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Assassination John Wick style - 8 movie characters killed by pencils

Whether it’s Alan Rickman talking about cutting out Robin Hood’s heart with spoon (because it’ll hurt more, obviously) or Riddick killing a gang of criminals with his tea cup, death by unusual household object isn’t a new thing for Hollywood. No one does it quite like John Wick though, who apparently killed three men in a bar with a pencil. As Peter Stormare’s character says in John Wick: Chapter 2: “Who does that?!” 

The sequel actually shows Keanu Reeves’ Wick using his stationery weapon on a couple of baddies and it’s just as gruesome and awesome as you imagined it would be. I won’t spoil it for you here, but it did get me thinking about how many movie characters have been killed by stationary, specifically pens and pencils. Turns out, quite a lot. 

1. The Bourne Identity (2002)

Weapon of choice: pen 

Long before Wick was building a name for himself by wielding his deadly pencil, there was another assassin who favoured this unusual choice of weapon: Jason Bourne. Ok, so he only uses a pen because there’s not much else to hand at the time and technically the guy dies by jumping to his own death out of a window, but still. 

2. The Dark Knight (2008)

Weapon of choice: pencil

This has got to be one of the most wince-worthy pencil deaths in cinema. Heath Ledger’s Joker sets about intimidating the baddies of Gotham into do his bidding with magic tricks telling them he’ll make this pencil disappear. Doesn’t sound too scary, does it? Well, wait until you find out that the way he makes it ‘disappear’ is by slamming some goon’s head down onto the upturned writing implement so that it goes right into his brain. Yeah, that guy’s dead. 

3. Red Eye (2005)

Pens and pencils aren’t only the weapons of choice for bad guys and assassins though. In Red Eye, heroine Rachel McAdams uses her trusty pen to fight off Cillian Murphy’s bad guy by sticking it into his throat. Effective and useful. You’ll never look at a pen the same way again. 

4. The Naked Gun (1988)

Weapon of choice: pen

Death by accidental pen-stabbing? It happens. Ok, it happens to a fish but I’m counting it. One of the many hilarious scenes on The Naked Gun sees Leslie Nielsen’s Lt. Frank Drebin accidentally stab Vincent Ludwig’s rare fish with a rare pen. Not convinced it could actually happen? Watch the clip and enjoy. 

5. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

Weapon of choice: pen

Pens aren’t only used as sharp stabbing weapons when it comes to movies. In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Sean Connery’s Jones Sr. uses the ink in his pen to blind an attacking Nazi and knock him to to the ground. The pen is indeed, mightier than the sword. 

6. From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

Weapon of choice: pencil

Vampires… pencils… it was bound to happen at some point. From Dusk Till Dawn sees one of the big bad vamps taken out by being staked in the heart with a pencil. The heart isn’t actually attached to the vampire at the time but it definitely leads to his demise. 

7. Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)

Weapon of choice: pen

Another assassin who’s made it onto this seemingly obscure list is John Cusack’s Martin Q. Blank who kills someone using a pen at his high school reunion. There’s something about the location of a school hallway and the weapon of choice being pen which rings true here, but it doesn’t make it any less bloody. 

8. Batman (1989)

Weapon of choice: feathered quill (fancy!)

Obviously the Joker is as big of a fan of murdering people with pens as John Wick is as another incarnation of the Batman baddie has made it onto this list. Jack Nicholson’s Joker also used a pen (this time a feathered quill) to kill someone in 1989’s Batman. Throwing it like a dart it stuck in the victim’s neck causing him to eventually bleed out. Lovely.

Lauren O'Callaghan is the former Entertainment Editor of GamesRadar+. You'd typically find Lauren writing features and reviews about the latest and greatest in pop culture and entertainment, and assisting the teams at Total Film and SFX to bring their excellent content onto GamesRadar+. Lauren is now the digital marketing manager at the National Trust.