Created By: Owlorange1995 on December 10, 2017 Last Edited By: Owlorange1995 on December 17, 2017
Troped

Sinister Switchblade

Switchblade knives are for evil people.

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When it comes to planning out the weaponry of a story, Good Weapon, Evil Weapon never fails to display itself. That said, the switchblade gets a particularly bad rep. The small size, concealability, and razor sharp edge make sit almost impossible for the poor weapon to be seen in a positive light. This is especially the case with "stiletto" switchblade, named for the similarly shaped dagger. Gangsters scare their targets with a single flick of their blades, and assassins slit the throats of unsuspecting victims who barely have time to hear the Click sound given off by the weapon.

A Sub-Trope of Knife Nut. See also Sinister Scythe and Sinister Shiv, which are also bladed weapons associated with unsavory people.


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     Anime & Manga 

     Films - Live-Action 
  • The murderous Swinburne's first appearance in Bedknobs and Broomsticks has him threaten the main characters with a switchblade. Later on, his boss the Bookman orders him to shoot someone, and Swinburne that he'd rather use his switchblade.
  • The final confrontation in Blackboard Jungle involves a delinquent with a switchblade. It's deconstructed in that one of the protagonists takes advantage of the weapon's fragile lock to snap the blade off the handle.
  • A Clockwork Orange has the gang leader Billy-boy pull a switchblade in response to Alex's challenge to a brawl.
  • Most of the knives carried by the Joker in The Dark Knight are switchblades.
  • The primary weapon of Henry Bowers in It (2017) is a switchblade. His fall to madness is punctuated by him killing his father with it.
  •  The Rocky Horror Picture Show has the song Eddie's Teddy invoking this.
    Chorus: You knew he was a no-good kid, but when he threatened your life with a switchblade knife...

     Literature 
  • "The Cross and the Switchblade" is David Wilkerson's account of his evangelism work among gang members. 
  • Switchblades are very common among the gangs in The Outsiders.
  • In the Sonja Blue series, antihero and part-time monster Sonja Blue has a silver switchblade as her favorite weapon. Silver to help fight other monsters, and a switchblade because she's just that brutal.

     Live-Action TV 
  • The close-range weapon of Al Capone's gang in Deadliest Warrior is a switchblade, referred to a "stiletto."
  • There's an episode of The Pretender where Miss Parker uses one as a letter-opener.

     Video Games 
  • Played with in Life is Strange. When Frank is introduced, he threatens Max and Chloe with one, but he quickly proves to be something of a Paper Tiger, and that he tends to Bring A Knife To A Gunfight means his switchblade marks him as a bit pathetic. Indeed, the worst that can happen is that Max and Chloe accidentally kill him in self defence in episode 4). In the prequel his much more dangerous friend Damon threatens Chloe and Rachel in a similar scene, but uses a much scarier looking combat knife to make it clear that he's much more of a threat.

     Web Original 
  • The Jon Tron video Love Is Like Drugs characterizes a drug dealer as evil nigh instantly by having him open a switchblade in front of our main characters, which sends them fumbling to find a magical analogy to get them out of the situation.

     Other 
  • Note that a lot of countries ban or severely restrict switchblades, flick knives and similar weapons such as butterfly knives. These weapons have such a bad reputation that even countries who allow more conventional knives to be carried without restriction have laws against them. The actual effects of the legislation range from prohibiting the use of switchblades to anyone outside the military (Hungary) to banning all switchblades with blades longer than a few centimeters (Japan) to banning the sale, use, or transport of the knives altogether (The Netherlands).

Community Feedback Replies: 10
  • December 11, 2017
    Arivne
    • Corrected punctuation (added periods at the ends of sentences).
    • Blue Linked some TV Tropes page names.
    • Examples section
      • Added the word "Examples".
      • Added [[foldercontrol]] .
      • Replaced garbage text characters (caused by a non-standard text character) with a standard text character.
  • December 11, 2017
    Exxolon
    Note that a lot of countries ban or severely restrict switchblades, flick knives and similar weapons such as butterfly knives. These weapons have such a bad reputation that even countries who allow more conventional knives to be carried without restriction have laws against them.
  • December 11, 2017
    Alvin
    Literature: "The Cross and the Switchblade" is David Wilkerson's account of his evangelism work among gang members. Live-Action TV: There's an episode of The Pretender where Miss Parker uses one as a letter-opener.
  • December 11, 2017
    zarpaulus
    Possibly also note that the most common switchblade style to appear in gangster fiction is the "stiletto" switchblade named for the similarly shaped dagger.
  • December 11, 2017
    Lullabee
    From The Rocky Horror Picture Show:
    When Eddie said he didn't like his teddy
    You knew he was a no-good kid
    But when he threatened your life with a switchblade knife
    What a guy, makes you cry, und I did
  • December 12, 2017
    DustSnitch
    • The Jon Tron video "Love Is Like Drugs" characterizes a drug dealer as evil nigh instantly by having him open a switchblade in front of our main characters, which sends them fumbling to find a magical analogy to get them out of the situation.
  • December 13, 2017
    Xtifr
    • In the Sonja Blue series, antihero and part-time monster Sonja Blue has a silver switchblade as her favorite weapon. Silver to help fight other monsters, and a switchblade because she's just that brutal.
  • December 15, 2017
    JesseMB27
    I think it might be worth mentioning that Switchblades are illegal in some countries or in provinces/states in countries, which could contribute to switchblades having a sinister nature. Here's a link on the other wiki for details
  • December 17, 2017
    Bisected8
    • Played with in Life Is Strange. When Frank is introduced, he threatens Max and Chloe with one, but he quickly proves to be something of a Paper Tiger, and that he tends to Bring A Knife To A Gunfight means his switchblade marks him as a bit pathetic ( indeed, the worst that can happen is that Max and Chloe accidentally kill him in self defence in episode 4). In the prequel his much more dangerous friend Damon threatens Chloe and Rachel in a similar scene, but uses a much scarier looking combat knife to make it clear that he's much more of a threat.
  • December 17, 2017
    ScroogeMacDuck
    Added an example under "Film".
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