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The Wilhelm Scream

Jeff Kolar on July 21, 2012 01:11

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    The Wilhelm Scream is an audio exploration into the iconic cinematic sound effect called “The Wilhelm Scream.” The sound sample can be found in over 225 films, video games, and television programs. The scream is often used when someone is shot, falls from a great height, or is thrown from an explosion.

    The scream was originally recorded in a single take, along with five other short pained-screams, which were archived as “man getting bit by an alligator, and he screams.” The stock sample is credited to Sheb Wooley, best known for his pop song “The Purple People Eater.”

    The Wilhelm Scream CD is in an edition of 187 - one CD for each Hollywood usage of the scream. Each copy of the CD includes a specific screen-shot captured at the exact moment the scream was used in each particular film. The print inserts are numbered chronologically, with number 1 being the first usage of the scream in the 1951 movie “Distant Drums.” The film stills were sourced digitally from online discussion boards, fan websites, and YouTube channels.

    The audio explores the scream’s origins, usage, and cult status as well as the character conversations and ambient sounds that immediately precede and follow the sound effect.

    The Wilhelm Scream was produced for the exhibition “And Then She’s Like, And He Goes” curated by Chris Campe at Columbia College Chicago’s Averill and Bernard Leviton A+D Gallery.

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    "The Wilhelm Scream" by Jeff Kolar is licensed under a Creative Commons License

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