• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic

Stuntslit 115.gif

see also: Throat-Slitting Gesture

This Death Trope is one of the classic ways to kill someone in media. Take a knife, a straight razor, or some other nasty edged weapon and draw it across your victim's throat. In a lot of media, this is generally instant death, but in more realistic works, it is generally quite slow (unless the carotid arteries are all severed, in which case the target passes out after a few seconds due to lack of oxygenated blood to the brain--though it takes a certain amount of expertise to land such a strike) and VERY messy to boot, particularly if the carotid artery or the jugular vein are severed, though of course this depends on the work. Not to mention the victim usually drowns in their own blood before passing out. Naturally, Knife Nuts are particularly fond of this method.

See also the lethal variant of Dangerously Close Shave.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

Examples of Slashed Throat include:


  • In Full Metal Panic: The Second Raid, this was one of the bloodier killing methods, done by Creepy Twin Yu Lan to a guard. It is done to an Arm Slave at one point too.
  • In chapter 51 of Mirai Nikki Yuno slashes Akise through the neck rendering him unable to breathe or talk. She later beheads him.
  • From Fullmetal Alchemist
    • This happens to Riza Hawkeye in chapter 100/101 of the manga, and its equivalent in Brotherhood. The Big Bad's ally Doctor Goldtooth wants to force Roy to use Alchemy in a way that will lead him to pass the Gate, and to do so he pulls this on Riza. Luckily, May Chang arrives and saves her with Alkhaestry-based healing.
    • Hughes does this to Envy, who is disguised as Maria Ross. Unfortunately, Homunculi don't die so easily.

Comic Books

  • In the V for Vendetta graphic novel, Heyer dies after his throat is slashed, but manages to take his assailant with him.
  • The Rumor's throat is slashed with a note from a Musical Assassin in The Umbrella Academy. It's a rare case when the victim doesn't end up dead, though she was immediately rushed to a hospital and bears an ugly scar afterwards.
  • Constantine Drakon slit Arsenal's throat so that he couldn't fight back and had to submit to being kidnapped. Interestingly, it makes use of the slowness of dying from the wound. Constantine instructed Arsenal to put pressure on the wound to keep himself alive (a trick he had already done with an anonymous businessman, who applied too much pressure and died of suffocation instead).
  • Another example from the DCU is that Jericho was mute due to some of his father's (Deathstroke's) enemies capturing him in order to get Deathstroke to reveal information. Deathstroke refused, and killed the assassins - but not before one of them severed Joseph's vocal cords. This also led to the fight between Deathstroke and his wife where Addie tried to kill him, but only managed to put his eye out instead.
  • The 2007 revival of the DC Comics series Checkmate begins with two Checkmate agents, one of whom is the superhero known as "Fire", slitting the throats of two Kobra soldiers.


  • L.A. Confidential: "The proof had his throat cut."
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street: Sweeney Todd's primary method of murdering his customers was slashing the throat.
    • For any who the throat didn't do it for, being dropped down a shaft head first would finish them off.
  • Angel of The Wild Bunch is killed quite graphically this way immediately before the final shootout of the movie.
  • Eastern Promises features a fair number of these.
  • The Devil's Advocate has a quite shocking one of these when the protagonist's wife kills herself this way right in front of him.
  • The Chang Cheh movie Vengeance! climaxes with the protagonist finishing off the Big Bad this way after feigning death to draw him close.
  • The Inglourious Basterds used this a few times. It's also speculated that Lt. Raine survived one of these, hence his scar.
  • One of the organ traffickers in Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is killed this way. His mother tells him not to remove the knife, but he does so anyway and ends up bleeding to death.
  • This happens to Reynald de Châtillon in Kingdom of Heaven, after being captured after the Battle of Hattin. Saladin offers Guy de Lusignan a cup of water, indicating that he is sparing his life. When Reynald, who has gained notoriety by attacking caravans and killing Saladin's sister, gets handed the cup by Guy, Saladin states that the cup was not offered to him, then promptly kills him.
  • Happens all the time in the Saw series.
  • Braveheart - Basically the Berserk Button that carries William Wallace through the entire film. Wallace's secret wife Murron gets her throat cut by the Magistrate. Following his Roaring Rampage of Revenge, Wallace kills the Magistrate the same way, kicking off a Scotland-wide rebellion.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, one fellow who refuses to join Davy Jones's crew gets killed this way.
  • Dana Hadley in Puppet Master I was killed this way by Blade.
  • In Batman: Under the Red Hood The Joker kills a mobster by breaking a glass and slicing his throat. Graphically. If the movie were in live-action this would never be made, with this trope and the brutal beating of Jason Todd (which was actually toned down for the movie).
  • V, in the V for Vendetta movie, just can't get enough of this.
  • Conan the Barbarian has a more realistic example: there's some thrashing around and it takes quite a while for the mook to go down. On the other hand, its sequel features a man getting his throat slit, then yelling.
  • One of the most iconic movie deaths ever is Clarence Boddicker's dataspike to the throat in RoboCop.
  • Big Daddy from Kick-Ass does this to a mook in the warehouse raid scene.
  • In Hostel Part II, this is how Lorna is finished off. Also, Josh in the first movie, but that one isn't nearly as graphic.
  • In the Halloween series, this seems to be Michael Myers' favorite method of killing.
  • Rather in an out-of-character manner, Wonder Woman does this to two security guards in the 2009 animated film of the same name - by throwing her tiara, boomerang-like, at the unaware guards, who fall dead instantly as their throats are slashed.
  • A stoned camper gets his throat slit by The Jersey Devil in Satan's Playground, causing it to explode.


  • The giant in the fairy tale of Hop O My Thumb kills his daughters this way.
  • Saruman dies this way in The Lord of the Rings. In the movies, he's stabbed In the Back and impaled on a spike.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's novel Sixth Column, also known under the title The Day After Tomorrow, one of the characters kills a "traitor" this way. This "proves" he is fit to continue as an undercover agent.
  • In the book The Five Fingers about combat in Vietnam, the author mentions that the "commonly known" way of cutting a throat, by slashing across it, does not work if you wish quick, silent killing. He says the proper method is to jam the knife into the throat and rip forward, tearing open the windpipe and veins.
  • During the climax of the Warhammer 40000 novel Dark Disciple by Anthony Reynolds, Slaaneshi Daemonettes attack the prisoners and owners of a Dark Eldar skiff using their crab-like claws to slice their victims throats. The victims writhe on the ground in orgasmic ecstasy as they bleed out.
  • Averted in Tom Clancy's Without Remorse, where John Clark opts to stab his target through the base of the skull, severing the spinal cord for an instant kill. This tells the investigating policemen that they are dealing with a professional: a slashed throat is noisy (all that escaping air) and very, very messy, but it's much easier to do than a stab through the base of the neck.
  • It happens in Iron Fist; Deadly Doctor Ton Phanan cuts a man's throat with a laser scalpel, and the man staggers, glassy-eyed and trying to stop the bleeding, for a moment before he falls.
  • This is how murder is usually committed in Warrior Cats.
  • In Dale Brown's Wings of Fire, Wendy McLanahan gets her throat slashed with the swipe-along-the-neck method and survives... only for Vasilyeva to throw a knife into her chest and kill her. When Chris Wohl kills Pavel Kazakov, he stabs into the neck before slashing out, slicing it nearly in half.
  • Happens to Catelyn Stark at the Red Wedding in A Storm of Swords. It doesn't take.
  • Richard Marcinko describes the act of cutting a throat in some detail (emphasizing the difficulty of the act) in one of his early Rogue Warrior novels.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Shards of Honor, Sgt. Bothari slits Admiral Vorrutyer's throat with a pocket knife, spraying blood all over Captain Naismith, whom Vorrutyer was about to rape.
  • A mugger in Virtual Girl tries this on Maggie. It doesn't work, her being a robot and all.

Live Action TV

  • This pops up occasionally on NCIS:
    • One episode involved the murderer using the Marine sentry removal technique (described in The Five Fingers example above) to kill the victim...while she was having sex with him.
    • In an episode revolving around a revenge plot against Ducky, when the team rescued Ducky, one of the perps slashed his own throat with a scalpel rather than go back to jail.
  • One episode of Midsomer Murders had two people (and several sheep) killed this way with the skull of a smilodon.
  • On The X-Files, episode "Chinga", one character gets her throat cut by a broken phonograph record.
  • On Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
    • Kendra gets her throat slashed by fingernails and dies instantly. Though to be fair, she was under hypnosis at the time.
    • Buffy once used her ice skates to slit the throat of her attacker. He grabs his throat and falls to the ground, seemingly dead. Notable (and lampshaded in the commentary) in that there is no blood from his wound.
  • Wesley on Angel gets his throat cut. And survives, though he is unable to speak for some time afterwards.
  • On Heroes
    • This happens to Nathan in , with the throat-slashing being done telekinetically.
    • At one point when the powers are off, HRG slices Sylar's throat with a box cutter. Not quite ruthless enough; he really should have followed that up by destroying the brain and/or burning the body...
  • On Lost
    • Zoe gets her throat cut by the Man in Black.
    • Lennon had his throat sliced by Sayid
  • Happens a lot on Legend of the Seeker. Most people who get it simply clutch at their profusely bleeding throat before falling to the ground. Cara, on the other hand, manages to put off dying long enough to beat the hell out of the attacker, and get information out of him as well.
  • Happens several times in Oz.
  • Francis Wolcott likes to off prostitutes this way in Deadwood.
  • In Dexter
    • This happens to a hostage after Debra falls prey to Put Down Your Gun and Step Away. He survives, and is able to speak quite soon after.
    • This is also how Dexter kills his brother, the Ice Truck Killer.
  • Happens at least twice in Supernatural
    • The demon "Meg" does this in season 1 on screen while hitchhiking
    • Also occurs in season 2 after the Croatoan Virus is introduced. Two of the survivors are driving away from the empty town, one asks the other to pull over so he can make a call and once the driver does, the man is revealed to be possessed by an unnamed demon (possibly "Meg") who then slashes the driver's throat reminiscent of the season 1 useage.
    • In The French Mistake" this happens to Misha Collins. Yes, Misha Collins.
  • This happens to Jessica's pushy suitor in Misfits.
  • Spooks: Connie does it to Ben with garrote wire from her bra. It's very realistic.
  • Jimmy from Boardwalk Empire has done this multiple times. Notable ones include killing one of the D'Alessio brothers during a montage of their assassination, cutting the throat of a would-be mugger, and disposing of of a Mole within an ally's organization.


  • In The Protomen's Act II, Emily dies in this manner. The Sniper does too, in a sense.
  • In the music video for the Insane Clown Posse song "In Yo Face", there are a pair of showgirls with the classic "slashed throat" blood trails. It's just there to make them look creepy.

Video Games

  • It's possible to do this in Grand Theft Auto San Andreas. It's not possible to see it in the console version, since the third-person camera view obscures the sight, but it sounds pretty messy.
  • Quite a few Stealth Based Games allow you to do this to some unsuspecting Mooks. The first Hitman game does not encourage such, however, because slashed throats leave a lot of blood behind in comparison to the Fiber Wire that a true Silent Assassin uses for close-up killing. (Later Hitman games, however, don't take this into account and a throat-slit is treated as an effective stealth kill.)
  • It is far too easy to accidentally do this in Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater. In the first two Metal Gear Solid games the player could hold a guard in place by just holding the grab button. In the third game, attempting to do this causes Snake to slit the guard's throat.
  • Vampire Bloodlines has unique stealth kill animation for each melee weapon, and the one you get with a knife is the good ol' throat-slashing with lots of blood (if the enemy has it). However, since stealth kills generally go unnoticed by the enemies, nobody will give a damn even if you shower them from head to toe with their colleague's blood.
  • In Assassin's Creed 2 it is possible to cut the throat of a grabbed enemy. Quite amusingly, this can be done with a mace or war hammer. Or with a broom.
  • This is how GDI collaborator Hassan is executed in Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun.
  • B.B. Hood's standard throw is this in Darkstalkers and Marvel vs. Capcom.
  • The magazine ad for the first Tenchu game is an image of main character Rikkimaru shown through a narrow slit, which it's caption states is the view seen from some poor guard's vocal cords.
  • Wing Commander IV has Captain Paulson being killed this way by Seether in a cutscene. In some versions of the game (such as the Playstation version and versions sold in Europe), the actual slashing isn't shown on-screen, but heavily implied.
  • Mafia II has both the Hollywood way and the "real" way to do this. It happens in a cutscene where a minor villain pulls a knife on the main character, who disarms the chump and kills him with his own knife. At first he cuts the guy with the usual Hollywood "ear to ear" slice, but this is just to torture the guy; afterwards he kills the guy the "proper" way by jamming the knife sideways into his neck.
  • Happens rather frequently in the Call of Duty and Modern Warfare series.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, there is a chance for this to happen in one of the knife backstab animations. However, only about half of the knives in the game have edges on both sides, so by the time you're using Daedric and Ebony weapons, you're slaughtering people with the non-sharp side of a knife.

Real Life

  • The brutal social/political scandal known in Chile as "caso degollados" ("case of the slit throats" / "Slit Throat case"). In 1985, three well-known professionals affiliated with the opposition to Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship (artist Santiago Nattino, teacher's union leader Manuel Guerrero and sociologist/activist José Manuel Parada — also the son of a famous stage actor and father of a then very well-known child actress) were kidnapped by a national police agency, and the day after that their lifeless, torture-marked bodies were found semi-decapitated.