The Scream Heard Round the World
December 19, 2018 3:23 PM   Subscribe

A while back, I asked this question about examples of screaming in religion and philosophy. Now I'm looking for broader examples of significant screams from literature, movies, history, art, etc. Examples within.

Here are some examples of what I have:
-in Run Lola Run, Lola screams as the roulette wheel turns as if her scream affects the outcome
-an interview with Melissa Cross, the vocal coach who made "The Zen of Screaming"
-scream queens (I would still welcome any super neato scream queen ideas)
-Mvnch, of course
-primal scream therapy and related devotees
-an interview with my favorite screamer, Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu
-Yoko Ono's scream piece at the MOMA (how they turned her sound off!)

I want to branch out beyond horror.

Finally if you have an example that doesn't use the word "Scream," that's fine! I also accept shouts, wails, cries, and maybe even a holler or two.
posted by mermaidcafe to Media & Arts (39 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Melismata at 3:25 PM on December 19, 2018

Wilhelm Scream
posted by no regrets, coyote at 3:36 PM on December 19, 2018 [3 favorites]

There are the famous stock screams - Wilhelm, Howie Long, and Insane Tantrum
posted by Garm at 3:38 PM on December 19, 2018

In The Tin Drum (book and movie), the protagonist has a scream that shatters glass.
posted by xo at 3:43 PM on December 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

The Goofy Holler
(Also, does KHAAAAN! count?)
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 3:45 PM on December 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

The opening of Gravity's Rainbow:

A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now.
posted by thelonius at 3:51 PM on December 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

The scream that wrecked the presidential hopes of Howard Dean.
posted by axiom at 3:57 PM on December 19, 2018 [7 favorites]

First thought: Francis Bacon's "screaming pope" paintings
Almost all of the popes are shown within cage-like structures and screaming or about to scream. Bacon identified as a Nietzschean and atheist, and some contemporary critics saw the series as symbolic execution scenes, as if Bacon sought to enact Nietzsche's declaration that "God is dead" by killing his representative on Earth. Other critics see the series as symbolizing the killing of a father figure. However Bacon balked at such literal translations, and later said that it was Velázquez himself he sought to "triumph over."
posted by Rhaomi at 3:58 PM on December 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you have any use for screams in opera, there are a number of standard ones. Klytamnestra in Elektra when Orestes kills her, an offstage woman at the very end of Cavalleria Rusticana when Turridu is killed, Tosca when she discovers Cavaradossi's mock execution wasn't so mock (this one almost always comes off awkwardly)...there was even a singer famous for her not strictly in the score screams, the late beloved Leonie Rysanek. She'd always throw in a scream when Siegmund pulls the sword out of the tree stump in Walkuere and in the last act of Die Frau Ohne Schatten.
posted by Smearcase at 4:06 PM on December 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

This might have been more appropriate back in your original question, but this one made me think of Odin's quest for the runes in the Havamal, one of the poems in the Poetic Edda:
139. I ween that I hung | on the windy tree,
Hung there for nights full nine;
With the spear I was wounded, | and offered I was
To Othin, myself to myself,
On the tree that none | may ever know
What root beneath it runs.

140. None made me happy | with loaf or horn,
And there below I looked;
I took up the runes, | shrieking I took them,
And forthwith back I fell.

Also, there are several entries in the absurdly long list of Odin's bynames that refer to yelling, screaming, roaring, or bellowing, if that's helpful to you.
posted by darchildre at 4:06 PM on December 19, 2018 [3 favorites]

Roger Daltrey’s scream at the end of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” (7:45) (or, if you prefer, at the beginning of CSI: Miami).
posted by Huffy Puffy at 4:08 PM on December 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

I also accept shouts

Italo Calvino, "The Man Who Shouted Teresa"
posted by Wobbuffet at 4:11 PM on December 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Metal music has a thing for screams. I'm familiar with Guns 'n' Roses I wanna hear you scream in Welcome to the Jungle, but I know that it goes much further than that.
posted by clawsoon at 4:26 PM on December 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

Twin Peaks culminates in a very affecting scream.
posted by 826628 at 4:27 PM on December 19, 2018 [7 favorites]

Beatlemania was and is associated in the popular consciousness with crowds of screaming teenage girls. Here is a good Guardian article about the phenomenon.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 4:57 PM on December 19, 2018

Janov Scream Therapy (mentioned above) most famous student was John Lennon on the track 'Mother'. (Wikipedia also claims mellow piano stylist Roger Williams as an adherent, which I don't hear on his recordings;)

Anecdote, someone in our family was deeply disturbed by the intense evangelist ranting about hell in a scene from the Diane Keaton documentary 'Heaven'. Explained to me that this manner of screaming was a sign of mental illness, possibly contagious.
posted by ovvl at 4:57 PM on December 19, 2018

Search results for "scream" from:
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Getty Search Gateway

Tim Maia - Terapêutica do Grito (Scream Therapy)
I talk, I yell, I scream when I want. Everybody scream!
It's got great Earth Wind & Fire-style horn arrangements, and you can scream along as you dance.

Lot's of R&B guys were known for their screaming: Little Richard, Esquerita, James Brown, and, of course, Screamin' Jay Hawkins.

There's also a music genre called screamo, but I can't help you there.
posted by hydrophonic at 5:04 PM on December 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Careful with that axe Eugene Pink Floyd
posted by hortense at 5:09 PM on December 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Screaming Tropes
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:47 PM on December 19, 2018

There's el grito, the shout on the eve of Mexico's Independence Day.
posted by abeja bicicleta at 6:01 PM on December 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

In some versions of the Celtic tale of The Curse of Macha, there's a scream. The tale in short: there's a dude who's caught the eye of the fairy woman Macha and she's been living with him and is pregnant by him. She's trying to say kind of on the down-low but he is really proud of her and likes to talk about how awesome she is. One day day he goes off to a festival but she stays behind where they live because she's heavily pregnant. And while he's at the festival he shoots his mouth off about how fast a runner she is - so fast that she could probably outrun the King's newest horse, which he's just right then showing off.

"Oh really?.....prove it," the King says. And even though the dude tries to take it back, and even though Macha also begs for mercy when she's brought to the festival, the King is stubborn and insists that "hey, lady, blame your boyfriend for shooting his mouth off." The King sets up a race between Macha and his horse - and right at the start of the race Macha's water breaks. She still wins, and right at the finish line she drops to the ground and gives birth to twins.

Then she stands up, takes a deep breath and screams at the top of her lungs. And then she lays down a curse on all the men who just were within earshot of that scream, and all of their male descendants for the next nine generations: that whenever they were at a moment when they were facing great peril, they would be afflicted with labor pains for nine straight days. And then after laying that curse on them, Macha grabbed up her twins and vanished.

....that story is part of the Irish Celtic epic of the Tain bo Cullaige, or "The Cattle Raid of Cooley", and is set up as some backstory about how the men of Ulster are initially unable to defend themselves against an attack, leaving the hero Cuchullain to defend Ulster singlehandedly for nine days until the curse wears off, at which point the rest of the men of Ulster snap out of it and rejoin the battle.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:25 PM on December 19, 2018 [3 favorites]

In the “Dragonriders of Pern” book series there is an action sequence where a dragonrider attempts to teleport to another planet, and is saved and brought back due to a psychic “scream” from someone that cares deeply for him. This scream is heard, mentally, around the planet
posted by alchemist at 12:20 AM on December 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Hush, season 4, episode 10.

The episode has no dialogue or voice acting, until Buffy’s scream at the end. It has elements of fairy tale and horror, and the metaphor of silence and speechlessness has thematic resonance, with the episode and season arc.

Plus it’s an amazing piece of television.
posted by Dwardles at 1:24 AM on December 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

There's the screaming woman in Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin.

I can also offer you the most annoying noise from the most annoying woman from the most annoying show in the history of TV, Carrie Bradshaw screaming at a squirrel.
posted by HandfulOfDust at 2:23 AM on December 20, 2018

I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream ?
posted by Mchelly at 4:06 AM on December 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

My English students and I love comparing the different takes of Lady Macbeth’s famous sleepwalking scene. There aren’t many stage directions, but Shakespeare throws in a [scream] during her monologue. This has led to some intriguing interpretations of how and why she screams.

Judy Dench’s 1970s Lady Macbeth has a scream that goes on for over 20 seconds: it is incredibly uncomfortable for my students; so much so, that they start to giggle nervously.
Kate Fleetwood’s Lady Macbeth screams because of the substance she uses to wash her hands.
posted by chronic sublime at 4:08 AM on December 20, 2018

James Brown.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:48 AM on December 20, 2018

There is a fantastic John Hurt/Alan Bates 70s creeper (not quite horror, not quite a thriller, but that very special kind of 70s British film that is unsettling and weird and slow in the best way) called The Shout. I'm not good at plot synopsis (so look it up), but you need to watch this. A tribal shout/scream has magical effect to kill animals and brainwash others and there's a nice long arty scene of it in action.
posted by ElectricGoat at 5:21 AM on December 20, 2018

In one of my favorite obscure old movies, Come Next Spring, a child’s scream is a very positive thing.
posted by elphaba at 6:12 AM on December 20, 2018

The John Hurt/Alan Bates film is based on a short story by Robert Graves, 'The Shout', about a man who claims he has the power to kill people with a shout:
"Perhaps you have never before heard of the terror shout?"

Richard considered and said: "Well, I have read of the hero shout which the ancient Irish warriors used, that would drive armies backwards, and did not Hector, the Trojan, have a terrible shout? And there were sudden shouts in the woods of Greece. They were ascribed to the god Pan and would infect men with a madness of fear; from this legend indeed the word 'panic' has come into the English language. And I remember another shout in the Mabinogion, in the story of Lludd and Llevelys. It was a shriek that was heard on every May Eve and went through all hearts and so scared them that the men lost their hue and their strength and the women their children, and the youths and maidens their senses, and the animals and trees, the earth and the waters were left barren. But it was caused by a dragon."

"My shout is not a matter of tone or vibration but something not to be explained. It is a shout of pure evil, and there is no fixed place for it on the scale. It may take any note. It is pure terror, and if it were not for a certain intention of mine, which I need not tell you, I would refuse to shout for you."
You can find it in Graves's Complete Short Stories. It's deeply weird and impossible to forget, and the image on the cover of the Penguin paperback edition terrified me when I was a kid.

There's also the terrifying scream in M.R. James's A Neighbour's Landmark. 'That which walks in Betton Wood / Knows why it walks or why it cries.' And going back to your earlier question, you might be interested in Tim Lott's piece from last Saturday's Guardian about a 'modern masculinity retreat':
After breakfast, we have an “embodied meditation” called Out of the Box in which are told to “let out our frustration”. Men jog around the room and grunt, then scream, until the room is full of reddened faces. We divide into twos and stop and stare deep into another man’s eyes. One by one, the men in the room begin to roar at each other. It is discomfiting to stand in front of a man whose face is distorted by rage and know that one’s own face must look much the same.
Sounds like my idea of hell. I think I'd rather take my chances with Graves's terror shout than rediscover my inner self in a roomful of middle-aged blokes at a masculinity workshop.
posted by verstegan at 6:24 AM on December 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

In Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club (and in the Wayne Wang film), one of the older female protagonists talks about her mother's suicide and how it affects her character and her place in the her father's polygamist household:

"And on that day, I showed Second Wife the fake pearl necklace she had given me and crushed it under my foot.

And on that day, Second Wife’s hair began to turn white.

And on that day, I learned to shout."
posted by dlugoczaj at 8:27 AM on December 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Also, Diamanda Galas turned screaming into an art form. The second side of her album The Litanies of Satan is called "Wild Women with Steak Knives (The Homicidal Love Song for Solo Scream)".
posted by dlugoczaj at 8:38 AM on December 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

Shreeky from the Care Bears.
posted by to recite so charmingly at 9:31 AM on December 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Frederick Douglass wrote about hearing his Aunt Hester scream while being whipped. It's a moment that's gotten a fair amount of attention from scholars of literature, music and sound studies in recent years.
posted by dr. boludo at 1:17 PM on December 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

Horton Hears a Who.
posted by CathyG at 1:28 PM on December 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Aural And Visual Manifestations Of The Scream In Art, Beginning With Edvard Munch’S Der Schrei Der Natur, article by Anastasia Siopsi, Ionian University, Corfu.
posted by flug at 3:00 PM on December 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

"I too am not a bit tamed—I too am untranslatable;
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world."

Verse 52 from "Song of Myself" by Walt Whitman
posted by Homer42 at 5:08 PM on December 20, 2018

One of the most famous in pop culture is Cameron's scream in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. It can be heard everywhere in Chicago!

And since you've extended the question to crying, there's the Who's mini-rock-opera "A Quick One, While He's Away"
Down your street your crying is a well-known sound
Your street is very well known throughout town
Your town is very famous for the little girl
Whose crying can be heard all around the world
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 12:35 AM on December 22, 2018

The tagline for Alien is "In space, no one can hear you scream."
posted by mermaidcafe at 7:26 PM on December 31, 2018

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