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May 18th 2017 at 8:33:56 PM •••

So I see someone has gone through a number of YMMV pages and deleted this trope, stating that it's "Not YMMV." Considering the horror of a sound is subjective, how is this not YMMV? In short, is this YMMV or not?

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May 18th 2017 at 9:02:25 PM •••

Read {{}}, this explains the decision. By the way, the current description mentions a reaction of a character, not of the audience.

Edited by MagBas
Telcontar MOD
Mar 5th 2014 at 2:02:27 AM •••

I declined a custom title request for "Hell Is That Noise!?". I don't see this trope title as the question "what the hell is that noise?"; instead, I see it as the answer "Hell is that noise". If people disagree, though, I'll be happy to put in the custom title.

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Mar 5th 2014 at 5:04:56 AM •••

Seconding the decline; it makes it sound more dialoguey and the page description doesn't support that meaning of the trope name.

Aug 28th 2012 at 5:08:27 PM •••

Not to mention the fact Pokemon Ranger and The Temple of The Sea, Manaphy has an ear-shattering Wail.

Mar 11th 2012 at 12:39:02 PM •••

I thought this was a trope about horrifying ambience, not Nightmare Fuel + creepy sounds.

I think we should get a clean up in here.

Edited by stickmeister0
Nov 7th 2011 at 4:02:19 PM •••

I know! It has no reason for not being there.

Jan 1st 2012 at 3:01:31 AM •••

There was a Real Life section before, and it turned into a godawful mess of natter and This Troper.

Jul 18th 2012 at 7:26:14 PM •••

Did anyone archive the contents somewhere?

Telcontar MOD
Jul 18th 2012 at 11:35:55 PM •••

Here is what used to be in the folder. It isn't all the RL examples that have been on the page, since there were some added when the notice was ignored. Remember not to add this section back.

    Real Life 
  • Everybody has a couple of sounds that just make them cringe. One personal hell was a common occurrence in school. A classmate would be using a number two pencil, but the eraser would have been long since worn down, so any time they had to erase a mistake, they'd be scraping the metal cap at the bottom of the eraser against the wooden desk. If you've never heard this sound, consider yourself lucky.
  • The Stuka - it may as well be the trope namer for how horrifying it is. A plane that killed thousands of allied civilians and soldiers that dove at extreme angles to drop bombs on people. To invoke this trope, the germans mounted a siren that they made to sound as terrifying as possible on it. It worked. Unfortunately, due to Reality Is Unrealistic, planes going down (at least propeller-driven ones) tend to use this sound effect for dramatic impact - but imagine being a serviceman going down a french road when you hear the drone of an engine, the epitome of Hell is That Noise, and then you're probably dead or severely wounded. Was Nightmare Fuel Unleaded for many veterans.
  • That warbling buzzer that sounds before an Emergency Broadcast (in the States, anyway). All of a sudden, the show you're watching goes totally silent. Did you bump "mute" without realizing? Where's the remote—AHH AHH AHH. AHH AHH AHH. Probably intentional, as the idea of the klaxon is to quickly get the viewer's attention as to the fact that something very not good is happening.
    • The buzzing is actually data bursts for SAME (Specific Area Message Encoding), which tells the EAS operators for how long, where, and what the alert is for (with the assistence of a machine that translates the data bursts into a readout. What's even more bone-chilling is the original attention tone for the Emergency Broadcast System.
    • If you're Brazilian and your watching Globo TV is interrupted by this, you'll shit bricks.
      • One of this troper's favorite moments from Modern Warfare 2 was the moment when the EAS went off before you're thrust into the D.C. warzone....
    • Speaking of which, if you happen to live in Australia...
    • Also, the Amber Alert klaxon.
      • The Amber Alert klaxon, on its own, sounds like a corny sound effect from a 1980's B-movie. But with its Amber Alert connotation - this is the sound that plays when some sicko kidnaps a child, God knows why - it becomes High Octane Nightmare Fuel.
      • To some, the sound is High Octane Nightmare Fuel for another reason, since it has been shown to decrease the effectiveness of the search for the kidnapped child as a result of the media getting in the way.
      • Amber alerts are only supposed to be played for an actual kidnapping/endangerment — but a number of them have turned out to be false alarms.
  • Certain fire alarms. For example, the pulsing Simplex horn listed in Stock Sound Effects, which kind of sounds like a nuclear meltdown buzzer.
    • This troper was pee-her-pants scared of fire drills in elementary school on account of that alarm exactly. Hell is, in fact, that noise.
    • Oh God. This troper's high school had the worst one. A high-pitched, whining buzz that gained weird acoustic properties in our marble hallways, so that you could barely hear it until you turned a corner, and then you wanted to claw your ears off. OH MY GOD WHAT THE HELL IS THAT SOUND is not the best state of mind in a crisis situation.
    • This troper lived in a dorm for a few months where the fire alarms would make this wierd clicky noise (which, for some reason, reminded me of an indrawn breath) right before blaring extremely loudly in every bedroom and hallway. Which would have been alright, except the alarms went off fairly regularly (averaging about 2-3 times a month), and the heaters in the rooms made a very similar ticking noise when they would turn on. On more than one occasion, I'd react out of sheer instinct and quickly plug my ears when the heater turned on.
    • Really, alarms of any type would probably count as an intentional application of this trope.
    • This troper's depression era elementary school had big red alarm clock style dual bells that made the kindergarteners CRY. The middle school (90s) has a happy beeping sound and strobe lights, and the 50s high school has an alarm reminiscent of ancient police sirens.....
  • The mooing of cows has become an example of this trope for the entire nation of Japan due to World War II; when the bomb sirens would go off, every cow would start screaming at the top of its lungs. Now you know why that really creepy track of nothing but alternating bass tones on the Katamari Damacy soundtrack is called "Night Moo Moo".
  • Speaking of the THX sound. Just... just listen to it! Uugh...
  • During basketball games, how about the loud buzzing sound the timer makes to signify the end of each quarter? This troper hated going to see her brother play in the basketball games when she was younger for this very reason. She'd always hide under her coat, stick her fingers in her ears and scream, "Mom! Make the zeroes stop buzzing!" Paranoia Fuel at its finest.
  • Exploding Head Syndrome. You know, when you wake up and you hear a loud explosion-like noise in your head. It's a fairly well documented occurrence actually.
    • I actually have this. The first episode I had was while watching The Ruins. On a laptop. On my lap. Yeah, it fell, and it was half an hour before I could make myself move to pick it up. I didn't stop shaking until the next day. It didn't help that in my case the sound was accompanied by a flash of light. Not. Fun.
      • It's an extremely ominous sound to wake up to. It never bothers me because I almost always get them when someone's giving me a scalp massage, which is an extremely sedating experience for me (understatement — I could forget my own name during those...)
    • This troper has it, as well, and I always get it when I'm trying to sleep. The noises are pretty varied-I've heard pops, bangs, explosions, a laser firing, and even a barking sound. The noises can be REALLY loud sometimes, and like the above troper, I sometimes see flashes of light. Not fun at all...
  • There was an old PSA commercial about smoke alarms geared towards kids. The smoke alarm introduces himself as Seymour (See-more) Smoke voiced by none other than Gilbert Gottfried. Seymour tells the kids how to be safe when the alarm goes off and proceeds to demonstrate. The alarm is actually a puppet in the ceiling and the alarm is not that ear-piercing BEEPBEEPBEEP everyone knows, but is in fact THE SCREAM OF A DYING UNIVERSE that I can't recall without shuddering. The expression and seizure-like shaking the puppet does while screaming the alarm doesn't help.
  • A rabbit screaming is often cited as one of the most haunting noises for its rather uncanny resemblance to a human baby's cry, and that generally humans perceives the animal as being silent otherwise.
  • There is a reason why the Loon's distinctive cry has become a Stock Sound Effect; it's a mourning-sounding wail is very good at evoking the "Alone in the scary nature" atmosphere.
  • The sound of TV Static, for some. The following from YouTube is a video people have taken of the US analog TV switchoff. It's just creepy, as most of them went from everything as normal, to static. As if all of civilization had just suddenly collapsed. Goodbye. * tssssssssssssssssssssssh*
    • This becomes even creepier if you've read certain creepypasta.
      • Why is that television painted like that...?
    • Thanks for giving this troper a new hobby. Her favorite is so creepy it's almost hilarious. Most of them just make her a little misty-eyed, though.
  • I can't believe nobody's mentioned the sine wave that used to accompany The Test Pattern. Apparently a lot of people were extremely unnerved by it, especially as it generally occurred in the wee small hours. Fall asleep watching TV and wake up to this, it could go straight down your spine. Dooooooooooooooooooooooooooot. I kind of like it, but I also think the WWV time signal is soothing.
  • An injured and screaming horse sounds a lot like an injured woman screaming bloody murder. It's also quite creepy. Whenever a cowboy protagonist puts his horse out of its misery, he's also putting it out of his misery.
  • Alarm clocks. No matter how soon you set your alarm... hell, even if you just set it five minutes from now so TV Tropes doesn't make you late for work, that sound will always make some people jump.
    • Unless you set it to a radio station that plays smooth, soft music (or news), but then that defeats the purpose thereof.
      • There's at least one cell phone alarm sound that manages to have that cake and eat it, a pleasant humming-ringing sound that can wake you up on the first go but in case it didn't keeps on getting louder as it repeats.
    • For extra fun, use your cellphone as an alarm and set the alarm sound to the Sonic drowning music.
      • You're a twisted sonuvabitch, you know that?
      • Well, duh. I mean, with an alarm like Sonic's drowning, I dare you to even try to sleep. It could make me spend the whole day on a bad mood, I think. And I don't even wanna try, I'm sure about it alreasy.
        • This troper did exactly that about a year ago for pretty much those reasons. I don't think I've overslept yet.
    • A friend of This Troper's decided to set the Dalek warcry as her alarm. ...Well, it worked...
    • This troper had an old alarm/radio once with 2 alarms available on it. The first was your typical BEEPBEEPBEEP junk. The second was about twice as fast, but half as loud. What put it in this category, however, is when you set both to go off at the same which point the two combine into a near-deafening klaxon blare, with every other beat of the 2nd sounding like it's echoing off in the distance to make it seem even louder. Only ever did that once...feeling like your house is about to go into nuclear meltdown is not fun.
  • Some VanityPlates, like the Screen Gems "S from Hell" (inspiring a documentary/horror film)
  • The virus detection sound for Avira Antivirus. It's especially jarring because the sound comes directly from your PC speaker. If you've had any particularly nightmarish battles against viruses, that beeping noise will echo in your ears for days afterward.
    • This troper's university uses it as their main AV in all machines. It's EXTREMELY scary to have it detect a virus on one of the P Cs at the library (which is, most of the time, a dead silent place) and go beeping.
  • No mention of Avast! Antivirus 4? BREEE! BREEE! BREEE! WARNING!!! A VIRUS HAS BEEN DETECTED!!! Complete with giant popup window and animated radioactive symbol! For version 5, they replaced the booming announcer guy for a woman's voice, and decided to just dong you instead of doing klaxons. DONGDONGDONG!!! THREAT HAS BEEN DETECTED!!!
  • The "low battery" sound on cellphones. What makes it worse is that on many models, it will go off regardless of your sound settings.
    • The wall mounted phones aren't safe either. At one point my phone was beeping and flashing with such a frightening pace to this day I swear it was going to explode in my hand.
  • The sound of lightning and/or thunder during a thunderstorm.
    • Particularly when said thunder has been a quiet rumble in the distance, and then... BAROOOM!
    • Or the thunder that starts with the "ka-ka-rak-a-rak" sound (the one that sounds like a gigantic piece of tinfoil being shaken) and goes to the deep shuddering BABOOM.
    • YMMV, this troper finds thunder either soothing or exhilarating depending on the type.
  • I've always found the monotone beeping noise that a phone makes when left off the hook for more than a minute or so to be sublimely unsettling. Then Aronofsky had to go and use it in Requiem For A Dream in the creepiest part of the entire movie.
    • BT phones in the UK make a more siren-like noise under similar circumstances, but it's pretty unsettling too.
  • The Windows "Critical Stop" sound. You're just minding your business when all of a sudden, DUN.
    • The Windows 3.x series and early versions of Windows 95 had by far the creepiest ones. However, even on Vista, it's a little nerve-wracking to await the inevitable DENG noise that accompanies that nVidia Control Panel error I always get at startup.
    • The error beeps in DOS.
    • How about the BIOS sound-coded errors you get while booting? Memory error? A low continuous BEEEEEEP BEEEEEEP BEEEEEEP. Power supply or motherboard problems? A normal-toned, continuous BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP. And so on.
    • Mac Death Chimes. Usually accompanied by the Sad Mac / Dead Mac icon.
  • Car horns, though Your Mileage May Vary depending on where you live. In the Philippines, for instance, you use your horn to assert right-of-way, so having someone honk at you is nothing big. In the U.S., it can cause quite a jolt as it typically means "WATCH WHERE YOU'RE GOING!" or "YOU FUCKING IDIOT!"
    • It can also cause Road Rage. Perhaps it should be Hell Is That Noise for the one doing the honking.
  • Pretty much any Last Note Nightmare, especially anything used by The Beatles. Strawberry Fields Forever and Revolution 9 in particular
    • Audio engineers find the Beatle tracks funny and interesting instead of scary. This says something about audio engineers. Considering how "Strawberry Fields Forever" was produced... it involved scissors...
  • No mention of air raid sirens? Many are very much still in use, repurposed for other emergencies such as tornadoes. The one in this editor's town is also tested on a regular schedule. I heard a story about someone who had been caught in an actual air raid once, moving to this town and hearing the test for the first time without realizing what it was for...
    • Heh. Air raid sirens are very much still in use in their ORIGINAL capacity as well. This troper lived in Tel-Aviv during the Gulf War, and his heart still gets racing when he hears something that reminds him of that sound.
    • This Troper's town has an old english Air Raid siren repurposed as the dispatch signal for the volunteer fire company. Creepy. You can hear it in the next school district!
    • The town that is right beside the one that this troper lives uses an air raid siren FOR A CURFEW!
    • This Troper forgot that he had set his alarm on his phone to play an air raid siren. Outcome wasn't pretty.
    • At the University of Washington, when the football team enters, and when they score. "Wait, wasn't that a good thing that just happened?!?"
  • The mysterious signal known as "the Buzzer" emanating from the Russian shortwave radio station UVB-76. It's creepy, it's been playing continuously for 28 years (aside from three interruptions), and no one knows what purpose it serves.
    • What's even creeper is the fact that you can sometimes hear background noise and distant conversations, suggesting that the Buzzer isn't an automated transmission, but a device in a room with an open mike.
    • UVB-76 is probably part of the Russian "Dead Hand" system. When that buzzer stops, the world ends. Sleep well.
    • Since August 23rd, it has gotten more active, including a list of numbers and names, the buzzing stopping completely, intermittent buzzing, morse code and part of the Swan Lake playing in the background. Activity peaked on Sept 1st, when all events happened within a span of 3 hours.
  • Ever hear the Backward Music Station? It is very creepy. Cracked describes it well.
    The "Backward Music Station" doesn't actually play backward music. That's just what they call it. What it is broadcasting instead is something from the fucking bowels of Hell itself.
  • Any numbers station falls into this category. The one this troper found particularly creepy was Swedish Rhapsody. Loud beeping, followed by a jaunty little tune played on what sounds like a music box, followed by a series of recorded German numbers in a little girl's voice.
  • Dot. Matrix. Printers. Particularly when they jammed or experienced an error. Thank god almost no one uses them anymore.
    • I did until it got broken. Normal operating sound... loud an annoying, but no big problem. The sound of a paper jam? Turn. It. Off. NOW.
    • Here! Take this Nightmare Retardant!
    • Not too different from the sound of old dial-up modems. Try calling a fax number on your phone for the same experience.
  • The sound of a dying hard drive. This page has many PC versions. Now GO BACK UP YOUR DATA!!
    • The worst ones are the bad bearings, and the stuck spindle beeps.
  • Anything scratching a chalkboard. Need I say more?
  • The sound of a knife or fork scraping on a plate when your hand slips. Gosh I'm cringing just thinking about it.
  • You don't want to piss off the owls. You really don't.
  • Listening to the radio in times of severe weather. Creepy Robotic Voice: "BWWWWWWEEEEEEEEP BWWWWWWWWEEEEEEEP The National Weather Service has just issued a tornado warning for: {Insert your county). But if you love storms, Your Milage May Vary.
  • Try this, get a plastic wheelie bin, tape the wheels so they can't move, fill it with bricks and drag it along the asphalt.
  • Certain kinds of binaural beats can really have this effect.
  • The sound of steam escaping from a lobster's shell as it's boiled. It almost sounds as if the lobster is screaming as it dies. In front of you. On your stove. (Contrary to popular belief, they do not actually scream; they don't even have vocal chords.)
  • The transit authorities in Paris exploited both this and the Most Wonderful Sound to encourage you to keep your Navigo transit pass in order. When you put a valid pass in the scanner, you're rewarded with a wonderful "DINNGGG!"... but when your pass has expired, it goes all the way around to a painfully ear-grating "BRRRRRRRZZZZZZZTTTTTTT!!!".
  • They just added a vuvuzela (those traditional african horn things that they play at the FIFA world cup) button on youtube. At first when I clicked on the button (which looks like a soccer ball), it played a looping sound of the vuvuzelas which sounded really creepy until I actually found out what it was.
    • Even knowing what it is, it still sounds rather creepy to me.
  • Tornado warning alarms, especially in the middle of the day.
    • Many US military bases feature the "Giant Voice" system, basically a network of loudspeakers on telephone poles that play all the daily bugle calls such as Reveille, Retreat, and Taps. They have a couple of tones that play to warn people on base (and really, anywhere near that zipcode off base} of impending sources of concern. One tone is for natural disasters like tornadoes. The other is for imminent enemy attack.
      • And speaking of the Giant Voice System, for anybody in the military, that hellish song known as Reveille. Most especially during Basic Training, when the song, played at very high volume, was the alarm clock which announced that it was time for you to tumble out of bed and launch into your day at a full sprint, complete with Drill Sergeant Nasties screaming at you to hurry up.
  • Protect and Survive, a series of subtly terrifying Public Information Films that were to be used in the case of a impending nuclear event, had a terrifying musical phrase at the end of each of them that was even more unsettling than the ad itself.
  • Air vents. Particularly louder ones, especially in larger spaces where they tend to echo.
  • Mosquitoes. Especially when you're trying to sleep, dammit!
    • WHEEEEEN. WHEEEEEEEN. I'm starting to freak out just thinking about it.
  • Imagine hearing this at 2AM outside your window.
    • The first time I heard that for real, at night, I thought it was a woman being attacked, and almost called the police.
  • That high-pitched "I've seen you and am about to blast you with decibels" noise that house alarms make. QUICKLY, PRESS THE BUTTONS, PRESS THE BUTTONS
  • That freakish noise you hear when everything is silent.
    • It's called Tinnitus. This troper maintains his sanity with constantly operating electric fans.
  • The sound of a ship scraping against the seafloor.
    • The sound of a sonar's ping, scares the hell out of me
  • Stone Curlews
  • The screaming call of a Barking Owl and one of the calls of the Purple Swamphen are usually emitted and night, and both sound like women being murdered.
  • A sneeze in a silent house in the middle of the night, when everyone is in bed and you haven't heard anyone else wake up and move around for at least two hours. Made even creepier if it's a small sneeze and close to your bedroom door.
  • Try sleeping after scary movie day with a friend then you hear what sounds like the cries of the damned at 3 in the morning coming from the direction of the woods...
  • Saturn seems like a peaceful giant planet, but when the radio waves it emits are converted into audio, the result is a blasting, howling, screaming sound literally from beyond our world. Try not to go mad after hearing Saturn.
    • Reapers perhaps?
    • This troper finds it terribly beautiful.
    • My God, that's lovely. I'm going to use that in an audio mix. I know just where to put it. Thank you.
  • Silence. Pure, unbroken, unnatural silence when you know there should be sound of some sort. The kind of effect you get when some television program messes with your head and has an empty room with no noise, no characters, no music. The sort of silence that will drive you mad until you wail in despair if only to comfort your own disturbing loneliness.
  • The hissing sound of steam flooding a steam room.
  • While watching video footage of the WTC collapse, someone noticed this high pitched ringing sound in all the video after a certain point, that seemed to be exceptionally loud in video taken of firefighters sifting through the rubble of the South Tower just after the collapse. It wasn't until later that it was found out that noise is the sound a Firefighter's Uniform gives off (thanks to a device in the jacket) when the wearer is still for more than a few minutes, intended to allow for unconscious or wounded Firefighters to be found in smokey buildings. Except here,there were hundreds of them going off at once. Underneath the feet of the Firefighters searching through the rubble. Imagine being able to hear the uniforms of hundreds of people, ten, twenty, a hundred feet below the ground you're walking on. That is hell.
    • Audible on the documentary filmed on the Fire Department that became the 9/11 documentary are gunshots. Listen closely to the sound when the camera is inside the lobby, filming the initial response from the emergency services personnel. Except what you're hearing as a loud, sharp crack are the sounds of the jumpers from above the fire. To this troper, and to the firefighters, it was truly Hell indeed when you find out it's not gunshots.
  • An EKG flatlining. Made infinitely worse if you're in a hospital when it happens.
  • Probably the most literally taken example. Some Russians were examining places to put a new oil well in Siberia. They stuck a microphone that would stand up to 2000 degrees and listened in. It's been described as the sound of tortured souls and is now used in the "Existence of Hell" debate.
    • It's a hoax. snopes has an article on it. That being said, it is still pretty creepy sounding.
  • Anyone else find the anti-mouse wall plugs really creepy? This troper finds that you can't hear them, but they create a weird silence around them where you're sure there should be some sound.
  • Imagine drifting into a peaceful sleep while camping, then all of a sudden you hear a Barn Owl screeching

Dec 8th 2016 at 3:06:46 PM •••

I have something to add to that: apartment buzzers from the inside. Especially annoying when you've got both kids a floor below you who buzz everyone to get let in, and when you have lots of packages arriving at different times and they always hold it BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP oh God it drives me crazy.

Nov 16th 2010 at 7:00:21 AM •••

When I open video games and skim through looking for something, it turns into a giant, ungainly Wall of Text. Could this be sorted by genre or something?

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Nov 16th 2010 at 8:37:29 AM •••

Sure, Why Not?.

...Actually, this whole page is an ungodly Wall of Text, Video Games section or not. I'm splitting this off into component pages. You can split by genre in the new Video Games page.

Edited by SomeGuy
Jul 1st 2010 at 4:46:18 PM •••

There are a lot of entries about music here, but isn't this trope actually about sound effects?

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Jan 16th 2013 at 2:50:19 PM •••

That's what I thought.

Looking at the video games subpage, there are some good examples of music ("you quickly learn to associate the opening chords of this with an especially nasty enemy" to paraphrase), but there's several that are basically just "x song, listen for yourself."

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