Acting coach Scott Sedita critiques some of Hollywood’s most famous — and infamous — screams. He reviewed horror-movie screams ranging from great to mediocre to downright terrible, breaking down what went right and wrong in the actors’ performances.
There’s a lot to pick apart in the screaming performances of Hollywood actors, whether it’s an Oscar winner like Nicolas Cage delivering his now-infamous scream in “The Wicker Man” or Paris Hilton making her horror debut in “House of Wax.” So, what separates the highs from the lows? With examples from “Psycho,” “Scream,” “Halloween,” “The Shining,” “Jaws,” and “Frankenstein,” Sedita analyzed why certain screams resonate with audiences while others fall flat. He pointed out techniques that great actors use to make their screams look and sound terrifying, as well as the common mistakes that can make an on-camera scream feel forced or unnatural.
According to Sedita, the effectiveness of a cinematic scream has everything to do with where the scream is coming from in the body — namely whether the actor is screaming from their chest or their throat. Rhythm and timing are also key, especially for horror-movie scenes that require a lot of screaming. Sedita deconstructed the most famous screaming moments of celebrated scream queens in the slasher genre, including Jamie Lee Curtis, Neve Campbell, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Susan Backlinie, and Vera Farmiga; and he compared the hits and misses of horror B-movie screams, from Darren Ewing’s viral moment in the comedy-horror “Troll 2” to Candy Clark’s campy shrieking in cult favorite “The Blob.”
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