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Gutted Like a Fish

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I guess he did have guts- pity they're all over the street now!

Sidney: How do you... gut someone?
Stu: You take a knife and you slit 'em from groin to sternum.
Billy: Hey. It's called tact, you fuckrag.

One of the nastier ways to kill a character that tends to show up in a lot of Slasher Movies. Quite simply, the killer takes a knife or other blade (or if the killer is a monster, its claws will do quite nicely) and slashes the victim's belly open (often from groin to sternum), usually resulting in the poor unfortunate's insides spilling out.

If the gutting is self-inflicted and a matter of honor, see Seppuku.

Related to Half the Man He Used to Be. If the victim is pregnant, a Traumatic C-Section may occur.

While gutting does not necessarily lead to death, the good majority of the examples are deadly, so Beware The Spoilers!



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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Claymore all the titular warriors were subjected to this when they became infused with the Youma flesh that gave them their powers, and given the resulting incision is a Wound That Will Not Heal they wind up being stitched shut and the resulting scar is gruesome enough that it disgusts anyone who sees it. For worse, they're fully conscious as this is being done to them and, given the Organization's general attitude towards them, are unlikely to have been given the luxury of painkillers.
  • Goblin Slayer: Rhea Scout dies in Volume 3 when he gets slashed in the stomach by Goblin Slayer after a failed attempt at killing him and Guild Girl in revenge for his demotion and banishment in Volume 2 for stealing from his party.
  • In the manga version of Sailor Moon, this is how Queen Beryl dies: Sailor Venus cuts her from groin to sternum, both in the Silver Millennium and in the modern day.
  • In Saiyuki Gaiden, this is how Marshall Tenpou winds up dying: after cutting down an entire hallway's worth of soldiers and suffering only superficial wounds, he faces off against their leader in a Single-Stroke Battle. At the end of it, the other man falls down dead, but Tenpou's taken a slash to the gut that graphically drops his innards to the floor. We get to watch him gradually bleed out as he continues crawling down the hallway in a final attempt to rejoin his friends.
    • Since Gaiden is actually a prequel to the main series, Tenpou's death is a deliberate mirror to the backstory of Hakkai, his next incarnation: after he slaughtered a castle full of youkai to rescue his lover, a survivor of the massacre gave him a very similar wound. Once again he winds up crawling with his entrails on display, but this one he survives, thanks to Gojyo dragging him home and getting him put back together.
  • In 3×3 Eyes during the Lotus-Eater Machine arc set in the past, the climax has a battle between the two immortal Wu Ganesha and Madurai: the former manages to get the upper hand and put the former out of the game by using Huo Yuan Hou Zhao to gain fiery claws and grafically eviscerate Madurai, pulling her organs out of the wound and sadistically crushing them.

    Comic Books 
  • Fury (MAX) concludes in a two-sided No-Holds-Barred Beatdown between him and an ex-Soviet colonel and culminated in Nick slashing his opponent's abdomen open and strangling him with his own guts.
  • Minor slasher villain Speed Freek tries this on The Incredible Hulk once. The Hulk has no problem holding his guts in, but then his skin heals over his hand...
  • The Punisher:
  • Parodied several times in Sturmtruppen, with the camp medics noticing how useful spilled guts are to find injured soldiers (while wrapping up the intestines like a threadball) or when the captain tries to train soldiers in bayonet fighting.
    Captain: "You! Show me how you execute a deadly abdomen attack with your bayonet!"
    Soldier: "Jawhol!" (ripping sounds are heard)
    Captain: (with his intestines dangling out) " On the mannequin, you moron!"
  • Happens on occasion in The Walking Dead.
    • In Issue 111, Negan does this to Spencer Monroe, saying he didn't have guts in the process. Negan being Negan, he immediately retracts his statement. This episode of violence provides our page image.
      Negan: Oh, how embarrassing! There they are! They were inside you the whole time. You did have guts. I've never been so wrong before in my life!
    • In Issue 158, we have a much more serious one, as Beta guts Gabriel Stokes while he is hanging from a ladder by a broken leg, essentially for no reason at all.
  • Crossed has an even worse version where the belly is opened at the top, a fire lit in the cavity, and used to cook the remaining organs. Is the victim still alive during all this? Very much so.

    Fan Works 
  • At the start of A Minor Miscalculation, Nui kills Mako's mother by slashing her abdomen open and violently throwing her against the far wall. She also tries and fails to gut Mataro before Mako frees him, leaving a large scar across his chest. This scar is reopened by Nui during the Naturals Election twelve chapters later, killing him.

    Film — Animated 
  • Captain Gutt, the Big Bad of Ice Age: Continental Drift, got his name because this (and not, as Manny guessed, because of his stomach). It's the way he dispatches his victims.

    Film — Live Action 
  • In 68 Kill, Dwayne does this Amy before raping her corpse. The severed head in a jar in his house indicates this is not the first time he has done this.
  • Blackenstein: After murdering the blonde lady in her backyard, Eddie rips out her intestines. He later does this to the black woman he murders behind the bar.
  • After Eve shoots the stag in Blooded, Ben performs a gralloching: the traditional Highland field dressing of a deer, in which the belly is slit open and all of the viscera pulled out. Later, a member of the RLA threatens to perform this on Liv as she is suffering Unwilling Suspension.
  • In The Butchers, JB does this to Candi. Given Jack the Ripper's usual M.O., it seems safe to assume that this was Nicole's fate as well, although the camera cuts away before all the gory details can be shown.
  • One of Candyman's preferred methods of murder, using his hooked hand to do the job.
  • Happens to one of the characters in Dog Soldiers. Being something of a black comedy, a friendly Sheltie decides that his guts would make a nice plaything as he's hastily trying to reassemble himself.
  • The fate of several characters in Evil Breed: The Legend of Samhain. In particular, there is a scene where Jerkass Steve remains hidden and watches the Shape gut Pandora without making any effort to help her.
  • Feral (2017): Jesse's entrails are exposed when the creature attacks him. Said creature then pulls out a handful of said entrails.
  • Hannibal from Hannibal cuts a man open then throws him out a window with a noose around his neck. His intestines fall out and splatter on the ground. A little earlier in the movie, Hannibal had described how this same method of execution was used on the person's ancestor (see the entry on the Pazzi family below under Real Life).
  • In How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, the Grinch sees he has no messages on his answering machine and checks his outgoing:
  • Near the beginning of Jurassic Park, Dr. Grant gives an impromptu lecture about the possible links in ancestry between the velociraptor and birds while at an archeological dig site. He gets interrupted by an obnoxious kid, who quips the raptor, "looks like a big turkey." So Grant, much to the amusement of his students, teaches the boy a lesson in respect by explaining exactly how that "turkey" hunted and killed its prey. Grant shows him the raptor's middle toe claw and swipes it across the boy's belly then down his midsection to illustrate the cutting motion it used to spill the victim's intestines; finishing his tutorial by telling him that, "The point is, you are alive when it starts to eat you."
  • Gogo performs this maneuver on an unfortunate (albeit lecherous) Salary Man in Kill Bill.
  • The title character in Machete does this to a mook in the hospital, then proceeds to use his guts as a rope to swing down to a lower floor. It's a sign of the type of film this is that this isn't even close to the most outlandish thing Machete does.
  • The New York Ripper, who performs this on two victims.
  • When Will Turner slices open Ogilvey's stomach in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, the resultant spillage of slime and live fish distracts him long enough for Crash to knock him out. Ogilvey can be seen later with the wound in his belly stitched shut.
  • In Rambo, Major Pa Tee Tint, the Big Bad of the film goes out this way while trying to escape Rambo's wrath. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
  • Razors: The Return of Jack the Ripper: In keeping with established history, Jack the Ripper does this to all of his female victims.
  • In Rovdyr, the Almost Dead Guy Roger, Camilla, and Jorgen rescue from the tree is finally killed when one of the hunters literally guts him like a deer: slicing him open and pulling out all his viscera.
  • In Savaged, Zoe opens Jed up with a broken beer bottle and pulls his intestines out with her bare hands.
  • Scream provides the trope name (where the killer threatens to gut Casey like a fish if she hangs up on him again) and two examples right in the opening scene, which has both Casey and her boyfriend Steve being murdered this way, with Casey's body being hung from a tree for extra nasty points.
    • It happens again quite explicitly with Olivia in Scream 4. A deleted scene shows that Jenny and Marnie suffered the same fate.
  • Shaun of the Dead has David getting brutally ripped open (as well as getting ripped apart) by a horde of zombies after trying to escape the Winchester building where the zombies were.
  • SHAZAM! (2019): After Sivana has the Seven Deadly Sins massacre the entire boardroom, he orders Greed to disembowl his Abusive Dad. It happens through a Gory Discretion Shot, though.
  • Mr. Bradimore's death in Silent Night.
  • Tales from the Hood 2: In "Good Golly", Golly Gee kills Philip by disembowelling him with a bullwhip.
  • One-Eye executes a man like this in Valhalla Rising. He slices him open, pulls his innards out with his bare hands, and throws them to the floor at the man's feet as he dies.

  • Shows up in The 13 Clocks, with Unusual Euphemisms:
    "Even if you were the mighty Zorn of Zorna," said the man, "you could not escape the fury of the Duke. He'll slit you from your guggle to your zatch, from here to here." He touched the minstrel's stomach and throat.
    "I now know what to guard," the minstrel sighed.
  • In the backstory of The Belgariad by David Eddings, Belgarath ran across a troll and managed to disembowel it to buy enough time to escape. It actually recovered and retrofitted someone's armor to use as a crude cuirass, so the same strategy was no good the next time.
  • A Dry, Quiet War by Tony Daniel involves soldiers from a war at the end of time 15 billion years in the future, who are almost unkillable because their bodies extend into alternate timelines. The only way to do so is to pin down their bodies and inflict great pain on them, so they can't withdraw into other dimensions. After a deserter from the war rapes a friend of the protagonist, he does this by pulling out the soldier's intestines and tying them to a porch, breaking every bone in his body, then killing him in every alternate timeline.
  • In The Elenium by David Eddings, a particularly spiteful doctor gives Sparhawk some suggestions for what to do when he finds the ones who poisoned Ehlana; slit his belly horizontally below the bellybutton, then kick him over. Everything just falls out.
    • In the sequel trilogy, The Tamuli, when Mirtai is discussing past events, she refers to the revenge she took on the two men who killed a previous master: she disemboweled them (non-fatally), pulled out a few handfuls of innards, then set the building they were in alight. They didn't manage to get everything back inside in time to flee.
  • When Sheriff Teasle and his deputies try to forcibly cut Rambo's hair in First Blood, he freaks out, wrenches the razor blade from Teasle, and slices open the stomach of one his deputies, spilling his guts out.
  • Wolf Cowrie narrowly avoids this in Hungry as a Wolf when going toe-to-toe with a Wendigo. While he does get clawed pretty badly down the front, his reflexes and his healing factor save him; even with his Healing Factor he needs a lot of stitches afterwards.
  • In Jurassic Park, Dennis Nedry dies in this fashion when he has the misfortune of encountering a Dilophosaurus, nicknamed a "spitter" among fans of the films. It blinds him by spitting into his eyes, then rips open his midsection, similar to the way Grant described in the film version. Likewise, Nedry was alive when it began to eat him. His final thought was to pray for a quick end.
    • Henry Wu meets his end this way courtesy of an actual raptor.
  • Many Stephen King books contain this. He especially likes to have characters step on a loop of their own intestines.
  • In The Numair Chronicles, Arram sees a female gladiator getting disemboweled in the arena. He vomits in disgust and horror.
  • In Seeking Who He May Devour, by Fred Vargas, it is mentioned that according to the lore, werewolves are hairless when in human form because all their hairs are inside their bodies; cutting them open "from the throat to the balls" to check for hairs is the best way to identify them. When Massart, the asocial, hairless butcher is suspected of actually being the werewolf that killed dozens of sheep and Suzanne, it seems that Soliman and the Veilleux really want to do that to him.
  • In the second book of the Sword of Truth series, Zedd heals a woman who "held her guts from spilling out of a ripping wound in her abdomen."
    • Frankly, this happens a lot in the Sword of Truth series.
  • What happens to Mistle in Tower of the Swallow, while her lover Ciri is Forced to Watch.
  • In the Warrior Cats series, the Big Bad is killed in this manner when the cat he tried to order around got fed up with it - the wound is bad enough that he loses all of his nine leader's lives.
  • In The Hunger Games, the second book reveals that Haymitch almost suffered this fate during his Games. When it came to the finals, the other finalist inflicted a horrible gut wound on him, which forced him to walk while keeping his intestines from spilling out. The wound was stitched after he won the Games, however.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Borgias episode "The Choice", Cesare takes brutal vengeance upon Giovanni Sforza for proving very ungallant toward his sister Lucrezia, who has had her marriage to Sforza annulled because of this and other jerkassery, by means of this trope.
  • Game of Thrones, containing a lot of Gorn, has a few instances of exposed intestines. Probably the most memorable example comes when the Hound saves Sansa from being gang-raped, he announces his presence by performing a one-handed Neck Lift on one of them and knifing him with his other hand. We don't see the wound itself, but we do see a tube of intestine drop out.
  • Hannibal
    • Hannibal guts Inspector Pazzi and throws him out a window, echoing the fate of Pazzi's ancestor.
    • Dr. Abel Gideon does a slow burn version, slicing open Dr. Chilton and removing several organs.
  • Slasher: Sarah's father was murdered by Tom Winston, the original Executioner, by stabbing him in the chest from behind with a machete and then carving down to his groin.
  • In the Supernatural episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part One" (S02, Ep21), Andy has his stomach ripped open by a demon, and they show a close up of the torn bloodied tissue in his gaping wound.
  • In The Walking Dead, Negan has a pretty much shot-for-shot recreation of the first example for the source material.

  • Evisceration Plague mentions this in the second verse.
    I wrench the blade from the chest to the crotch
    Organs and entrails fall to the ground

    Tabletop Games 
  • One of the possible critical hits you can inflict in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay — also an easy way to kill yourself when fighting a troll (they are the local staple of Extreme Omnivore with metabolism to match, so gutting one will get you covered in Hollywood Acid with nasty results). Particularly horrifying for Ogres due to their unique anatomy; their digestive system and the associated muscles are such that, if an ogre gets disemboweled, he's immediately incapacitated and beyond saving, but takes days to die as he agonizes and his insides uncoil messily. Ogres find this too awful to do to each other, aside from Bragg the Gutsman (who they find terrifying to the point no one is willing to follow him, gutting his chances of becoming a tyrant).

  • Macbeth - In the very first scene, we have this description of Macbeth killing an enemy soldier:
    For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name—
    Disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel,
    Which smoked with bloody execution,
    Like valor’s minion carved out his passage
    Till he faced the slave;
    Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him,
    Till he unseamed him from the nave to th' chops [from the navel to the jawbone],
    And fixed his head upon our battlements.

    Video Games 
  • Happens as part of the backstory to BloodRayne II: Rayne's mentor Trumain is gutted by Kagan, her vampiric father. And then Kagan shows her by lifting him up by his own intestines. As if Rayne needed any further incentive to fuck this bastard up.
  • Clock Tower: In the second game (the first PS1 game), Rose either suffers this or she is impaled, depending on whether you check the second-floor bathroom or Dr. Barton's office first.
  • If someone has their belly sliced open in Dwarf Fortress, their guts fall out. It's actually possible to survive this, but a doctor that stitches the wound up might leave the guts exposed, which leads to ~ trailing behind that unit wherever they go.
  • This can happen with the endodroid in Space Quest 6.
  • Kratos in God of War III does this as a finisher move to the Centaur Generals after bringing them on their knees. Later during the game, he does the same to Kronos himself.
  • Near the end of Mass Effect 3, Shepard can give a truly satisfying one of these to Kai Leng with their omniblade for everything he's put them through.
  • Whack Your Boss: The "letter opener" kill has the protagonist slice the boss's gut open, resulting in the boss's intestines falling out onto the floor. As the boss is in shock, he is finished off via a stab in the throat, before collapsing onto his own guts.
  • One of Kano's fatalities in Mortal Kombat X has him carve a clean slice across their stomach, causing their intestines to spill onto the ground. Then he lasers their face off.


    Web Original 
  • Death Battle: "Sabrewulf vs. Jon Talbain" has Sabrewulf plunge his claws into Jon and rip his guts out, followed by using said guts to strangle him. Unfortunately for Sabrewulf, Jon survives this and sets him up for an equally brutal finishing move.
  • Teen Girl Squad: In issue 15, The Ugly One's Overprotective Dad threatens D&D Greg with "I gut you like sheep!" Then he follows through on that threat. D&D Greg complains that the gutted sheep that said it wasn't so bad was lying.

    Western Animation 
  • Cobra Commander threatens his men like this in G.I. Joe: Resolute.
    Cobra Commander: Work with me, and I will give you the world in less than twenty-four hours. Work against me, and I will gut you like a fish. Right here.
  • In an episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Mandy tells Billy that his mom will gut him "like a trout" if he's not home in time for dinner.
  • A rejected scene in a cartoon from The Ren & Stimpy Show where they're door-to-door salesmen has them knock on a door, and the homeowner angrily grabs them, throws them in the kitchen sink, and guts them like fish. Ren comments "This is gonna be a tough sell, man!"
  • Happens to Claudandus at the end of Felidae.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In a commercial for Itchy And Scratchy cereal, Itchy fills Scratchy with the cereal and then opens him up like a single-serve cereal box.
    • When the family goes to Japan, a fish preparation plant features an animation of a cartoon squid singing about gutting fish. He guts out his own organs and dies.
    Squid: Knife-a goes in, Guts-a come out, That's what Osaka Seafood Concern is all about! (anguished scream)
    • In an early episode, Moe threatens a prank-caller (who he doesn't know is Bart) that if he ever finds out who he is, he will "gut (him) like a fish and drain (his) blood."
  • Ahsoka threatens to do this to Nute Gunray in an episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
    Ahsoka: Liar, liar! I'm sick and tired of all this whining! Tell us what we want right now, or I will gut you like a Rokarian dirt-fish!

    Real Life 
  • This is one of the components of Hanging, Drawing and Quartering, probably the single most cruel punishment ever given out for treason (namely the "Drawing" part, which has nothing to do with art whatsoever.)
  • Francesco de Pazzi was subjected to this after the Pazzi Conspiracy failed to kill Lorenzo de Medici, with his body hung out a window in public.
  • Actual fish being butchered.
  • This is typically part of an autopsy, though being dead, the "victims" don't care.
  • Sadly, this has happened to more than a few women who tried to reject a man's romantic advances.
  • In 1593, a young, pregnant, newly widowed woman from Bad Wimpfen (a historic spa town in the Heilbronn district of Germany) died by suicide after she slit open her belly in a cross with a large knife and threw out the fetus, her intestines, and her spleen. She lived for about ten more hours and rejected priests' blessings and consolation due to believing herself an irredeemable daughter of the Devil. After her death, she was placed into a sack and thrown in a river.
  • Similar to the above, a merchant from the Grossglockau municipality slit up his abdomen, pulled out his stomach, and threw it on his bed in 1617. The person who recorded the unfortunate incident noted the man lived long enough to regret what he did before passing.
  • Some jurisdictions in fifteenth-century Germany specified that anyone who debarked a tree on common land would have their guts nailed to the tree, then be driven in circles to disembowel them (though Jacob Grimm studied that period and didn't find any records of this happening in practice). Slavic and Baltic pagans reportedly killed Christians in a similar manner. During The American Revolution, an Iroquois ambush party inflicted this (after a litany of other tortures) on a lieutenant sent by George Washington to destroy pro-British Native American settlements.
  • Mummification involved this (though the people were already dead at the time), after which the person's organs were put into special containers called canopic jars. Ironically, the ancient Egyptians didn't understand the importance of the brain (and had no way of removing it intact) but such a moist organ had to come out so they whisked it into slurry and poured it out through the nose.


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