Shofar … not sho many responses. Folks must laying on their sackbuts … conch'd out. Without further didgeridoo, here are some cuica piks:
Favorite usage of ram's horn shofar: Planet of the Apes by Jerry Goldsmith Favorite usage of Brazilian friction drum cuica: Vendetta per Vendetta by A.F. Lavagnino Favorite usage of conch shell: Alien by Jerry Goldsmith Favorite usage of ancient Greek lute cithara: Le Boucher by Pierre Jansen Favorite usage of autoharp: Experiment in Terror by Henry Mancini Favorite usage of serpent: White Witch Doctor by Bernard Herrmann
There are plenty more non-standard or ethnic instruments, I'm sure, with which to cite further examples, though labeling them as "weird" could be deemed insensitive. Also, more common instruments can issue forth 'strange' sounds as well, such as piano wires rubbed by a superball or a gong rubbed by a mallet.
If someone mentions "the serpent" before I finish slooowly typing this, he or she will be punished by having to listen to it AND learn to play it, for the rest of eternity.
If nobody mentions "the serpent" before I post this, then I am the one who will suffer that most excruciating punishment.
I am now posting this. Now.
Let me take the serpentine baton, GW, and Hoimann's Journey To...Earth is the winner. Was trying to sneak it into latest ZOOM-BOOM but couldn't get past someone. It may have been you, in which case we're even LOL!
The waterphone is one of my favorite sounds and I've been itching to try one out for a while. Can't quite afford one at the moment, but its use in Chinatown is outstanding. Goldsmith used prepared piano, extended piano techniques and bowed cymbals on there too. Not so much weird instruments, but played unusual ways.
The Takemitsu score for Kwaidan (1964) uses non musical sounds, like cracking wood for a disturbing effect.