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Shear Menace

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Weapons come in all different shapes and forms. From swords to spears. Then there are scissors. Believe it or not, these everyday household tools are considered to be dangerous by the TSA.

Typically, characters who use these as their Weapon of Choice are gardeners/groundskeepers (using shears) or tailors (using scissors). However, those associated with death may also use them; Atropos was known for using scissors to cut the threads of life. Morticians and taxidermists also use scissors when they perform autopsies or prepare bodies for their final, possibly mounted, resting place.

Subtrope of Improbable Weapon User and Improvised Weapon. See also Power Pincers. Can overlap with Martial Arts and Crafts.

Has absolutely nothing to do with Rock–Paper–Scissors, or Scissors Cuts Rock. Scissors that are capable of cutting rock and other hard materials is something completely different. When a Shear Menace is running, it's an example of Runs with Scissors.



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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • In The Batman And Robin Adventures #8, Harley becomes jealous of the brainwashed Robin being Poison Ivy's new favourite and attempts to stab him with set of hedge clippers.
  • Grant Morrison's run on Doom Patrol introduced The Scissormen, word-salad-spouting menaces with enormous scissors for hands who can snip their victims out of existence, from the nonexistent alternate world of Orqwith.
  • In Supergirl story arc Day of the Dollmaker, one of the titular villain's murdering dolls uses a pair of scissors to stab Toyman in the chest.

    Comic Strips 
  • One strip of The Far Side, completed but never submitted for publication "for some reason" until The PreHistory of the Far Side, showed The Grim Reaper as a child terrorizing playground youngsters with a pair of scissors.

    Fan Works 
  • A Shadow of the Titans: After Jade gets her chi reunited, Jinx welcomes her back with a gift of a pair of scissors that she's enchanted to grow to garden shear size on command. Furthermore, the wielder can cause the blades to separate at will.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The serial killer in 22 kills his victims one every 22nd day of a month with a pair of scissors. After his death, his partner continues to do so in order to avenge him.
  • Act of Vengeance: When Jack rapes Karen, she attempts to fight him off with a set of dressmaker's shears, but he effortlessly takes them off her.
  • Aftermath (2021): Natalie uses a pair of scissors to defend herself against the guy who comes to her house and tries to force himself on her and again to kill Otto.
  • Asylum: In "Lucy Comes to Stay", Barbara finds George slumped in his chair: stabbed in the chest with the shears Lucy had been using to cut the phone lines.
  • During The Dude's unconscious fever dream in The Big Lebowski, he's chased by Karl Hungus and his nihilist cronies, all carrying massive shears (a call back to when they threatened to "cut off [his] johnson"), which promptly sends him running and brings him back to reality, running down a Malibu street with cops approaching.
  • In the horror anthology film Body Bags, in "The Eye" segment, Brent tries to murder his own wife with a garden shear when the late John Randall's visions turn him into a murderous lunatic as well.
  • The first hostage to die in Botched is beheaded by a giant pair of scissors that emerges for the lift doors.
  • Cropsy commits the murders in The Burning with garden shears, which he was fond of even before his disfiguring accident.
  • In the "People Can Lick Too" segment from Campfire Tales (1997), the guy stalking Amanda picks up a pair of old garden shears from the backyard bushes before entering her house. He kills the family dog with them, and pretends to be it under Amanda's bed.
  • Not in the movie itself, but the poster for Child's Play 2 had Chucky using a pair of scissors to cut off the head of a jack-in-the-box.
  • In Cradle of Fear, Melissa stabs herself repeatedly in the belly with a pair of scissors in an attempt to kill her Fetus Terrible.
  • Emma Thompson is killed with scissors in a past life in Dead Again. In the present, the villain who killed her when he was a child is first stabbed in the back with scissors, then impaled on a giant scissors sculpture.
  • Jodie stabs Bunny with a pair of scissors in Deadly Advice.
  • In Dial M for Murder Margot kills the man hired to murder her by grabbing a pair of scissors and stabbing him in the back while he is strangling her.
  • Demon of the Lute has a martial artist whose weapon of choice is a pair of shears. This being a slapstick martial arts-parody movie, most of his fights involves him using those shears to strip his opponents.
  • One of the female zombies in the horror-comedy Doghouse has a pair of scissors in each of her hands, and she constantly tries to have a snip on the male protagonists.
  • In Don't Breathe, the Blind Man goes to stab Alex with a pair of garden shears during the fight in the laundry. He winds up stabbing Money's dead body instead.
  • Edward Scissorhands has scissors for hands which he later uses to kill the sort of Big Bad.
  • In Faceless, Nathalie murders the gigolo she hired for Ingrid by driving a pair of scissors through his throat.
  • In Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning, Jason uses a pair of garden shears to gouge out the eyes of Tina.
  • In Happy Birthday to Me, Alfred is stabbed to death with the garden shears Ginny keeps by her mother's grave.
  • One of the murders in Hot Fuzz is committed via a pair of garden shears to the throat.
  • In Julia X, Jessica's favourite weapon is a pair of scissors. She use them to stab three people to death.
  • In Lost River Bully carries around a pair of hand scissors. He's fond of cutting peoples' lips off with them.
  • In M.F.A., Noelle uses a pair of scissors to threaten Calvin when she has him taped to a chair in the gymnasium. When she is disturbed by a campus cop, she hurriedly stabs in the neck with them. There is a gush of blood, but because she was rushed, he survives.
  • In the opening case in Minority Report, we see premonitions of a husband catching his wife and her lover in bed. He goes berserk and grabs a pair of scissors laying around to kill them both.
  • The second murder in A Shot in the Dark is the gardener, stabbed to death with his own shears after he threatens to blackmail M Ballon with evidence that he might have committed the first murder.
  • Tara stabs the paramedic to death with a pair of scissors at the end of Shrooms.
  • In Sisters of Death, Francie is stabbed in the back with a pair of scissors.
  • In Slashers, Dr. Ripper uses a giant pair of surgical shears to behead his victims.
  • In Stage Fright (2014), the killer stabs Tom with a heavy pair of dressmaker's shears.
  • Tales from the Darkside: The Movie: In "Lot 249", Susan stabs the mummy with a pair of scissors. The mummy then pulls a Lodged-Blade Recycling and uses the scissors to rip open Susan's back.
  • Tales of Halloween: During her showdown with the killer in "Friday the 31st", Dorothy stabs him in the neck with a pair of scissors.
  • In Tiger House, Kelly attempts to stab Callum with the scissors she finds in the bathroom, but Surprisingly Realistic Outcome and the small scissors do almost no damage to him.
  • In the epilogue to Torture Garden, the fifth patron goes berserk and uses the shears of Atropos to "kill" Dr. Diabolo in front of the others, causing them to panic and flee.
  • In Uncle Sam, Sam kills Willie with a pair of garden shears (implicitly by decapitation).
  • Us has as its villains legions of doppelgangers carrying golden scissors.
  • In When Evil Calls, Alice has both eyes poked out when she slips and lands face first on a pair of open scissors.

  • Black House: Charles Burnside uses a pair of razorsharp hedgeclippers to kill Henry. Among other things, he clips off some of Henry's fingers. Later he does the same to a nurse at Maxton Elder Care Facility, and Chipper Maxton.
  • The Scissor Man in Hogfather is said to slice off the thumbs of misbehaving children. It's basically a velociraptor made of scissors.
  • The demon Barbetorem in Pact carries a large pair of shears as his primary weapon, magical implement, and occasional alternate form.
  • The scissor man in Struwwelpeter is a nightmarish version of the Shear Menace. See for yourself here. (full story here).
  • In To Kill a Mockingbird, Boo Radley is said to have nonchalantly stabbed his father in the leg with scissors while clipping articles from a newspaper, followed by wiping the blood off on his pants, and continuing to clip the newspaper.
  • As with Soul Hunter above, the novel the manga it's based on Fengshen Yanyi features the magic weapon known as the Golden Dragons' Scissors, a Living Weapon born from the transformation of two dragons that can move on its own and slice through anything. It's among the most feared weapon of the novel, with even many immortal sages being wary of it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "School Hard": Prinipal Snyder is trying to decide whether Buffy or another girl, Shiela, is the biggest delinquent in the school, saying that while Shiela hasn't burned down a school building, Buffy hasn't stabbed a teacher with a trowel. Shiela objects, "I didn't stab anyone with a trowel. They were pruning shears."
  • In Cluedo, scissors were sometimes among the murder weapons, and twice held menacingly by Mrs Peacock.
  • Death in Paradise: In "Death in the Salon", the Victim of the Week is stabbed to death with a pair of hairdressing scissors.
  • Back at the very beginning of Doctor Who, the third story involved the travelers turning on each other (because the ship itself was trying to communicate, only its methods were inhuman and therefore mentally disorienting). One memorable moment, later regretted by the producer for the attention it drew, involved Susan threatening the others with a pair of large and lethal-looking dress scissors before using them to viciously stab a bed. (Susan-with-Scissors is currently the page image for the story recap.)
  • Kamen Rider:

  • A strange episode of Law & Order had an elderly woman stabbed to death with a pair of pinking shears. The prime suspect was a woman who ran a dress shop and co-owned the apartment building with her very estranged brother.
  • In the Midsomer Murders episode "The Made-to-Measure Murders" (S13E01) a large pair of tailor's scissors are used as the murder weapon.
  • On Monk, when an intruder attempts to strangle Natalie, she grabs a pair of scissors and stabs him in the chest with them.
  • Motive: In "The One Who Got Away", the Victim of the Week is stabbed to death with a pair of garden shears.
  • The Murder, She Wrote episode "Shear Madness" revolves around two murders committed with pruning shears.
  • Subverted in one episode of Supernatural. Dean almost uses a pair of scissors to disembowel the Monster of the Week, but it becomes harmless before he has to.
  • Tales from the Crypt: When Charles starts to snap in "Collection Completed", one of his first acts is to chase the cat Mewmew around the garden with an enormous pair of hedge clippers.
  • Victorious brings us the girl known as Jade West, who has this as a personal motif. She's constantly seen carrying and using pair of scissors, she decks her locker out with them, and her favorite movie is a paranormal slasher titled The Scissoring (make of that what you will), in which the monster is a girl who comes back from the dead and uses a pair of scissors to hack her two best friends to death. Jade is a downplayed example, though, because while she does threaten people with her scissors, she never uses them in a fight, which is good for maintaining the kid-friendly vibe.


    Myths and Religion 
  • The Japanese youkai known as the kuchisake-onna (slit-mouthed woman) is armed with large scissors, which she will use to cut you in half if you answer her question "am I pretty?" with "no". If you say yes, she will instead use the scissors to cut your mouth to match her own. Answering her question with "you're average/so-so" or throwing candy at her will make her confused and allow you to run away safely.
  • Atropos, one of the Fates from Classical Mythology, ended mortal lives with her scissors.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Brutus Beefcake: How many of the heels regarded "the Barber," especially Bobby Heenan (on color commentary), Beefcake's ex-manager, "Luscious" Johnny Valiant and Beefcake's ex-tag team partner Greg Valentine. Jimmy Hart and the Honky Tonk Man have also had similar unkind words (at least in kayfabe) for Beefcake's love of cutting hair.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In-universe fiction in Transhuman Space sometimes features a C-Brown gardening robot being reprogrammed to kill its owner with its built-in shears. While this has never actually happened, concern is great enough that later models have a Big Red Button to switch it off, positioned where it could be easily reached if the machine was rushing towards you.
  • Games Workshop games:
    • In Blood Bowl, the Halfling Star Player Neddley Verrüca is a renowned gardener and Treeman stylist who often takes to the pitch with his trademark shears so that he can give his clients a quick trim during a match. He is also not above using his razor-sharp gardening tools on the opposition, something the 5th Edition rules represent with the Stab and Secret Weapon skills.
    • In Warhammer: Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40,000, Horticulous Slimux goes into battle armed with a pair of rusted and filth covered lopping shears rather than the usual balesword or plaguesword wielded by Daemonic Heralds of Nurgle. These shears are just as efficient at cutting up the enemies of Grandfather Nurgle as any other weapon of the Plague God and fit with Horticulous' role as head gardener of the Garden of Nurgle.
    • Ork Power Klaws in Warhammer 40,000 are massive hydraulic combat shears that can go through tanks. Commissar Yarrick wears one he took from an Ork Nob's corpse, to replace the arm he lost to the same Nob.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • In Bioshock Infinite, Elizabeth kills Daisy Fitzroy by stabbing her in the back with a pair of scissors.
  • In Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night you meet Todd, a man who has been cursed to turn into one of the murderous Killer Barbers roaming the castle. He explains that he has sentient cursed scissors attached to his hands, the only way to remove them is to come up with 666 unique hairstyles, and that they have to be good: he can't just be lazy and keep snipping until he hits 666 or else the scissors will know he's cheating and murder whoever he's giving a haircut to. Miriam even lampshades how stupidly and conveniently specific the curse is by calling it "the worst curse she's ever heard of". Speaking of, there are also the much less friendly other Killer Barbers roaming the castle as well.
  • Castlevania
    • The Sega Saturn version of Symphony of the Night features an extra area called Underground Garden, which has gardeners wielding huge shears as enemies.
    • Order of Ecclesia features a character named "Anna Molly" (get it? Anomaly?), who seems to warp into existence just to try and snip Shanoa's head off with a giant pair of scissors.
  • The appropriately named Scissorsman/woman/twins from the various Clock Tower games use these as their preferred weapon of choice. Even Scissorman Ralph and Scissorwoman Jemima from Clock Tower 3, who actually dual-wield large daggers, will often put them together and make "snipping" gestures just for their namesake.
  • In the video game Dark Fall: Lost Souls, the Inspector uses scissors to stab some hideous grub-creatures to death, and other times as a makeshift crowbar to pry things apart. These can break, but stashes exist in certain areas to replace them.
  • The Oolacile Scarecrows from Dark Souls have shears as their main weapon. In one area you see them using the shears to trim trees, implying that these guys are less guardsmen than they are gardeners. Their shears work pretty well against intruders all the same. Unfortunately, the shears are unobtainable.
  • The Sin Scissors and Death Scissors demons in Devil May Cry attack by trying to slice and snip Dante with gigantic pairs of scissors. According to the former's enemy file, they use those scissors as mediums to appear in the human world.
  • Shows up in the third and fourth entries from Dragon Quest as a weapon exclusive to a Warrior class character. Interestingly, it's a one handed weapon, with one handle being in the bearer's hand and the other strapped to their bicep. Apparently, you flex to close the contraption.
  • Faria has the Scissors Monster, a boss which spawns flying scissors. Gold beats scissors.
  • Fight League has Bisector Snips, who carries a gigantic pair of scissors that she can separate and Dual Wield.
  • Gwen, the Hallowed Seamstress of League of Legends wields a giant pair of ghostly tailor scissors, an empowered form of the very pair she was once created with as a lowly doll. Her gameplay is all about whittling down enemies over many, many strikes, and thankfully, she works very fast.
  • Vector, one of the bosses of Zenebatos in The Legend of Dragoon fights with a pair of scissors.
  • Red Riding Hood from the Mary Skelter: Nightmares trilogy uses a massive pair of scissors as her default weapon. She can use it to cut down netting within the Jail, and reflexively stabbed a berserk Little Mermaid with them ten years before the first game's events.
  • Mega Man:
    • Cut Man from Mega Man (Classic), sometimes he throws them.
    • Crush Crawfish (Japanese name: Scissors Shrimper) from Mega Man X3 has pincers used like scissors.
    • Hornet Man's stage in Mega Man 9 has animate gardening shears as enemies.
  • Sundowner from Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Dual Wields a pair of machetes that can be linked together to form a giant pair of scissors, which you in turn can buy and use them yourself after you kill him. Mission Control even lampshades the relative ineffectiveness of such a weapon, at least when compared to more conventional blades, when reflecting on how Sundowner uses them for the psychological effect they'd have on his opponent, and because he's enough of a cruel bastard that to him "ineffective" just means "slower and more painful for his victims".
  • No. 7 in Mighty No. 9 uses a huge pair of scissor blades, though he prefers to detach them and use the blades like a pair of swords.
  • Yuri from Million Knights Vermillion, wields scissors as large as she is. She separates the blades for some attacks.
  • Nerscylla from Monster Hunter possesses a huge pair of scissor-like mandibles drenched in deadly poison. Interestingly, when not in use, these mandibles are able to be concealed within Nerscylla's body.
  • In OMORI, Basil, having flown over the Despair Event Horizon, eventually gets his hands on a pair of garden shears. Depending on your actions, he then either stabs Sunny's eye out or disembowels himself with them.
  • It is unclear if these are actually Richard Trager's Weapon of Choice in Outlast, but he does use them prominently, such as when he cuts off two of Miles Upshur's fingers with a pair and later stabs an executive to death with them before chasing Miles around the Male Ward. It's more of a situational element he uses than an explicit case of it being what he always uses, though given he is only in one chapter, it's hard to tell the difference.
  • Paper Mario:
  • The Pokémon Scizor has claws that function like scissors as well as, of course, being named after scissors. Naturally, it learns the move X-Scissor, and it's one of the best moves it can have since it gets same-type attack bonus from Scizor's Bug typing and takes advantage of its massive Attack stat.
  • Kutaro of Puppeteer fights with a pair of magical scissors called Calipers.
  • RemiLore: Lost Girl in the Lands of Lore: The Craft Scissors, one of the weapons in the game, is a giant pair of scissors big enough for Remi to wield them like a sword.
  • In Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, you will end up fighting Jack Baker, who is armed with a pair of shears made out of two chainsaws.
  • In Salt and Sanctuary, two of the Greatswords in the game are classified as Greatscissors, both of which share a unique two-handed strong attack that has you clip with the scissors instead of the thrusting attack regular greatswords have. The Jaws of Death was conceived by an Askarian inventor who joined two recycled greatswords together on a hinge, and was subsequently approved for use in the Askarian army after successful field testing. The Northern Cross was Markdor's attempt to outdo their rival nation and create a superior version. They both succeeded and failed in that the weapon is indeed superior to the Jaws of Death, dealing magic damage in addition to physical with S-rank scaling in both Strength and Magic; however, unlike the Jaws of Death, it was impossible to mass-produce due to the rarity of its materials. Both weapons are extreme Game Breakers, primarily because greatswords in general are overpowered already, and the scissor attack is both extremely powerful and can be spammed very quickly, cutting even the toughest bosses to ribbons in no time.
  • In the Skylanders games, the fourth series character Short Cut wields a giant pair of Traptanium scissors as his weapon.
  • Xiu "The Bride" from Soul At Stake wields a pair of scissors as her chosen weapon.
  • Voldo's unlockable "Tofana Scissors" in the Soulcalibur series are a pair of scissor-shaped poisoned blades.
  • In Twisted Metal (2012), Marcus Kane's daughter Sophie Kane stabbed Sweet Tooth in the eye with a pair when he was trying to kill her, leaving that distinctive eye-hole in his mask.
  • Ethan's father in The Vanishing of Ethan Carter uses a pair of scissors to commit a Heroic Suicide in order to weaken the evil spirit that has befallen his family.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Comics 
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: Season 2: Stocking's stockings now turn from katanas to scissor blades. Yes, those scissor blades.
  • The aptly-named robot Tailor from Schlock Mercenary has a pair of built-in scissors, and since they're designed to cut nanotube fabric for making armor, they double as fearsome weapons.
  • Sleepless Domain: Cassidy, as the magical girl Flash Cut, wields a giant pair of scissors as her weapon, though she uses them in a manner that is less than straightforward. Rather than using the scissors on their own as a weapon, Cassidy uses them to cut herself in half, activating her Self-Duplication ability. Afterwards, each clone uses half the pair of scissors as a sword.
  • In the xkcd strip Tensile vs. Shear Strength, Black Hat Guy cuts the Space Elevator with a pair of pruning shears.

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 
  • The Flintstones: In "A Haunted House is Not a Home", Fred and Barney have to spend a night in Fred's uncle's mansion in order to inherit his fortune. Also in the house are three servants who will inherit if Fred fails to do so. All of them are carrying weapons, with the gardener carrying a huge pair of hedge clippers that he wields with ghoulish abandon.
  • In Gravity Falls, Li'l Gideon once tried to kill Dipper Pines with a pair of lamb shears, or at least cut his tongue out.
    Dipper: [Mabel]'s never gonna date you, man!
    Gideon: That's a lie. And I'm gonna make sure you never lie to me again.
  • In Toxic Crusaders, the incident that turned Mowerman into a mutant with gardening powers gave his right hand a pair of permanent garden shears. This leads to show's heroes calling him a mutant of "shear size and strength".

    Real Life 
  • In October 1993, WCW fired wrestler Sid "Sid Vicious" Eudy after he and Martin "Arn Anderson" Lunde got into a Real Life fight in a hotel room in England involving stabbing each other with scissors. This would later get a Call-Back during 2000 when Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff vacated all the titles, and Bischoff asked Sid, "What's the matter? Can't find your scissors?" So if you’ve ever wondered why he said that seemingly random line, now you know.
  • In January 2012, a man was robbed at scissor-point in Queensland, Australia.


Video Example(s):



Scissors is literally a pair of scissors, and in a paper world, it is a weapon that shreds everything in its path. Mario dies just by touching the blades, and needs to actually dodge the Final Cut attack.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / ShearMenace

Media sources: