Psycho’s shower scene music voted cinema’s scariest sound

Film fans in West Midlands have voted the music from the shower scene in Psycho the scariest sound in movie history. 

The shrieking strings which accompany Janet Leigh’s screams beat Hannibal Lecter’s slurp in The Silence of the Lambs and Jack Nicholson’s chilling “Here’s Johnny” line in The Shining to take first place in a poll by hearing specialists Amplifon.

The sinister shark attack music from Jaws was rated the second most frightening sound, with the terrifying ‘chestburster’ scene from Alien coming third in the vote. 

Amplifon say the survey has been released in Oscars week highlight how important good hearing is to the movie-going experience.

Priyanka Ahankari, Audiologist for the Shrewsbury branch of Amplifon said: “Ever since The Jazz Singer won an Oscar back in 1929 sound has been central to our enjoyment of the cinema.

“Sounds, music and sound effects can evoke emotions in a way pictures alone simply can’t, making us cry, laugh or feel absolutely petrified - as this list proves.

“Amplifon customers often tell us one of the best parts of having their hearing difficulties addressed is being able to hear and enjoy their favourite films again.

“More than 11 million people in the UK have hearing loss, and it’s estimated around 6.7 million people could benefit from hearing aids – that’s a lot of people who could be missing out on the full cinematic experience.”

Although the spine-tingling shower scene in Psycho was never supposed to include music, composer Bernard Herrmann went against director Alfred Hitchcock’s wishes, adding the now familiar jabbing, screaming strings reminiscent of animal cries. 

Hitchcock changed his mind as soon as he heard it, and the rest is cinema history.

Darth Vader’s heavy breathing in Star Wars also claimed a place in the Top Ten, alongside Tubular Bells – better known as the theme tune from The Exorcist.

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