Loud Kiddington demonstrates some really fancy teleporting.
NO! It can't be! How did you get back here before us?! Yzma:
... How did
we, Kronk? Kronk:
Well, ya got me. By all accounts, it doesn't make sense.
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.
open/close all folders
- There was a Nike commercial where a woman in her bra and panties(and running shoes) actually outruns the Jason Myers-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
- 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.
- In Animal Man, Merryman suggests that the reason Superheroes don't age is that they save time by doing all their traveling between panels.
- 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.
- In Total Drama Chris, Card-Carrying Villain Todd says it's a standard ability of any villain.
- Calvin and Hobbes: The Series uses this as Hobbes' standard method of cowardice.
- In Jericho, there's an exchange wherein Jericho is going up against the leader of the Blackguard for control of the Cśur, and the leader of the Blackguard randomly appears far away from where he was just a moment before. Jericho asks him thereabout, resulting in this amusing exchange:
"Oh, it’s a habit of mine. When folker aren’t looking, I quietly sprint really fast around the room to make it look like I can teleport and be anywhere."
"Huh," I grunted. "So is that how bad guys do it?"
"Yhar,” he said. “But it requires good cardio—you need be running all around without having to pant, else folker will wise up."
- In We Are All Pokémon Trainers:
- The group fly off to Sandgem town to ask Professor Rowan some questions, but after the others have already left, Daisy remembers that she doesn't have a flying Pokemon with her. When the others arrive at the lab, Daisy suddenly shows up with no explaination of how she got there. No one seems to notice.
- Frequently happens when a character is inactive thanks to the player being busy or something along these lines.
- One of the many skills of the Igors in Discworld is turning up out of nowhere when their master calls for them, or to answer the door.
- 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-22 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.
- The Red Bull from The Last Unicorn appears to have this ability.
- 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.
- Messrs. Croup and Vandemar do this throughout Neverwhere, as a significant part of their creep factor (the main part being, probably, their propensity for cutting people up). They seem to have it as an actual metaphysical power: teleportation allows for their being able to exist in different historical eras, as well as to reach normally inaccessible places like the family Portico's home, and of course to frequently drop in on main characters without previous indication of their presence. They also seem unable to teleport while being observed- hence they get dragged into the portal to hell, because Richard is watching at the time.
- "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.
- Seamus' "Back Alley" ability in Malifaux allows him to relocate IF no enemies can currently see him. Fitting for Malifaux's Jack the Ripper equivalent.
- 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.
- He plays it straight here
- The most recent Abel's Story update (Part 2, page 24) at Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures , Fa'Lina does this to Abel.
- 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.
- In Commander Kitty, Zenith and her goons somehow pull this off when Nin Wah tries to alert the Triple-I to her presence.
- Awkward Zombie has a parody of the "teleporting steed" in many video games (Shadow of the Colossus, in this case).
- ...And Roy demonstrates this ability here.
- Lampshaded regarding R2 in this Darths & Droids strip.
- 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 Slender Man, in almost all his appearances. He's a Humanoid Abomination, who's going to tell him he's not allowed?
- 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.
- Marble Hornets, being the first Slender Man series, is probably the originator for this trope, but they subvert it on a couple of occasions. For a split second in Entry #54 you can see the Operator moving into a room really, really fast, and in Entry #72 he teleports onscreen.
- 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.
- Seems to be a common trait among Freelancers, When Wash does it in Reconstruction, Church mentions that 'hate[s] it when they do that'.
- 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.
- Everybody in Suburban Knights.
- Paul in commodoreHUSTLE seems to be able to do this, apparently to make him seem more eccentric. Whether the real Paul Saunders can do this remains unconfirmed.
- 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.
- SCP-173 is technically this trope except it doesn't actually teleport, it just moves really fast (specifically, 4 meters within the time it takes to blink).
- Done a few times by characters in The Cartoon Man series. At one point in the second movie, Roy is talking to Valerie when she suddenly appears behind him and pulls him into another room. And in the third movie, Cynthia does this quite a bit after being transformed.
- All the time in The Most Popular Girls in School. Cameron appears in the girls' bathroom at Overland Park High - despite being a college student - as soon as she heard that her sister Shay was being called a "fucking liar." Which was mere seconds after Shay herself heard about it. And then their little sister Mikayla - who is in elementary school - shows up. This, like everything else, is lampshaded.
Trisha: Okay, seriously, who is watching the door? How the fuck did a third grader get in here...?
- Also used by Tanner's boyfriend Tristan, when he (somehow) found out Tanner was making out with someone. Despite the fact that Tristan goes to a different school. He immediately bursts into the Overland Park High locker room and smacks Tanner, demanding to know who it is.
Tanner: Did you just run here, all the way from Blue Valley? How did you even know I was making out with someone?
Tristan: I'm the Perez Hilton of the Blue Valley district, I have eyes everywhere!
- Parodied in The Nostalgia Critic's review of The Wicker Man, which starts with a very creepy, Slasher Smile-sporting Tamara teleporting around the room constantly (complete with Sting) until the Critic just gets irritated by it.
- The titular pegasus in Rainbow Dashs Precious Book, while chasing after a human who's attempting to steal her Daring Do book, gets a door slammed in her face by said human. The human then turns around to find a pissed-off Rainbow Dash behind him before getting kicked into a telephone pole. Justified, since Rainbow Dash has been shown to be incredibly fast in her home series, meaning she could've found another way out before the human even noticed.
- 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.
- Cats are basically this trope in furry form. One second they're there, the next gone. Kinda cute when you're talking about a house cat but down right scary when you're talking about a 600 pound tiger. Ninja Cat!
- 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 intact (that is, it is not being observed), it can "teleport" through the barrier and be on the other side when it's observed.