Last week, IMAX accidentally uploaded a version of a trailer for Universal’s upcoming reboot of The Mummy that was void of sound effects. Now, the sound of Tom Cruise’s unedited scream is making the rounds, replacing the iconic “Wilhelm Scream” that has been used in more than 225 movies.
People on Tumblr, Twitter and Reddit have begun to apply Cruise’s scream, which can be heard in the video above around the one minute mark, into other films, like Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace, Spaceballs and Team America. One video editor, who goes by johnnynapalm2001 on YouTube, put together a minute-long compilation video showcasing how Cruise’s scream would sound when added to each movie.
The meme has a new name, too: The Tom Cruise Wilhelm Scream. It’s no secret that most studios reuse audio clips for certain parts of movies and TV shows as a way to keep budget down and make the actor’s job a little easier. In 1951, a series of sound effects were recorded for a film called Distant Drums. There’s one particular scene where a group of soldiers are walking through a swamp, and as they’re patrolling, an alligator grabs one them and drags him underwater. The scream that he elicits as this is happening is known as the Wilhelm Scream and has since been used in more than 225 movies.
It wasn’t until sound designer Ben Burtt used the effect in George Lucas’ first Star Wars movie in 1977 that the sound effect really took off in pop culture. It can be heard when Luke Skywalker shoots a Stormtrooper standing on a ledge. The scream he lets out as he falls is the Wilhelm Scream, and Burtt would go on to use it in more major blockbuster films that he worked on for Steven Spielberg and Lucas. In fact, there’s a scene in Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom from 1984 that features a man being eaten by a crocodile and the Wilhelm Scream is the effect that’s used. It has long been seen as a joke referencing an ongoing joke that became much more popular as film was closely studied.
The full length trailer has also become a meme, with some editors adding new audio tracks to give it an entirely new feel. One of the better examples can be seen below.
The Mummy will be released in theaters worldwide on June 9, 2017.