How Screams are Used in Horror Movies

How Screams are Used in Horror Movies

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-You still wake up sometimes don’t you? -You wake up in the dark…and hear the screaming
of the lambs… -Yes… Have you ever been frightened by a scream? How can someone’s voice leave you so uneasy? As if someone’s fear or pain has invaded you
with only a sound. With every cry the serrated noise pierce’s
through you until you are left disquieted with a mounting sobering feeling. -God please no!!! Something is wrong. In today’s video, it’s our pleasure to introduce
you to our first Element of Horror: Screams When you were born one of the first things
you did when air filled your lungs and traveled through your vocal folds was to let out a
scream and for a reserved few it’s the bookend that might await your story. But this bookend is almost a certainty when
it comes to horror movies. From a hushed startled gasp to an all-out
ear-splitting screech, we can count on the genre to deliver all types of shrieks. As humans, we scream out of aggression, fear,
pain, excitement and surprise. -How do you like it?
[surprised scream] But when it comes to the horror genre, we
mostly deal with screams of surprise, pain and fear. A natural reaction to a horrific situation. Often times, screams are used as an exclamation
mark to end a scene or they can be used to release mounting tension. Just as a scream can be the immediate reaction
to something frightening, it can also be that little spark that activates a fear response
in us. When we hear that chaotic sound rising in
frequency, it alerts our brain that there might be danger, just like an alarm would. A defense mechanism that our body has, to
protect us from harm. It’s what gives us a rush when we’re watching
a scary scene. But some films go beyond just presenting a
person yelling loudly to scare us. The garden variety screams that we are used
to can be deformed and dehumanized in order to disturb us. It’s something so simple. Instead of hearing something familiar, we
are presented with something other-worldly. Like the sound the Thing makes when it’s caught
in mid-transformation. What we see is very much human but what we
hear is devoid of anything resembling a person. Its an accumulation otherworldly voices, unable
to settle on one language or form of communication. You don’t have a point of reference to the
sound. So, it’s not disguisable. Taking away it human traits makes you realize
you are going up against something beyond your comprehension and outside the limits
of human knowledge. But you can also partially deform a scream
to create a similar effect. In Annihilation a human voice is spliced to
that of an animal. You can hear the painful audible struggle
of the voices overlapping each other. The voice calling for help in between the
beastly snarls. Separately, both sounds are recognizable but
placing them together alters their nature. creating something chimeric. It’s unsettling because it’s an audible contrast
that shouldn’t exist…an aberration. Your mind is trying to reconcile these two
competing sounds and it’s scarier than any growl the creature could have made. It adulterates what you expected to hear. But It’s not necessary to deform a scream
to produce fear. Sometimes all you have to do is explore the
primal nature of the scream. This is a pattern seen in Ari Aster’s films. Many times, screams are just seen as high-pitched
noises, but Ari Aster gives them their importance as our primal expression of emotion. They are screams that aren’t based on anything
supernatural. They affect us because they’re very human. They display our deepest feelings in an unfiltered
and unglamorous manner, shocking us and making us empathize with someone instinctively. Before we could speak, we knew how to scream. There are some emotions that are so vivid
and hard to organize into a well-structured thought. Words can fail to capture the abstract and
painful emotions of fear and grief. Sometimes all we can do
is scream… This video is kindly sponsored by Squarespace
and yes, they are our very first sponsor and today they are offering you, our viewer, 10%
off your first purchase when you start your free trial to build your own website at
using the offer code Screened! We are currently using Squarespace to build
our own website:! Choose from a variety of beautiful templates
that will look great on a desktop or on a mobile phone. It was very easy to make a video gallery of
all our essays and we even made a playlist page where you can find the original soundtracks
from our past videos embed from Bandcamp. Best of all, Squarespace is an all in one
platform…so you never need plugins, updates, or patches…ever… and you don’t need to
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an official looking place for your fans or clients to follow and contact you. Try it out and see what you can make with
the 14-day free trial! Again, that’s offer
code: Screened. Thank you for taking the time to watch our
video. We invite you to like share and subscribe
if you haven’t done so yet. We really hope you enjoyed the first part
of our Elements of Horror series. We will be releasing videos like this one
throughout the month of October. Very short video essays analyzing specific
aspects of the horror genre. Today’s musical composition was made by Eduardo
Gonzalez, if you like his work you can find his information down in the description. And if you wish to support us so we can keep
making videos like this one, we invite you to check out our Patreon page. Until next time!


  1. Its sad to notice how good your videos are, and how low amount of ppl watch them.
    you deserve way more views and recognition sir, keep going.

  2. Holy shittt Annihilation looks so good just from that short clip.

    Also, congratulations on you guys on your first sponsorship! Hope you get more for the caliber of content you're making.

  3. I know it's October and it's to be expected that there will be alot of videos on horror, but oh man. It's such a treat that you guys covered more on horror, since I'm currently doing a thesis with it's role on depicting societal issues and fears. And this is a big help!

    Keep it up guys! Amazing video as always!

  4. Have i been frightened by a scream? Yes, but it wasn't audible. In the Shining, Danny's silent scream scared the mortal hell out of me. The terrified expression on his face, his mouth agape, eyes widened in horror of the events to come in The Overlook Hotel, is enough to make me quiver.

  5. Toni Collette was an absolute gem in Hereditary……..such a powerful scene when she discovered her kid's dead body but I would argue Alex wolff's silence was equally unsettling and disconcerting

  6. In a lot of movies the scream is still not really alarming; since an actor forced it the scream doesn't actually feel real.
    But what is actually terrifying is when someone in real life screams because of danger or when something is wrong – those kind of shrieks makes you shiver over your whole body; it's the kind of sound where every single person who hears it instinctively knows: 'Something is wrong and I could be in danger.'

  7. Aw yeah aw yeah AW YEAH! I'm looking forward to seeing the following parts in this series! I had never thought how screams were such an important element in horror movies, it was definitely interesting to hearing your points about it!

    And hey, congratulations on your first sponsor! You guys are terribly talented as I said so often now, and I hope with this, your channel starts to grow even bigger from now on. Keep up the good work and happy spooky season to you!

  8. when you were talking about how sometimes we feel so much that all we can do is scream, i almost cried. about a year ago, me and my sisters favorite artist died and she found out before me, so i woke up that morning to her screaming. it was so full of pain and sadness, just thinking about it makes me wanna cry again.

  9. I don't know about movies, but the most disturbing scream I've ever heard in any medium by far is in the song Frankie Teardrop by Suicide about a young man who murders his wife and child.

  10. The most disturbing scream I've ever witnessed, is the one painted by Francis Bacon… nothing will ever beat the existential dread of that screaming pope.

  11. Florence pughs scream after her parents died and Toni colettes scream after her daughter died always gives me goosebumps

  12. The creature in Annihilation, man. That animal/human combo, and the pool, that made it one of my favorite horrors to date.

  13. I will always say that screaming is that one of the most effective horror elements, and it is a factor in some of my favorite horror scenes

  14. One memorable scream has to be Allysons from the most recent Halloween. The first time she sees Michael Myers there must be a million thoughts running through her head: "I just found my friend murdered on a fence post/There is a masked man/This is the man who almost killed my Grandmother/My grandmother has been right this entire time." And she instantly recognizes all these things, screams, and runs, mirroring what happened to Laurie.

  15. The most memorable scream I can think of in recent times is Maleficent's scream after her wings were taken. Its not a horror movie, but a lot of people got chills with that scene

  16. The horror bear in Annihilation is the only scream I know of that ever really got to me… that was so unsettling… I'm glad to see it listed in this video.

  17. Wait. I just realised. I don't think screams scare me at all. Annoy. Yes. Rattle. Yes. But unease and fear? I don't know when a movie scream worked as intended on me the last time. In real life, yes, it would make me wonder why the screaming is produced. That might lead to unease as I put two and two together and imagine what is happening. But in films? No. They do nothing for me.

  18. I'm so so so glad you've got a sponsor!!! Congratulations guys, i love your videos You deserved it keep making them they're so cool and inteligent!

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