"…very few people know what it actually sounds like
to stomp someone’s face in an elevator."
A Salon article talks about the sound effects for a scene of violence in an elevator in the movie Drive:
According to Mark Berger, a multiple-Oscar-winning sound editor who now teaches at UC-Berkeley, each violent impact is orchestrated like a musical chord. An editor might start with a thumping base note, he saysthe sound of a 2-by-4 being smacked against a side of beefand then add in some upper frequencies with a bundle of dry twigs being snapped or a plastic cup getting broken. Then he’d finish off the effect by filling out its mid-notes with something gloopy, like the sound of a ripe melon dropped on cement. By tweaking the proportions of these ingredients, he can build something dry and tough, or moist and oozy…
The makers of Drive weren’t trying to make the sounds of violent impact seem realistic. Like most sound editors, Bender says there’s no clear relationship between what you’d hear in a movie fight and what you might hear in real life. Since very few people know what it actually sounds like to stomp someone’s face in an elevator, the audio for a movie beating has to come from a sound editor’s imagination. Soundtracks may be even more stylized and coded than on-screen visuals. "The criterion isn’t authenticity," explains Mark Berger, the Berkeley professor. "It’s perceived authenticity."
The Sounds of Violence, Slate>>