Skyward Scream

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

A Camera Trick where the camera is placed directly over the actor, pointing down, while the actor looks up into the camera and screams. For extra hamtacularity, the camera may even be spinning.

This can be done to show intense anguish in the character, implying that they are screaming at the sky because there is nothing on the planet to hold responsible, possibly cursing some deity. This is especially likely if they are screaming phrases rather than pure noise.

If the cause for this is as simple as running out of Cheesy snacks, the trope immediately becomes comedic.

See also Big No, The Scream, Say My Name, and Death Wail. Often accompanied by Milking the Giant Cow and Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter!. Do not confuse with Skyward Sword.

Examples of Skyward Scream include:

Anime and Manga

Comic Books

Fan Works


  • Aragorn, in The Two Towers. In a rare unscripted version, where Vigo Mortenson broke his foot on the helmet he kicked, eliciting a cry of real physical pain that fit the scene well enough that Peter Jackson kept it in.
  • For some reason, people think that Kirk screaming "KHAAAAAAN!" in Star Trek II was like this. It wasn't (it's a close-up of Kirk's face if you're wondering, cutting to a long shot of the moon he's on/in), but parodies of it do this. The misconception is prevalent enough that this trope was formerly named The Khan despite The "KHAAAAAAN!" not actually being an example.
    • The 2009 Star Trek movie has an actual example of this trope, though - Nero screaming "SPOOOOOOOOOOOCK!" during his Villainous Breakdown.
      • This also interrupts Nero beating the stuffing out of Alternate-Kirk, who sits up with a faint glimmer of recognition as Nero launches into it.
  • One does this in The City of Lost Children.
  • John Belushi's character screaming after the beer bar is taken away in Animal House.
  • Iconic movie example: In the film adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire, just after realizing the error of his ways, Stanley Kowalski (Marlon Brando) screams out in the rain. The "STELLA! STELL-LLAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!" is done with this camera angle and has become one of the most famous one-word lines in movie history.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean does this in the second movie, Dead Man's Chest: "Damn you, Jack... SSSPARRROOOWWWWW!!!!" complete with the pullaway camera angle from above (and Davy Jones spraying seawater).
  • Performed by Cindy (Anna Faris' character) at the end of every one of the Scary Movie series, although usually punctuated by her being run over.
  • Bartleby does this near the end of Dogma while laughing maniacally.
  • In Baz Luhrmann's William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, the line "I am... FORTUNE'S FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!" gets this treatment.
  • "WILLIAAAAAMMM!" William Thatcher also does this, screaming his own name, at the end of A Knight's Tale. Not quite skyward, though.
  • Parodied in the movie Charlie's Angels with Matt Leblanc howling "DAMN YOU, SALAZAAAR!" at the soaring camera while his girlfriend lies dead in his arms. And then we find out they're shooting a movie within the movie.
    • Don't forget that the scene takes place at the end of a montage showing the romantic B-plots of the other two angels, furthering the assumption that the girlfriend is Lucy Liu.
  • Ferris Buellers Day Off combines it with Distant Reaction Shot.
  • The My Favorite Martian movie does a variant of this, as it is executed during Elliot Coleye's Evil Laugh at the height of his One-Winged Angel act (initiated by one of the Martians' "nerplex").
  • This was done three times in X Men Origins Wolverine.
    • In addition to X Men the Last Stand, where Wolverine does this after reluctantly killing Jean Grey/Phoenix.
    • In X 2 X Men United Logan also does this in flashback following a shriek/roar of horror that is exactly how anyone would react to waking up in a tank of water with no memories and having metel claws shoot out of your hands.
  • In Detroit Rock City, school security mook Elvis does this when the boys cross the school property line and leave the range of his powers.
  • Star Wars Episode III: Upon hearing news of the death of his wife, Darth Vader proclaims to the sky, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!"
  • The end of The Mist features this from the main character; Might be more of a Big No.
  • Jennifer Love Hewitt in I Know What You Did Last Summer screaming: "WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOOORRRR?!?!?!?!

Live Action TV

Xena: ... who am I? WHO AM I?!?!

  • Seinfeld parodied this three times. The first time was George yelling "KHAAAAAAN!" after realizing his life must be dedicated to the Susan Ross foundation.[1] The second time was Elaine yelling "SUUUUUUUUUUZIE!" after realizing her life must be dedicated to the Susie foundation, a fake character she initially made up to avoid troubles and later "killed" her to avoid exposure. The third time was George screaming "TWIIIIIIIIIX!!" after people ate up his candy lineup, which he set up to catch his candy's thief in a car dealership.
  • The Klingon death ritual first seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation invokes this, roaring into the sky to warn the afterlife that a Klingon warrior is on their way.
  • Jon Stewart does this a lot on The Daily Show, and was especially gratified when the scientist found to be supplying rogue regimes with nuclear technology was actually named A.Q. Khan. They once even subverted/failed to do the shot.

"How does a glissando make sense there? Am I introducing a toaster?"

    • A great recent example was Stewart switching bodies with Justin Bieber. When they sweitched back, Bieber told Stewart, "Hope you don't mind the new tattoo."

Stewart: Did he say something about a tattoo? And why is my ass sore? *cut to screencap of Stewart's tattoo* '#neversaynever'?! *cut back to Stewart* BIEBEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER!

  • Duncan does this once in Highlander the Series, when he screams Darius's name after finding his dead body.
  • Like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report also has engaged in this trope occasionally. ("MANILOWWWWWW!!!")
        • "RICKLLLLLLLLLES!!!"
          • "Vigoda?"
  • Along those same lines, who can forget Conan O'Brien's tortured scream... "BOOOLLTEEEENN!"
    • And again, when he realizes he cannot have Rebecca Romijn-Stamos. "STAAAAUGH-MOS!"
  • Wade in the first season finale of Sliders: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
  • In the TV movie finale of Prison Break, T-Bag does this. "SCOOFIEEELD! SCOOOOOOOOOFIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELD!"
  • Parodied in an episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway?? During a game of Weird Newswcasters (in which the comedians had to portray certain characters while being in a newscast), Ryan (the weatherman) was assigned a character of a self-centered actor about to give his "Oscar-worthy performance". Ryan finished off his bit with his character bellowing his last line as he looked up towards an overhead camera—while he spun instead of the camera. The audience burst out into applause at the end. View the whole game here (Ryan's performance starts at around 2:40)
  • Danish... Scum... DANISH SCUM!
  • Used in an episode of The Big Bang Theory. After realizing that Wil Wheaton tricked him into losing a card game, Sheldon screams "WHEATON!" as the camera zooms out. A somewhat odd example, in that the moment resembles the actual scene from The Wrath of Khan instead of the Beam Me Up Scotty version.
  • Boy Meets World has Cory scream this way when he suffers from a very bad hairdo. Worse for him is the fact that he still has to go to school that day—without being permitted to wear a hat inside the school building.
  • "This is not happening!" "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
  • In the classic "Dreams" episode of M*A*S*H, each main character's nap is disturbed by nightmares. Hawkeye's ends with him staring helplessly at a bleeding Korean girl, armless, as a patient-loaded helicopter flies low overhead, ending with a bloodcurdling No.
  • Done twice on Dexter, both involving the serial-killers-o'-the-season: in season three there's a "MIGUEEEEEELL!", complete with room-smashing although it was revealed he was just imagining how he'd like to react, and in season four, after the Trinity Killer evades his clutches once again, "ARRTHURRRR!"
  • Used in I Shouldn't Be Alive, to emphasize a stranded survivor's isolation as they yell for help and the camera zooms out to show they're alone in the midst of hostile terrain.


  • The whole process is described in Razorblade Sigh by Gamma Ray.
  • Simple Plan's Untitled music video has the singer perform a skyward scream during, appropriately enough, the lyrics "I just wanna SCREEEEEEAAAAAAAAMMMM!"

Video Games

  • Used by the Joker in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe's DC story mode after Captain Marvel tells Superman and the four DC villains the name of the Original Generation Big Bad (Dark Kahn, a merger of DC's Darkseid and MK's Shao Kahn). Though the camera is above him, it cuts thrice, each one more distanced from him (and echoing his voice) rather than pulling away smoothly. Then Deathstroke tells him to shut up.
  • The first major turning point in Star Ocean 3 ends with Fayt screaming "WHAT THE HELL AM I!?!?!"
  • In Warcraft 3 in the scene when Grom Hellscream kills Mannoroth there are some pretty dramatic screams, that however being wordless don't quite qualify as Big Nos, and at the end of the scene, following Grom's death, a very powerful Khan Scream.
  • When von Karma sees that his goose is cooked in the first Ace Attorney game, he can't help but cry "EEEEEEEDDDDDGGGGEWOOOOOOOOOORRRRRTTTTHHHHH!"
    • In Case 4 of Apollo Justice, when Kristoph Gavin realizes that he's been ultimately outdone, he screams: ** "WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWRRRRRRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT"
    • Quercus Alba takes this Up to Eleven when he starts screaming Edgeworth's name so forcefully, he can't even finish the name before continuing into high pitched shrieking.
      • Dude even gets fireworks in his Skyward Scream!
  • Haseo from the .Hack//G.U games whenever he unleashes his hidden powers.
    • "Come on... come on... I'm right here... SKEEEEIIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTHHHHHH!!!!
  • In Final Fantasy IV DS, during the disaster at Mist, Cecil does a textbook one.

Kain: "He wished this village torched!"

  • Played for Laughs in The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks. Zelda, now a wandering spirit, learns that The Dragon is going to use her body as a vessel for the Big Bad. Her reaction? She flies up and screams right at the camera.
  • The ending(s) of the original Diablo, after the Player Character jams Diablo's soulstone into their own forehead.
    • LAAAUREEEENCE! might also count, but without the camera angle.
  • Iori lets out one in the anime opening of Dreamcast-only The King of Fighters 1999 Dream Match. We don't hear his voice, but the image is there.
  • In Overblood Raz shouts Pipo's name like this when he "dies" (he is a robot).
  • Kingdom Hearts II, when Roxas, upon discovering that all of his memories are fake, that he has no right to exist, and that to restore Sora's memories and wake him up, Roxas must be sacrificed. He attempts to attack DiZ for putting him through all of it, only to find out that he isn't even in the room, just showing him a projection of himself. Roxas's anger, despair, and frustration reaches a boiling point there, and he just screams. Poor kid has gone through some serious sh*t.
  • Garlot of Blaze Union is prone enough to doing this (sans corny camerawork) that the game developers saw fit to give him an actual dialogue portrait devoted to passionate yelling.
  • Dead Rising: At the end of Overtime Mode, Frank belts out a fantastic scream, complete with camera pan and spin.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, Genis does this when he and Lloyd realize the monster they just killed was actually his friend Marble.
  • The Safe ending of Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors has Junpei doing this. KANNNNNYYYYY!!!
  • The Tales of RPG characters are known to do this when performing their signature Limit Break attacks.
  • In Timesplitters: Future Perfect, Sergeant Cortez lets out a furious 'Urgh... Gawd-DAAAAAAAMIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!' after unwittingly giving the Big Bad the details of his plot. This takes place in the middle of the 21st century, but the skyward scream is so intense, it echoes through time, being heard by ally Harry Tipper in 1970, and a man implied to be Tipper's elderly son. Bonus points for the implication that Tipper is at the point of conceiving said son.
  • Golden Sun: Dark Dawn wrings a Big No from Eoleo this way during the Grave Eclipse, when his father dies of monster-inflicted wounds.
  • Miguel in Tekken 6, on his Dead Little Sister.
  • Done multiple times in NieR, most notably by Nier when the Shadowlord and Grimoire Noir kidnap Yonah, and by the Shadowlord himself with Gestalt Yonah commits suicide.
  • In Tales of Innocence, when Luca finds out who caused the Fall of Devaloka, he summons this trope - camerawork and everything - to curse him for all the suffering it has caused.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles. "FIOOOORAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"
  • Asura gets in on this one a few times, though it's actually rather rare that we see him doing so. His Skyward Scream for his wife is a single howl of rage and grief, though he does scream his daughter Mithra's name out as he goes to rescue her. However, when a human girl who looks like Mithra dies in front of him, he has a long moment where he seems like he can't breathe OR scream, and then the overhead view of the trope comes into play and very bad things happen to very bad people.

Web Comics

Leo: Change to my nostalgia?! UNACCEPTABLE! (falls to his knees) MONKEY PAAAAAW!

  • Happens near the end of Fite!, though you'll need to have paid some attention to the symbols used before now to know what he's saying.


Web Original

(During his review of Pulse 3) The Internet ghost of a record player? THE INTERNET GHOST OF A RECORD PLAYER?! (To the sky with the camera spinning above him) THE INTERNET GHOST OF A RECORD PLAYER! IT MADE ME DO THE SPINNING SCREEN THING AGAIN!!!!

Western Animation

William Shatner: Hello, I'm William Shatner and this is Celebrity 911. Tonight, we devote the entire hour to police calls involving James Caan...(makes face) CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!

  • In the season 3 finale of Jackie Chan Adventures, the last scene shows the demon Shendu, petrified again, yelling "CHAAAAAAAANNNN!!!!!" as the "camera" pans out.
  • Leela does one of these in the Futurama episode "Love's Labors Lost in Space" after waking up from a night of pity sex with Fake Ultimate Hero Zapp Brannigan, who is himself a parody of William Shatner.
    • Also Nibbler in the Futurama film Bender's Big Score: "Doooomed!"
      • Bender himself has one in an episode wherein he takes a big breath and says "DOOOOOOOOOME-" before he's cut off by a scene change. His was the third in a series of the characters having progressively longer skyward screams.
  • In the season 2 opening of Legion Of Superheroes, Imperiex does one of these. WITH SPINNING of course.
  • Cartman after Scott Tenorman burns his money.
  • "STAMOS!"
  • Parodied in The Simpsons with Rainier Wolfcastle's "MEN-DO-ZAAAA!"
    • Also done when Skinner accidentally lets go of the "Hi! I'm big butt Skinner!" weather balloon, in a Big No moment.
      • This is actually part of three Skyward Screams, the first is when he gets back to Bart only to find he's called the observatory with his find of a meteor and they're gonna name it after him. The second is when he let's go of the balloon, the third is when he read a disparaging remark about the Elementary school from a newspaper landing in front of him.
    • Also, Homer: Kids, would you step out side for a second? (kids run out, Homer stands up, looks skyward) F-- (cut to church organ hitting a minor chord)
      • "Dear Lord, that's the loudest profanity I've ever heard!"
    • And from season 5's "Bart Gets an Elephant", whereupon Homer mistakenly believes Blackheart, the ivory dealer, took Bart along with Stampy:

Homer:He took Bart, too? (runs to window) That wasn't part of the deal, Blackheart! THAT WASN'T PAAAARRRRRRRT!

  • "Stroker and Hoop" parodied this with the character Stroker screaming "KHAAAAAN-ja" after being swindled and taken to a mental asylum by a woman, pretending to be an alien, (though later revealed to be a real alien) named Khan'Ja.
  • Demona from Gargoyles mixes this with a Big No when she discovers her planning got her own clan brutally killed, complete with her falling to her knees and raising her hands to the sky.
  • KUH-LOOOOOOOOOWNS!!!! (Clowns, clowns, clowns...)
  • Super Mario World:

Mama Luigi: Mario! Wherever you are! HHHHEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!


  1. This is just after Jerry told how he had inspired Susan's parents to start the foundation with a line from The Wrath of Khan.