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A melody of angry growls
A counterpoint of painful howls
A symphony of death, oh my!'
That's my lullaby!
Some people find happiness in hearing a peaceful stream, or the laughter of children, or maybe a beautiful symphony. Others... not so much. Sometimes you'll find people who very openly find joy, solace, or at least, familiarity, in the sounds of suffering and violence.
Expect this trope to crop up if there's a torture scene, particularly if someone's being Interrogated for Nothing. If the victim is The Stoic, The Spock, or Defiant to the End, they'll probably resist giving their captor the satisfaction.
Usually a sign that the person you're dealing with is a Psycho for Hire, a Complete Monster, or at the very least a sadist (it's not exactly a heroic quality). For characters who actually feed off of feelings of suffering, see Emotion Eater. Related to Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad.
Anime & Manga
- Sailor Moon Abridged's version of Sailor Mars, at a theme park: "I LOVE THE SCREAMS OF CHILDREN!"
- In the original Japanese version of the Filler Arc at the start of Sailor Moon R, Ail/Alan makes a comment on how the screaming of young girls is sweet music to his ears.
- Kimblee from Fullmetal Alchemist just about has an orgasm any time he hears the sounds of destruction. Explosions, buildings falling down, and especially screaming are sure to get at the very least a Slasher Smile from him. Usually it's more along the lines of maniacal laughter and monologuing, though.
I look forward to the day when those eyes will be wide with agony...
- In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, J. Geil's main reason to do anything was for the sake of hearing his victims' screams; he outright states that Polnareff's sister had a nice scream.
- But then it gets inverted when Polnareff (with a lot of Kakyion's help) manages to severely injure him by countering his stand ability. "Hey J. Geil! You are the one with a nice scream."
- The Snake Baron from Berserk says he prefers the sounds of humans screaming under a fiery apocalypse rather than material goods.
- In contrast to the Complete Monster apostles who are this trope, there is a much more sympathetic one present in Farnese. In her case, her sexual gratification from burning people alive is shown as a serious mental disorder that she is well aware of, and frightened by. It is traced to her Lonely Rich Kid childhood, where she discovered that the only thing that distracted her from her loneliness, depression and powerlessness over her own life was the sound of screaming and the light of fires. As an adult, she uses her powers as a Church Militant to indulge these desires and excuse herself of responsibility for it, but is shown to have a great deal of self-loathing about it, and tearfully tries to convince herself "I am not wrong". The contrast between the apostles who have chosen to fully embrace their sadistic nature, and a flawed human being who tries ultimately successfully to overcome it is done very well.
- When Death the Kid was being tortured in Soul Eater, Face Heel Turn Justin Law took out his perpetual earphones so that he could listen. Even the other villain raised an eyebrow.
- Giriko of Soul Eater.
- In one scene, Jakotsu tells Inuyasha that he wants to torture him before he kills him. He then says "at least give me one sweet little scream of agony."
- One scene? Try two agonizing episodes.
- "Oh, yeah, that's the way! I can't wait to see you cry!"
- In Katekyo Hitman Reborn during Glo Xinia's fight with Chrome he demanded "Give me MORE!" after hearing her screams of pain.
- Sadi-Chan from One Piece, having the sadomasochism theme.
- Hellsing has several examples:
- In the 7th OVA, Zorin Mind Rapes Seras, hacks off her arm, slices her eyes, and stabs her with her scythe. As Seras screams in agony Zorin screams back "More! More!"
- In the manga, the Major has half a chapter devoted to this trope. To wit: "And it is superb when the enemy prisoner screams in time with the shriek escaping from the schmeisser I hold as I mow him down." And that's only the SANE portion of the speech.
- When fighting Tublacan, Alucard tells him to "squeal like a pig."
- Black Lagoon: Because of their horrific past where they were forced to rape and kill other children for their tormenter's amusement, Creepy Twins Hansel and Gretel grew to love killing in general, which includes "the sound of screaming".
- In Super Dreadnought Girl 4946, Makoto Tobita sister Kuumi fights and kills demons soley because she loves to hear their screams. However she comments that she prefers her brother screams the most.
- Hiei from Yu Yu Hakusho. Has been savagely killing everything around him that breathed since he could walk, and describes their cries of pain to have been like a child's music box to his ears. No wonder we never got any scenes of Hiei as a child.
- In the Saint Seiya spinoff Episode G, a Giants enters the Cancer Temple and realizes the entire place is covered by countless human faces as if they were trophies. When Deathmask appears, the Giant asks him how he can stay sane with all the endless moans, cries and screams of agony coming from said faces; Deathmask smiles and calmly replies the only thing he hears from them are exaltations towards him.
- "Scream for me!" is practically Sabretooth's catchphrase.
- Parodied in one of Deadpool comics, when Creed was about to do something terrible to Wade, before he started:
Sabretooth: Scream for me!
Deadpool: Scream? Well, if you insist... AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! AAAAAAAH! AAAAAAAAAAAH!
Sabretooth: Enough Wilson.
Deadpool: No, wait! Now I'll do it like a little girl! EEEEEK! EEEEEK! EEEEK!
Sabretooth: I said enough!
- The entire reason the Scarecrow's Fear Toxin exists is to make his victims scream.
"SCREAM OR I'LL MAKE YOU SCREAM!!!"
- As noted under "film", That Yellow Bastard of Sin City likes to hear his underage victims scream, to the point he was actually impotent unless he heard said screams.
- A rare heroic example, Jack Skellington, the King of Halloween, laments that he has "grown so weary of the sound of screams," indicating that he used to enjoy them. The screams he's referring to are those of fright from Halloween pranks, and not torture.
- As the page quote shows, "My Lullaby" in The Lion King 2 is almost entirely this.
- The Monsters, Inc. monsters don't just like to hear screams; they need them as a source of energy.
Film (Live Action)
- In the first Harry Potter movie, Filch mentions how they used to hang up disobedient students by their thumbs for punishment in the good old days.
"God, I miss the screamin'."
- In the fourth movie Voldemort puts his finger to Harry's forehead which causes him pain and he screams in agony. Voldemort watches this with an excited look on his face and screams along with him, almost like he's urging him to continue screaming.
- The Addams Family.
- At one point in the movie Virtuosity the villain SID 6.7 uses a roomful of hostages as a source of a variety of screams, which he then remixes into a symphony of fear for his enjoyment.
- Roark Junior, the title character of the Sin City story "That Yellow Bastard," is a Complete Monster of a Serial Killer who rapes and murders little girls and who Loves to Hear Them Scream. As Nancy Callahan reveals during his Cold-Blooded Torture of her eight years after his first attempt on her is foiled by Hartigan, the screams of his victims are the only way that Junior can get turned on, or even get it up.
- In The Dirty Dozen, Maggot demands a woman do this before he knifes her, nearly warning their targets.
- In Batman Begins, Dr. Jonathan Crane is implied to enjoy using his fear toxin to force people into panic attacks. Just consider what he said about his patients to Falcone after spraying him with said fear toxin.
"They scream and they cry, much as you're doing right now."
- The Black Wind, Machin Shin, of The Wheel of Time, is made of this. Literally; it's composed only of the very vocal desire to hear people suffering.
- Cazalla, the commander of the dread fortress of Matanceros in Michael Crichton's posthumously published Pirate Latitudes is known throughout Port Royal to find the screams of his dying victims restful and relaxing.
- One of the Red Knights in Arthurian Legend was cursed to require the continuous din of screaming ladies to rest. Without the noise, headaches and insomnia would quickly drive him mad.
- Ray used to be baffled by this in Christopher Brookmyre's A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away. Then his wife had a baby, and he understood how people got desensitised.
- In one of the Magic: The Gathering novels, Crovax has a torture machine that's basically a pipe organ with people getting Electric Tortured instead of pipes. His only problem with it is that whenever one of the victims finally dies, he has to find someone who screams at the same pitch to replace them.
- DomDaniel in Septimus Heap is specifically mentioned to love the last sream of a dying person.
- The Melnibonean court has a choir of surgically-altered human slaves who can only scream in one particular note each.
Live Action TV
- The villain in the Criminal Minds episode "Limelight" treated audio recordings he made of his victims being tortured to death like pornography.
- Some Super Sentai villains. Bandora, for example, says she loves to hear children crying, and the villains of Samurai Sentai Shinkenger use suffering to raise the water level of the Sanzu River where they live.
- In Babylon 5, this is why Cartagia finds torturing G'Kar so frustrating.
- In the Doctor Who story "The Sun Makers", the villainous Collector goes into overtly sexualised raptures when anticipating the sound of Leela screaming as she gets scalded to death, and boasts about how sophisticatedly the death chamber is wired for sound.
- The Barrel Girl Gang of Dexter, especially Jordan Chase of Season 5, seemed to do what ever they could to their victims to get them to scream. To the point self proclaimed Complete Monster Dexter was sickened by their actions.
- Willow and Faith; as villains, explicitly share their love of this. They're also two of the most psychotic characters in the series.
- In a Baby Blues story arc, both of Daryl and Wanda's parents visit them for a couple of weeks. Being deprived of children for several years, the grandparents are eager to help out with everything around the house. One day Wanda and Daryl both reflect on how organized the house is then, how much quieter, how much cleaner. For a second they smile, and then they look at each other, and their faces change. Suddenly they both shout "I want my chaos back!" This happened again in a Sunday strip in which Daryl tries to relax when he discovers he temporarily has the house to himself. No screaming, no yelling, no grabbing at his pant legs, just him, a beer, and quiet... "How did I stand it??!"
- In Warhammer40000, the Chaos Space Marine Night Lords Legion is fond of this. However, the Dark Eldar of Warhammer 40000 have based their entire society on inflicting and enjoying other people's pain. When launching another terrifying raid on a hapless foe, their favored transports are open-topped skimmers, "the better to hear the screams of our prey as we ride them down, to savour the fear etched on their faces, to taste the tantalising tang of their blood in the air as an appetiser before the feast." Their leader Asdrubael Vect's most famous quote is "Death is my meat, terror my wine."
- Magic: The Gathering: Braids, at least according to Mutilate.
- Liliana Vess as well, according to another edition of the same card.
- And the Broadway version of The Little Mermaid gives Ursula the second Villain Song "I Want the Good Times Back", notable for the massive Lyrical Dissonance and one of the most brazen examples of Foe Yay ever, which is mix of Ursula explaining her plan and this trope:
I want to taste their tears!
I want to hear their screams!
I want the special rush you get from crushing hopes and dreams!
- Voltaire's song "When You're Evil" gives us this line:
Your tears are all the pay I'll ever need.
- In Runescape, the player controls a forgotten warrior whose friends and brother are all slaughtered by a quartet of adventurers (long story). The ghost of Taevas, her brother, comes back to haunt her and to encourage her to exact ruthless vengeance.
"Gut her. Rip her in two. Make her suffer...When she least expects it, crush her. Let me hear her. Let her screams comfort me in the darkness."
"Hee-hee... Nothing beats the sweet music of hundreds of voices screaming in unison!"
- Luca Blight claims to love "hearing those pigs squeal," meaning the innocent bystanders that he tends to slaughter while they're begging for their lives.
- Papa Cesar in House of the Dead: Overkill:
"As you well know, Isaac, I enjoy pain. It's like a good Chinese dinner, you know? With the sweet and the sour? Expanding on that analogy, I will smile with delight - that's the sweet - as you scream for your fucking life - of course, that's the sour."
- In Valkyria Chronicles, Jane has the 'Sadist' ability, which kicks in randomly to make her deal more damage. When it activates, she says "Hmm, Scream for me." She's also given the moniker "Sadistic Jane".
- One of the level ending quotes of Dungeon Keeper:
"Knife. The streets run with the blood of the slain. Screams of pain and howls of anguish rip the night air like a vengeful siren's song! This really is a place you can take the kids for a weekend."
- Bayonetta has this trope in SPADES. One of the reasons she gives in the game for killing angels is that they aren't annoying when they are dying.
"You know, you're not nearly so ugly when you're screaming."
- Sniper Wolf explains that gunfire, sirens and screams were her lullabies when giving her death speech to Solid Snake in Metal Gear Solid, although in this case, they may have literally been her lullabies considering the fact that she was born and raised in the battlefield around Kurdistan/Iraq.
- In Sniper Wolf's case those sounds were beyond her control and something she did not enjoy. A straighter example could be found in the character of Colonel Volgin from Metal Gear Solid 3 who loves torturing his victims. During World War II he and the Russian units under his command were ordered to execute thousands of Polish citizens and soldiers, he personally beat many such victims to death with his fists and took off their blindfolds so that he could enjoy the look of terror in their eyes as they died. During the game's story he subjects the young Big Boss, then known as Snake, to Cold-Blooded Torture where he beats him within an inch of his life and electrocutes him, and when Snake pisses himself because he can't hold it in through all the pain Volgin reacts to it by saying, "Yes! Now that's what I wanna see!" Ocelot, a man who ruthlessly tortured Snake with electricity during Shadow Moses which means this is saying something, watching this is disgusted at first, but slowly begins to view torture as an art form after the torture session ends.
- I-No of Guilty Gear gleefully admits that she enjoys anyone else's screaming, as shown in her winquote against Bridget.
I-No: Ahh, the sweet sounds of a child screaming. It strikes right at my heart. Cry some more for me!
- Though it doesn't come up within the Blaz Blue canon itself, the vocal version of Unlimited!Hazama's/Yuuki Terumi's theme, Endless Despair, states outright that the sound of unbridled screaming and wailing is like wonderful singing in his ears. He isn't particularily keen on what causes the screams, it can be pain, rage or sorrow, just as long as it is derived from misery. Considering what a horrible being Hazama/Terumi is within canon, though, it does not require a great stretch of the listener's imagination to believe that all of this holds true outside of his theme song as well.
- Leanne, the initial protagonist of Theresia, associates screaming with her beloved mother.
- Dr. Weil in Mega Man Zero 3 upon leaving Crea and Prea to deal with Zero, says "I've got some pig squeals to enjoy.", in reference to the humans who are currently at the mercy of the Dark Elf-brainwashed, currently insane Reploids.
- Several demons have lines like this in the Raidou Kuzunoha games.
Vishnu: I shall slaughter those who would do you harm and arrange a grand opera with their screams!
- Played with in Girl Genius. The "Red Playroom" in Castle Hetrodyne has a machine that generates screams. With all kinds of adjustments, volume, guilt-innocence, agony-ecstasy, sad-mad, etc.
- Goblins plays this straight with Dellyn Goblinslayer. On the other hand, Kore narrowly avoids this one. Sure, he tortures Chief just to make him scream, but there's a practical reason: to lure the other goblins out of hiding so he can kill them too.
"Any human or animal that touches or gets too close to the surface of the creature will be quickly enveloped by the outstretching wings and drawn inside. Despite the feathers’ soft appearance, each hair has a sharp point that quickly pierces through clothing and into bare flesh, releasing a neurotoxin that immediately stimulates all the pain receptors in the body, as well as other stimulants to keep the victim from passing out too quickly."
- This gag song falls into this eventually, after pretending it's about sunshine and happiness.
- The Gungan Council has Karma thoroughly enjoying torture, with Kaelin getting off on it.
- The Nostalgia Chick is delighted to see the guys in her life breaking down in some way, and the only reason she can give for Frollo been seen as sexy is his smirk after hearing the old captain get whipped.
- My Life as a Teenage Robot had one villain who became more powerful and muscular whenever he heard the sound of people screaming in humiliation and pain. And gets weaker and thinner when people laugh.
- Soundwave's quote in his original toy bio was "Cries and screams are music to my ears."
- Bane demands that Batman scream his name for him after he has him dead to rights in Batman: The Animated Series. Batman doesn't give him the satisfaction.
Bane: "SCREAM MY NAME! SCREAM!"
- In the Mickey Mouse cartoon "Runaway Brain", the Mad Scientist Dr. Frankenollie tortures Mickey through electrocution and he remarks "I love it when they squeal!".
- A rather horrifying example from Beast Wars is the homicidal Rampage, who loves the taste(literally!) of fear.
- And in "Other Voices Part 1" when Optimus is being scanned/zapped by the aliens:
Megatron: [listening to Optimus scream] Ah, would I could have that sound to lull me to sleep each night...