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Impromptu Tracheotomy

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This won't end well...

You know that tube between your head and your body? That thin, easily punctured tube? Yeah, guess what happens — stabbed, flayed, barbecued, any other method to open said tube, wheezing noises optional.

Authors opened the floodgates of creativity for this trope, as it is done with everything from bare hands to Improvised Weapons (pens, screwdrivers, saw blades, pipes, hooks, etc) to actual weapons (knives, arrows, spears, etc).

This is a Logical Weakness for someone with voice-based or voice-activated powers.

A Super-Trope to Slashed Throat. Compare Neck Lift.

Not to be confused with an actual medical tracheotomy.note 


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Another:
    • In episode 3, Yukari Sakuragi trips down some stairs and lands neck-first on the metal tip of her umbrella. It isn't pretty.
    • At the end of episode 6, Mr. Kubodera enters the classroom and brandishes a knife. This trope comes in to play at the beginning of the next episode. It isn't pretty either.
    • In episode 10, during the flashback, Katsumi Matsunaga is shown to have gotten into a fistfight with a classmate. He then pushes the boy to the ground... and accidentally gets him impaled by a tree branch through the throat. Since that boy turns out to be the "extra", by killing him Matsunaga broke the curse for the class of 1983.
    • In episode 12, Aki Matsui is stabbed through the neck from behind by Tomohiko Kazami. For worse, she was fatally stabbed right after her best friend Keiko was stabbed In the Back by Kazami and when she was about to tell Kouichi what was going on.
  • Berserk: A completely broken Griffith attempts to commit suicide by shoving his neck into a sword propped up on the ground. He'd been rendered too weak to deal a fatal blow, the blood he does draw instead triggering his Behelit and The Eclipse.
  • In Black Lagoon, Yukio Washimine kills herself by piercing her own throat with a katana while Rock watches helplessly and Revy screams at him to not look at her. In the manga, it's shown directly but in the anime, there's a Gory Discretion Shot instead. note  Since Yukio is a deconstruction of the Yamato Nadeshiko archetype, it makes sense: she preferred to die rather than facing Balalaika in total dishonor and probably dying anyway.
  • This is how Kenpachi from Bleach kills Berenice from the Stern Ritters. According to him, she wouldn't stop talking so he did it to shut her up.
    • In the manga, Szayel Aporro got an arrow through the neck from Uryuu.
    • In the anime, this is how Kaname Tosen is wounded in battle, but is killed by Aizen.
  • This is how Rider summons her pegasus in Fate/stay night. The mythological Pegasus sprang fully formed from the blood flowing from the decapitated Medusa's neck stump. And since Rider IS Medusa...
  • In the anime Bungo Stray Dogs during the fight between Mori and Fukuzawa in season 3 Fukuzawa is hit in the neck and is bleeding out on the floor before the fight is stopped by Natsume.
  • In the Fullmetal Alchemist manga, and hence, Brotherhood, Heinkel pulls this on Kimblee using his fangs.
  • In the Hero Mask while transporting witness Fred into custody he is shot in the neck while leaving the hotel. This leads to a major battle in the hospital where he is undergoing surgery between the police and secondary antagonists.
  • How Rika escapes torture in Higurashi: When They Cry: she kills herself by repeatedly jamming her neck to a fixed-placed knife...which is bigger than her neck is wide. So messy.
  • In Hunter × Hunter, ever the Combat Pragmatist, Genthru crushes Gon's throat to prevent Gon from using his voice-activated book full of voice-activated summoning cards and spells. Gon is still able to muster just enough voice to summon a large boulder to fall on top of Genthru.
  • Jojos Bizarre Adventure:
    • A crucial one for Phantom Blood, Dio shoots Eye Beams towards Jonathan's neck, striking him twice. He dies from blood loss not long after.
    • In Golden Wind, Ghiaccio is defeated when he's shoved onto a sharp point of a damaged pole. It stabs into the back of his neck and he keeps fighting until Gold Experience lands a series of kicks, forcing him onto the spike until it's punctured all the way through and sticking out of the front of his neck.
  • The Seven Deadly Sins: Vivian the sorceress is almost killed this way when Princess Margaret — who was possessed by Archangel Ludociel so she could rescue her Love Interest, Sir Gilthunder — does this to her. In the manga, Margaret stabs Vivian from behind with a rapier, while in the anime, she shoots a beam of light from said rapier that cleanly blazes through the center of Vivian's neck. The victimized sorceress is left in a critical state, and only survives because Dreyfus deems her too valuable a resource to lose, despite her treachery and desertion.
  • This is how Lycoris from Sorcerer Stabber Orphen Revenge intended to commit suicide so her True Companions and her family wouldn't kill each other over her. Thankfully, Cleao tells Reki to morph Lycoris's blade away and then Esperanza talks her out of it.
  • This is how all the murder victims in StrikerS Sound Stage X of the Lyrical Nanoha franchise were killed: Stab wounds to their throats via Psychic-Assisted Suicide.
  • In the X/1999 TV series, Hinoto does this to kill both herself and her Dark Self. Since she's crippled/deaf/blind in the real world, she performs it in the Dream Scape instead and her "tracheotomised" body appears on the "real" side.

    Comic Books 
  • In ElfQuest, Lord Voll gets a large crossbow arrow through his throat. Cutter, who happens to be right behind him when it exits, is only saved from a similar fate by his gold torc.
  • Immortal Hulk: A possessed Sasquatch slashes Banner's throat to force him to Hulk Out.

    Fan Works 
  • Ash Ketchum in The Aura is with the Forgotten almost always does this when getting arrow kills.
  • Boldores And Boomsticks: A Beowolf Nox Confuses accidentally stabs a member of its pack in the throat with its back spikes.
  • Brolli in Diamond in the Rough (Touhou) dies this way, courtesy Tenshi.
  • Hellsister Trilogy: During their fights, Satan Girl often attempts to rip Supergirl's throat out with her teeth.
    Satan Girl gave Kara superficial burns with heat-vision, tore at her hair, raked her eyes with her claws, even bit her in the neck. Supergirl managed to tear her throat away from Satan Girl's jaws again but was uncertain how much longer she could hold out.
  • In Kancolle Alt, the 8th Fleet specializes in brutal fighting tactics which include slitting throats.
  • The Night Unfurls:
    • Original version:
      • Chapter 2: A Black Dog merc comes to exchange shifts with the Hunter, only to be responded with a throwing knife to the throat.
      • Chapter 20: Hugh is told that he beat his record by shooting one of the Leaping Lizard slavers in the throat with an arrow from a mile away.
      • Chapter 29: Soren stabs a mook in the throat to bypass the defence provided by the man's shield and armour.
    • Remastered version:
      • Chapter 4: Kyril uses his off hand to punch a greenskin in the throat, so powerful that its windpipe is crushed from the impact.
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: Night Blade rips out a pony's throat with his teeth during the battle between the new Bearers and Sharp Point's gang.
  • In The Prayer Warriors, Rachel kills the in-universe representation of Idiosy by stabbing him "in the throat, and then in the balls". A "demon processed" Grover is killed by being stabbed in the throat.
  • In Ronin Korra, the titular character shoots one Bandit in the neck to save Asami.
  • Shadows over Meridian: During the battle at Snowpoint, Jade leaps behind a rebel soldier from his shadow and impales his throat with her katana.
  • How Jessie is killed in The Sun Soul.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Batman (1989), the Joker assassinates a mob boss by jamming a quill pen into his throat. It kills the dude a lot faster than it would be expected to, meaning the Joker most likely poisoned the tip.
  • The Burning:
    • Eddy gets his throat pierced with a garden shear blade.
    • Cropsy pierces Glazer's throat so hard with his shears that he is lifted from the ground.
  • In Central Intelligence, Dwayne Johnson's character threatens to do this to the Big Bad (as part of his overall obsession with Road House.) He makes good on the threat.
  • In Confessions of a Psycho Cat, Virginia kills Buddy by shooting a crossbow bolt through his throat.
  • When the serial killer in Eyes of a Stranger drives his car on a beach, it gets stuck in sand. When a guy from nearby comes and offers his help, he gets stabbed on the throat with a switchblade.
  • The final fight between Sammo Hung and Jacky Wu in Fatal Move ends with Wu getting a hollow metal pipe shoved through his throat, where Wu's blood ends up filling the entire pipe and pouring out. Watch it here.
  • Happens multiple times in the Friday the 13th series; in the first film alone, for example, we see on-screen at least one throat-slitting and a man having an arrow jabbed through his throat from behind.
  • Full Circle opens with the main character trying to save her daughter from choking with a literal one... only to end up killing her.
  • The Godfather has Captain McCluskey's death scene, when Michael shoots him in the throat. It isn't fatal, so there's a few seconds of wheezing from McCluskey before Michael puts a round into his head.
  • Into The Sun (trashy Steven Seagal DTV movie meant to cash-in on the success of Kill Bill) has a scene where Seagal shoves a pair of chopsticks into a Yakuza's throat.
  • In the climactic fight scene of The Island (2005), Dr. Merrick is shot through the throat with a grappling hook normally used by his guards to bring down "products."
  • In the Jet Li film Kiss of the Dragon, one mook gets stabbed in the throat with a pair of chopsticks by Li.
  • MacGruber often brags about his ability to rip out throats, which considering his general incompetence and cowardice comes off as simply another boast. Near the end, however, he demonstrates that he can in-fact rip throats out bloodily and messily, to the horror and disgust of his Hypercompetent Sidekick.
  • During the Blast Out in Mohawk, Colonel Hawkes gets dropped by a Mohawk arrow through his throat.
  • Rambo IV: A Burmese soldier who performs an Attempted Rape on Sarah ends up having Rambo suddenly grabbing him from behind just as he's unzipping his pants, and clawing his throat out in graphic detail. The audience even gets an uncensored frontal view of his opened-up throat.
  • The heroine of Red Eye escapes her captor by stabbing him in the throat with a pen. It completely ruins his voice, but doesn't stop him for long, since nothing vital was pierced.
  • Red Hill: When Old Bill, Manning, and Willy attempt to draw Jimmy into an ambush, Willy is waiting in the dark when he gets an Aboriginal spear through the throat.
  • Road House (1989): Dalton rips Jimmy's throat out with his bare hands.
  • Robin Hood: The Rebellion: During their final fight, Robin grabs an arrow that had been fired at him but missed, nocks it to his bowstring, and fires it at the Sheriff: nailing him through the throat.
  • Boddicker's death in RoboCop (1987), via middle finger computer interface blade.
  • In the climax of Saving Private Ryan, an American soldier is shot this way. During the ensuing melee, the audience gets what feels like upwards of half a minute of horrible choking sounds.
  • Saw:
    • The chances of a character getting their throat harmed in some way (including the Slashed Throat type) is just as common as them dying in a Death Trap. Specific examples include Tapp in the first movie, Xavier in Saw II, Amanda and Jigsaw in Saw III, Erickson in Saw VInote  and Heffner in Saw 3D, to name a few.
    • Saw V has a rare example of someone doing this to survive; Strahm quickly disassembles the pen from his pocket as the cube his head is sealed in is quickly filling with water, and stabs himself in the throat with the tubing, allowing him to survive the intentionally unwinnable trap.
  • The climax of Serenity has Mal fake out The Operative and non-lethally defeat him with an absolutely brutal elbow driven into his throat, the shock of which is enough to completely incapacitate and temporarily mute him.
  • In The Shadow of Chikara, Teach gets shot through the throat with one of the mysterious black arrows, which leaves him nailed to the tree behind him.
  • In Superstition, one "accident" has a circular saw getting off from its hinges and lodging itself on one unfortunate man's throat.
  • In Tamara, Allison stabs Patrick in the throat with a screwdriver when he attacks her in the basement. He then pulls the screwdriver out and stares at it blankly as he bleeds out.
  • Chief Xi-zao from the wuxia To Kill A Mastermind, who is known for his skills in the Iron Fingers style of kung fu. The film had him pulling out at least two people's throats with his bare hands onscreen, with graphic results.
  • Under Siege: The fate of a terrorist who tries fighting Steven Seagal from up close is to have Seagal using his bare hands to pull out a chunk of his throat, leaving a gaping hole in his trachea.
  • In Valentine, Ruthie Walker is killed when she is thrown through a shower door, then has her head/neck shoved onto a glass shard left behind from the impact. The blood eventually flows in the shape of a heart when her body is found.
  • In We Were Soldiers, a French bugler gets one courtesy of a Vietnamese bullet while trying to sound retreat. Bonus points for hearing him still exhaling through the hole as the bugling stops.

  • The Bourne Identity. The trademark of the notorious terrorist Carlos is that he shoots his target in the throat. Bourne is alarmed to discover this fact, as he's already instinctively shot a man this way.
  • The Dresden Files: In Battle Ground Mab gets a length of rebar launched through her throat during the battle. Butters has to put his foot on her head in order to pull it out as her body tries to heal around it as the iron content has effectively disabled her.
  • In Pact, Blake Thorburn kills his enemy Laird Behaim this way, by forcing a wooden splinter into his throat, small enough that it almost disappears from sight when the end breaks off and the only sign that something's wrong is when Laird collapses and starts to split blood.
  • Both SeaFire and Zero Minus Ten has a moment where James Bond kills a bad guy by throwing a knife into their throats.
  • Warrior Cats: Hawkfrost, the main villain of the second series, dies by way of his older half-brother Brambleclaw driving the stick of a fox trap into his throat.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ghosts (UK): Pat died when one of the scouts he was teaching archery accidentally shot him through the neck with an arrow.
  • President Hassan in Season 8 of 24.
  • In the CSI episode "Ending Happy", it happens with a crossbow bolt. Unbeknownst to his attempted murderer, the man was having a severe allergic reaction at the time and they managed to shoot it just right to save his life... or, rather to extend it by a few minutes since he died a few minutes later of something else, unrelated. The coroner was astounded that the bolt managed to miss everything else in his neck by pure chance.
  • Sharpe: In Sharpe's Rifles, being charged by a mounted French Trooper and not having time to load his rifle properly, Harper opts to discharge his ramrod along with the ball. The ramrod goes straight through the Trooper's throat at exactly the Adam's Apple. It is rather disturbing to watch.

  • In Fellowship of the Raven, Yevgeny dispatches Arrigal and Luvash this way with arrows after they manage to sneak up on the party and One-Hit Kill Ivan and Riki, with Yevgeny intentionally choosing this method of death due to how painful it is.
  • As one might expect, this has shown up in Survival of the Fittest quite a bit. Examples include Sally Connelly getting stabbed in the throat with a sai, and Nigel Gillespie getting stabbed with a shattered ocarina.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed: Assassins' preferred method for killing? Using the Hidden Blade to stab a man's neck. Ezio takes it further with his rather graphic killing of Checco Orsi, where he pushes the blade into Checco's throat slowly. In the sequel, he can cut multiple throats spinning a spear, and even jump towards an enemy and prick his throat open with a sword. It goes without saying that all of this is pretty awesome.
  • Early in Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter, Bosch (1/64) gives one to Ryu. Things don't go as planned, however, as instead of dying it awakens his ability to channel the powers of the dragon Odjn. The character transforms into his One-Winged Angel form and proceeds to slaughter the rest of Bosch's unit, including his commanding officer.
  • In Bulletstorm, shooting an enemy in the throat nets you a "Gag Reflex" skillshot, complete with a geyser of blood coming from the punctured throat.
  • Past about the halfway point of the first future level in Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Erik Breighner takes a bullet through the sides of the throat once he hands the Celerium drive to Section.
  • The "Faster" enemies in Cry of Fear are young women with their forearms and shins replaced by metallic spikes. They normally use these to stab and slash at you, but their death animation has them impale their own throats with the forearm spikes before keeling over.
  • Dead or Alive: Dimensions: After a spat with Hayate, Ayane is so depressed over it that she attempts to stab herself in the throat with a kunai, but her mother Ayame arrives at that exact moment, forcing her to stop and put it away.
  • Speaking of stealth kills, Jensen can sneak to an enemy and do this as a melee action in Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
  • Game of Thrones (Telltale) has it shockingly happen to the playable character, Lord Ethan, at the end of the first episode, courtesy of Ramsay Snow. Made worse in that Ethan is no more than thirteen or fourteen at the time.
  • The same goes for Hitman (2016), only when wielding a katana and coming from behind.
  • Has happened twice in The King of Fighters:
    • In The King of Fighters '96, there's the ending for the Yagami Team. Once the dust settles, Mature and Vice both notice that Iori seems to be losing his mind... and then he enters the Riot of the Blood and fatally mauls them. While we only see shadows, it's rather clear that he's targeting their necks...
    • In The King of Fighters '97, there's the New Face Team's ending. Yashiro gives these to Chris and Shermie with his bare hands, so their life energy will power up Orochi. After comforting the dying Shermie and delivering his Final Speech, Yashiro commits suicide in the same manner; we're even treated to an illustration where he puts his hand on his throat, and then to another where we see his upper body but his neck and face are out of sight but what's going on is clear...
  • In Metroid Dread, if you are caught by an EMMI and miss the frame-perfect Press X to Not Die, Samus gets a needle through the throat.
  • Mortal Kombat X: One of Liu Kang's Fatalities has him punch through the opponent's neck to physically rip their throat out. And to add the cherry on top punches the ripped trachea inside the opponent's mouth. Yikes.
  • Pokémon has the move Throat Chop, which deals good damage and prevents the opponent from using sound-based attacks for two turns. Appropriately enough, it's a pretty brutal Dark-type attack.
  • In Return Of The Obra Dinn, as the mermaids are attacking the lifeboats of Edward Nichols and his fellow mutineers in a kidnapping plan gone horribly awry, one of the creatures throws a javelin at Patrick O'Hagan's neck, killing him. Nichols' steward Samuel Galligan, unaware of this, asks the dead O'Hagan if he can still row, but calls his master out for being a Dirty Coward, commanding him to shoot the mermaids "for God's sake!" Meanwhile, one of the Formosan captives, It-Beng Sia, manages to break free of his bindings with the spear that had killed Topman Li Hong before grabbing the knife Alarcus Nikishin had dropped upon getting pulled underwater by a mermaid and uses it to stab Galligan in the throat, ending his life.
  • Street Fighter 6 introduces Jamie, an all-around very fun and mellow Drunk Breakdancer with some slick moves. …And then comes the Critical Art version of his secret art, Getsuga Saiho, where he swiftly and brutally snaps the opponent's windpipe in half, which would absolutely kill them if this were any game other than Street Fighter.
  • Lara Croft can receive an incredibly gruesome one in the 2013 reboot of the Tomb Raider series. Failing to avoid certain obstacles on the river and gondola scenes will lead to Lara being impaled through the throat on the end of a jagged piece of debris. Watching it is made even worse by her gasps and struggling. And the fact you're probably going to see it a lot.

    Web Animation 

  • The janitor in the first chapter of Shadownova is suddenly stabbed in the neck by Cam, even though he was bleeding to death anyway, interrupting his last words to Iris.
  • Unsounded: Lemuel gets stabbed in the base of his throat when he's mobbed during the fight at Grenzlan. He manages to kill those attacking him and escape to another part of the battlefield, but is last seen surrounded and with his known allies all dead.

    Web Original 
  • In Twig, Sylvester mentions (after getting his throat crushed and then getting an actual amateur tracheotomy) that this apparently happens to him a lot. The first time was just a cut throat, the second involved a dog, and the third something called a "burrower worm." After this, his doctors decided to relocate some anatomy so he can talk with a hole in his throat.


Video Example(s):


Bloodsport VS Peacemaker

Bloodsport and Peacemaker, now on opposing sides after seeing the latter preparing to kill Ratcatcher II take to shooting at one another. Bloodsport's bullet end up destroying Peacemaker's bullet and gun without touching a side before it hits his throat, incapacitating Peacemaker.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / ImpromptuTracheotomy

Media sources: