Spider-Man’s always had a curiously animal-heavy rogues gallery compared to other superheroes. While a number of those classic villains like Scorpion and a dragon-esque Green Goblin make brief appearances in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the film also managed to sneak in a new bit of bestial energy, one that gives its most terrifying villain some added texture.
The Prowler plays a significant role in Miles Morales’ journey to becoming his universe’s Spider-Man and features largely into one of Into the Spider-Verse’s meatier subplots. But because he isn’t the film’s biggest bad, co-directors Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman wanted to give the villain a little extra flare to make his handful of fight scenes with Miles feel as emotionally intense as they do for Miles.
The trick? Giving the Prowler a very peculiar, haunting audio cue that always lets you know that he’s charging his way towards Spider-Man, ready to go in for the kill.
When we spoke with the trio of directors recently, Persichetti explained that while they initially considered simply going with a frightening song to telegraph the Prowler’s presence, the movie’s composer Daniel Pemberton ended up fiddling around with the sound of elephants trumpeting to create the signature sound:
“That came from our amazing composer Daniel Pemberton and... it’s an elephant. Weirdly enough an elephant through a filter and it’s really just became his siren. It’s really unnerving and disturbing.
We used to have a song in there that had, not that exact sound but something that had the same expressive quality as that, and it was the beginning of a song. It was a mixed song and we just played that over and over and he turned it into something much more organic. It’s really haunting, man”
Rodney added that, as scary as the Prowler’s siren (which isn’t actually emanating from his suit) is, the team also wanted to make sure that it evoked a sense of sadness, given how the character’s story plays out within the grander scheme of the film.
It’s those kind of little touches that really draw you into Into the Spider-Verse’s gorgeously-realised world and will leave you thinking about the film long after you’ve left the theatre.