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Pillow Silencer

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In crime films and TV shows, when the Big Bad's henchmen execute someone with a handgun, it can be a noisy and messy undertaking. But there is a DIY solution right there in the grungy No-Tell Motel room: the pillow silencer. Cover the victim's face with a pillowcase and then pull the trigger. Not only will this method help to muffle the sound, it also keeps the blood splatter in check which helps to prevent excessive on-screen gore and, from the character's in-universe POV, reduces blood splatter on their clothes.

This actually does work, with a first shot through a pillow around 2.5 times quieternote . A pillow has many surfaces within it (the stuffing) that help absorb and diffuse sound, which is the same concept as a normal suppressor.

Related to Hollywood Silencer, when the effect is much beyond what an actual noise suppressor can do. Compare Vorpal Pillow when a pillow is used to suffocate the victim. See Pillow Pistol when someone sleeps with a weapon under their pillow.

No Real Life Examples, Please!, as this is too nasty and gory to read about actual gangland executions.


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    Fan Works 
  • Homura uses this technique to kill Gabriel in Kwami Magi Homura Magica after a timeloop in which he akumatized Madoka, as well as to steal his Miraculouses. She actually complains to herself that he had very few pillows and she had to look around his mansion for a while to find one to use for the deed.

    Films — Live-Action 


    Live-Action TV 
  • The villain of Columbo episode "Troubled Waters" is being blackmailed by an old flame while on a sea cruise with his heiress wife. When the chanteuse declares that she is going to be a Shipping Torpedo during her performance, the villain shoots her using a pistol and one of her dressing room's throw pillows. Of course, nobody hears this gunshot; only the bullet hole and some stray feathers make any indication that the pillow served this purpose.
  • CSI: NY:
    • In season 5's "Turbulence", a teddy bear is used as a silencer for a Desert Eagle 50.
    • The titular victim in "Rest in Peace, Marina Garito" is killed by a gunshot through a pillow. The perp is caught after he over-thinks things and returns to the scene to steal the matching throw pillow from the couch.
  • In the Inside No. 9 episode "A Quiet Night In", an enraged husband kills his Trophy Wife when she rejects his kiss. He grabs a gun, places a cushion on her face and pulls the trigger. Watch the scene here.
  • The Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Ghost" has the criminal of the week named Ghost attempt to kill a six-year-old boy by shooting him through a pillow. It's speculated that the killer used it not so much as a silencer but because he found it hard to murder a child while looking at him. He didn't bother with the pillow when he killed the parents a few moments before.
  • Murder, She Wrote: "Mourning Among the Wisterias" features a variant; partway through the episode, the housekeeper Ola Mae talks to Jessica about a missing comforter that had been at the murder scene, thinking the police took it as evidence and haven't returned it. Jessica realizes that the killer used the comforter as an improvised silencer and took it away with them.
  • The Professionals: In the episode "A Stirring of Dust", an Irish hitman uses a seat cushion for this when he has to Shoot Out the Lock on a lockbox. He doesn't have an actual silencer for Rule of Drama (earlier, he didn't shoot Doyle because the gunshot would draw attention).
  • At the end of the Riverdale episode "Citizen Lodge", Hiram finally tracks down The Don who had his father killed years ago, covers his head with a pillow and pulls the trigger in revenge.
  • In the Sons of Anarchy episode "Old Bones", Clay holds a pistol on Lowell while contemplating using a pillow as an improvised suppressor.
  • In the Training Day episode "Wages of Sin", Jeff takes out one of Chief Wade's men in a public area by using a pillow to muffle the gunshot.
  • In Twin Peaks: The Return episode 2, Evil Cooper murders a girl this way when he finds out that she tried to double-cross him with her partner. He first knocks her unconscious, then places a pillow on her face and reaches with his revolver underneath to shoot her in the temple. Watch it here (gory).
  • In The Wire, when looking for Old Face Andre, Chris Partlow and Snoop encounter his mother. Chris puts a pillow on her face and fires. However, he doesn't kill her, and it's more of a fear tactic.

    Video Games 
  • In Death Stranding, Clifford Unger Mercy Kills his brain-dead wife this way after realizing that the doctors at the complex have no intention of saving her or his infant son. However, an alarm is set to go off if her heart stops, so the complex learns of her death very quickly regardless.
  • A single mission in Hitman: Contracts allows performing this. The level takes place in an old Scottish mansion whose owners participate in Hunting the Most Dangerous Game, and are planning a hunt for the next day.
  • While coming to the aid of a trapped survivor in The Walking Dead (Telltale), Lee, Carley, and Glenn must clear the area of Walkers quietly. This trope can be used on the first Walker, allowing the group to remain undetected.
  • During the Time Skip cutscene in Wolfenstein: The New Order, a Nazi stormtrooper executes BJ's fellow patient at the sanatorium by putting a pillow onto his face and shooting him through it. It's unclear why he even bothers with it, though, since the sanatorium is being officially purged, anyway.