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Why are most monsters in scifi movies designed with a big mouth and a loud scream? It seems all monsters open their mouth and scream before attacking. Can't something be scary without screaming?

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    Of course, just think of vampires. – Rainer Apr 7 '12 at 7:38
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    Forget scaring their "prey", why would a species EVOLVE into something like that? How does scaring each other increase fitness? :) – a CVn Jul 4 '12 at 8:17
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    @MichaelKjörling A demoralized victim is easier to eat/digest? – Xantec Jul 5 '12 at 13:17
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All fictional monsters have archetypes in reality. If you look at what beasts we find in real life, you'll see that most of them roar or scream when trying to intimidate an enemy. Lions, bears, wolves and domestic dogs and cats even open their mouths wide in an attempt to ward off other creatures.

Since creatures in SciFi/fantasy don't exist, most authors need to draw from some form of reality to get an emotional response from their audience. And since the most fearsome creatures that do exist have a "monster scream", then the author can expect the same fearful response from their viewers when the made up creature has its own "monster scream"

  • I'm pretty sure animals don't do so before attacking, though. Most movie monsters aren't really interested in scaring their opponent out of their pants (aggressive behavior tends to be intraspecies and meant to avoid a fight) - they are in it for the kill. Look at footage of predators hunting prey for a comparison, you don't really see any aggressive behavior there either. My dog doesn't act aggressive when he sees a hare - he acts excited, and tenses up. I'm quite certain that he is not unusual in that regard; it's certainly been my experience that most dogs are very alike in that respect. – a CVn Jul 4 '12 at 8:14
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    Michael: True, scaring the prey isn't the monster's in-world motivation... but its real-world purpose often is to scare the audience. – Dave Sherohman Jul 4 '12 at 9:37
  • @DaveSherohman Yes, I agree. My reservation with this answer was with the comparison to real world carnivores or omnivores. – a CVn Jul 5 '12 at 13:29
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In Indipendence Day (movie), the bad aliens don't have mouths and communicate telepathically (so the horrible scream that paralyses the poor men in terror as a kind of psychic attack is delivered telepathically...).

Just a quick and easy alternative... in Aliens, instead, they made monsters without eyes.... all cheap tricks to make them scarier...:-)

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    Idk, Sigourney Weaver's alien baby from resurection had eyes, and that thing was quite freaky. Still +1 for thinking outside the sphere. – Chad Harrison Jul 3 '12 at 21:36
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Q1: Most monsters in Sci Fi shows/movies roar scream or yell to instill fear in the targets. Some of them are sucessfull causing the characters of the movie to forget their surroundings and fall or trip or something. Most monster sci-fi movies have these types of monsters.

Q2: Yes monsters can still be scary without having to scream. For example, in the Predator movies, you don't see the Predator do a warriors call to catch the prey, it just catches it.

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The xenomorph designed by Giger for Alien (and its successors) is usually not screaming(his victims do this for him!). But it has a large mouth.

xenomorph in all its glory

May be this is the reason it is one of the most famous and creepiest monsters?

Agreed that the mouth is large, however I think personally the size is only a minor fact and the most frightening thing is the design of its "double mouth".

I add two pictures of the skull for better seeing the size of its jaws..

side view

detail view

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    It's true it doesn't scream, but it has a HUGE mouth. And as a bonus, and additional mouth inside it! Look at the picture: its mouth takes up almost all of its "face"! – Andres F. Jul 4 '12 at 0:03

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