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Basic Trope: A crescendo of noise or music is used to startle the audience when a sudden movement occurs.

  • Straight: Bob and Alice peer into a dark cave. Suddenly, a swarm of bats flies out, accompanied by a sharp chord in the soundtrack.
  • Exaggerated: A sharp chord accompanies every sudden movement in the movie.
  • Justified: The director felt that a visually subtle moment needed to be more striking.
  • Inverted: Pleasing, melodic chords are used to soothe the audience during uneventful scenes.
    • Alternately: When something unexpected happens, all noise suddenly stops.
  • Subverted: Bob and Alice peer into a dark cave, with subtle "spooky music" orchestration. Suddenly, as a swarm of bats flies out, the music stops.
  • Double Subverted: ...until Fred unexpectedly taps Alice on the shoulder, and a sharp note plays.
  • Parodied: Bob and Alice peer into a dark cave. Suddenly, a swarm of bats flies out, and Bob creates his own soundtrack by yelling "Dun DUH dun!"
  • Deconstructed: The audience becomes so used to every scene containing a scare chord that additional scare chords cause no reaction.
  • Reconstructed: ...however, at times when no scare chord is used, those audience members who pick up on the subtle visual cues feel more fulfilled for having noticed them.
  • Zig Zagged: A movie at times features scare chords and at other times does not use them.
  • Averted: Bob and Alice peer into a dark cave. Suddenly, a swarm of bats flies out, but no unusual sounds are placed in the soundtrack.
  • Enforced: The scene was originally filmed with no scare chord, but executive meddling caused one to be added.
  • Lampshaded: An overly long, dramatic scare chord is played for a mild scare moment
  • Invoked: ???
  • Defied: Before approaching the cave, Alice says that her head hurts and she doesn't want to risk having to hear any sudden loud noises, so she and Bob leave.
  • Discussed: "What a spooky cave. It's like some bats are about to fly out as some horrible noise gets played."
  • Conversed: After the bats fly out, Alice says "That's what I expected," to which Bob replies, "Well, if they had made more noise, I bet you'd have been scared."

Back to Scare Chord

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