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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 Impromptu Tracheotomy as well as the lethal variant of Dangerously Close Shave.
This being a way people are killed, expect spoilers!
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Anime and Manga
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 NikkiYuno slashes Akise through the neck rendering him unable to breathe or talk. She later beheads him.
This happens to Riza Hawkeye in chapter 100/101. She gets better, thanks to emergency treatment.
Hughes does this to Envy, who is disguised as Maria Ross. Unfortunately, Homunculi don't die so easily.
In Psycho-Pass, this is how Makishima disposes of Yuki, one of Akane's friends introduced early in the series, as punishment for the latter's inability to use an actual weapon to kill him instead of using her Dominator.
In Domu: A Child's Dream, a ronin student is possessed and forced to cut his own throat with a utility knife.
Like the Film example below, this is how Ogami Itto kills an assassin in Lone Wolf and Cub. The assassin, who survives for a short period afterword, manages to provide the page quote before dying.
In End of Evangelion, the JSDF invasion begins with a commando appearing behind a NERV security guard and opening his throat before letting the rest through the gates. It isn't instant death; the guard's mouth is clamped shut with a hand over it for the amount of time it takes him to bleed out.
In the V for Vendetta graphic novel, Heyer dies after his throat is slashed, but manages to take his assailant with him.
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.
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 ice, 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.
Truth in Television as well. This scene is true to the historical aftermath of the Battle of Hattin.
Dana Hadley in the first Puppet Master was killed this way by Blade.
In Batman: Under the Red HoodThe 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 himself, in the V for Vendetta movie, just can't get enough of this.
Conan the Barbarian (1982) 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 (1987).
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.
Kurgan in Highlander has his throat cut by Ramirez during their duel in Connor's home. Unfortunately the cut wasn't deep enough, and though Kurgan bore a scar and had his voice ruined for the rest of his Immortal life, he survived to take Ramirez's head.
Earlier in the film, during the battle between the two clans, a priest kills a man slashing his throat from behind, then does the sign of the cross.
Mirrored with Duncan's own arch-nemesis, Kalas, in the TV series. Kalas has his throat slashed by Duncan during a fight in the 1920s. He survived but had his voice permanently ruined, (at the time Kalas was an opera singer) leaving him unable to sing again. He didn't take it well.
Happens on screen to someone in "Ghost Ship" as Katie Harwood is being forcibly dragged back to her cabin she witnesses someone get his throat slit with a straight razor by one of the crazed crew members.
In The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Wiress dies this way. Particularly creepy when you take into account nobody would have noticed except for the fact she was singing 'Hickory Dickory Dock' but fell silent.
If you are watching a Friday the 13th film, there's a 75 % chance of this happening to someone.
In The Thing (1982), the Americans discover a frozen corpse in the remains of the Norwegian camp whose throat and wrists have been slashed. In the The Thing (2011), a deleted scene shows why and how it happened. He did it to himself when he was trapped in the room with a Thing.
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.
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.
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.
Long before The Last Dragonlord, Linden encountered Harper Satha, a harper-healer who had gone into a magical sleep for a century, during which someone had come by and cut his throat. Thanks to the magic, though, he didn't die of it. Linden recalls the whistling bubble of his voice as some air inevitably escaped through the cut.
In City of Ashes, Valentine does this to collect Simon's blood. he gets better.
Clary comes very close to this in City of Fallen Angels, courtesy of Jace (to be fair, he was under Lilith's Mind Rape at the time).
Maureen Brown is found in a dumpster with her throat slit.
In The Last Wish's short story "The Witcher", Geralt barely survives having his neck ripped open by the striga Princess Adda. He got lucky: The claw swipe in question missed anything really important, and he got medical attention soon after. He still spent a few months in a hospital.
In Smallville, Stiletto, a thug tries to do this to Chloe Sullivan, but he probably get the message that it is a bad idea when Doomsday emerges, drags him away and kills him messily.
24 made repeated use of this trope. In season 5, Jack Bauer actually instructed a Naval engineer young enough to be his son how to discreetly slit the throat of a mook who was in his way. The boy carried out the kill successfully.
Kendra gets her throat slashed by fingernails and dies instantly. Though to be fair, she was under hypnosis at the time, and they were vampire fingernails.
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.
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.
The demon "Meg" does this in season 1 on screen while hitchhiking
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, MishaCollins.
Jessica's pushy suitor in Misfits ends up with his throat slashed.
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.
The Following: When Jacob tells Emma that he's leaving the cult, she pulls him close for a kiss, and slits his throat open with a knife while doing so.
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. The PC port, on the other hand, allows for the player to see it in full – it's an initial deep stab followed by CJ ripping the blade out the front of the victim's neck.
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.)
Vampire: The Masquerade - 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 Assassins Creed II 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.
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.
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.
They also don't account for height differences, which means you'll slit someone's neck after drawing your knife across their torso, or rather disturbingly, their face!
Alpha Protocol has the much faster and more realistic side-stab variant as one of Thorton's lethal takedowns.
In Dishonored, Corvo prefers to end fights quick and cleanly, and will throat stab someone if he manages to stealth kill them from the front, he'll also do this to several major assassination targets as special parry-finishers.
Done very brutally in one of the infamous "Bad Endings" from School Days. If Makoto doesn't find out how Sekai's friends are bullying Kotonoha to keep her away from him and Sekai, Kotonoha will snap due to the harrassment and her own mental/emotional unstability... and confront both Sekai and Makoto in broad daylight. Then she'll uncover a cleaver and slash Sekai's throat, bloodily killing her in front of everyone.
A somewhat subverted example happens in Grim Tales from Down Below. Mandy, upon finding that her time was up in her hourglass, slashes her throat. The somewhat subversion is Mandy finds that she is immortal and cannot die unless Grim says so.
In Terra, Agrippa Varus uses this as a Coup de Grâce against Kaleb Ceros, bloodily slashing his throat with a swipe of his combat knife.
The brutal social/political scandal known in Chile as "caso degollados" ("case of the slashed throats"). 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 Jose 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 with their throats slit.
The seppuku ritual for women didn't have the ladies slitting their bellies like the samurai, since it would be seen as an Undignified Death in the face of defeat. Instead, the woman about to commit suicide would go through jigai to avoid being taken alive by tying her legs to not fall in a spread-eagle position and invoke this trope on herself, via slashing her own throat with a dagger. On several occasions invaders would storm a castle only to find the lady of the house sitting quietly, having already ended her own life before they got there.
On several occasions professional hockey players have suffered an accidental version when another player's skate goes across their throat. Richard Zednik had this happen to him but survived.