I'm not sure if this is the right forum, but I did see this trope on TV.

Here are three examples:

Family Guy: Peter killing Yogi Bear:

Red Dragon: Hannibal kills Graham:
Saving private Ryan: German kills Mellish:

I imagine it's some kind of psychological trickery to make the victim not react, but I'm just guessing.

  • 2
    Also the scene in Saving Private Ryan where the German kills Adam Goldberg's character, slowly driving the knife in his chest. Mar 5, 2019 at 16:03

3 Answers 3


It's a psychological thing. People shhh other people while stabbing them to get them to calm down and give in to their death instead of struggling against it. It's because we typically relate relaxing activities (like going to sleep or reading) with silence (most people don't find loud activities relaxing).


It is Shhhh which is a variant of Hush.

Oxford Dictionaries defines it as

  • Used to call for silence

  • Mid 19th century: variant of hush.

Image showing Shhh

Image source: Google images

It is silencing the victim not to make any noise. It is a type of a portrayal of the killer's character. There can be many interpretations. I'm answering from general and not specific to the videos included.

  • The killer may be a cold blooded villain. So, he wants the murder to be silent.

  • Perhaps the killer wants the murder silent in order not to get caught by others and hence he is stopping the victim from screaming and shouting. Hannibal scene looks like the same as the victim is shouting and screaming and he is stopping him by shushing him. The Family Guy scene looks might be a reference to some film or show like this.

  • Sometimes, people had to kill their loved ones (TVTrope - Cradling Your Kill). In this case, he is soothing the victim by making him silent.


Sometimes I think it is used in an almost mocking way - soothing a victim like a parent would to a child, a bit like saying "who's the daddy now".

This is my interpretation of the Saving Private Ryan scene - the German has gone from the squad's prisoner to physically over powering and killing one of its members. He is revelling in how the tables have turned and mocking his helpless victim.

  • Disagree. I believe german soldier is literally shushing his enemy so he doesn't make too much noise and draw attention to them - something like "shoosh or I'll kill you" even though he is killing the american soldier.
    – Luciano
    Oct 28, 2019 at 13:37
  • @Luciano yep, just my opinion - but attention had already been drawn during their noisy tussle - unfortunately for Mellish it was Upman not someone braver. So, although the German didn't know Upman was outside, movies like this don't do things for no reason - they wanted to show the German gloating.
    – Mr_Thyroid
    Oct 29, 2019 at 17:29

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