This hysterical trailer for “The Mummy” missing its sound effects inspired a late entry for the best meme of 2016

Image: Universal Pictures
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If you watch movies, you’ve probably heard the “Wilhelm scream,” a stock sound effect of a man screaming that’s become something of a Hollywood inside joke. Since debuting in the 1951 film Distant Drums, the scream has appeared in hundreds of others, including Star WarsBatman, The Lord of the Rings, and virtually every film in which someone is violently thrown from a ledge or high surface.

As timeless as the Wilhelm scream is, it might be time to retire it, for the internet discovered something much, much funnier: the Cruise scream.

Yesterday, IMAX accidentally released a trailer for next year’s reboot of The Mummy that was missing most of its sound effects. What remained was mostly just the agonized wails of Tom Cruise, as if they were the isolated vocal portion of a song—except instead of singing, we hear only the screams of one of America’s biggest movie stars.

It must be seen to be believed:

(Universal Pictures appears to be taking down versions of the erroneous trailer, so we’re not sure how long this will last. Here is the real trailer for The Mummy with its sound effects intact.)

The botched trailer itself is amusing enough, but what followed was even better. People began editing Cruise’s doomed shrieks into footage from other films, like Darth Vader’s awakening in Revenge of the Sith:

The Mummy comes out June 9 and is the first installment in Universal’s planned “Monsters” cinematic universe, which will also include reboots of Frankenstein, Wolf Man, and Van Helsing, among others.

Universal, meanwhile, should consider embracing the meme. The accidental IMAX trailer, and the subsequent meme-making, has generated more buzz for the franchise reboot than any intentional marketing yet. Decades from now, when the reboot is but a distant cinematic memory, all we may remember from it are the screams.