Skylite on Feb 18th 2018 at 5:48:46 PM
Last Edited By:
Masquerade on Jul 4th 2018 at 11:22:28 AM
Page Type: trope
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.
In Lighter and Softer works, the tally may mark down victories at a sport or challenge. They will also use paint, markers, or rubber stamps to mark their tally rather than something visceral.
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, which may or may not come with a physical kill tally.
Occurs in many World War II movies.
- 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.)
- 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.
- Black Panther: Erik Killmonger used ritual scarification to mark every life he took. His chest, arms and back are covered in these scars taking him from serial killer to mass murderer.
- 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.
- Hot Shots! Part Deux parodies this. With every rising kill, it compares it to films such as RoboCop and Total Recall, before labeling itself as the bloodiest movie ever.
- The Blue Max has a chalkboard filled with the names of each pilot in the squadron along with an outline of each enemy plane they shot down next to their names; at one point, there's a lengthy montage cutting between Stachel's aerial combat victories and more chalk outlines being drawn on the board. Earlier in the film, when Fabian gets shot down, the base commander erases Fabian's name and kill tally.
- 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.
- 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.
- In Arrow, Deadshot would tattoo the names of each of his victims onto himself upon completion of a job.
- Warhammer 40K
- Kharn the Betrayer, Blood Knight extraordinaire, has a kill-counter in his helmet's HUD that lets him see how well he's doing in battle.
- 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.
- Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG: #617: The forehead is not an appropriate place for a killcount holo-tattoo.
- 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".
- In the recent XCOM games, you can view each individual soldier's kill count.
- 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.
- Sabre Ace: Conflict Over Korea automatically marks air-to-air kills on the fuselage of your plane in the single-player campaigns.
- If you're going for the Genocide route in Undertale, a tally will show up after you clear out the ruins, boss and all.
- Walt Disney: 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". The 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.
- 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.
- Real Life vehicle crew members ( i.e., fighter planes and tanks) and artillery gunners will often paint the national markings of the enemy they've destroyed onto their vehicle or howitzer.
- In real life, kill tallies got quite elaborate for air and submarine crews in order to differentiate the types of kills they made. For aircraft, these included (but were not limited to):
- Bomb silhouettes for successful bombing missions.
- Locomotives, for those that had been strafed or destroyed.
- Swastikas/Rising sun flags, for enemy aircraft shot down in air-to-air combat (planes destroyed on the ground were either not counted, or counted separately).
- Brooms, symbolizing a "fighter sweep".
- Top hats and canes, for successful escort missions.
- British submarines included:
- Bars, for ships torpedoed (with several variations, such as white for merchant ships and red for warships).
- Liferings, for at-sea rescues.
- Daggers, for cloak-and-dagger missions (usually dropping off and/or picking up commandos or spies).
- Crossed cannons or stars, for ships sunk with the deck gun.
- Other variants:
- German tank, antitank, and antiaircraft crews would paint white "kill rings" around the barrel of their weapons.
- A shared kill or damaged but not destroyed aircraft would be represented with half a symbol.
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