Created By: Skylite on February 18, 2018 Last Edited By: Skylite on June 14, 2018

Kill Tally

Marking off kills to keep track of how many.

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This trope is common in media where there is someone who feels the need to keep track of multiple kills.

Pilots in war films usually slap a Custom Decal on the nose of their plane to denote how many enemies they've taken down. It's not just a boost to the pilot's ego, but a morale boost to the entire squad and a demoralizer to the enemies.

Serial killers also keep a kill tally as a Creepy Souvenir. Some even do the tally on their own bodies making themselves a Human Notepad.

In Lighter and Softer works, the tally may mark down victories at a sport or challenge.

If you have two or more people doing this to compete at who's the best at taking down enemies, that's Body Count Competition.


  • Con Air : Serial rapist/murderer Johnny 23 had a tattoo added for every victim.
  • Pacific Rim: Striker Eureka had little Kaiju stamps on its chassis to mark its kills, especially because it had the highest number of kills.
  • One of the Universal Soldier movies had a titular soldier who wore his kill tally as a gruesome keepsake: a necklace with the ears of his kills strung like beads.
  • World War II movies (not a genre I'm familiar with so titles would be needed)

Community Feedback Replies: 25
  • February 18, 2018
    • In the Goofy short Motor Mania, a reckless driver hits Goofy and stamps a marker to a tally on the side of his car. Later, a kid on a scooter knocks him over and adds a marker to his tally.
    • Looney Tunes:
      • In Scalp Trouble (and its remake Slightly Daffy), a cavalry soldier shoots at Indians attacking the fort, marking his tally to the tune of "Ten Little Indians".
        • That gag was repeated by Bugs Bunny in Horse Hare, only he erases part of one tally because "that one was a half-breed".
      • In I Taw a Putty Tat, Sylvester keeps a tally of all the canaries he's eaten with a bird-shaped stamp. After Tweety gets through with him, he adds a cat-shaped stamp mark to the tally.
  • February 18, 2018
    Comic Books
    • Batman villain Victor Zsasz cuts a tally mark into his skin for each person he's killed. His torso is near entirely covered with tally marks, although Depending On The Artist, he may also have them on other parts of his body too, like his head.
  • February 18, 2018
  • February 19, 2018
    • Batman villain, Victor Zsasz, carves tallies onto himself for each of his victims.

    • In Arrow, Deadshot would tattoo the names of each of his victims onto himself upon completion of a job.
  • February 19, 2018
  • February 19, 2018
    • In Ace Combat Zero The Belkan War, when examining your planes in the hangar, the total number of your kills with each one is displayed as a sequence of ticks under its name and stats. Justified in that the player character Cipher is a mercenary, so he naturally has to wear his cred on his sleeve like that.
  • February 19, 2018
    Comic Books
    • Batman baddie Mr. Zsasz cuts a tally-mark into his skin for every kill.

    Film - Live Action
    • In Black Panther Killmonger received his nickname because he would add a mark to his skin for every added kill on a mission. By the time of the film, the marks cover his entire torso.
  • February 19, 2018
    ^^ I guess it could be a super trope, but a competition is not required to be this trope.
  • February 19, 2018
    Malady, Skylite - exactly. Take the "competition" out of Body Count Competition and you get this concept.
  • February 19, 2018
    • Maddie Fenton briefly does this in Danny Phantom with an ectoplasmic bazooka and lipstick. She puts down two marks after taking out a pair of Walker's goons... and then sets her sights on Danny himself.
  • February 19, 2018
    Body Count Competition isn't wicked in the description.

    Can't you rip all physical kill counters from there anyway? Or is this tally marks only?
  • February 19, 2018
    Western Animation
    • T-Bone and Razor, the Swat Kats, have a stamp and ink pad for this purpose, and append their latest villain defeat, Morbulus, to a wall near the Turbokat's service bay. Morbulus appears to be their eighteenth downed adversary.
  • February 20, 2018
    • While treating gunslinger Quirt Evans for gunshot wounds at the start of Angel And The Badman, the doctor suggests looking at Quirt's gun to see how many notches are in the grip, i.e. how many men he's killed. (It's never said whether he actually has any such notches.)
  • February 20, 2018
    • Star Wars Legends:
      • The X Wing Series references fighter pilots' practice of marking ship-to-ship kills many times. In Rogue Squadron, squadron leader Wedge Antilles has so many that the ground crew has taken to marking them in squadrons' worth, i.e. one mark for every twelve kills (plus two Death Stars).
      • In Vector Prime, Leia and Mara Jade Skywalker complain about Unwanted Assistance from a particularly egotistical Jedi. Leia complains about him intervening to get a couple more kill silhouettes on his X-Wing, when they were trying to out-fly and evade the ambush.

    Video Games:
  • February 20, 2018
    • In the third Artemis Fowl novel, the Irish mobster Loafers gets a new symbolic tattoo every time he completes a hit. Most of his body is inked.

    edit: fixed typo
  • April 20, 2018
    • In Red Markets members of the Black Math cult tattoo tally marks on themselves every time they kill a zombie. Their leaders have what's known as "the face full of fives".
  • April 20, 2018
    Supertrope of Kill Streak.
  • April 20, 2018
    In another Warhammer 40,000 example and like Zsaz, Lucius the Eternal is a duelist who seeks out great champions in single combat, and scars himself for each one defeated. Given he's been at this ten thousand years and has a curse/boon where whoever kills him turns into him, he's pretty much a mass of crisscrossing scars by now.

    In the recent XCOM games, you can view each individual soldier's kill count.
  • April 20, 2018
    Visual Novel
    • Genocider Syo from Dangan Ronpa applies for this trope in the Human Notepad variant. She is a Serial Killer, who carves another tally into her thigh with each life taken. This is why her Split Personality, Touko Fukawa, wears a longer skirt than the rest of the cast; to cover up her tally scars.
  • June 12, 2018
    Should be disambiged from Body Count.

    And yes, do games just counting kills, count as this trope?

    If so, then VideoGame.Iji, VideoGame.Fallout 3, VideoGame.Fallout New Vegas, and VideoGame.Fallout 4 would also count, among others.

    This is up for grabs, but I PM-ed Skylite, about this. Waiting to see if they respond.
  • June 13, 2018
    ^ You may have a long wait. As far as I can tell, the last time Skylite logged in to TV Tropes was May 31st, about two weeks ago, and that was their only post since May 19th.
  • June 13, 2018
    Image with a good story behind it:

    ^^Only if the game marks kills on your character's model somehow. Just keeping track of kills in an OOC scoreboard doesn't count.
  • June 13, 2018
    ^ that'd be Kill Streak.
  • June 13, 2018
    ^^ - Ah, nevermind then, I suppose.

    Do we have a trope for OOC kill counters?
  • June 14, 2018
    The character 'Monk' from the film Gangs of New York adds a notch to his shillelagh for every person he kills; another character is seen collecting victims' ears.