Why did they choose the name A Wilhelm Scream?

m_531515a3544d4c19809c619dc7d0b8c21Ever wonder where some bands come up with their band names?  Well, we do, and we’re sick of sitting around scratching our heads about it.  We’re hitting the streets (aka. “Internet”) to find the origins behind some of the more bizarre, intriguing or just plain random band names in the scene.  Every Wednesday we’ll be pulling the curtain back on a different band and this week it’s New Bedford, Massachusetts punkers A Wilhelm Scream.

This one doesn’t come straight from the band, but after some research here’s what we found out…

Before A Wilhelm Scream was A Wilhelm Scream they went by the name of Smackin’ Isaiah and Koen & Adam’s Crack.  Not fully satisfied with these monikers, eventually the band decided they liked the sound of “A Wilhelm Scream” but where did they come up with the phrase?  Well, don’t worry, we’re going to tell you.  A Wilhelm scream is actually a sound effect frequently used in tv and films. It’s the sound someone might make when they are falling to their death or getting blown up – ya know, really painful ways to die.  How did this scream get the particular name? Well in the 1953 western, The Charge at Feather River, Private Wilhelm was shot with an arrow and apparently produced a scream worthy of naming.

So there you have it…. a sound effect, made band name.  Can you name other movies where a Wilhelm scream was used? There was one in particular that made this sound effect gain popularity and I’ll even give you a hint. It starts with Star and ends with Wars.

If you’ve got a good band name origin story, or want us to research one for you, message us on the Dying Scene facebook page.

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  1. lizaeckert
    lizaeckert2/11/2010 3:08 PM | Permalink

    Just for funsies, here’s a list of movies, TV shows and video games that have used the Wilhelm scream effect:


  2. review
    The Dude2/11/2010 3:18 PM | Permalink

    Here’s a compilation of clips with the sound effect – hilarious…

  3. Johnsmith8/24/2011 1:46 PM | Permalink

    It was the movie Distant Drums (1951) where a character in that movie was attacked by an alligator, thus producing “The Wilhelm scream” that was later used in the movie Charge at Feather River (1953) and 100 other movies/tv/videogames to date! There’s a little something you need to start doing Sarah and it starts with Do and ends in Your research!!

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