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Five-Finger Fillet

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Oh, I have all my fingers, the knife goes chop, chop, chop, if I miss the spaces in between, my fingers will come off...

Bronn: There's a Braavosi knife game I can teach you.
Tyrion: Does it involve loss of fingers?
Bronn: Only if you lose.

The Five-Finger Fillet is when a character places their hand palm-down on a table, spreads their fingers, and begins stabbing between them with a knife, trying to go as fast as possible without hurting themselves. Screwing this up, which gets easier as the "game" goes on, can certainly result in fingore.

This can be a way to establish a character as a hardened criminal or a Psycho Knife Nut, or just generally badass. However, if the work is farther to the silly side on the Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness, it's more likely to be done by a character who doesn't fit the usual stereotypes, playing the contrast for humor.

This game is also called "the knife game", "nerve", "stabscotch", and "bishop".

Needless to say, Don't Try This at Home, at least with anything serious. See Dexterity Game for a better way to test your hands.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Parasyte: When Shinichi first tries to confirm whether his right hand has been taken over by an alien, he places his palm on the table and prepares to stab a knife between his fingers, reasoning that it will dodge of its own volition if it isn't his. That's how he meets his parasite, Migi.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Aliens: In the cafeteria scene, Hudson asks Bishop to do the trick. Bishop puts his hand on the table at first, but Drake grabs Hudson and puts Hudson's hand on the table. Bishop then puts his hand on top of Hudson's and starts the trick, with Hudson yelling in terror the entire time while the other Marines cheer Bishop on. Bishop actually thanks Hudson once he stops, and a thoroughly freaked-out Hudson says "That wasn't funny, man!" as Bishop and Drake walk back to their seats. This leads to Bishop's Robotic Reveal when he notices that he nicked one of his fingers and is "bleeding" white fluid.
  • Knife in the Water: The young hitchhiker does this, intimidating the middle-aged man that picked him up. The middle-aged man is jealous and tries to do it himself, but can't manage very well. This is part of an escalating spiral of tension that evolves into a Love Triangle and violence between the young man, the middle-aged man, and the middle-aged man's younger and very good-looking wife.
  • The World's End: Discussed. Andy has a scar on his middle finger from a failed attempt to re-enact the scene from Aliens, back when he, Gary, and the others were schoolboy friends hanging out. Andy reveals this scar to prove that unlike Bishop, he is not a robot (by this point the gang has figured out that aliens have invaded the town and replaced most everyone in it with android doubles).

  • Neverwhere: A variation occurs when Mr. Croup places his hand against a wall and throws several razor blades at it, landing in the spaces in between. Mr. Vandemar is unimpressed with the fact that he missed all his fingers.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: The Ironborn have a game in which they catch an axe thrown at them. This has a tendency to result in missing fingers.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Barry: Subverted. In "The Show Must Go On... Probably", when Burmese mafia kingpin Esther pulls out a knife and lays her hand on the table to intimidate Chechen gangster NoHo Hank, Hank rolls his eyes and says he's seen this trick before. Esther instead just stabs herself in the hand without flinching or expressing discomfort.
  • Boardwalk Empire: Jimmy expertly plays the game with his old trenchknife in "Family Limitation", establishing him as a Psycho Knife Nut who's still not over the war, and also establishing his usefulness to the gangsters he's trying to join. Capone's unfamiliarity with the game tips Jimmy off that he wasn't really in the war.
  • Great News: Played for Laughs when a drunk Carol, who is 60 years old and a prim, proper suburban mom, does this at the office party in "Snowmageddon of the Century".
  • Wayne: The titular character is apprehended for trespassing by the groundkeeper of a golf course, and the groundskeeper's Vegan Satanist girlfriend challenges Wayne to a game of stabscotch, stabbing the spaces between her fingers and telling him to do what she does "faster and better." His interpretation of this instruction is... creative to say the least.

    Video Games 
  • Aliens: Infestation: As a shout-out to the film Aliens, there is a playable mini-game where you get to imitate Bishop and stab a knife in the spaces between your fingers.
  • Darkest Dungeon: A Grave Robber under the Masochistic affliction may try to challenge the other heroes to "a round of stabscotch" during camping, which will stress them out.
  • Later Alligator: One of the minigames is a three-fingered variation of this that plays like a "Simon Says" Mini-Game. In the first round, the player character and Bobby Blue Eyes use spoons, and in the second round, the player character switches to a knife. In round three, the player character uses a scary-looking combat knife, which unnerves Bobby to the point his first move in round four was hitting his finger with the spoon, making the player automatically win after they put a Band-Aid on his "fingey".
  • Manhunter: New York: A variation of this, where the player and an informant toss knives in between each other's fingers. The informant goes first to demonstrate, then the player has to do likewise to get a clue out of them. If they miss, then the informant crushes their skull.

    Web Animation 
  • Spooky Month: In "Deadly Smiles", Dexter the Happy Fella suggests playing "The Knife Game" to Skid and Pump, pulling out the kitchen knife he stole earlier and stabbing it on the floor between his fingers to demonstrate. In actuality he's using it as a ruse to kill the two, but Pump's older sister Susie's barges into Pump's room before he's able to.

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama: In the episode "How the West Was 1010001," Roberto plays a game of five-finger fillet, but instead of stabbing the space between his fingers with a knife, he uses a revolver that fires knives to shoot between his fingers.
  • Madagascar: All the penguins are "psychotic" (as Alex says in the original film), but the short The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper has one of Rico's earliest moments of real characterization, showing him as one of the most psychotic, doing a variant of stabscotch in their base with the visual gag that 1, as a penguin, it's really more of a one-flipper fillet; and 2, he's using a plastic knife. Skipper tells him to stop as this is inappropriate behavior for the dinner table, so he grudgingly does, but takes a moment to rub his flipper over the serrated edge of the knife when he makes sure no one is looking.


Video Example(s):


That wasn't funny, man!

Hudson finds himself just a little too close to the action after asking Bishop to "do the thing with the knife!"

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