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"The Scream" Parody

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The Scream (also known as Shriek and The Scream of Nature) refers to a very popular trio of artworks by Edvard Munch, the first one of which was first released in 1893. The artworks have thus proven to be so popular that they are some of the most widely parodied pieces of art in the world, fictional or otherwise. Said parodies usually use a form of The Scream and have the character screaming against an odd (though usually red) coloured background. The general purpose of the parody is usually either to highlight that the character is disturbed in some particular way or even as a Rule of Symbolism (such as anxiety or existential dread). Some versions of this parody may even undergo an Art Shift (usually into the oil, pastel, and tempera-esque design) to better reflect the style of the most known version of the painting. Sometimes, the other people depicted in the background of the painting may play a key role, usually as a character that the other one hates or has some relation to, and who are sometimes the reason why they are screaming like that.

A Sub-Trope of Art Imitates Art. See also American Gothic Couple, another painting frequently parodied.


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  • Was used for a Glade Plug-Ins commercial. The painting was animated and reacted to the bad smells in the area before the plug-in was activated.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Excel♡Saga: A Running Gag in the anime adaptation is Pedro letting out a Big "NO!" after something distressing happens to him. At least one of these morphed into a parody of Munch's "The Scream". Interestingly, when it happened to another group of characters (Visual Kei-style musicians), they appeared to turn into this... which was revealed as a painting that fell off, showing the guys being turned into quivering gray blobs.
  • The cover of Junji Ito's Fragments of Horror collection features various characters from the stories collected in it, all posed together in a clear parody of The Scream.
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: Tohru recreates the scene in one episode when she finds out that her job at the maid cafe does not include being a maid, turning blue in the process.
  • Naruto: In the OVA "Hidden Leaf Village Grand Sports Festival!"note , Naruto (who is suffering from a Potty Emergency) makes his clones disappear after they've run into the stalls in the men's room, and then he finds out too late that he's locked the doors from the inside. He then imagines himself doing the same pose as the person in The Scream as he turns gray.
  • One Piece: Giolla's Art-Art Fruit allows her to turn people and objects into works of art. She transforms Brook into this.
  • In Episode 12 of the anime adaptation of Run with the Wind, "The Scream" painting is parodied twice by members. First is when the twins find out the "moist air" they're feeling is actually Prince's vomit (they're being driven in a van and have their heads out the windows), which horrifies them and warrants the pose and screeching. The second time is when the team is looking for Musa and Shindou at night time, and what they think are bears come rushing at them—cue the terrified poses and yelling from every member minus Haiji, as the "bears" (actually Musa and Shindou) zoom past them and crash into the van.
  • Happens in the All-Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku OVA. Kyuusaku exploits Akiko's desire to be a good mother to Ryuunosuke by getting her to do all the household chores; the penny finally drops when she realizes her situation is no different to when she was living apart from them, and she pulls The Scream pose.
  • Harima from School Rumble turned into The Scream when Yakumo showed no fear toward the manga editor.
  • In episode 10 of Bocchi the Rock!, Bocchi fills out an application for Kessoku Band to play at her school's culture festival, only to get cold feet when her extreme anxiety kicks in and throw it in the trash. When Kita finds the application and submits it for her, Bocchi's Comical Overreacting first turns her face into a Cubist painting, then a parody of "The Scream".

  • Andy Warhol made a silkscreen print that imitated the painting, titled The Scream (After Munch).

    Comic Books 
  • The Simpsons: When everyone in Springfield gives up sleeping entirely, Apu seems to be the only one unaffected. As he tells Lisa, working at the Kwik-e-Mart has taught him to get used to the inevitable hallucinations. In fact, he once thought he had a wife and eight children. When Lisa informs him that really happened, Apu has a freak out, with the art going into a psychedelic version of the Scream pose.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Far Side: The print collection Weiner Dog Art includes several dachshund-themed art parodies. One of these is The Whine, an alternate version of The Scream with all three figures replaced by dachshunds. Gary Larson's description also notes how this was generally considered the worst piece in Munch's entire body of work. In one incident, thieves stole dozens of artworks from a museum, including The Whine—then within the week, they returned The Whine specifically.

    Fan Works 
  • Triptych Continuum: The entry "Triptych" has Applejack note a ponified version of the painting:
    "Y'see that paintin' on the wall?" Applejack inclined her head towards the ornate frame. "The one with what Ah think is s'posed t' be a stallion on some kind of bridge, with the sky all red an' somethin' wrong with the water an' two strangers approachin'? An' he's jus' screamin' at the air?"

    Films — Animation 
  • Turning Red: Some of the movie posters have Mei in her giant red panda form screaming like the painting's subject.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Home Alone usually has it in each movie, normally achieved by whichever child has been left home alone.
  • Looney Tunes: Back in Action: There's a chase scene at the Louvre with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Elmer Fudd jumping in and out of famous paintings and one of the paintings is The Scream. When Elmer thinks he has Bugs and Daffy cornered, Bugs stomps on Elmer's foot, resulting in Elmer Fudd screaming in a fashion similar to the painting's subject.
  • In the second Problem Child movie, Mr. Peabody (who's now a school principal and clearly reveling on it) screams holding the sides of his face when Junior enters his office.
  • Scream: The masks worn by all of the Ghostface killers is a variant of Edvard Munch's The Scream.

  • One of Paul Kidby's illustrations in The Last Hero shows Lovable Coward Rincewind in the Scream pose, as a reaction to the immensity of the elephants supporting the Disc. This was used as the cover to the full-size paperback edition, although in The Art of Discworld, Kidby complains that both versions were cropped for a close-up on Rincewind, rather than sticking with the Scream layout with lots of background above him, to show just how big these elephants are.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 30 Rock: Jack gets mugged by a middle-class, white man and decides it is a sign that there is a war being waged on the rich. Tracy tries to support him, and after they discover no one is willing to do anything about it, he announces they should take matters into their own hands. Jack then promptly agrees, causing Tracy to shriek in horror while grabbing his head.
  • Used in one of Coupling`s many point-of-view gags - we see a scene twice, once from Sally's perspective and once from Patrick's. Sally thinks she's seen the eponymous Munch painting on the wall and mutters about how she hates it - when we see it from Patrick's perspective, however, we see that she was very drunk and it is in fact a mirror...
  • Doctor Who
    • Word of God is that the Silence are inspired by the screaming figure in the painting. What makes it more interesting is that In-Universe, the painting may actually be based off them, which has led to the Silence being responsible for the numerous thefts of the painting.
    • In "The Power of the Doctor", the Master inserts his face into famous works of art, including the Munch painting.
  • Money Heist: The robbers at the Royal Mint wear their signature red jumpsuits and Salvador Dalí masks to hide their identity. They also hand these out to the hostages to confuse the police. When the police send cops to infiltrate the Mint, everyone switches their masks to ones of The Scream, so the cops (who are only carrying the Dali masks since they did not know they had Scream masks on hand) would be instantly identified. The mission is promptly called off.
  • Odd Squad: In "The One That Got Away", Otto gets stuck in a painting that takes a heavy resemblance to the painting. He even performs the signature scream.

  • MAD has done several parodies of the painting over the years, including one with monkeys in it (appropriately called "The Screech"), one with Howard Dean in it (called "Howard Dean's Scream"), and one with Uncle Sam pulling it off.

  • 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Pokémon once did a collaboration with the Tokyo Art Museum to create an exhibition of cards that were inspired by the painting. Characters exhibiting the Scream included Psyduck, Eevee, Mimikyu, Pikachu, and Rowlet, whilst the other backgrounders in the painting are replaced by Pokemon (such as the Gastly family and Mimikyu) as well.

    Video Games 
  • When the disco zombie Makkey from Kendo Rage 2 has a panic attack, he generates a ghostly version of "The Scream" over his head. It can harm Makendo, but is easily avoided.
  • Luigi is shown in this pose on the cover of Luigi's Mansion.
  • In the second Rock of Ages game, the Scream itself appears at one point, sunbathing in Oslo. Due to a mix-up, it accidentally glues its hands to its face, and this results in it making the screaming face.
  • Sackboy: A Big Adventure: Happens to N.A.O.M.I. during the second act of One Track Mind.
  • In The Sims 2, the Nightlife expansion allows Sims to become vampires. If that happens, one of the random portraits of the Sim (in the interface, Friends list, phone directory, or when an action is taken with them) depicts them holding their head while their mouth is wide open.
  • In Sly 2: Band Of Thieves, Dimiri Lousteau had a forged The Scream painting with his likeness on it.
  • Touhou Project: In the fan game Touhou: Double Focus, one of the background paintings in the Castle Area shows Nue Houjuu (the Extra Stage boss of Undefined Fantastic Object) take on a pose reminiscent of The Scream.
  • In ULTRAKILL, this is Played for Horror with the Leviathan. Its "heart" features the face of The Scream because it contains the trapped souls of the Sullen, sinners who have sunk to the bottom of the Ocean Styx before being merged into the Leviathan's body. If you get up close to the heart, you can hear endless screaming.
  • Orbulon's "Culture"-themed stage in WarioWare: Get it Together! has a parody of The Scream featuring said alien that shows up alongside other famous creations (such as the Statue of Liberty and a Maneki Neko) whenever you successfully complete a microgame.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The 7D: Dopey does this in "Gnome Alone" when the dwarfs realize Sleepy is missing and the Glooms have been let in.
  • Amphibia: Grime is watching an episode of Suspicion Island, an in-universe reality show, with one sneak peek showing a woman accusing her mate of being suspicious. The man responds by doing a Big "NO!" and his hands and face resemble the painting.
  • Arthur: In "Binky Barnes, Art Expert", Arthur and Buster look through an art museum pamphlet to choose one to write a report on. They imagine themselves in a parody of The Scream, which has Francine screaming instead.
    Arthur: This is giving me a headache!
  • The Fairly OddParents!: In "Mr. Right!", Mr. Crocker gives Timmy The Scream to look at on Art Appreciation Day.
    Timmy: Why is he screaming?
    Crocker: BECAUSE HE WAS WRONG! (pulls down the painting to reveal a desk with an "F"-graded paper on it in front of the screaming man) And he got an F! Like you!
  • In the Looney Tunes Cartoons short, "Boo! AppeTweet" after Sylvester is convinced he successfully ate Tweety, who then gets covered in flour and Sylvester mistakes him for a ghost, tries to hide from Tweety inside a portrait where he's dressed and posing as Napoleon, but once Tweety spots him Sylvester morphs into The Scream.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Treehouse Of Horror IV" features a Simpsonised version of the painting amongst the pictures during the Night Gallery-inspired wraparound segment of the episode.
    • "Lisa's Sax" has a gag where Marge tells Homer that the Springfield Museum has some child-friendly activities on weekends that they could take Lisa to (most of the episode is a flashback to when Lisa was a toddler), and Homer has an Imagine Spot about beating different classic works of art in foosball.
    Homer: You lose, Michaelangelo's David! Who's next?
    The Scream: MEEEEEEEEE!!
  • Total Drama Island: A sleep-deprived Tyler hallucinates Katie and Sadie getting attacked by a bear, and screams while the animation shifts his face to a version of the painting.
  • Paradise PD: When the cast visits the Paradise Art Museum in season 4, Hobson reveals that The Scream actually has a hidden section folded behind the frame, and that the painting actually depicts Hobson giving a blowjob to the figure in the painting, which is the reason he was screaming.


Video Example(s):


Sackboy: A Big Adventure

During the second act of "One Track Mind", we see a few screens of N.A.O.M.I. with her hands on her face with a worried expression.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheScreamParody

Media sources: