the Halloween story And Then There Was Duwang, Ichikawa screams when the classroom lights unexpectedly go off. When they come back on, she continues screaming; Fubiki initially thinks it's an Overly-Long Gag before realizing that she's screaming at the sight of what's left of Hazamada, whose head has been impaled on the wall with a pencil.
  • You See Them: After Akechi gains the ability to see the ghosts of his victims, he's informed that he'll be haunted for the rest of his life if he doesn't help them rest peacefully. The new ghost-seer marches off to the bathroom; moments later, everyone hears his muffled shriek of frustration.

    Films — Animated 
  • In The Super Mario Bros. Movie, after Luigi shelters from the Dry Bones inside the Dark Lands' castle, he's relieved about not having to deal with them again, only for lightning to reveal Shy Guys and Snifits behind him. The screen conveniently cuts to black and stays like that when Luigi realizes they're after him and screams.

  • 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 Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel First & Only, Ghosts infiltrating the Patricians' quarters learn that Rawne is being tortured by his screams.
  • 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 Fenrir Greyback will get Hermione when Bellatrix finishes with her. Try not to think about what this sounds like as the evil werewolf's 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 the Kane Series 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.
  • 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 signal. We only hear Phèdre's very short and non-explicit summary of it, which is bad enough.
  • 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 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.


  • 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.

  • 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 Videos 

    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.


"My Pants Are Very Expensive"

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

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