Movie sound effects gripe

Teleport sound from Quake in explosions.

Yeah, most sounds of important actions are like this.
I remember in Terminator 2 they mixed the sound of a lions roar into Arnies Harley and his shotgun had samples from a Civil War era canon fired in a canyon.

Sounds aren’t what they sound like.

I have a distant relative who does soundbfor lots of movies and videogames. I don’t know if his attitude is representative of the field or a personal quirk, but I find it interesting that he doesn’t want his work to be noticed. I’ve always been an audio geek and when I learned what films he had worked on I complimented him on how realistic I thought the sound effects were compared to other stuff out there. He grimaced, and offered a polite ‘thank you’ before explaining that he really aspires towards invisibility – that he feels like if he’s doing his job well, his role would not be noticed at all.

Also, even though he knows I’m a gaming geek, he’s still embarrassed to admit what games he’s worked on… they pay the bills, but I think he views doing sound work for videogames sort of the same way a musician would view writing a commercial jingle… as some sort of embarrassing betrayal of his muse or somesuch.

Cocking the lever on a semi-auto or revolver to accentuate a point or prove you are going to actually shoot. As in pointing the gun at someone’s head wasn’t enough, you have to take it that extra tiny step further, just to make sure you are taken seriously.

Tires squealing every time going around a corner during a chase, and no matter at what speed.

The low to high pitch of a liquid being poured into a glass, as if every drink were poured from 3 feet away and was a Coke commerical.

One of my biggest pet peeves is the screaming guy-yell that’s prevalent in many modern movies. It’s very recognizeable, yet barely altered, and is sometimes used many times in a movie. One good example is the LOTR trilogy, in some particular scenes that stand-out: elf getting thrown off battlements at Helm’s Deep, guy getting thrown around at Pelennor Fields, guy getting picked up and dropped by Nazgul, etc. Same friggin thing. Barely altered. It’s practically laziness how they just recycle the same track.

My biggest gripe is that I think some of this laziness prevails in parts of the LOTR trilogy. The Rohirim charge at Pelennor Fields is the biggest gripe. It quite literally sounds like 10 horses at a gallop like I’m at the racetrack. If you have that many warhorses at a gallop, it should sound like rolling thunder. Don’t know what it sounds like? The Lighthorsemen is a good example, and they didn’t use nearly as many horses. That was a friggin’ charge.

— Alan

Heh. That is my all time most hated thing to see in a film. Closely followed by the line, “It has begun!”

Another sound effect that has stayed with me is the “rusty hinged door opening” that I first really remembered from Shadowgate 64 (sad I know…) but now that I’ve heard it a hundred times from that game, I hear it in any movie, TV show or commercial that requires a creeky door.

This is a Unix system… I know this!

That was my startup sound for my old Win95 system. :-)

Can’t believe no one’s linked to this yet.

I’d whistle this sound’s three-pitch sequence if any of you could hear me.

The afore mentioned Wilhelm screen.

How about the “breaking glass” effect used… well, whenever glass breaks. Agreed though, lots of SFX used in Doom are used other places. I’ll chalk that up to iD just buying a cheap SFX library because they spent the rest of their money on Trent Reznor.

I’m tired of seeing the same explosion/fireball animations. I see been seeing the same explosion bitmaps in various games for over a decade.

The only thing left to do is get your very own copy.

I hear this fireball FWOOSH effect it seems like as much as I hear the Wilhelm lately. I think I first heard it in Doom 2 (final boss?)

One that stands out in my mind is when John Connor is zipping around town on his Honda dirtbike in T2. He was riding an XR which is a 4 stroke rather than 2 stroke. I’m guessing they did that so they could record the dialogue and then dubbed in the 2-stroke sound as that’s what most people associate with when they think of dirtbikes?

My gun sound pet peeve is what I call “revolver buzz.” When the person flips out the cylinder of a revolver to check if it is loaded, then spins the cylinder and it makes a buzzing/clicking noise as the cylinder rotates. That’s impossible, since the thing that would click against the notches in the cylinder to make that noise is mounted to the frame, and is not in contact with the cylinder when it is out.

Check out Ebert’s Movie Glossary. The knife-on-metal noise is known properly as The Snicker-Snack Effect. The constant unwarranted cocking noise made whenever a gun is pointed, brandished, etc. is a corollary, The Clicker-Clack Effect. (Submitted by me, oddly enough.)

My favorite is The Wilhelm, a screaming man sound effect that has become an in-joke among directors. It started in an old Western, when a guy named Wilhelm was shot by an Indian arrow, and has since been included in dozens and dozens of movies. Notably, all the Star Wars, all the LOTR, most of the Mariachis, and a bunch more. You can google up a compilation video, but I warn you: once you are aware of the noise, you’ll notice it for the rest of your life.


Correlating sounds to vehicles/guns is one of those things that vehicle/gun nuts go rabid over. There’s nothing more annoying than someone sitting in a theater letting everyone know how awesome his knowledge is about the proper load out for a Beretta 92F or that an Apache sure as hell doesn’t sound like a Huey.

I catch these things all the time, but I don’t let it bother me anymore. The fake flat-lens glasses bother me more. And the “Let me cock my gun” bit annoys me a LOT more when it’s a single-action auto like an M1911A1 (aka “Colt .45”) – if the trigger isn’t cocked, you can’t shoot the gun. So by cocking the gun it’s saying “If you had actually tried to take the gun from me, I would have been fucked”.

Of course, the “I’m cocking my shotgun now, so I’m SERIOUS” is even worse, because that’s basically saying “THIS SHOTGUN WAS UNLOADED, BUT NOW IT’S LOADED!!” So you were pointing an unloaded shotgun the whole time?

Or, if it’s like my shotgun, it’s just ejecting the still-unfired-shell and loading a new one from the magazine.