The List: Ranking screams

Andy Downing
“Psycho” photo courtesy Dispatch file

This week, the New Jersey guitar shredders in Screaming Females visit Ace of Cups. With that in mind, this writer thought he'd rank his favorite screams. Here's how they stacked up.

Unranked. Michael and Janet Jackson in “Scream”

“Scream” stands as one of the most expensive — and pointless — music videos ever made. True to its title, the famous sibling duo spends a lot of time screaming throughout, but more of it should have been directed at whoever conceived this song.

11. The Who in “Horton Hears a Who!”

Though tiny, the Who packs a big enough voice to attract the attention (and subsequent protection) of one big-eared elephant.

10. Daniel Stern in “Home Alone”

Many share his character's fear of spiders. Fewer share his pipes.

9. The Wilhelm scream

You might not be familiar with the name, but you know the scream. The Wilhelm scream is a stock sound effect that, as of July 2018, has been used in 389 movies, including installments of both “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones,” making it nearly as ubiquitous as Drake on the Billboard singles chart.

8. Ned Flanders on “The Simpsons”

Arguably the most high-pitched scream on this list.

7. Ronald Lacey in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”

Nowadays punching Nazis gets a thumbs up from many. In this film, God goes a step further, melting down a gaggle of Nazis, including their leader, portrayed by Lacey, who lets out a sickening, gurgled scream to match the visuals.

6. William Shatner in “Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan”


5. Donald Sutherland in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”

Late film critic Pauline Kael described this scream as “a shrieking, warning cry that suggests an inhuman variant of the rhythmic trilling-screaming sounds of the women in ‘The Battle of Algiers.'”

4. Janis Joplin


3. Wilson Pickett

A number of soul singers have righteous, legendary screams (James Brown, Baby Huey, etc.), but Pickett's still give me chills. Just check out the way he opens the floodgates at the close of his cover of the Beatles' “Hey Jude.” Epic.

2. Janet Leigh in “Psycho”

An all-timer, and one most would rank atop a list like this. I say most because…

1. Kevin Garnett after winning the 2008 NBA championship with the Boston Celtics

ANYTHING IS POSSIBLLLLLLLLLLLLE! (Also, basketball season starts soon, and I'm standing behind my season prediction that has Boston going 82-0.)