Trailer trend: rise of the BRAAAHHMs


8th June 2011

Hey you, Hollywood! Are you cutting a trailer for your new action thriller or whatever? Do you want to signify dark, brooding menace and impending doom? You need Inception HornĀ®! It's the whacked-out sound effect everybody's using!

It's not exactly news that Hollywood's creatives tend to trade off each others' successes - if audiences show they like something, then that something quickly becomes flavour of the month. Flavour of the year last year was Inception, in particular Hans Zimmer's subwoofer-rattling, bass-your-face-off score. It gave birth to the phenomenon known as 'Inception Horn'. You know, this thing.


Inception Horn is now everywhere - it's an aural motif that's easily adaptable and instantly recognisable as a sonic symbolisation of 'bad shit about to happen'. It's probably not the first instance of repetitive horns being used in trailers, but I'll be damned if it isn't the cause of the latest glut.

Just look at these recent examples of Inception Horn being extracted and placed in the trailers of others.

Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes

This is perhaps the most blatant theft of Inception Horn. It's a slightly tinnier variation, but the pacing and fading of the image is extremely familiar. It might as well be a rip-off klaxon.

Transformers: Dark Of The Moon

An electronic digitisation of Inception Horn it may be, but it's used in exactly the same way - an aural beat between visual punches.


Even the Norse God of Thunder needs some recognisable entrance music.

Red Riding Hood

My, what a loud horn you have.

Battle Los Angeles

This trailer has double Inception Horn, starting off with a nice, distant foghorn noise and ending with a more aggressive parp.

Tron Legacy

Just a brief taste of Incepthorn, after Daft Punk have finished clashing their digital dustbin lids together.

Saw: The Final Chapter

Theft: the kind of crime Jigsaw abhors.

Terra Nova

TV shows are at it too. Just because it's set in prehistoric times, doesn't mean Terra Nova can't utilise Inception Horn.

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Even videogames are getting the horn. Hans Zimmer composed the music for Modern Warfare 2, so maybe this is him patting himself on the back.

Prototype 2

This is just taking the piss.

So there you have it: Inception Horn is the trailer sound effect of the new millennium. Some say it could even be the new (*record scratch*).

The original and best.

Follow us on Twitter @The_Shiznit for more fun features, film reviews and occasional commentary on what the best type of crisps are.
We are using Patreon to cover our hosting fees. So please consider chucking a few digital pennies our way by clicking on this link. Thanks!

Share This