Hyperdiagetic Sound in Cry Baby

Sound design is a very powerful film technique. It helps create the world of the movie and directs the audience’s attention.

In John Water’s cult classic Cry Baby, the sound design is very important.  Throughout the film sound is used to enhance what is happening in the scene. Many of the sound effects put into the film are hyperdiagetic. For example, during the big fight scene between the Squares and the Drapes the punching sounds that are heard are highly exaggerated (38:00). A single punch thrown in a giant brawl would not normally be heard, but in order to direct the viewer’s attention to the person being hit, the sound is heightened.

There are many other hyperdiagetic sounds throughout the film, including the thunder and lightning, a crowd’s applause, and the breaks of a car. Another important aspect of film design in Cry Baby is the music. Music is almost constant in this film, even if it is subtle and in the background. A memorable scene that includes music is the opening of the film. No other sound is heard except for the song. It is setting the film up and letting the audience know how important music and signing is to the story.

Additionally, the song that is being played is called “Cry Baby”, presenting the title of the film. This song coupled with the different characters crying creates a visual representation of the title. In the film Cry Baby, sound is a prominent aspect of the story. The hyperdiagetic sounds illustrate a cartoon-like atmosphere and the music in the opening helps set up the story and introduce the importance of the different characters, particularly Cry Baby.



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