So if you’ve listened carefully to science fiction movie trailers over the past 30 or so years, there’s a sound effect that’s used–a grand, sweeping, heavy bass orchestral hit that I can only express in writing as “BWAAA.” It’s grossly overused in SF movie trailers.
I say this because I just saw the hundredth TV spot for Annihilation this month, and whoever made that thing really enjoyed playing with the score of the advertising. BWAAA going on all over the place.
But it’s not just that film. It’s Alien (where the effect is clearly a steam whistle) and just about every subsequent film in the genre since. You want to imply menace–BWAAA.
There’s almost a pattern to SF flick trailers now:
VO: It’s not from this world.
(teary eyed woman reaching for the unknown)
VO: It’s changing me
(man in spacesuit dying / voiceover by woman)
VO: It could destroy us all…or be our salvation
(indecipherable alien thing moving)
VO: It’s alive
(black screen / no sound but heavy breathing)
(people running through a field)
(little girl in a hospital gown)
(jump cut to title)
VO: This film has not yet been rated.