Monday, September 25, 2006

the most awesome scream

Many people love the classic Wilhelm scream, which gained its cachet thanks to the Star Wars movies. But in my book, there is only one scream to rule them all, and it barely qualifies as a scream: some might call it a loud gurgle, or a Wookiee mating call. If someone can find and email me the sound sample, I will actually PAY YOU MONEY (not much money, mind you, but enough to cover a couple medium-sized pizzas in the States).

The scream is made by the awesome Brit actor Pat Roach in the apocryphal 1983 James Bond thriller "Never Say Never Again."

Perhaps you recall the setup: Bond has been told that he's out of shape and needs to get fit. To this end, MI-6 enrolls him in a ritzy fitness camp where he flirts with a nurse and listens to a doctor praise herbal enemas. While working out on an enormous bench press, Bond is attacked by a thug played by Roach. Bond barely manages to escape Roach's first assault, and the chase begins.

At one point Bond runs downstairs, then finds a wooden slat and waits for his pursuer to descend the same stairway. When Roach arrives, Bond jams the slat through the banister and trips Roach.

And it's right there: right at the moment when Roach starts to fall, he utters the most hilarious, kick-ass scream in all of film history. It is truly the scream of a large, startled man who only belatedly realizes that his feet are no longer carrying him forward. Rich and inarticulate, the scream has survived for decades inside my head, outlasting other precious bits of data such as the long swaths of "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" dialogue I used to have memorized.

Will no one procure me this meddlesome scream?


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