Greetings, Manic Fans. Les here to talk about screams. You know, when it all becomes too much to be bottled up inside you and you let loose a primal scream to release the pent up emotions within. They can be generated by fear, anger or simple frustration. Screaming is a part of life, and, naturally, has been recorded in songs and in films. Today, I’m going to rate the top 12 screams recorded. Why 12? Because I like to go one step beyond one step beyond.


Warning: Some spoilers and loud voices ahead…

#12. Cameron(Alan Ruck)-”Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”

I gotta give props to John Hughes for the unique way he filmed this moment. Cameron has just discovered that the parking lot attendants took his father’s 1961 Ferrari California for a joy ride for a couple hundred miles. Ferris(Matthew Broderick) looks at the camera.
“This is where Cameron goes berzerk.” he deadpans. We then hear the scream with a dark screen the gradually pulls back to show the camera was inside Cameron’s mouth. It’s a long scream and the scenes is edited to show various parts of Chicago culminating in close ups of the statures in Daly Plaza in their contemplative poses.
It’s like the whole city woke up and wondered what soul was so tortured.


#11. Rocky(Sylvester Stallone)-”Rocky”

I almost went with one of Sly’s screams from Rambo, but changed my mind and decided that his screams in “Rocky” were far better. At the end of the film, Rocky has gone the distance and fought World Heavyweight Champion of the World, Apollo Creed(Carl Weathers) and is exhausted, beaten to a pulp and emotionally overwhelmed in the moment. Reporters are getting in his face, but all he wants is his girlfriend, and he starts to scream her name across the crowded arena.
“ADRIAN!!!!” He howls. Across the way, Adrian(Talia Shire) responds and starts running through the crowd to get to him.
“Rocky!” she shouts. The reporters are still asking Rocky questions that he’s ignoring.
“ADRIAN!!!!” He shouts. Adrian is getting closer, but struggling to get around people. Her hat gets knocked off her head.
“Rocky!” she shouts. The reporters are still trying to get a printable quote from Rocky, and he’s getting pissed off by their persistence. He mouths off a contrite answer and gets back to his mission.
“ADRIAN!!!!” He shouts. Amidst all this, the announcer has called the fight a split decision in favor of Apollo, and Pauley(Burt Young) is being held back from the ring by an official. Adrian has arrived at the ring, and Pauley runs interference and holds the rope up for her to get to Rocky, which she finally does. They meet and say they love each other and collapse against each other in a very tender scene. Rocky’s screams for her are from the bottom of his soul while he’s wanting her and it always hits me right in the gut when I watch that scene.


#10. John McClane(Bruce Willis)-”Die Hard II: Die Harder”

What can I say about John McClane? He’s a passionate guy who always finds himself in the middle of tense showdowns with bad guys with guns. In this scene, he’s been in a firefight on a military jet and gotten himself trapped in the cockpit. The goons lob a few hand grenades into the space he’s stuck in and his eyes go wide. With seconds to go, he quickly straps himself into the pilot’s seat and pulls the ejector lever. In a great aerial view from above, he shoots straight at the camera with a guttural scream as the plane explodes under him. He holds the scream to the apex of his arc and then shouts “Oh SHIT!” as he starts to fall again(fortunately, the parachute activates and he survives).


#9. Ann Darrow(Fay Wray)-”King Kong”

Fay Wray is known in Hollywood as the “Queen of Scream,” and this film established her credentials with authority. Not only are her screams incredible, they’re even more amazing when you consider she couldn’t see what she was screaming from when filming her scenes since King Kong was added later with the special effects.


#8. Marion Crane(Janet Leigh)-”Psycho”

Ah…the shower murder…all I can say is WOW! One of the greatest shock scenes in cinema and an equally great scream to accentuate the moment.


#7. Westley(Cary Elwes)-”The Princess Bride”

Captured by Count Rugen(Christopher Guest) and tortured, Westley is hooked up to “The Machine” which can suck away years of one’s life. He demonstrates by taking one life away and it leaves the brave lad crying like a baby. However, when Prince Humperdinck(Chris Sarandon) shows up, pissed at him for having true love with his betrothed, he cranks the machine up to 50! The Scream that emanates from Westley is, as Inigo(Mandy Patinkin) remarks to Fezzik(Andre the Giant), “The sound of ultimate suffering.”


#6. Joe Cocker-”A little help from my friends.”


John Belushi did an amazing impression of him singing this song.  Joe has one of the most soulful and growling singing blues voices of anyone, even giving James Brown a good run for his money….and that’s saying something for a white man, you know?(quickly ducks as the PC gestapo hurls a brick at my head). On the second bridge of this Beatles cover, he lets loose an amazing scream that hits no less than 5 blues notes but is still out of control…WOW!


#5. Luke Skywalker(Mark Hamill)-”The Empire Strikes Back”

Luke Skywalker has just had his hand amputated by Darth Vader’s(David Prowse(voice by James Earl Jones)) lightsaber, and is edging out on a beam to what’s basically the point of no return ending in a really long fall through the enormous chasm in Cloud City. Vader is attempting to coerce him to join forces with him on the Dark Side of the Force.
“I’ll never join you!” Luke spits back at him. Vader gets softer in his voice.
“You don’t know the power of the Dark Side…Obi Wan never told you what happened to your Father…” He declared. Luke Bristles.
“HE TOLD ME ENOUGH!….He told me YOU killed him!” Luke accuses Vader. 
“No,” Vader says calmly, “I am your father.” Luke’s eyes widen and he goes into severe denial.
“No….That’s not Truuue…That’s IMPOSSIBLE!” he growls. Vader gets more insistent.
“Search your feelings, you KNOW it to be true.” Vader tells him. And Luke lets out the greatest scream in the Star Wars Universe.
It’s awesome.


#4. Admiral James T Kirk(William Shatner)-”Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan”

And I knew this was going to be on the list when I thought up the topic. Admiral Kirk is having a conversation via comlink with his nemesis, Khan Noonien Singh(Ricardo Montalban). Khan informs him that he no longer wants to kill him. He’s done far worse than kill him, he’s hurt him…and he wishes to go on hurting him. He’s left Kirk marooned for all eternity in the center of a dead planet. Buried aliiiiive…..buried aliiiiiiiive…
Kirk bristles and cuts loose(say it with me…)
“KHAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!) Ah, Shatner, you are awesome.


#3. Professor Terguson(Sam Kinison)-”Back to School”

And this was a natural one to pick, too. Sam Kinison has a trademark scream that is hysterical in it’s pitch and intensity. In this scene, he’s playing a college history professor, who goes extremely off when a student gives the standard answer to why America pulled out of Vietnam(he’s a veteran, and definitely a case of PTSD amped up to 11) “Well, that’s the popular answer….a lot of people believe it…I wish I could believe it, but I was there…I wasn’t in some classroom thinking I was right, hoping I was right. I WAS UP TO MY KNEES IN RICE PADDIES FIGHTING IT OUT WITH CHARLIE WITH GUNS, WHILE PUSSIES LIKE YOU WERE BACK HOME PUTTING ON HEAD BANDS, DOING DRUGS, LISTENING TO THE GOD DAMNED BEATLES….ARRRRRRRRGHGHHHHH!!!!…..ARRRRRRGHHGHGHGHGHGH!!!!”
Oh, that poor girl! One of the best rants ever captured on film, my friends.


#2. Superman(Christopher Reeve)-”Superman the Movie”

This one occurs right after Superman fails to arrive in time to save Lois(Margot Kidder) from suffocating to death when her car is buried in an earthquake. One of the most heartbreaking scenes ever acted out, and Christopher Reeve really sells it as he starts the scene dazed, then fighting back tears while repeating “no…no…No….No….NO….” and then let’s loose with a howl of anger that echoes across the desert as he takes flight in fury. There’s no doubt that he’s in pain and it’s powerful.


And my #1 favorite recorded scream is…


#1. Roger Daltry(The Who)-”Won’t get fooled again”

Occurring near the end of the song, this scream is so well-known, it’s become an internet meme from the CSI clip. Many rockers have awesome screams, but this one is, hands down, the greatest rock scream ever put in a song. There’s absolutely nothing held back. Roger’s scream starts from somewhere down by his toes and builds up strength as it travels up his body to explode from his lips in glorious exultation and really wakes you up to pay attention to him.


And so, those are my 12 favorite recorded screams in films and songs. Did I miss one of yours? I’d love to hear what screams really caught your attention, my friends. Peace.

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