The “Wilhelm Scream” – Time to kill it?

Pick an action movie, and odds are you’ve heard the Wilhelm Scream. The distinctive sound someone who has been shot, or exploded, or falls off some tall building or cliff makes, culled from the library of stock Hollywood sound effects many years ago, and now a fixture. Watch this video to see just how pervasive it’s become:

It even shows up in the recently released “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

But is it, after all these years, time to do away with Wilhelm Scream?

Really, what point does it serve to continue to use it? Besides some cutesy nod to years gone by, what does it really bring to the viewing experience?

More importantly, what does it take away from the viewing experience? I don’t know about anyone else, but it doesn’t matter how involved I am with a movie, or how much I am identifying with the characters, as soon as some fool gets shot/stabbed/exploded and lets loose with that oh-so-distinctive scream, my brain disconnects and thinks, “Wilhelm Scream.”

What is the point of that? Let’s just do what we should have done years ago: retire it. Delete it from the database and publicly shame anyone that uses it again.


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