Music that is in everything

Ambrose Heron compiled a list of music cues used repeatedly in different movie trailers: near the top is one I always seem to notice, a segment from James Horner's Aliens soundtrack.


  1. Two cues that are used over and over again in trailers are the Overture from “Rescuers Down Under”:

    And the theme from The Rocketeer:

  2. And here’s something from the voice of the trailers, Mr Hal Douglas:

    I do not know how many trailers I have heard this fellow narrate – but it is many.

  3. IIRC, the Aliens soundtrack at the end was (re?)done by the seat of your pants and last moment.

    I know they re-use yells and screams as effects a lot, and there is one that I really want to know the origins of. It is a long yell, “Eeeerrraaaaaahhh!” Something you would hear during a long fall like off a mountain. IIRC it was what happened if you fell to death in Jedi Knight II.

          1. OMG – YOU DID IT!

            One of life’s mysteries SOLVED!!!!

            It mentions it being called the ‘TIE fighter scream’. Looking through old stock sound clips, one of my friends in broadcasting found it. It’s a baby elephant trumpeting.

    1. “The Willhelm Scream.” For Sure. Not the Howie Scream. Im totally obsessed w/ it too.

  4. I can understand why certain music is re-used for trailers for other movies for various reasons, but it’s usually pretty obvious when they’re doing it (even if you don’t recognize the music as being from something else specifically) and it makes it feel cheap.

    I have watched a *ton* of movie trailers (for a variety of reasons, including semi-professional) and trailers that are thoughtfully made and which use original music and sound effects are 100x more effective than the generic slam-bang action movie trailers that reuse music like this.

    That includes the Lord of the Rings trailer that used the Requiem for a Dream track – why was that necessary, when there’s so much excellent music from the LOTR films themselves?

  5. I remember hearing the music from the opening sequence of Myst (the CD-ROM game) in a film trailer (for some teen-slasher horror film, I think) some 10-15 years ago. Was that piece a standard as well?

  6. The one I always notice is a passing truck’s horn blaring, showing the Doppler effect. As far as I can tell, that gets used every single time a truck passes by in the background of a movie or TV show; it’s always the same.

  7. All I get when I follow the link is the following message:

    “You Are Banned.”

    It isn’t even accompanied by any special musical cue for any dramatic effect.

  8. Credit where credit is due, James Horner had already written that piece of music for 1982’s ‘The Wrath of Khan’, he was just re-using it for ‘Aliens’- there’s actually a massive amount of music from the Aliens soundtrack that he repurposed from WoK.

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