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In media, when something - usually a plane, but it can be something else - is diving, crashing or otherwise swooping, a gradually-rising mechanical scream that climaxes in a shrieking crescendo is often applied as a sound effect. This Stock Sound Effect originates from a siren (named Jericho-Trompete, or "Jericho Trumpet"), which was fitted to German Ju-87 "Stuka" dive-bombers in the Second World War as a psychological terror weapon designed to inflict panic on enemy ground forces.
At some point, somebody decided that this would make a great sound-effect.
A staple of Second World War films, it is by no means restricted to them and can be used in conjunction with anything from a crashing civilian airliner to a wheelchair rolling down a slope at high speed.
See also Bomb Whistle.
- The Guns of Navarone. While the protagonists are fleeing along a dry river bed they're attacked by Stuka dive bombers, with the standard sound effect.
- In Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie, right after Dr Meachem's flight to meet Exeter takes off, Tom Servo verbally copies this sound effect to make it sound like the plane is stalling and crashing just off-screen.
- In The Rocky Horror Picture Show, this shows up twice - once when Doctor Scott's wheelchair rolls down a slope in the lab, and once to the falling "Radio Tower" as it plummets to earth along with the corpses of Rocky and Frankenfurter.
- The opening track of Pink Floyd's The Wall, "In the Flesh", ends with a Stuka scream to symbolise the death of Pink's father in the war. The film of the album actually depicts the moment of his death as a Stuka dives on his position, complete with Bomb Whistle.