I once saw him kill three men in a bar... with a pencil. With a fucking. Pencil."This trope once killed a man with a pair of galoshes." "This trope once killed a man with a harmonica." "This trope once killed a man with a bowl of chicken soup!" "This trope once killed a man with a ballpoint pen!" "Yeah? Well this trope once killed a man... with two paper clips, some fishing line, and a rubber band!" Few things can establish one's badass cred quite like claiming to have killed someone with something no one would think of as a weapon of any sort, let alone a lethal one. Compare Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon and Improvised Weapon. May overlap with The Pen Is Mightier. A Badass Boast Trope. Can also be a Stock Phrase.
—Viggo, John Wick
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Anime and Manga
- Used in the English dub of Axis Powers Hetalia, when Germany is angry with Italy for sleeping late.
Germany: I once killed a man in his sleep with his own mustache and a grape.
- In Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, Nozomu has heard of a soldier who once took down an enemy battalion with only a volume of Kimagure Orange Road.
- Lina's sister Luna Inverse from Slayers is often said to have slain a dragon with a butter knife.
- In 50% OFF, an Abridged Series of Free!, Thugisa claims to have once killed a man with a Speak-N-Spell.
- While Kirika Yumura of Noir prefers to use her gun, if necessary, she will use anything she can get her hands on to take her enemies down. The list of non-weapon items she has killed people with includes neckties, forks, her student ID, and a toy truck. She has also wounded a man with his own sunglasses and used popcorn as a targeting aid.
- Some murder cases in Detective Conan involve impossible weapons. In Shinichi's very first case, the murder weapon turned out to be a bra wire.
- Being both an Improbable Weapon User and a Psycho for Hire, Bullseye has used pretty much every weapon available, including toothpicks and his own teeth.
Bullseye: They keep me on a liquid diet and stool softeners because they're afraid if I have a solid bowel movement I'd kill someone with it. And I would, too. Just to say I did it.
Bullseye: I once tracked an Eskimo huntsman across 200 miles of frozen tundra on foot and killed him with an icicle made of my own frozen feces.
- The MAX version of Bullseye is mentioned to have actually done this to somebody.
- In The Darkness Jackie once killed a guy with chopsticks.
- Actually happens in Michael Fleisher's In-Name-Only sequel to Harlem Heroes when Slice kills a man by throwing his ID card at his throat.
- One The Punisher MAX mook is called Inky because he killed a man with a pen. Subverted in that they describe, in great detail, how it happened.
- In the main series, Frank once killed a man with nothing but his lunch (club sandwich, Mai Tai, and very hot salsa). Take the toothpick from the sandwich and leave it to soak in the salsa, insert it into the straw from the cocktail, and fire the improvised blowdart into a mobster's ear as you're walking past.
- Johnny the Homicidal Maniac apparently did "horrible things with salad tongs".
- Played for humor in Professor Xavier and the X-Men #5, with a pair of random mercenaries' dialogue before the X-Men show up.
Mercenary A: I hate this! I'm a trained mercenary! I know 64 ways to kill a guy with a spoon and I'm stuck guarding an electric generator.
Mercenary B: D'you mean you can kill a guy who has a spoon — or that you can kill a guy with your own personal spoon?
Mercenary A: Must...reach...spoon.
- And three pages later, after Iceman has dropped a huge slab of ice on them.
- In an Azumanga Daioh and Battle Royale crossover. Sakaki's weapon of choice was a plush cat (she didn't really think it through), but at least she picked up a sickle from a fallen opponent later. Osaka chose a paper fan. She won - and that despite her not realizing that she was allowed to take better weapons from those she'd killed. She also makes a remark about considering using a rubber band, and is infamous as the dreaded 'Ayumu "Paper-clip" Kasuga'. Really.
- A variation of this occurs in Love and the Art of War in a more casual setting than normally seen.
Nanao: You could probably kill someone with a paper crane...Zaraki: Only by ramming it down their throat.
- In the Harry Potter Dark Fic A Shattered Prophecy Harry, the Dark Lord's assassin, kills one of the Aurors guarding him by shoving a feather quill into his throat.
- In Housemates, Loki decides that Coulson could kill someone with a Swiss army knife... or Jane Foster's bunny slippers.
- Sam Wilson asserts in Selfies From The Underground that Bucky Barnes once killed a man with a shoe and a rubber band.
- The Somewhat Cracked Mind Of Uchiha Itachi: Yoshino Nara (Shikamaru's mother), during the Invasion, kills a guy with her sandal.
- In The Winx Club Loops the Patchamen once killed a skilled warrior by beating him to death with napkins-and that's without being Loopers. Justified because they're ninja, and insanely good ones at that.
Films — Animated
- In Ratatouille, Sous-Chef Horst is said to have served time in prison, but every time someone asks him why he tells a different story. These include robbing a bank with only a ballpoint pen, creating a hole in the ozone layer over Avignon, or having "killed a man...with this thumb!" We never know for sure which story (if any) is true, but simply showing that thumb to Skinner is enough to scare him off.
- In The Secret Life of Pets, when Max and Duke are forced to make up a story about how they "killed" their previous owners, they claim to have used a spoon. Subverted when Snowball doesn't believe them, claiming it's impossible to kill someone with a spoon, and they hurriedly change their story to explain that they used the spoon to turn on a blender.
Films — Live-Action
- In The Chronicles of Riddick, upon coming across several guys menacing his friend Kyra, Riddick threatens to kill the ringleader with a teacup. And he does it. As the dead guy's friends stare in disbelief, he takes out a sardine can key, and sets it, slowly and meaningfully, on the same rock where the teacup was, then gives them a look that clearly says, "Who's next?"
- Del Preston's story from Wayne's World 2.
"But the shop owner and his son, that's a different story altogether... I had to beat them to death with their own shoes. Nasty business, really."
- In Daredevil Bullseye kills a guy with "darts" made from straightened paper clips. Later he kills someone with a peanut.
- The Dark Knight: The Joker's magic trick. "I'm going to make this pencil disappear... TA-DA! It's gone."
- The two jerkass agents in Get Smart once threatened this.
Agent #1: You know, I can kill you with anything in this room. You wanna die by Post-It? Because I can make that happen.Agent #2: And that's a slow death.
- In The Glimmer Man, Steven Seagal's character kills a man with a credit card.
- The protagonist of Grosse Pointe Blank once killed the President of Paraguay with a fork. Later, he kills an assassin sent for him with a ballpoint pen.
- Played for Laughs in the (really quite awful) film Student Bodies where the (at this point) faceless killer searches through a drawer of guns, knives, garrotes, and implements of destruction and comes up with... a paperclip, which he then uses to kill his first (or thereabouts) victim.
- In Shoot 'em Up, Clive Owen kills a man with a carrot. Twice.
- John Wick:
"With a fucking pencil."
- In the first movie, Viggo claims to have seen John kill three men with a pencil during a bar fight.
- From Sleeper: "I just beat a man insensible with a strawberry!" Granted, it was a giant strawberry...
- In Animorphs' The Separation, Mean Rachel happily tells Nice Rachel how she beat up an army of Hork-Bajir with her own severed (bear) arm.
- In the literary chronicle of Truman Capote, In Cold Blood, Dick Hyckock decided to ask Perry Smith to help him with his "hit" because Perry told him that once he killed a black man by hitting him with a bicycle chain, "just for fun".
- The protagonist of Trevanian's novel Shibumi, Nicholaï Hel is skilled in a martial art which involves the use of ordinary objects as lethal weapons.
- In Melody Malone, River Song tells the reader that she once killed someone with a fedora.
- In Making Money, Mr. Bent performs Assassin Outclassin'. With balloon animals. It turns out "battle clowning", a martial art that incorporates slapstick staples, is an ancient tradition in the fools guild and he's something of a savant in it despite not being a member.
- In the comic neo-noir Mr Blank, Tariq Suliman the notorious assassin, once stabbed a guy to death with a pillow.
- In Iron Fist, Wraith Squadron medic Ton Phanan is shown killing someone with a laser scalpel. He later mentions that, under the right circumstances, he could also kill with his bandages, disinfectant sprays, tranquilizers, and even bacta treatments.
Live Action TV
- 3rd Rock from the Sun: "I should warn you that I have killed men with everything from a steak knife, to a penny dropped from a skyscraper!"
- From Angel:
Spike: I had a wee spat with a werewolf myself once. Fought for over an hour. Brutal, vicious. Almost lost my -Fred: Angel killed him with a pen.
- In the first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy mentions having once killed a vampire using only an exacto knife.
- She also uses a pencil once, somewhere along the line.
- Leverage has Elliot describe a fellow hitter doing this. Elliot himself has also killed a man with an appetizer and another with a nerf sword.
Eliot Spencer: She'd mop the floor with you, HardisonAlec Hardison: I don't care.Eliot Spencer: Seriously, she actually killed a guy once with a mop. It's a funny story, actually. She broke the mop and took...
- On NCIS, Ziva David boasted that she can kill a man eighteen different ways with a paperclip. Safety recommends she be believed.
Ziva David: And plastic silverware is not as safe as you may think. I once killed a man with a credit card.
- And from the episode "Jet Lag":
- In the same episode, she also states earphone cables could serve as a garrotte.
- She also told Tony, after he would not stop eating, that she would kill him with his spoon.
- In Xena: Warrior Princess, assassin Sinteres is said to be deadly with any weapon. King of Thieves Autolycus, posing as Sinteres, has to demonstrate this by killing a man with a thrown toothpick although Xena's use of a grappling hook helped.
- This exchange from Castle:
Castle: This man is a machine. I've interviewed serial killers, hitmen. Agent Gray? By far, the most dangerous man I've ever met. He once killed a North Korean agent with a melonballer.Agent Gray: It was an ice cream scoop, Castle. And that information was supposed to remain private.
- Victorious: In the episode "Tori Fixes beck and Jade", Jade West corners Tori and Andre in a broom closet and threatens to kill them with a roll of toilet paper. Andre is left wondering how that's even possible, but he believes it enough to grab as many toilet paper rolls as he can hold.
- This conversation from Yes, Dear:
Man: I'm really sorry to bother you, but my son Ronnie goes to school with your son Dominic.
Jimmy: I don't ever remember Dominic mentioning a Ronnie, have you?
Christine: No. He mentioned a Donnie, but that's just because his father is some ex-Marine who came to school and bragged about how he killed a man with a single bullet. No gun, just a single bullet.
- Captain Archer of Star Trek: Enterprise once stabs a Xindi with a statue of Zefram Cochrane.
- Titus: "Look in your medicine cabinet. Anything in there, my mom can kill you with it. Well, except moist towelettes, you know, with those, she can just MAIM YOU."
- In an early Dilbert strip, Dilbert unintentionally killed the vice president of his company with an ear of corn when the other guy started a food fight. Dilbert apparently threw the corn hard enough to knock him out and he drowned in his soup. Later in jail, Dilbert's burly cellmate asks him why he's stuck there. Dilbert tells him that he killed a man with an ear of corn after being provoked. Cue the cellmate's Oh, Crap! expression when they get corn on the cob for lunch.
Religion and Mythology
- In Alpha Protocol, Steven Heck casually mentions that at sufficient velocity, soccer balls can decapitate people. He's also apparently killed Vatican officials using communion wafers, and at one point killed a man by impaling him with a ten-speed mountain bike.
- A minor NPC from Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura, a Deadly Doctor, used a pen to stab a man to death.
- Dwarf Fortress: A player once killed a bronze colossus by throwing a fluffy wambler at its head, resulting in the head being torn clean off (see this forum thread for details). Actually you can kill something with just about anything if you are creative and/or persistent enough.
- In Half-Life 2: Episode 2, a Rebel-in-Training at the White Forest Base (also called the AR3 Guy) first claims to have used AR3s (which don't exist), then claims to have killed Hunters (alien tripod cyborgs that are rather deadly) "with his own hands."
- Professor Mordin from Mass Effect 2 once killed somebody with "farming equipment."
- In Max Payne, when you finally meet Rico Muerte face to face, he's getting a blowjob from a hooker while telling this story:
Rico: Two mad dog killers, ready to murder each other. They step into the next room, an' I'm thinkin', now they gonna do it. But no! They sit down in front of a tv an' solve their differences with a Kung-Fu fightin' videogame. I tell you, Candy, I was so depressed, I strangled them both with the videogame cables.
- In Psychonauts, if Raz shows Coach Oleander a button:
Raz: If you had a button, we could play tiddly-winks.Oleander: If I had that button, I could kill you in six different ways.
- Wait long enough around the Dark Brotherhood in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and the radiant conversation engine will eventually lead to a discussion of one of the other assassins' rather...unique methods. Nothing is ever stated outright, but judging by the implements it's very heavily implied they suspended, then suddenly dropped the equivalent of a walrus onto three people and killed them.
A horker, some twine, three wood elves, and a hatchet? Points for creativity, if nothing else.
- Some of the murder weapons in the Ace Attorney series can be very strange things no killer in their right mind would ever think of using to off someone. Of course, in the Ace Attorney universe, barely anyone is in their right mind. A notable example is the final murder weapon of Investigations 2, which is a hot air balloon. And even that isn't as strange to what everyone originally thought killed the victim: A Kaiju stepped on him.
- The home-built Rock-It Launcher in Fallout 3 is a high-velocity Noodle Implement launcher that turns ordinary Wasteland junk into lethal projectiles. Cutlery, books, spare parts, and even teddy bears can be used as Rock-It Launcher ammo. But the most useful ammo for it is pre-war money, because it weighs nothing in your inventory. It returns in Fallout 4, renamed the Junk Jet.
- In The Dragon Doctors, when Blue finally forces Frankie to spill the beans about his mobster boss Cary, he says she once boasted of killing a roomful of rival mobsters using only pocket change. It later turns out that this was literally true, thanks to a Super Strength that somehow bypasses anti-magic fields.
- Azrael from the webcomic Life and Death once killed Cthulhu with a gopher and a damp sponge.
- Fairbanks of Sore Thumbs is proud of the fact that he killed two terrorists with a bowl of soup.
- Doythaban, from Schlock Mercenary, has killed people by spitting on them. And also by urinating on them. It helps that he was medically altered to have exploding saliva and to urinate high-strength acid. Don't ask about the shaped charges...
- In Erfworld, Wanda refuses to let prisoner Jillian eat her sushi with chopsticks:
- Wanda: You could croak a small army with them. And we only have a small army.
- Dan from DMFA has claimed twice to taken on deathknights (undead powered automations) with only a spork. One character implies that she may have even witnessed at least one of these incidents but offered no details.
- The Chronicles Of Taras mentions that Taras Jacobs once killed a man with a Bowl of Old Nachos and a Golden Retriever Puppy.
Sandra: "How?"Taras: "Huh? Oh, Uh, I don't know. I wasn't really paying much attention."
- Many Chuck Norris Facts.
There are 1,214 objects in an average room that Chuck Norris can kill you with, including the room itself.
- Red vs. Blue: Church relates how Tex once beat a man to death with his own skull early in Season 1. Season 14 reveals that wasn't quite how it happened...though Private Jimmy probably would have preferred that to his actual demise.
Tucker: How do you beat someone to death with their own skull? That doesn't seem physically possible.Church: That's exactly what Jimmy kept screaming.Flashback!Jimmy: This doesn't seem physically possible!
- Ursula Vernon's House of Red Fireflies setting makes passing reference to a brothel madam who "once killed a god with a broken beer bottle".
- SCP Foundation provides us with "Able" (yes, apparently THAT Able), who is, among his other incredibly lethal skills, capable of "breaking a man's jaw using a Nerf sword."
- The Boondocks episode "Granddad's Fight":
Uncle Ruckus: Jean-Claude Van Damme's the best martial artist in the world. He killed a man with his butt cheek power.
- In Dan Vs. "The Salvation Armed Forces," Dan tells his friend Chris that the bell ringer knows twelve ways to kill a man with a bell. Chris thinks about it, but can only come up with one.
- Futurama: Roberto to Bender: "You ever killed a man with a sock? It ain't so hard..."
- The Venture Bros.: Rusty Venture once killed a man with a housekey. His father forced him to. He was ten.
Dean: Oh, that's Brock. He's my dad's bodyguard. One time, I saw him kill a guy with a sock full of party snaps!Triana: Did the guy's head get blown off?Dean: Yes it did.