— Dumb-Hounded, the first ever Tex Avery Droopy short
A character who goes offscreen for even a second can instantly appear anywhere else, usually as long as the camera shot doesn't include them or they're obscured by something in the scenery from a certain camera angle. Nevertheless, extreme cases will be able to switch position even when all that's happened is that the camera changed shots and we're looking at the same scene from a new angle, like a deliberate technical goof. No matter how impossible it is for them to go from Point A to Point B in the time given, much less doing so without crossing the camera's field of view or making a sound, they will get there. This is sometimes justified by having the character be supernatural, but this is often done even by an otherwise mundane character with no in-universe explanation given.
Variations of Offscreen Teleportation exist, for instance the telescope version. In this, Character A actually sees Character B a good distance away (usually involving looking through binoculars or a telescope), then looks away or loses sight of him. When Character A looks back a second later, Character B is right in front of him. Another variation is when Character A is running away from Character B, who makes almost no onscreen effort to chase him. Character A travels a conspicuously long route to a hiding place or equivalent, only to find or even collide with Character B when he gets there. "Sneaky" doesn't explain the speed he'd have to move at.
Even if his victim (usually it's a good guy running from a baddie) just ran five miles to get away from him and up two flights of stairs to hide in a closet with one entrance; when he flicks on the light, the other guy will be right behind him, without a sign of sweat or fatigue.
Though possible in a multitude of genres, Horror movies are particularly prone to playing this one straight - the killer will know exactly where his victim is running to and be waiting for him before he even gets there, obviously because it lends itself so well to alarming the audience. This is especially common when the victim was Exploring the Evil Lair. This is one of those powers that the horror villain loses as he goes through victims and starts to approach the final characters. Perhaps he's losing his Scourge Of God advantage? It's all covered by the Rule of Scary. For further examples done in the name of horror, see also Flash Step, Villain Teleportation and Mobile Menace. Compare Already Undone For You.
Outside of horror, this trope is really popular with characters who are supposed to be mysterious (such as fortune tellers, ninjas, wise old people and Batman), because it gets them away quickly before the person they were talking to has a chance to ask too many questions.
It doesn't have to be a character consciously doing this for it to count as Offscreen Teleportation. Sometimes the scenery conspires to do this to characters who couldn't do it ordinarily. For instance, if Character C falls into Hazardous Water close to the shore, he may thrash about underwater for a few seconds and then find when he surfaces that he got teleported farther away from the shore than could reasonably be done even by a strong current.
This sometimes happens in video games, at least inadvertently, and can sometimes fall into Acceptable Breaks from Reality. (But that doesn't make it any less creepy!) In order to keep allies from getting stuck in objects (Which happens...sadly.) the game may simply teleport them behind you if they are off-screen.
Typically abused by characters in a The Cat Came Back gag. See Stealth Hi/Bye for when people just use this power to begin or end conversations. See Yuppie Couple for the innocuous background-character version. Offscreen Reality Warp is a related trope where any temporary cut away from a character, no matter how brief, results in changes so quick as to be improbable at best and reality-warping at worst, such as an Instant Costume Change. Scooby-Dooby Doors uses a very specific version of this trope.
There was a Nike commercial where a woman in her bra and panties actually outruns the Jason-esque serial killer. He'd offscreen teleport behind a tree, only to realize that she had left that spot far behind. Eventually he gave up. Moral Guardians, decrying the commercial as sexist, got it canceled.
One of the Burger King commercials with the guy in the creepy King mask. It's early morning in a house. A man hears his dog barking out the porch door, and opens it to have a look. The house appears to be fairly remote, since their backyard stretches off a good distance before merging into a line of trees. And "the King" is standing near the trees, a good thirty meters away from the front door. Baffled, the man turns around to look at a woman. The camera switches to her (apparently his wife) as she idles in front of the bathroom mirror. The man looks back outside, and inexplicably, the masked man is RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM, face-to-face. Cue his slow, jerky presentation of the BK hamburger on a plate. Simultaneously disturbing and hilarious.
That last sentence just described the Burger King in a nutshell. Though more the former.
There was a Mountain Dew commercial where Chuck Norris did this to a couple of boys. Then again, it is Chuck Norris...
Anime and Manga
Akabane does this to Ginji in the first Infinity Fortress arc of Get Backers. Gin sees him, runs like hell, stops when completely exhausted, and... Akabane is standing right there with his customary friendly smile. Arguably Handwavable by the high speed Akabane has demonstrated in combat.
He does this about 95% of the time. Because he is just that fast.
In the anime adaptation of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure the main antagonist, Dio, appears at first to have this ability. As it turns out, it's just because his stand (Za Warudo) has the ability to make time stand still.
Homura in Puella Magi Madoka Magica seems to do this. She somehow travels from the entrance to Charlotte's labyrinth all the way to the Final Boss room in just a few seconds. But it's increasingly clear there are magical means behind it. Yep, she can stop time. And she always knows where to go to sneak up on people by virtue of being in a Groundhog Day Loop.
Hayate: Butlers have express permission to appear out of nowhere, so don't be startled.
Isumi Saginomiya does this also, due to having No Sense of Direction. This gets invoked when she gets Lost. She has gone out feed the birds at home and ended up...in Nagi's living room. She also leaves her home(in Tokoyo) to go to Nerima(also in Tokoyo) and ends up....in Greece.
Averted in Death Note, when Light tests the Death Note's powers by ordering an inmate in a Japanese prison to die at the Eiffel Tower in Paris in just a few hours. When the time comes, the man simply dies of a heart attack as if no directions were given, and Light realizes the Death Note can't make people do physically impossible things.
The cheerleading routine from the last episode of Lucky Star is impossible to perform in Real Life without modifying the choreography, because the girls often change position instantly between camera cuts.
Lucky Roux the constantly-eating pirate does this in the first One Piece chapter to move up and shoot a bandit who had his captain at gunpoint, leading some fans to speculate that he has super-speed.
Kizaru did this once in Chapter 507 (manga) and Episode 401 (anime) to 2 pirates. He was able to do it, because he ate the Glint-Glint Fruit, which allows him to travel at the speed of light. It should be noted that the nature of his powers weren't revealed yet when he performed this trope.
Several characters in Samurai Deeper Kyo demonstrate this over the course of the series, with the biggest perpetrators being the Taishiro and the Sendai Aka-no-Ou, who seem to be able to pop up just about anywhere in the Mibu lands, often covering the same distance multiple times on a regular basis that it takes the protagonists over twenty volumes to traverse. Possibly justified, since being in the upper echelons of the Mibu clan probably means they know all the secret passages and shortcuts to get around while the protagonists are more or less limited to a single path.
Hanaukyo Maid Tai La Verite episode 9. Taro is standing on the ground with Mariel and looking through a fence. Taro wishes they could get a good view of the sunset. We lose sight of Mariel, and four seconds later she calls out to Taro from the roof of a nearby building.
Dragon Ball Z plays this straight during the early part of Goku's battle with Cell. The camera is centered on Cell, with Goku's limbs coming in from all different directions, with a new limb coming onto the screen the instant that the previous one is gone.
This seems to be how the nations get around in Axis Powers Hetalia, since they're able to travel much quicker than a person could while on foot. Lampshaded in the 2010 Christmas event when they were being picked off one by one by a mysterious assailant, Cuba called Germany and told him to come over right away. When Germany explained that there was no way he could charter a plane at the moment, Cuba expressed surprise that Germany couldn't teleport.
In episode 8 of Gosick, Kujo dangles off a cliff, held up one-handed by Victorique, for a significant length of time because he's dazed from inhaling smoke and she's too weak to lift him. Three adults, all bigger and stronger than either Kujo or Victorique, were right there when he fell. But none of them do anything, because Rule of Drama made them all vanish. They're all back again in the next scene.
Two aliens appear in Alan Moore's Miracleman that only ever move between panels, much to the discomfort of Miracleman.
Doesn't everyone in comics move only between panels? It's a medium of still images.
Moore is weird like that. They're drawn as statues, no motion effects like the other character have. Then once in a while they suddenly appear, still motionless, a long distance away.
As mentioned for his film versions, Batman is probably the greatest example of this trope, liking to make a dramatic exit once whoever he's speaking with has turned their back and usually in mid sentence, and subsequently reappear elsewhere. He once actually managed to change from a disguise into his costume in the backseat of a car and move to the passenger seat WITHOUT BEING NOTICED, hold a brief conversation and then similarly slip away undetected with the car in motion while the driver was looking out the window.
By the Changelings in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW). The Mane Six take three days to go from Ponyville to their kingdom, but they do it overnight(With the CMC) and later, Chrysalis sends the troops for reporting on how the Mane Six are doing. They come and go without much any trouble, while the Mane Six advance at a normal pace.
More than one of their respective masters (or "marthterths") has tested just how far this ability extends. Reacher Gilt in Going Postal tries a bear trap. It doesn't work; his Igor hands him the (harmlessly sprung) bear trap and says one of his previous employers would stand with his back to a giant pit and call Igor "for a joke".
"One day he forgot and thtepped backward. Oh how we laughed, thur."
In Hogfather (and the Sky One production; see Film), Mr. Teatime does this numerous times, often while in full view of the people in the room. Naturally, it freaks them out. There's a very subtle implication that he's able to do this because of the glass orb in his eye socket.
Lord Vetinari uses this to worry Lupine Wonse in Guards! Guards!. The villain is particularly unnerved since he had the palace checked for secret passages and didn't find any, but Lord V observes later that the man had failed to understand the nature of secret passages (presumably, that they're secret).
In a scarier version, at the beginning of The Fifth Elephant when we first experience the Hunt Game, the quarry player runs to a boat, with cargo covered in tarpaulins, to escape the werewolves by river. Guess where they are. However, this is later revealed to be due to the fact that Wolfgang cheats - the theory is that the human runs away and the werewolves hunt them, while Wolfgang, as soon as or before the Game starts, sends werewolves to lie in wait in places people are likely to flee to.
Also used in Mort, when Death's apprentice goes to a far away land to rescue a princess. At the end of the day, Death appears right next to him. Justified because it's Death (who has this as one of his many abilities).
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Hermione seems to suddenly arrive at her classes when nobody is looking, which Ron finds spooky. This carries across in the film adaptation, where she appears between camera cuts, to the same reaction. Turns out she's using Time Travel to take more classes simultaneously.
In Lucille Fletcher's story The Hitch-Hiker, which was subsequently used in episodes of radio's Suspense and television's The Twilight Zone, a cross-country driver keeps encountering the same sinister-looking hitchhiker everywhere he/she goes. It turns out the hitchhiker is actually the Grim Reaper, waiting to pick up the driver who had actually been killed in an accident at the start of his/her trip.
In the Stanislaw Lem sci-fi novel, Solaris, the protagonist tries in various ways to get rid of his illusionary dead girlfriend, going so far as to putting her in a rocket ship and sending her into space. It doesn't work. She's back at the research outpost as if nothing happened.
In one of David Brin's Uplift novels the Jophur have a capture technology that envelopes areas in a small Negative Space Wedgie. The trapped people are frozen in time when observed, but can move when no one outside the anomaly observes them, making them appear to teleport when someone looks away from the anomaly and then looks again.
In Catch Twenty Two an prostitute turned Ax Crazy invokes this trope as she chases Yossarian all over the city, ambushing him in impossible places. He finally shakes her for a few chapters by getting on a friend's airplane, then strapping a parachute to her and dropping her out over enemy territory.
This is explicitly shown to be how the cat Mogget navigates ladders in Sabriel.
A recurring joke in the Jeeves and Wooster stories is how Bertie is convinced that Jeeves doesn't move like a normal person. Even when he sees him coming and going, he's always describing it as "oozing" or "trickling" from room to room, and when he doesn't, it's "Sir?" said Jeeves, kind of manifesting himself or Then he seemed to flicker, and wasn't there any longer.
"You can fly to the other end of the world / and know you'll only find / that I've reserved the seat behind you, / we can talk about old times" - Marillion, The Uninvited Guest
Ok Go's video for "This Too Shall Pass" has the band members standing at various locations throughout the set of an enormous Rube Goldberg Device. Though we never see them walk or run from one place to another, they each show up at several different locations during the course of the video.
The Undertaker, Sting, and Suicide are somehow able to appear or disappear when the lights are turned off for a few seconds. Undertaker can even do this to enter the ring during a steel cage match, and to somehow appear in front of Big Show while the later was running away from him.
The tabletop horror RPG Witch Hunter, published by PCI, actually justifies this—one of the supernatural powers allows the creature to designate a target, whom it can then repeatedly teleport to within 10 yards of (but no closer, thereby ensuring that it always seems to just be following along casually).
This is one of the Dark Stalker's abilities in the Unknown Armies RPG - fittingly, of course, as the Dark Stalker archetype represents the pop-cultural image of a serial killer.
This trope was so familiar to Arthaus's writers for 3E Ravenloft, they made it a salient ability for corporeal undead in Van Richten's Guide to the Walking Dead.
S. John Ross once wrote a collection of GURPS Action Movie advantages called "Beyond the Grip of Realism". One of them was Truly Badass, which included the ability "If you want to be there, you are". It allowed you to move anywhere in the action scene as long as you were unobserved at the time.
GURPS Horror includes a variant of Warp advantage, that is meant to simulate this trope. It allows movement at full running speed and ignoring any obstacles that the character can pass through. As in, instantly opening any locked door, running around the Great Wall of China etc, as long as nobody is looking at the character.
This is a popular ability for Dark Champions vigilantes. And yes, it's built using Hero's Teleportation power.
In Euripides' play The Bacchae, for which a case could be made that it is the archetype of the horror movie, Dionysus does this. Justified, in that he's Dionysus; but the other characters don't know that, so it freaks them out no end. And then they all get killed, banished, and/or turned into snakes.
Played with in Girl Genius, in which Othar Tryggvassen, Gentleman Adventurer! repeatedly falls out of the zeppelin-attached Castle Wulfenbach, only to appear again without explanation. (It's indicated he might have managed to first land on and then take over a small blimp. Then fly it back to the Castle.)
Mind you, he tries to give an explanation. No one cares.
Not the first time she's done it, particularly since she has a certain "nasty habit".
Noah of El Goonish Shive seems to be able to do this. This strip clearly shows Elliot reaching the top of the escalator first, while the next one places Noah in front of Elliot. Of course, it had been strongly implied earlier that Noah had some sort of magical ability.
Every single character in Survival of the Fittest. No really, that's not a joke - it's part of the RP's in-game traveling mechanic. Since there's no map of the island, there aren't any regulations as to which locations characters can move from to get to others. This results in characters (looking at it from a logical perspective) effectively teleporting all over the island. And yes, it has also led to characters fleeing from a villain, and enter another topic, only to find the guy they were running from is there already.
In character, it's assumed they traveled to the location 'off-screen' rather than actually teleporting, references are also made to characters moving around.
The Tutorial in particular deserves special mention for Invoking this trope. In it, the author theorizes that the Slender Man cannot warp through space and time when he is being observed. In other words, he literally cannot teleport if he's not offscreen!
Slightly averted in Tribe Twelve. While Slender Man does do the usual offscreen teleporting, one video shows he's capable of Super Speed, and he uses it to bull rush Noah.
Cro-Marmot can only move off-screen, as well as do some spectacular acrobatics. The other Happy Tree Friends can see this and treat it as a regular occurence, but the audience can't.
Tex in Red vs. Blue seems to be capable of this in Revelations Episode 10, closing the distance (of at least several metres) between her and her target before they even have a chance to fire the guns that they were aiming at her even as she was standing still. Suffice to say that if the screen ever shifts away from Tex and onto who she plans to beat up, they lose.
Azrael of Gaijin Smash is convinced that the Japanese have this skill as a racial trait, especially the smaller ones (kids and obasan.) Their ability to appear out of nowhere from impossible distances is a recurring feature in his stories.
Seems to be a common trait among Freelancers, When Wash does it in Reconstruction, Church mentions that 'hate[s] it when they do that'.
A few SCPs, like SCP-650 and SCP-689, can teleport when not being directly observed by a human. For SCP-650 this is its entire shtick: as soon as you take your eyes off of it it teleports to right behind you and waits for you to turn around.
Don't be silly.
Well, people who know a bit about stage magician's or pickpocket's tricks know how to ensure that people's attention is somewhere else when they move, resulting in the effect, if not the fact of this trope.
Quiet people have a tendency to go where they want. For some people, it's not unusual for others around them to lose track of where they went and give them the illusion that they disappeared.
Anyone who has watched children has seen this happen. You only look away for a second and the kids are on the other side of the park.
Quantum tunneling. A particle may not have the energy to cross a barrier, but if its wave function is inact (that is, it is not being observed), it can "teleport" through the barrier and be on the other side when it's observed.