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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 Films. 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!

Examples of Gutted Like a Fish include:


  • One Nick Fury miniseries 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.


  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.


  • What happens to Mistle in Tower of the Swallow, while her lover Ciri is Forced to Watch.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • Many Stephen King books contain this. He especially likes to have characters step on a loop of their own intestines.

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).

Video Games

  • This can happen with the endodroid in Space Quest 6.
  • Kratos in God of War 3 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.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • The Simpsons:
    • In a commercial for Itchy And Scratchy cereal, Itchy fills Scratchy with the cereal and then opens him up (like those single serve cereal boxes).
    • This probably happens in a bunch of "Itchy and Scratchy" shorts too.
    • In the episode where the family goes to Japan, a fish preparation plant feature an animation showing 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)

  • Happens to Claudandus at the end of Felidae.
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