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[[quoteright:350:[[Film/UrbanLegend http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/danger_backseat2_9640.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350: [[Music/TheyMightBeGiants Turn around, Turn around, there's a thing there that can be found...]]]]

->''"Rule #31: Always check the back seat."''
-->-- ''Film/{{Zombieland}}''

A character walks to their car. She may be aware that something is dangerous out there, or we may get a creepy vibe. But eventually she gets into the car, unharmed and prepares to drive off. She adjusts the [[MirrorScare rear-view mirror]] and- ''OH GOD TEETH IN THE FACE!''

Perhaps it's because there's some idea of a car as a safe place, but attackers in TV regularly hide in your backseat, waiting to attack when you enter the car. Whether it's [[KnifeNut psychos with knives]], flesh eating monsters or mysterious spies with secret information, the intrusion of personal space is creepy if not outright terrifying. It's nearly never noticed before the victim is in their car, and no reference is made to how they got in without breaking the windows.

Occasionally a stealthy or mysterious AntiHero protagonist can pull this off to intimidate someone, but it's not a very heroic thing to do -- it's rude!

Unfortunately, this can be TruthInTelevision.

See also OffscreenTeleportation, StealthHiBye. Compare NotMyDriver, CloserThanTheyAppear.



* Played with in [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vj8A9MagMks this Thai commercial,]] with a bit of the Hitchhiking Ghost legend thrown in.

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In a variant that overlaps somewhat with CloserThanTheyAppear, an episode of ''Anime/ParanoiaAgent'' has a television producer being stalked by [[HumanoidAbomination Lil Slugger]]. He's on his way to work and looks in the rearview mirror. Nothing. He's in the clear. He looks again. [[OffscreenTeleportation Lil Slugger is roller blading behind him.]] On the highway. And it's catching up.
* Justified in ''Anime/GhostInTheShellArise'' where Motoko uses [[InvisibilityCloak therm-optic camouflage]] to hide in the ''front'' seat.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Subverted in an issue of ''[[ComicBook/NewGods Mister Miracle]]''. When his wife Big Barda gets into her car, she finds a mob thug hiding in her back seat: "Oh, ''please'' don't hurt me, I'll do ''anything'' you say," she mewls. (Anyone who is familiar with [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Barda Big Barda's]] abilities and personality knows why this is funny.) Cut to later as she tells her husband about the incident: "Oh my god! Is he okay?!"
* For the AntiHero variant, Franchise/{{Batman}} has made something of a habit of this. But then, sneaking up and scaring people is part of his MO.
* In ''ComicBook/FiftyTwo'', The Question sort of... magics his way into the back of Renee's car between panels in Week 4.
* In ''ComicBook/WelcomeToTheJungle'', Harry Dresden and the zookeeper he's protecting encounter a hellhound in the back seat of the Blue Beetle.
* This was how ComicBook/JohnConstantine first introduced himself to Abby Arcane in the pages of ''ComicBook/SwampThing''. Of course, in [[BlueCollarWarlock his]] case [[AWizardDidIt a wizard literally did it]].

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* In one ''ComicStrip/RobotmanAndMonty'' strip, the protagonist is [[GenreSavvy afraid]] to adjust the rear-view mirror of his car at night, [[LampshadeHanging citing]] the tendency of such an act to reveal a killer waiting in the back seat. But he does it anyway, and freaks out upon [[NoFourthWall seeing the reader's eyes in the mirror]].
* ''ComicStrip/DickTracy'': Selford Depool does this to kill the hostess who had discovered his secret (that he was an escapee from the state asylum) and was taking the evidence to the police.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/HeavyMetal'', story, "Harry Canyon," the title character is a taxi driver ready for this stunt with a disintegrator ray installed in the back of his seat to kill anyone trying to rob him.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/TheGodfather''. "Hello, Carlo". Explainable, as it wasn't Carlo's car.
* A good many horror villains do this.
** A glaring example is Rob Zombie's ''Film/HouseOf1000Corpses'' where it gets done ''in a convertible''.
* ''Film/ConspiracyTheory'' has the Hero pull this off a few times.
* In ''Film/HotFuzz'' [[spoiler:the last villain gets this surprise from a swan attack in the back seat.]]
* The first victim to die in ''Film/UrbanLegend'' was killed this way. As mentioned further below, it references a well-known urban legend, as do many of the important killings in the movie.
* Eric Draven does this to T-Bird, one of the five targets of his RoaringRampageOfRevenge, in ''Film/TheCrow''.
* [[AxCrazy Jimmy Angelo]] pulls this in ''Film/PracticalMagic'' when his abused girlfriend, about to be rescued from their motel room by her more sensible sister, insists that she [[TooDumbToLive can't leave]] without the lucky necklace she left hanging on her rearview mirror...
* At the end of ''Film/LuckyNumberSlevin'', [[spoiler:the detective who has always been one step behind the protagonist falls victim to this while having an expository conversation with his colleague over the radio in his car. The protagonist is polite enough to wait until the exposition is finished, but strikes before the detective hangs up, making sure the colleague knows something is up]].
* The dilophosaur that kills Nedry from ''Film/JurassicPark'' attacks him in his jeep.
* A flashback in ''Film/Series7TheContenders'' shows ActionMom Dawn garroting a victim from a past series this way.
* In the movie ''Film/{{Firewall}}'' the hero is kidnapped by two thugs waiting for him inside his car.
* ''Film/TheTexasChainsawMassacreTheBeginning'' does this with the rebooted version of Leatherface, when he kills a fleeing woman by hiding in her car and surprising her. Which is actually rather incongruous, given that Leatherface is approximately 12 feet tall and built like a linebacker.
* ''Film/TommyBoy'' with the deer (which Chris Farley and David Spade thought was dead).
* Grace Jones as "May Day" murdered '''''two''''' guys this way (separate attacks) in ''Film/AViewToAKill'', resulting in Film/JamesBond not getting the support/reinforcements he expected.
* The short film ''Suspicious'' has this happening to Janane Garofalo's character, in an enactment of an urban legend.
* ''Film/DogSoldiers'' has this happen when a werewolf hides in the back of a jeep. [[spoiler:Joe, who is inside the jeep at the time, realizes this before the wolf attacks, however, and decides to leap into the back of the jeep to take on the creature himself. The results aren't pretty]].
* There's a variation on this in ''Film/{{Aliens}}'' where [[spoiler:the pilot of the dropship is attacked by an alien that has snuck on board]].
* ''Film/NightOfTheDemons2'' has Angela popping out of the trunk to interrupt two [[DeathBySex horny Catholic school students.]]
* The HumanAlien kids in ''Film/EscapeToWitchMountain'' do this early in the movie. Unusually for this trope, we see how they do it.
%%* Played straight in ''Film/TheHillsHaveEyes2006''.
* Technically, Franchise/IndianaJones finding a snake in the compartment of his friend's plane in ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk'' is a variant of this, albeit subverted as the snake is harmless. [[WhyDidItHaveToBeSnakes Not that he cares.]]
* Subverted in [[WebVideo/TheAngryVideoGameNerd James Rolfe's]] short movie ''The Deader The Better.'' The film is about two men whose job it is to patrol a cemetery where zombies emerge every night. Despite being standard Romero zombies who only need one good hit to the head, one of the men delights in creatively dismembering them, which he's reprimanded for by his partner. Sure enough, when he drives home that morning, there's a zombie in his backseat. KarmicDeath, right? [[spoiler: No, he savagely beats it up and throws it out the window.]]
* Played painfully straight in ''Film/TheStrangers''. The male lead makes a dash for the car to see if it's still working. He sees that all the windows of the car have been smashed in. Now, any person with half a brain would either give up on checking the car, or at least look in the backseat. What does this guy do? [[TooDumbToLive Gets into the car without even taking a quick glance to the seats behind him!]] Guess what happens? [[spoiler: he doesn't get killed (there), but there WAS someone in the backseat.]]
* In ''Film/AFewGoodMen'', Lt. Kaffee is on the receiving end when Lt. Col. Markinson is waiting in his car. Markinson [[LampshadeHanging points out]] that he left the back door unlocked. Possibly a subverted trope (on account of the fact that there was actually no danger)?
* ''Film/TheHangover'' has it with a [[spoiler:sedated tiger]]. [[HilarityEnsues Hilarity]] [[WatchThePaintJob (and car damage)]] [[HilarityEnsues Ensues]].
* One of the rules that the GenreSavvy Columbus adheres by in ''Film/{{Zombieland}}'' is to make sure to always check the backseat for any zombies. Unfortunately Tallahassee doesn't listen to this [[spoiler:and an entirely human Little Rock gets the drop on him.]] Also comes in handy earlier when the two find an H2 Hummer [[spoiler: with weapons in the backseat.]]
-->'''Tallahassee:''' Thank god for rednecks!
* ''Franchise/{{Halloween}}''
** In the original ''Film/{{Halloween|1978}}'' film, Annie plans to drive over to her boyfriend's house after leaving her babysitting charges with Laurie. Finding her car locked, she goes into the house to fetch the keys, comes back to the car, opens the door ''without having to unlock it''...and just has time to notice steam on the windshield when Michael Myers (whose breath caused said steam) springs from the back seat and throttles her.
** This also happens in ''Film/Halloween4TheReturnOfMichaelMyers'' where Michael clings to the bottom of a moving pickup truck, before climbing up the side and killing the three men in the back of the truck.
** And in ''Film/HalloweenTheCurseOfMichaelMyers'', where Michael lurks in the back of Barry's van.
* ''Film/{{Screamers}}'' ends with a shot of a doll in the back of the one-man spacecraft used by the protagonist to escape the planet. The doll is the type previously seen carried by the CreepyChild KillerRobot. Just before the movie ends we see the doll start to move of its own accord.
* ''Film/WolfCreek''. The main character, believing she's gotten away from Mick Taylor, gets into a car, then hears his distinctive chuckle in the seat behind her, right before he stabs her in the back.
* ''Franchise/{{Saw}}''
** The [[Film/SawI first film]] had a variant. Dr. Gordon isn't attacked in his car immediately, but when he steps out of it momentarily to use a phone, you see the back door slowly opening...
** In a flashback in ''Film/SawII'' we see that this is how [[spoiler: Obi]] kidnapped Laura.
* The Yellow Bastard did this in ''Film/SinCity''. This was sort of implausible, since 1) it was snowing, 2) he was bleeding pretty badly, and 3) it was mentioned several times how much he stank, so you'd think there'd be some sort of a sign or trail that would've tipped them off. Hartigan ''does'' mention smelling him the whole time, but attributes it to a lingering stench from checking out his car.
* The Judge Reinhold film ''Film/BabyOnBoard'' subverted this when the lead character, a cabbie, returns to his taxi after getting some coffee only to have a man with a gun pop up from the backseat. The thug demands money, and the cabbie asks to put his coffee down first. As he does, [[GenreSavvy he presses the button that deploys pepper spray from the roof of his car]]. Cue the thug staggering out of the car [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome while the cabbie calmly hands him eye drops and tell him it'll wear off in a few minutes]].
* Strangely averted in ''Film/IndependenceDay''. Will Smith drives across the desert with an unconscious alien in the back of his truck. He brings it to the secret lab without incident. Very unexpected.
* By far the best addition to ''Film/LetMeIn'' was a 10 minute sequence where we follow the killer in the back seat from the time he gets in to the time he makes the kill. It's also one of the most intense sequences in the movie.
* Played with in ''Film/{{Scream 4}}'', where characters scared of Ghostface are constantly checking the back seat when getting into a car. [[spoiler:It doesn't help.]]
* ''Film/TheDarkKnight'' has Harvey Dent/Two Face pulling a slightly modified version of this on Salvatore Maroni- Maroni gets into the back seat and then notices Dent sitting next to him. A FreezeFrameBonus reveals the {{mook}} who intended to get into that seat gets dragged off-screen by Dent moments before Maroni climbed into the car; Dent evidently got in at the same time.
* ''Film/TalladegaNightsTheBalladOfRickyBobby'' features a particularly vicious cougar in the back seat of the car that Ricky Bobby learns to drive again.
* In ''Film/TheMatrixReloaded'' during the highway chase scene, one of the Twins chasing Morpheus, Trinity and the Keymaster (the latter the target everyone's after) ghosts his way into the trio's car and rematerializes in the back seat leading to an in-car fight to keep him from taking the Keymaster ''while trying to keep the car steady''.
* ''Assault on Precinct 13''
** In [[Film/AssaultOnPrecinct131976 the 1976 original]], one character manages to leave the precinct through a sewer pipe, hotwires a car, and speeds off to call for help... only to be killed by a gangbanger hiding in the back seat.
** In [[Film/AssaultOnPrecinct132005 the 2005 remake]], two of the protagonists try to make for a car past the attack squad to get help. They seemingly manage to get to the car and start celebrating [[spoiler: then one of said squad pops up from behind the seat, murders one of them and captures the other.]]
* A variation occurs in ''Film/TheElusiveAvengers: the Crown of the Russian Empire''. Here, Monsieur Duc's agents board the back seat in mid-trip during a short stop (the driver is [[NotMyDriver also of the "not my" variety]]) while Colonel Kudasov is still unsuspecting, ''then'' try to assassinate him.
* A DeletedScene in ''Film/{{Looper}}'' has a police officer (tired after being up all night searching for the protagonists) getting into his squad car after fetching coffee and [[NoPeripheralVision not noticing that Kid Blue is crouched in the seat next to him]] until he speaks up (the cop is so startled he [[DontSneakUpOnMeLikeThat crashes the car into a parked vehicle]]).
* ''Film/{{Colombiana}}''. The BigBad flees the protagonist's RoaringRampageOfRevenge in a van [[spoiler:only to find she's left two attack dogs in the back.]]
* Last scare in ''Film/ChildrenOfTheCorn1984'' involves one of the children attacking Burt from the backseat of his car. He punches her out and the cast start walking to the neigboring town.
* [[Creator/HarrisonFord Drummer]] does this during a meeting with Barney in ''Film/TheExpendables3''. The vehicle in question? A truck with [[ActorAllusion FORD]] written on the front in bold capital letters.
* Parts ''[[Film/SlumberPartyMassacreII II]]'' and ''[[Film/SlumberPartyMassacreIII III]]'' in the ''Slumber Party Massacre'' trilogy both feature a scene where a person sitting behind the wheel of car gets struck with a drill that goes through the seat.
* In ''Film/LockStockAndTwoSmokingBarrels'' Dog does this to [[PapaWolf Big Chris]] by threatening Little Chris. [[MuggingTheMonster It does not end well for Dog]].
* Played with in ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan''. A car thief uses a high-tech device to break into a car, gets into the driver's seat, and starts trying to hotwire it. Spidey's sitting in the backseat the whole time, and actually has to ''clear his throat'' before the car thief notices him.
* Happens in the horror anthology ''Film/{{Nightmares}}'', in the "Terror in Topanga" segment, and is based on the same Main/UrbanLegend (e.g., "The Killer in the Backseat") as the introductory scene in ''Film/UrbanLegend''.
* In ''Film/TheHowling'', [[spoiler:just as Karen and Chris are driving away from The Colony, Werewolf!Bill pops up from the backseat and attacks.]]
* ''Film/TheIncredibleMeltingMan'': The melting man kills an elderly couple when he creeps into the back of their car before they come back.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'' pulls this on Wolfram & Hart employees when he wants to intimidate them. It's not even as though they can see him in the rear-view mirror.
* Happens to Alex Drake near the start of ''Series/AshesToAshes''
* In ''Series/BreakingBad'', [[spoiler: this is how Tuco kidnaps Jesse and Walt at the beginning of season two]]
* Happens to ''Series/VeronicaMars'' at the end of the first season with [[spoiler: Aaron Echolls]].
* Series/{{Dexter}} pulled this off at least once.
* ''Series/{{Psych}}'':
** Shawn Spencer pulled this off in hilarious fashion on two cops.
** Another episode inverted it. Abagail is in the back of Buzz's cop car when suddenly he's knocked out and the episode's villain gets in the ''front'' seat.
* The classic ''Series/TheTwilightZone1959'' episode "[[Recap/TheTwilightZoneS1E16TheHitchHiker The Hitchhiker]]."
* In ''Series/{{Carnivale}}'', Justin Crowe uses astral projection to hijack the car [[spoiler:Henry Scudder]] is using to escape, killing him with a sickle.
* One British crime drama (I think it was ''Series/InspectorMorse'') had an interesting variation. A female office worker is being hassled by a creepy co-worker. When she leaves he starts chasing her in his own car, and by the time he gets her to stop she's quite hysterical -- it turns out he's trying to warn her about the man he saw jumping into the back of her van.
* An episode of ''Series/{{Millennium}}'' has a service station owner calling a woman into his office because her credit card was invalid -- it turns out he'd actually seen a man hiding in her back seat. That killer was also striking in the manner of {{Urban Legend}}s.
* In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' telemovie, the Doctor did this to Grace. Well, she knew he was ''around'', as he'd followed her to her car, but he [[StealthHiBye sort of vanished]] and got in the back of the van without her noticing. He's not exactly an {{Antihero}}, but due to TraumaInducedAmnesia, he has NoSocialSkills -- even more than usual.
* ''Series/{{Heroes}}'': [[KnightTemplar Danko]] is relaxing in his car fiddling with the radio only to be interrupted by [[BigBad Sylar]]: "I love this song."
* In ''Series/VengeanceUnlimited'', [[AntiHero Mr. Chapel]] waits in the backseat of one of his marks' accomplice's car, then [[InstantSedation chloroforms]] them.
* In one ''Series/MrBean'' episode, a Doberman sneaks into Mr Bean's car.
* Lampshaded in the fourth episode of the second season of ''Series/LieToMe'' in that the victim, Torres, is later seen to berate herself for not locking the car door. It was broad daylight...
* In ''Series/TheXFiles'' episode "Alpha". the killer is a dog who shapeshifts between a human and canine form, meaning he/it can be small enough to hide in the back, yet is also able to open the car door.
* In the ''Series/{{Smallville}}'' episode "Pariah", the killer has the ability to turn into sand and can get to backseat easily.
* In ''Series/TerminatorTheSarahConnorChronicles'', a poor secretary discovers a Terminator waiting in the back seat of her car. She promises not to scream. Don't make promises you can't keep...
* Used in ''Series/OneLifeToLive''. Todd Manning has been stalking his victim Marty Saybrooke for several days, intending to persuade her into not testifying against him--he's planning to rape her again and possibly kill her. He lurks in the backseat of her car, but his attack his foiled when her friend shows up and unwittingly saves the day, with neither of them having ever been aware of his presence.
* In the final battle of the KGB vs. CIA episode of ''Series/DeadliestWarrior'', [[spoiler:the last KGB agent is killed via a CIA agent hiding in the back of his car and garrotting him.]]
* Played with in the ''Series/PowerRangersSPD'' episode "Reflection". While hunting for the escaped criminal, Mirloc, Bridge and Z spot him in the rear view mirror of their jeep and turn around to face him in the back seat, except he's not there. Mirloc reminds them that his the power is to travel through reflective surfaces so he's only appearing to them through the mirror.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'':
** Happens in the episode "The French Mistake", where [[spoiler:a depowered angel]] hides in the backseat of Misha Collins' car. He himself lampshades it.
--> '''Misha Collins''': (Typing into his phone) Ever. Get. The. Feeling. That. There's. Someone. In. The. Back. Seat? Frowny-face.
** It occurs in the series [[Recap/SupernaturalS01E01Pilot pilot]] as well; one of the victims of the MonsterOfTheWeek agrees to take her home, but when he reaches the house she vanishes. As he's driving away he checks the rear-view mirror and sees her sitting in the back seat. Cue GoryDiscretionShot. JustifiedTrope as she was a ghost.
** The good guys that can teleport tend to do this too. Only with less gore and more friendly scare.
* In the ''Series/CSIMiami'' episode "Special Delivery", the VictimOfTheWeek - a delivery driver - is garrotted from the back of his van as he gets back into the driver's seat.
* In the ''Series/NewTricks'' episode "Only The Brave" a gang member tries this on Sandra, threatening her with a gun. This is a mistake as Sandra breaks his nose and knocks him out.
* On ''Series/WalkerTexasRanger'', Alex (of course) is kidnapped by one of the Villain of Week's henchmen, who has been lurking in the backseat of her SUV. One would think that as an ADA, the girlfriend of a cop, and someone who's been kidnapped or assaulted numerous times, she'd be more vigilante about her personal safety.
* ''Series/MidsomerMurders'': The first two victims in "The House in the Woods" are garrotted by a killer hiding in the backseat of their car.
* Used in ''Series/TheCityHunter'', with [[TheHero Yun Sung]] doing this to [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Kim Jong-Shik]]; and later when TheDragon is arranging Young Ju's "suicide," beginning by drugging him unconscious from the back seat and locking him in the car.
* In ''Series/{{Leverage}}'' episode "[[RashomonStyle The Rashomon Job]]," Eliot pulls this on an unsuspecting doctor to get into an art show.
-->'''Eliot:''' Don't talk. I know it's your first instinct to talk, but don't. Your best course of action is to nod.\\
'''Doctor:''' Wh...\\
'''Eliot:''' Nod. ''[Doctor nods]'' Good. I'm gonna need a couple things from you. I need your clothes, and I need your little invite to this party. Now this can go two ways; you can give them to me, and I can stuff you in the trunk of this car, which, by the way, looks pretty comfortable. Not a bad night. Or you can not give them to me... (Eliotís face hardens) and I can do exactly what you'd expect a crazy guy in your back seat to do to you.
* ''Series/{{Castle}}'': In "Significant Others", the VictimOfTheWeek is stabbed to death with an icepick by a killer hiding in the back of her car.
* In ''Series/OrphanBlack'', Katya contacts Sarah Manning this way. Katya at first thinks that Sarah is Beth.
* ''Series/RizzoliAndIsles'': The VictimOfTheWeek in "Over/Under" is stabbed to death by the killer who slips into the backseat of his van as it is going through a carwash.
* ''Series/DropTheDeadDonkey''. PlayedForLaughs when Globelink News decide to make a crimewatch program. Gus Hedges assures the police liaison officer that it's not going to increase the public's fear of crime for cheap ratings. Cue the title sequence showing a couple moving fearfully through a darkened street, while an ominous voiceover accompanied by creepy music tells how crime is lurking everywhere, waiting to strike... The music stops as the couple make it to their car, lock the doors and sigh with relief, only for a blood-stained man wielding a huge knife to rise up from the backseat.
* The VictimOfTheWeek in episode 1x02 of ''Series/ByAnyMeans'' is chloroformed by an attacker hiding in the back of her car.
* ''Series/MajorCrimes'': In "Year-End Blowout", Sykes is preparing Rusty for his decoy mission and tries to drive home to him the importance of always checking the back seat of his car before getting in. One his first day, he fails to do this and [[spoiler:Sykes]] rises up from the back seat and puts a gun to his head.
* ''Series/{{NCIS}}'': In "Crescent City" (the BackDoorPilot for ''Series/NCISNewOrleans''), FBI Agent Doyle is killed by a murderer hiding in the back seat of the car.
* ''Series/PersonOfInterest''. Combined with DyingMomentOfAwesome in "Dead Reckoning". [[spoiler:RogueAgent Kate Stanton has forced Mark Snow to wear an ExplosiveLeash and carry out her orders for months. Finally she sets the timer to blow him up, only to find him sitting in the back seat of her car as the last few seconds count down.]]
* ''Series/ScreamQueens2015'': In "Pilot" one of the security guards is stabbed to death by the killer hiding in the back of her patrol car.
* ''Series/ScottAndBailey'': In S03 E08, DCI Gill Murray is threatened by a woman who hid in the back of Gill's car. The rest of the episode shows Gill's team and other police officers trying to work out who the woman is, where she is forcing Gill to drive them, and how to safely rescue Gill, while Gill tries to convince her captor to let her go.
* ''Series/TheNewAvengers'': In "Cat Among the Pigeons" Steed is attacked by [[AnimalAssassin a falcon]] that has been planted in the back of his car.
* In ''Series/TheStand'' miniseries, Campion sees (or believes he sees) Randall Flagg traveling with him and his family from Project Blue to Arnette in the backseat:
-->"There was a man with us some of the time; he was a dark man. I was looking through the rear-view mirror and I'd see him just sitting there, grinning at me. I thought I could outrun him...you can't outrun the dark man."
* ''Series/AshVsEvilDead'':
** Deadite-[[spoiler:Roper]] hides in [[CoolCar the Delta's]] back seat in order to ambush Ash while he's driving.
** When Professor Knowby tries to escape the cabin in 1982 with the Necronomicon, he's killed by [[spoiler:that time period's Ruby]] who hid in the back seat of his car.
* In the ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'' episode [[Recap/AgentsOfSHIELDS2E4FaceMyEnemy "Face My Enemy"]], Raina gets in her car to discover a HYDRA [[{{Mooks}} mook]] waiting for her in the backseat.
* This is how Dr. Cassandra meets time-hopping Cole in ''Series/TwelveMonkeys''.
* ''Series/LethalWeapon''. In the Lawmen episode, Barton kidnaps Captain Brooks from such a position. The setting makes the trope so obvious of its actualization, that a nagging feeling can be anticipated.
* ''Series/{{Motive}}'': In "Purgatory", a strip club owner returns to his car to find it has been broken into. He climbs inside, and is surprised by the killer in his back seat who proceeds to interrogate him. He then goes for the gun he has hidden in the car, only to learn the killer has already found it and taken it. Things then get worse for him.

* [[Literature/HouseOfLeaves LOOK BEHIND YOU]]!
* ''Literature/DeathTroopers'' features quite an interesting one near the end of the book. [[spoiler: Late in the novel, the "team" of survivors, Trig, Han, Chewie, and an unnamed Imperial soldier are flying back to civilization in a small Imperial ship. Trouble is, the forgot to make a headcount. A nearby [[RecycledInSpace space zombie]] leaps out from behind, takes a good chunk out of the nameless imperial man, only to be shot by Cody, who apparentely took a back-er seat than the zombie.]]
* ''The Surgeon''. Dr. Catherine Cordell gets into her car, intending to return to the hospital to tend to a patient. But when she calls the hospital from her car phone to verify some information, she's told that a previous call originated from that very same phone. Her attacker lunges at her from the backseat...
* In ''Literature/JohnDiesAtTheEnd'', the protagonist is driving in the middle of the night with a lot on his mind, and experiences this trope. Fortunately, the guy in the backseat just wants to talk. Unfortunately, the guy brought along something to motivate the protagonist into speaking more freely, and it's thirsty for blood.
* In Creator/StephenKing's novel ''Gerald's Game'', Jessie finally escapes the (almost) human version of Death and her [[ChainedToABed Cuffed-to-the-bed]] predicament. She runs outside, jumps in her car, and gets a few miles down the road before tiredly glancing into her rearview mirror and gets an eyeful of the guy she just narrowly avoided. Whoops!
* Played with in ''Literature/BadMonkeys''. An attendant at a gas station is trying very hard to get Jane to leave her car and come into the gas station. [[spoiler: She recognises the urban legend-type setup and says, "There's a guy with an ax hiding behind the driver's seat, isn't there. Don't worry, he's not going to hurt me."]]
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'': In ''Discworld/TheFifthElephant'', a very clever werewolf pulls off a low-tech variant, hiding under a tarp in a ''rowboat'' to ambush someone as they came aboard.
* Jack Fleming of ''Literature/TheVampireFiles'' has resorted to a heroic version of this to take down gangsters. Justified by his being able to enter locked cars by vanishing, and not showing up in rear-view mirrors even if he goes solid.
* This is Series/{{Dexter}}'s M.O. in the books. Plus some fishing wire to the throat. Ouch...
* Another good guy version happens in the ''[[Creator/AndrewVachss Burke]]'' novels. Burke removes the back seat of his Plymouth and puts in a pile of dirty blankets, saying he uses the back to carry stuff. Actually the Prof (who's very short) is hiding under the blankets. When the man in the passenger seat pulls a gun, he suddenly finds cold steel pressing against the back of his neck.
-->'''Prof:''' Your hole card is a low card, motherfucker. I see your pistol and raise you one [[SawnOffShotgun double-barreled scattergun]].
* In ''Literature/{{Pact}}'', the protagonist Blake Thorburn, after having become a MirrorMonster, steps into the reflection of a rearview mirror of the back of a car being driven by a local wizard in order to have a chat. He's not actually sitting in the back seat, but in the ''reflection'' of the back seat.
* In ''Literature/TheFaultInOurStars'', [[spoiler:Peter Van Houten scares Hazel when he pops up in the back of her parents' van]].
* ''Literature/NickVelvet'': In "The Theft of the Campaign Poster", Nick gets threatened by a thug hiding in the back of his car who puts him in a choke hold and then knocks him out.

* The end of Ayumi Hamasaki's music video for the song "ourselves".

* A ''Radio/{{Suspense}}'' episode titled "Backseat Driver" stars Jim and Marian Jordan (aka Radio/FibberMcGeeAndMolly) as a married couple driving home from the movies who discover that an escaped killer has been hiding out in the back of their car.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Played straight in one ending of the Super Famicom horror game ''VideoGame/{{Clock Tower|1995}}''. The protagonist flees the house of death in a stolen car, and just as she thinks she's gotten away from it and the scissors-wielding murderer... [[http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/cloth-6.gif cue scissors rising up,]] scream, and FadeToBlack.
* In some of the various endings of ''VideoGame/DeadRising'' the pilot who comes to pick you up at the end of the 72 hours is attacked by a zombie hiding in his helicopter.
* In ''VideoGame/DeadSpace'', at the end of the game, [[spoiler:when Issac successfully scrambles to the shuttle after defeating the (surprisingly easy) Hive Mind and is seemingly safe, he is surprised by Nicole's Necromporphed corpse lunging at him from behind the cockpit as the screen cuts to black]].
* ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil2'' uses this in the introductory cutscene. Claire and Leon pile into an abandoned police cruiser and start driving for the station. A zombie eventually lunges out of the back after Claire finds a gun in the glove compartment. The three swerve into a wall, causing the unbuckled zombie to fly through the windshield (or rear window if you put in Leon's disk).
* In ''VideoGame/ArmyOfTwo: The 40th Day'', one cutscene involves a man robbing a store, running to a car, and preparing to make his getaway...only to realize that [[ItMakesSenseInContext there is a tiger in the back seat.]] It ends about as well for the robber as you would expect.
* In ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas'', T-Bone Mendez, who (correctly) suspects that CJ is a double agent, pulls one of these to try and get him to admit it. He hides in the back seat of the car, then gets CJ in a chokehold from behind and puts a gun at his temple. CJ doesn't spill the beans and after a bit Mendez is called off by [[OmniscientMoralityLicense Mike Toreno]].
* This is how Michael and Franklin meet in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV''. Franklin has been sent to repossess Michael's son's SUV and manages to get it out of the garage successfully. On the way back to the dealership, Michael jumps out of the back seat and takes charge of the situation. Players who are paying attention will notice a blanket covering the backseat.
* ''VideoGame/{{Rebuild}}'' shows this in one of the endings, when [[spoiler:a zombie sneaks up on whoever is piloting the repaired helicopter... before getting its brains blown out by a fellow passenger]].
* A non-car example in the ''VideoGame/HenryStickminSeries'': In ''Complex'', one can choose to take the luxury cruiser out. If so, Henry ambushes the captain of the vessel this way, complete with [[PsychoStrings sudden violin.]] He sails off into the sunset... and then one of the ''crew members'' does the same thing to Henry.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* In ''VisualNovel/TheLetter'', the StringyHairedGhostGirl appears in Rebecca's mirror while she's driving her friend Isabella home, almost causing her to crash.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In one issue of ''Webcomic/PennyArcade'', Tycho goes to Game Stop to buy a copy of ''VideoGame/StreetFighterIV'' on its release date, only to find out that they only have one copy, a used one. Tycho immediately questions how this happened. The next two panels are from earlier in that day; Gabe picked up a copy, only to find the store manager, Frank, was in the back seat of his car, and...''coerced'' Gabe into selling it back for store credit.
* While Mordecai Heller of ''Webcomic/{{Lackadaisy}}'' didn't mean Mitzi harm when he hid in her backseat to wait for her, you can bet he went about it that way because he was [[PsychoForHire very used to meaning people harm]].
-->'''Mordecai:''' I'd like a word with you...if you can refrain from [[HandbagOfHurt assaulting me with bakelite]] for a moment.
-->'''Mitzi:''' Is that all? Why do you always have to do things the creepy way?
* Done by the titular character of ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary''. Except that, since he's a an amorphous blob who can change his shape at will, he doesn't need to lay in wait on the ''back''seat.
-->'''Haban:''' Hmm... my flight seat is softer than I remember- [[OhCrap HOLY SWEET MOTHER]] [[KilledMidSentence OF urk.]]
* Subverted in ''Webcomic/UncommonAnimals'' when Terry [[http://uncommonanimals.thecomicseries.com/comics/18/ checks her backseat]], only to find it empty, before taking off.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In the ninth episode of ''WebVideo/TheJokerBlogs'', [[spoiler: Dr. Arkham gets into his car only to be greeted by the recently escaped Joker.]]
* In ''WebVideo/EverymanHYBRID'' (a subset of ''Franchise/TheSlenderManMythos''), there's a brief shot that shows the Slender Man himself in the back of someone's car. One of the team remarks on it, thinking it's the fake Slendy they'd been putting in as [[DeadlyPrank a prank]], but when the car later pulls over, [[OffscreenTeleportation there's nobody in the back-seat]].
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=EhkC-xLi5DI This short video.]]
* A variation occurs in the ''Podcast/AliceIsntDead'' episode "Nothing to See," where the long haul trucker {{Narrator}} is troubled by persistent, loud banging in her trailer, only to check it twice, find nothing and ''still'' hear noises, [[spoiler: until the third check, where her Humanoid Abomination stalker the Thistle Man reveals himself, then makes a point of attacking her ''in a Target parking lot'' to [[ExploitedTrope display]] how easy it is, and how no one will help. The police, as it turns out, are in his pocket.]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** A variation with Bart sprinting from his home to the school bus to escape a killer dog and convincing himself that he's safe when he gets to his seat, only to be chased right back out by the dog in the seat behind him.
** In another episode an escaped convict tries this on Marge, but waits on the backseat of the wrong car.
** Another episode invokes the above urban myth with Otto telling Lisa a story about a someone doing this. He ends up terrifying her into screaming at the top of her lungs when he tells her that he was the maniac.
** In yet another, some sleazy executives make a getaway from Homers' farm, where he grows addictive tomatoes laced with nicotine, in a helicopter, soon after the farm is devastated by crazed farm animals addicted to the product. One of these, a pig, is hiding in the back seat.
* ''WesternAnimation/HomeMovies'': In the season 1 finale, [[spoiler:[=McGuirk=] uses this on a soccer dad as his CrowningMomentOfAwesome.]]
* Played for laughs in an early episode of TheGrimAdventuresOfBillyAndMandy where Grim sneaks into the car of a man who was driving erratically since he was playing with his cell phone behind the wheel. After Grim kills the phone's battery, the driver barely avoids crashing and killing several kids who were crossing the street. As he realizes what he almost did, he adjusts his mirror and sees Grim in the backseat, causing him to panic and floor it again.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Despite the probability of this actually happening even if you take reasonable precautions being somewhat lower than that of winning the lottery while being struck by lightning, Volvo has introduced a car with a heartbeat sensor that will let you know if a murderer is hiding in the backseat.
* This does happen in real life, although not as often as true crime shows make it appear.
* Being "taken for a ride" was a common method of execution by TheMafia. This entailed being driven to an out-of-the-way location and then killed by a hitman sitting in the seat behind the victim.
* Also a precaution included in every female defense guide ever. If you're walking to your car and it's dark, ''check the damn back seat first.''
* One story in a kid's magazine was written by a girl who got in a car with her mother to head to school, only to have a cat jump out. They had left the window open, and newborn kittens were in the trunk.
* Inverted in at least one real-life case. In 2012 in Australia a thief stole a woman's car, only to find that her baby was still in the child seat in the back.