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If someone breaks a bone in fiction, usually they'll inform the other characters, and people will act accordingly. But sometimes, a writer may want to make the viewer or reader realize the character has been injured immediately, perhaps convey that it's serious or incredibly painful. In TV, this means making the sound of a broken bone (crack!) a bit louder, frequently with the foley noise of a breaking stick or a stalk of celery. In literature, this means taking the time to describe the sound("...with a sickening crunch"). It doesn't have to be a broken bone, either. Maybe a character's heart is struggling, and the viewer will hear that character's heartbeat from time to time.

Compare with Kung Foley and Hell Is That Noise.

Examples of Sickening Crunch include:

Anime and Manga

  • Naruto: During the Chuunin exams, Neji damages Hinata's heart during their fight. A heartbeat sound and a picture of a heart appears from time to time, and she reacts as though she's in pain.(This example is from the Anime; it may have been depicted differently in the Manga)
  • In One Piece, when Usop is hit in the face by a 4 tonne baseball bat. Complete with the picture of his bones shattering. Good thing he had the Heroic Resolve on that time...


  • 127 Hours: It's a movie about a man who gets his arm crushed under a rock. Three guesses where you hear this sound.
  • Undercover Brother: Subverted. The title character is about to stomp a Mook who's lying on the ground. We see him stomp and hear a horrible crunching sound as he twists his foot but we don't actually see the stomp connect. Just when you think he's smashed the Mook's head in, the camera looks down and we see that UB actually smashed a bag of potato chips. Watch it here.
  • The Three Stooges used this effect to an absurd extent, which added to the hilarity. For example, even Moe twisting Curly's nose or ears would be accompanied by a loud crackling noise.
  • The Dark Knight: Batman holds Maroni off the edge of a building, threatening him for information. When Maroni informs him that it's not high enough to kill him, Batman agrees, then promptly drops him. The crunch when he lands on his feet is sickening to say the least.
  • The Ruins: Two girls decide it is a good idea to pick up and move a man who has just fallen 20+ feet and says he can't feel his legs. Sickening Crunch Ensues.
  • Insidious: The sound that heralds the appearance of the demon is supposed to be the sounds of bones breaking, adding an extra shiver factor.


  • Discworld: Used from time to time. How could it not be?
  • Pops up in A Song of Ice and Fire when Ser Gregor Clegane kills Oberyn Martell. It's not shown just how Ser Gregor kills Oberyn, but judging from the sound and Ellaria's and Tyrion's reactions, it was a horrific way to go.

Live Action TV

Tabletop Games

  • Call of Cthulhu
    • Supplement Fearful Passages, adventure "Sleigh Ride". The PCs and an NPC named Chance are lying in ambush to try to bag some monsters when one of them sneaks up behind Chance.

 Chance, terrified, drops the rifle into the snow. He stands frozen just long enough for the creature to reach out gigantic hands and wrench Chance's head with a sickening crack.

    • Campaign setting The Fungi From Yuggoth, adventure "Castle Black". When the star vampire attacks Vetch it will inexorably bend him backward until his spine snaps with a sickening crunching sound.

Video Games

  • Batman: Arkham Asylum: Some of the more brutal finishing moves have audible cracks of bones breaking.
  • Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth: If you walk around with a broken leg, a sickening crack is heard with every step.
  • Fallout 3: Fall damage is accompanied by a crunch.
  • Half-Life 2: If you take fall damage, the crack of a broken bone is heard, accompanied by the HEV suit's computer informing you of the injuries.
    • The same thing happens in Team Fortress 2, minus the computer voice. Likely because these games are both made by Valve, using a similar (if not the same) game engine.
  • MadWorld: Happens a lot here.
  • Minecraft replaced the long-standing "OOGH" damage sound with an absolutely spine-chilling set of crunching, cracking, and gibbing sounds. Some of these are even given titles such as "Hurt Flesh.wav".
  • Mirror's Edge: Try jumping off a roof. You'll hear it.
  • Samurai Shodown: Hanzou's fatality consist in him swiftly breaking the arm, leg, ribs and then skull of his victim, all with audible cracks and shots of the broken bones inside.
  • Super Paper Mario: When Mimi reveals her monster form, her neck snaps as her head starts spinning around. Unexpectedly disturbing for a Mario game.
  • WWE All Stars which has over the top versions of wrestling moves makes the submissions more extreme looking by stretching the victim more than normal and adding a loud bone cracking/crunching sound.
  • In the intro movie for Baldur's Gate, Sarevok strangles an unnamed character so hard it makes scrunching noises. The dead body falling to the ground from a height after that also makes a crunch.
  • Some moves in Soul Calibur are accompanied by sickening crunches. Ivy's "wrap the whip sword around their neck and pull it through" move is especially nasty.

Web Comics

  • The Good Witch: The previous good witch jumps out a window, and a crunch is heard. When we're shown where she landed, all that's left is her clothes.
  • The Order of the Stick gives us a cleric who's about to get revenge on someone for betraying him. We see the following sound effects come from off-panel: Thunk. Thunk. SQUILCH!

Western Animation

  • On one episode of Adventure Time, Finn's legs get crushed by a stag, which causes a very cringeworthy sound.

Real Life

  • Yes, bones make sounds when they break. However, particularly if you break a bone by falling from a height on to it, the sound is not loud enough to be heard over that of the impact with the ground.