Castle thunder (sound effect)
An older variation of the sound effect, followed by the more recent version
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Castle thunder is a sound effect that consists of the sound of a loud thunderclap during a rainstorm. It was originally recorded for the 1931 film Frankenstein, and has since been used in dozens of films, television programs, and commercials.
After its use in Frankenstein, the Castle Thunder was used in dozens of films from the 1930s through the 1980s, including Citizen Kane (1941), Bambi (1942), Young Frankenstein (1974), Star Wars (1977), Ghostbusters (1984), Back to the Future (1985), and Big Trouble in Little China (1986). Use of the effect in subsequent years has declined because the quality of the original analog recording does not sufficiently hold up in modern sound mixes.
The effect appears in Disney, Peanuts, and Hanna-Barbera cartoons, including the original Scooby-Doo animated series. It can also be heard at the Haunted Mansion attraction at Disney theme parks.
The Castle Thunder has also been utilized as part of various sound "mixes" along with other sound effects to achieve a desired outcome. For example, in the 1974 film Earthquake, the effect is mixed with several others (including rumbling, cracking, waterfall, and glass breaking) to simulate the sound of a dam bursting. It was also used as the sound effect of the bombs dropped from a TIE Bomber in the video game Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, as well as on The Powerpuff Girls when the girls would zoom off in flight. Both the old and more recent version were used in the popular computer game Oregon Trail II when the player would encounter a thunderstorm.
The sound can be found on a few sound effects libraries distributed by Sound Ideas (such as the Network Sound Effects Library, the 20th Century Fox Sound Effects Library and the Hanna-Barbera SoundFX Library).
- Kelly, Kevin (March 3, 2008). "The "Castle Thunder" Noise that Rocked a Thousand Movies". io9. Gizmodo Media Group. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
- Kroon, Richard W. (2010). A/V A to Z: An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Media, Entertainment and Other Audiovisual Terms. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. p. 127. ISBN 978-0-7864-9556-6.
- Cox, Trevor (2014). The Sound Book: The Science of the Sonic Wonders of the World (1st ed.). New York: W. W. Norton & Company. p. 193. ISBN 978-0-3932-3979-9.