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Enemy Rising Behind

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One of the times "Look Behind You" isn't a joke.

Bob is facing the camera. Unknown to him, an enemy is rising up behind him. It may be a giant monster whose head is rising up to his level, an enemy in an aircraft, or a much smaller enemy rising up right behind Bob. The important details are that Bob has no idea of the danger coming, and that the shot is continuously from in front of Bob until he has some inkling of the danger. May result in a Right Behind Me and/or Oh, Crap!. If Bob isn't a main character, he may be Monster Munch and never know what killed him. If they're a main character, they're more likely to be taken alive or subjected to the monster's curiosity. If the enemy is in a vehicle, there's a good chance it's a Surprise Vehicle. Can be subverted by an Offhand Backhand.

Scared of What's Behind You often overlaps with this. Compare Vertical Kidnapping.



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  • In Dragon Ball Z, Imperfect Cell does this right before absorbing Android 17.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Finding Nemo, does this five times. There's the scuba diver, the anglerfish, the jellyfish, the whale, and the cephalopod in the sequel.
  • In Pixar's Up, Russel and Carl are just about to release Kevin back into her habitat when Muntz in the Zeppelin ominously rises up behind them. Doubles as a Surprise Vehicle.
  • Subverted and played for laughs as Bookends in Monsters, Inc. At the start of the movie, a monster rises up behind a kid's bed. His screams startle the monster. At the end, Mike rises up behind a kid's bed, then goes into a stand-up comedy routine.
  • In the Firebird Suite segment of Fantasia 2000, the spring sprite seems to reach safety after scrambling up a tall tree, but the Firebird rises back into its bird form and towers over her.
  • Parodied by Bonnie in Toy Story 3, when she plays Hide and Seek with Woody in a chest and Dolly is rising up behind her menacingly. Then we see that Bonnie was actually operating that doll herself.
  • In Balto, Boris is so busy yelling at Muk and Luk he completely fails to notice the huge grizzly bear right behind him.
  • In Kung Fu Panda 3, Kai does this to Crane during the ship scene, after having already snatched up everyone else who went inside.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Alien films love this:
    • In the original Alien, when Brett enters the cargo bay looking for Jones the cat, one of the shots is from a low angle, looking up at him. It is very difficult to see unless one knows what to look for, but the xenomorph itself is clinging to the ceiling above him, completely motionless and blending in seamlessly with the piping and ducts above.
    • In Aliens, we see a facehugger drop from the ceiling moments before it attacks Ripley. Also the abduction of Newt, where a xenomorph silently rises behind her in the water.
    • In Alien³ we see the xenomorph creeping from the top of a vertical passage when one of the prisoners is trying to retrieve a flare from the bottom.
  • True Lies: Harry in the Harrier rising up behind the main villain.
  • Men in Black, when Elle blasts Edgar before he can attack Agents Jay and Kay.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • The Kraken in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest does this.
    • And in the fourth film, the entrance to the Fountain of Youth provides ample opportunity for characters to rise up ominously through the mist. Happened with both Barbossa, to Blackbeard and the Spanish, to everyone.
  • Gollum ambushing Sam in Mt Doom in Return Of The King
  • In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan the Enterprise does this to the USS Reliant, Khan's commandeered ship.
  • In Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, a Klingon Bird-of-Prey rises up behind Kirk as he flees the "god" alien. Subverted when it turns out to be a Gunship Rescue, with Spock manning the guns.
  • In V for Vendetta, inside the broadcasters' studio when the whole place is filled with smoke. The cops think they've got V on the ground... but it's the wrong guy, and as the horror of it dawns on them, we see V rise up behind them.
  • Batman (1989): The two Bit-Part Bad Guys shoot Batman while he's on the ground, then turn away. He rises up from the ground behind them, then proceeds to beat them up.
  • This is how we get our first look at The Terminator's real body.
  • The Silence of the Lambs. Hannibal Lecter is lying on a gurney in an ambulance with the face of a murdered police officer covering his own face. He sits up behind a paramedic, pulls off the false face and... We don't see what happens next, but we learn that he killed everyone in the ambulance.
  • One of the more iconic examples comes from the original Halloween (1978), where a presumed dead Michael Myers slowly rises up behind an exhausted Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis).
  • Featured on a memorable scene in Hell Night (1981) where the final couple are talking to each other and are oblivious to the killer (who was hiding under a carpet, which was on top of a trap door) rising behind them.
  • Constantine.
    • After Angela falls into the pool, the man possessed by The Spear of Destiny rises up behind her.
    • After Constantine enters the pool, a Mammon-possessed Angela rises behind him.
  • Fluffy in the first Harry Potter movie. The gang don't notice until he starts drooling on them. Later, the disembodied spirit of Voldemort menacingly manifests behind Harry as he looks at the Philosopher's Stone, and he doesn't notice until it's flying right at him.
  • The giant maggot in Galaxy of Terror does this to a female crewmember, it...well, some people call it "Rapeworm". That should explain what happens next.
  • Resident Evil. When Spence is holding the other survivors at gunpoint, a zombie rises up out of the water behind him and bites him on the neck.
  • Superman: The Movie. When Superman is standing on the deck of the small ship waiting for the crooks inside to give up, another crook rises up out of a hatch behind him and hits him over the head with a crowbar. The crook is stunned by the impact.
    Superman: Bad vibrations?
  • Monty Python's Life of Brian: Brian is writing (poorly composed) graffiti on a wall. The audience can see the approaching silhouette of a centurion-complete with ominous music and Scare Chord when the centurion claps his hand on Brian's shoulder.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. After Dorian Gray removes his sword from Mina Harker's body and prepares to leave, she rises up behind him, stabs him and pins him to a wall. Vampires like Mina are only incapacitated by being staked, not killed.
    • When the stake misses her heart anyway.
  • Directionally-inverted example: Godzilla: Final Wars. Godzilla has just destroyed the rogue "planet" Gorath with his breath, and as he stands recovering from the effort, the camera cuts to a close-up of his face and a shadowy figure slowly lowering itself into the frame behind him. Godzilla slowly raises his head, turns around, and faces his most powerful opponent, Monster X.
  • Exactly what makes Nosferatu so terrifying.
  • Fright Night (1985). Dandridge's minion Billy Cole is shot in the head by Peter Vincent and falls down the stairs. A few moments later, while Peter Vincent and Charlie are facing the other way, Cole gets up and starts walking up the stairs toward them.
  • Judge Dredd. Rico escapes from Aspen Penal Colony in a body bag. When the body bags arrive back in Megacity One, a technician is left alone checking them out. Rico's body bag rises up behind the technician and Rico shoots him through the bag.
  • Rambo IV. Rambo does one in style, beheading a Burmese soldier with a machete.
  • Inverted in two Brian De Palma movies: Raising Cain and Mission to Mars. The character facing the camera bends down to pick up something, thus revealing the enemy behind him...
  • Outpost. A mercenary enters the room where their employer Hunt is and tells him they're leaving whether he wants it or not. Hunt turns to face him, and freezes in place with a horrified expression as he sees an undead Nazi soldier rising up behind the merc. The merc sees the expression, tells him to run and turns, lashing out with his knife. It doesn't do any good.
  • In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, when taking one of the asylum guard's places, the T-1000 copies the appearance of the guard as it rises up from the floor. The real guard takes notice too late.
  • In the original version of King Kong (1933), a brontosaurus emerges from the water in this manner to attack Denham's crew on their raft.
  • Jaws has the shark rising out of the water while Brody's head is turned away as he dumps chum in the water. This, of course, prompts one of the most famous lines of the movie.
  • Deep Rising: When the Dwindling Party reaches the kitchen, Mulligan wants to hole up there for a last stand as he thinks that it's the only place on the ship where they'll be save from the man-eating giant worms. This results in a Mexican Standoff when Finnegan and Hanover disagree, but before it can get violent Mulligan suddenly notices that everyone facing him has an Oh, Crap! expression...
  • Avatar has Jake, on his first excursion into the Pandoran wilderness, get into a confrontation with a juvenile Titanothere. Jake stands his ground and shouts, and the titanothere backs off... because of the apex predator Thanator rising behind him.
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has the Mosasaurus doing this to an unwary submersible in the opening. The next shot is from above the lagoon, as the lights of the craft vanish...

  • Sten: the protagonist and his Lancer are retrieving a poor bastard from a prison hell-world. They are offshore on a small boat when a sea monster pulls this move on them. Cue screaming and thrashing and Sten doing cool stuff with his Absurdly Sharp Blade.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the introductory sequence of Game of Thrones, Ser Waymar Royce and old veteran Gared of the Night's Watch are investigating the massacre of a wildling village, but find nothing there. Gared starts digging in the snow and finds some bloody remains; he looks up to tell Ser Royce when his eyes widen in horror as a blue-eyed demon is rising up behind the knight. Ser Royce turns to see what he's looking at and gets killed by the White Walker.
  • In the Supernatural episode "What Is And What Should Never Be", the djinn sneaks up behind Sam as he tries to cut Dean down, but Dean warns Sam.
  • A Grimm season finale involves a large number of Black Claw Mooks storming Nick's hideout. Despite the odds, Nick manages to kill nearly all of them, but the last one shoots him several times in the gut. Nick falls and looks dead. The guy turns around and call his boss to let him know the job is done. Then Nick slowly rises behind him (having been granted a Healing Factor by the ancient piece of wood found by the Grimm Crusaders). The other guy is dead within seconds.

  • A variations occurs with Stern Pinball's Iron Man, where the start of "Iron Monger Multiball" is heralded with the Iron Monger Mini-Mecha rising out of the playfield to confront the player.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • DC Universe Online: In the Fortress of Solitude: Power Core raid, the Prime Assassin actually floats down into the screen behind Superman.
  • [PROTOTYPE]: Alex rising up behind a Blackwatch trooper who thought one bullet to the head was enough to kill him.
    • And then Alex does it again at the end of the game, to General Randall. This time, though, he's disguised as Colonel Taggart.
  • Resident Evil 4 has two examples. The first example is Mendes popping up just behind Leon and grabbing him by the neck. Played with when Jack Krauser rises up behind Leon Kennedy, disappears when Leon senses something and turns around, and Krauser attacks Leon from above.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess has a cutscene like this. A ball and chain statue comes to life and attacks Link from behind while the camera is in front of him.
  • Another World has an example from the first moments in which you take control. If you leave the protagonist standing in front of the deep pool he was teleported into (and swam out of to avoid multiple tentacles belonging to an off-screen monster), you'll notice something appearing behind him. If you do not move despite this, the tentacle will grab him and drag him to a watery death.
  • Much like the one in Pirates of the Caribbean, the Kraken in God of War II does this to Kratos while he screams at Zeus.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne: The end of the True Demon Route. Lucifer makes his appearance in his true form like this, rising from the ground behind the Demi-Fiend while he's occupied talking to Lucifer's avatars, the Blonde Child and the Old Gentleman. The Demi-Fiend only realizes Lucifer's there when a MASSIVE shadow falls over him.
  • Mass Effect 3: Kai Leng, after the final battle against him, creeps up behind Shepard, raises his katana, and the Commander either dodges or has his sword smashed apart via Offhand Backhand, and is then gutted with an omni-blade.
  • Xenoblade: Metal Face does this right after the party laments they haven't found him.
  • Portal 2: In one of the game’s early chapters, Wheatley accidentally reactivates GLaDOS, who is slowly coming to life in the background as he fumbles to call an escape pod.
  • Played for Laughs in Hitman (2016) where an escalation in Paris involving Agent 47 in a clown suit begins with a shot of a security guard, only to have the Comically Serious Agent 47 rise up behind him, bright red afro and all

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth features this. In the third case, when Miles Edgeworth drops off the ransom money in an amusement park's Haunted House dining room and steps into the hall, a slumped, seemingly-lifeless costume stands up and begins creeping up behind him. Add supremely creepy music to the montage, and it's a part of the game that you would not want to play while alone at night.
  • Grisaia no Kajitsu: On Yumiko's route Yuuji gets appointed to her bodyguard, and so follows her everywhere, which bothers Yumiko quite a lot, after a while she reaches the end of her patience and snaps at him at how nothing ever happens and there is no real threat. Perfect timing, as you Yuuji just notes that she should just take a look at the trouble brewing behind her back. Getting surrounded by men in black.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • In A Link Between Videos a stone talos manages this on a clueless Link
  • In Kickassia, this happens during the Nostalgia Critic vs Dr. Insano fight.
  • In Suburban Knights, Jaffers does this when he attacks the reviewers after they recover the gauntlet.
  • The Slender Man Mythos: This trope pairs quite well with web series featuring a certain slim gentleman...

    Western Animation 
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Stranger Than Fan Fiction", Quibble Pants is ranting about how all of the Daring Do adventu-cation is unrealistic and clichéd, and that all is missing is a giant monster attacking them... just as the Cipactli, covered in mud, is slowly and ominously rising behind him from a trapdoor he himself set off.
  • The Secret Saturdays: Happens at the end of "Once More the Nightmare Factory":
    Doc: It's over. We won.
    [Drew, Doyle and Zak motion to warn Doc of the large seagoing cryptid rising out of the water behind him]
    Doc: No. We won. I'm not turning around and looking at it. We won.
  • Star Wars Rebels: In "The Honourable Ones", the first bonzami (giant blaster-bolt-immune lizard) comes out of a tunnel behind Zeb while he's threatening to give Kallus a few more broken bones.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show: In "In the Army", Ren is making Stimpy carry him on his back during a hike and they pause at a mud puddle. Just then, their Drill Sergeant Nasty slowly rises from the puddle while Ren badmouths him with his back turned; after turning around and seeing him, Ren has one ''hell' of a Wild Take.


Video Example(s):


Return of Count Yorga [Brides Attack Jason]

Scene from the 1971 film, The Return of Count Yorga. Jason is lured into a trap by Tommy who claims he say his fiancee, Ellen. While he does indeed find her, the attack by Yorga's brides the previous night have made her a vampire herself. As she laughs at him, her fellow brides jump Jason from behind.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / EnemyRisingBehind

Media sources:

Main / EnemyRisingBehind