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A Call To Arms...err, I mean...Ears

Like most nerds of my ilk, I have seen Star Wars many, many times, starting from an early age. One of the earliest vivid memories is that of the Princess Leia rescue sequence, specifically the scene in which Luke destroys the controls for the bridge and has to swing across...you know...this scene: When Luke offs one of the stormtroopers, he falls into the shaft screaming. That scream stuck with me for some reason. I didn't know why at the time. Later, when I was watching The Empire Strikes Back, I heard it again. This time Chewie, with his C-3PO backpack in full effect, totally punks a stormtrooper and tosses him off the carbonite freezing platform. The scream was the same. To make a long story short, what I was hearing in these two films, and in many others I started to notice, was the famous Wilhelm Scream. I didn't know it had a name until I chanced upon a piece on NPR. Much has been written on this scream (see NPR link) so there is nothing new for me to add. However, there is another scream I am interested in, and I need your help. But before that, here is a compilation of Wilhelm screams for your viewing pleasure. Now, to the crux of the biscuit. I've heard another scream, maybe not used as extensively as the Wilhelm, but enough to where I notice it now. The first time I remember hearing it wasn't in a movie, but in a video game. If you are like me, and I know I am, you've got a special place in your heart for gaming. One of the best games ever to grace this planet is Starcraft. For those that know the game, if you play the Terran, and you build an Academy...clicking on it produces this sound: Unknown Scream I hear that scream all the time, but as far as I can tell no one seems to able to compile a history of it, or verify its first usage. The earliest I can verify is in a another video game, Dark Forces (1994). It is the sound of your character falling off a cliff. But this scream is by no means limited to video games. I have heard it in numerous commercials, the most famous being for Nutrigrain. It appears at the end of each commercial. It is also in films, lots of them. In the escape from Erehwon Prison scene from Face/Off, Nick Cage shoots a guard who has a classic railing death complete with our mystery scream (timecode 1:09:00): The scene in available (for the moment) on Youtube (about 3 minutes into the clip) Another example can be heard in The Basketball Diaries. Near the end of the film, DiCaprio and Wahlberg get stiffed on some dope. Wahlberg's character goes apeshit and forces the dealer off a roof (timecode 1:27:00): Again, Youtube comes through in the clutch (about five minutes into the clip) There you have it. What is the story behind this scream? It has haunted me for years. Perhaps one of you, the movie-savvy public, knows something about it. Perhaps you know more specific instances of its usage. Perhaps...Perhaps...

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