So I was watching The Avengers again over the weekend and during one of the fight sequences, there is of course a Wilhelm Scream. This was not something I failed to miss the first time I watched the movie. More precisely, when I watched The Avengers the first time through and the Wilhelm Scream happened, my reaction was “oh, Christ. The Wilhelm Scream.” And this is because the Wilhelm Scream now must be in every movie ever, because it’s stopped becoming an in-joke and started becoming a sign of nerd credibility. I mostly blame this Youtube video for that:
And now every action/blockbuster movie has to have a Wilhelm Scream in it somewhere. All of the Harry Potters had them, The Hunger Games had one, all of the Marvel flicks have one, I think The Expendables had about half a dozen, et cetera. But 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 hate that feeling of being reminded I’m watching a movie, and for the sake of a cheap in-joke at that. When I watch a movie, I want to be thrilled during the fight scenes and exciting bits where a Wilhelm Scream might conceivably be heard. I want to experience that “ooooch” feeling when somebody really gets it, and if that moment is punctuated with a Wilhelm Scream then I’m not going to get that feeling. Instead, I’m just going to be thinking “oh, a Wilhelm Scream. Huh.” I mean, it would be as if a character stopped acting and suddenly just turned to the camera holding a handful of bacon and said “look! Bacon!” Because people love bacon. You would want to smack them if they did that, right? I mean, I already want to smack every webcomic artist who uses “bacon” as a punchline, and I’m not even paying for the webcomic, whereas I am typically paying in some manner for the movie.
Seriously. Sound people in Hollywood. Go find some other scream noise. Don’t use the Wilhelm Scream for another ten years at least. We all need a break from it.