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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Is It Time to Retire the Wilhelm Scream?

Posted by Paul Constant on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 9:44 AM

Always-entertaining nerdblogger MightyGodKing wants Hollywood to stop sticking the Wilhelm Scream into their movies. (For a brief history of the Wilhelm Scream, this very-low-resolution video will explain all you need to know.) MGK writes:

...the problem is this: whenever I hear a Wilhelm Scream I am taken out of the movie experience. My suspense of disbelief ends and I am just a guy sitting in a movie theatre who realized he just heard the same damn scream for the umpteenth time, because I recognize it. Every time.

I get his point, and the movie that inspired his post—The Avengers—does have an especially noticeable Wilhelm Scream in it. But I like the Wilhelm Scream. I think it's an endearing part of moviemaking. It's a split-second salute to all the people who work behind the cameras, and it's a tradition that has stretched through decades of filmmaking. Sometimes, a good Wilhelm Scream can be the only refreshing organic moment in an otherwise-stultifying CGI death march. I agree that it's a shame that the in-joke has gone public in such a huge way, but it's more than an in-joke now. The Wilhelm Scream is that one shared moment where we all, filmmakers and filmgoers, come together to recognize that we're watching a movie, and movies are fun, dammit.

But which side are you on?

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