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Offscreen Teleportation / Live-Action Films

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  • In the Friday the 13th films, Jason Voorhees does this frequently in the later installments, mostly as an exaggeration from the Mobile Menace abilities Jason displays in the second and third films. This trope is sometimes called the "Voorhees Unreality Engine" due to its ubiquitous use in the films.
    • In Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, this was intentionally accentuated in the script in order to make the killer seem more terrifying, because you couldn't know where he would turn up next. Except they went too far in editing, turning it into an almost comically overt usage of this power that was supposed to be merely implied. The worst moment has to be when the one teacher who's running away from Jason runs into a building that only has one entrance... and is promptly tossed out of the second story window by Jason, who'd been waiting for him.
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    • In the same film, a character scrambles up the mast of a ship. It is explicitly shown that Jason is just staring at the man climbing the ladder, not even bothering to move. Next cut is the man (who is climbing extremely fast), near about to reach the top a 30 foot mast in seconds, being ripped off mid-climb and being thrown to his death as though Jason was underneath the man the entire time.
    • Jason X used it extensively. Jason almost never walked into a room. He was just there. Or worse, sometimes he appears outside the (one-exit) room when the victim walked in. Taken to ridiculous heights in the first major gun battle, where three soldiers with full-auto rifles unload on him, never turning away. In the split second of darkness which comes with them accidentally shooting out the lights, Jason is gone.
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    • Friday the 13th: The Game lampshaded this by outright making it one of his abilities. If none of the survivors are looking at him, Jason can vanish and teleport across the map.
  • Done by Freddy Krueger in Freddy vs. Jason. During the fight between Jason and Freddy at Camp Crystal Lake, Jason is propelled to a construction site by a propane tank projectile. Freddy then shows that he's standing on top of it, somehow having moved past Jason. In the other A Nightmare on Elm Street movies, this is normally justified by the action taking place in a Dream Land where Freddy has godlike powers, but this took place after he had been pulled out into the "real world".
  • Michael Myers in the Halloween series has fun with this trope. Even though the viewer only ever sees him move with a Menacing Stroll on-screen, as soon as he is off-screen he seems to magically teleport to wherever the protagonists are. Though it's possible this is a deliberate attempt to display Michael's eerie, almost supernatural qualities.
    • One instance in the first film: Laurie sees Michael through the window, and we cut to her reaction. When we cut back, he's gone.
    • Another example from Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers is when Jamie and Dr. Loomis manage to escape the aforementioned house. They run away, leaving Michael in the house, and decide to hide in the school. Loomis breaks open a door - which sets of the burglar alarm - rushes inside, and immediately runs into Michael, who not only managed to get to the school before them, but also got inside without setting off the alarm.
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    • Another example from Halloween 4 is when Rachel and Jamie are escaping Haddonfield with the "lynch mob" Loomis organized. The last time we saw Michael, he was in the school getting blasted with a fire extinguisher, the smokescreen from which he disappeared into. The next time we see him, he's clung onto the bottom of the truck they're escaping in, climbs up, and kills almost everybody. It's theoretically possible for somebody to do this, it's hard given the time frame and fact that we always see the truck he's clung onto.
  • In The Matrix Revolutions, when Trinity is being attacked by the Smith-possessed Bane in the real world, she is calling Neo when Bane steps in and smacks her face into a nearby wall, despite the fact that Trinity smashed him the face, knocking him down several feet onto the metal floor of the room below, and then shut a heavy metal door on him mere seconds beforehand.
  • The movie Resident Evil: Apocalypse is guilty of this. Small mobs of zombies will appear right behind a protagonist where no zombies had been before. It's especially annoying, considering that these zombies cannot move stealthily at all, and one should be able to hear a group of them shuffling, shoving, and moaning as they approach. In addition, good guys and bad guys surprise each other by instantaneously appearing in the cramped confines of the same helicopter at different times, despite the impossibility of sneaking in undetected.
    • Every single Resident Evil movie is guilty of this, going as far as having them appear in rooms that have no visible entrance other than the one the character used. Possibly, this could be chalked up as a reference to the games.
    • Many zombie movies, films, and TV shows somehow manage to have shambling, shuffling moaning zombies sneak up behind people, even when the people in question should be able to see them easily. Yet they somehow don't until the camera does. They are apparently able to move much faster than regular people, but only offscreen.
  • The Vampire Chronicles:
    • Interview with the Vampire: Brad Pitt's character appears to teleport in order to scare the eponymous interviewer, explaining this as Super Speed.
    • Used in Queen of the Damned as well, although here it seems to be literal teleporting with Super Speed as a second skill. For instance, Lestat introduces himself to his rock band in the opening to prove his supernatural nature, and Akasha uses it on another vampire to seduce him... before ripping out his heart and eating it.
  • Heavily used in B-movie Zombie Lake to wave away the difficulty of zombies catching up to their victims.
  • The Psychlos use this in the movie version of Battlefield Earth.
  • Employed quite a bit by the giant snake in B-movie Boa.
  • Played with in Scary Movie, in which the main character sees the masked killer outside her classroom. As she looks away, the killer is shown frantically rushing to get behind the tree he was standing next to before she looks back again in order to invoke the feel of the trope.
  • The director for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind tried to use practical camera effects whenever possible. One scene has Jim Carrey on both sides of the room at the same time. He had to run behind the camera and put a stocking cap on several times as the camera panned back and forth.
  • Pan's Labyrinth is guilty of this. When Mercedes and Ofelia are escaping the encampment, Mercedes somehow doesn't notice Captain Vidal and his entire squad of over fifty men sneak up behind them in barely the time it took her to turn her head. The eponymous Faun is also capable of just appearing out of nowhere, although this is heavily implied to be some type of magic.
  • Jurassic Park:
    • Exemplified by the ninja Tyrannosaur who can't walk around outside without much roaring, stomping, and earth-shaking but suddenly appears inside a building at the climax of the film. Happens again with the even larger Spinosaurus in the third film: the only reason people realize it's there is that they hear the musical ring tone from a satellite phone it had earlier eaten.
    • And exactly how does the Dilophosaur even get into Nedry's car, or know that it's supposed to be there? All the doors except the one next to Nedry are shut. Unless we assume that it hopped around the car, opened the door, climbed in, shut the door after itself, and then waited patiently for Nedry to get in and shut the door, trapping himself. Maybe the velociraptors weren't the brains of the outfit after all.
  • Justified within in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies: not only can Davy Jones and his minions do this, but they can also walk through bits of his almost sentient ship due to the bond they all share with it. Averted when they move off of the Flying Dutchman, when they're actually shown to walk right through a wet surface and out of another wet surface somewhere else. Dead Man's Chest has fun with this when we first see Davy Jones just after this rule is suggested, small and far away through Jack's eyeglass; as he lowers the spyglass, we quickly see Davy Jones again, standing in the same way, but now right in front of Jack on the (wet) deck of the Black Pearl.
  • Used by the shark in Jaws: The Revenge to reach the Bahamas from Massachusetts in under three days. Well, it is a Voodoo Shark...
  • The killer in I Know What You Did Last Summer uses his vast supernatural powers of almost getting killed and being off-screen not only to teleport, but to wander slowly around killing people all day in public without attracting the slightest notice from anybody he hasn't stuck something sharp into, and to magically fill a locked car trunk with crawling crabs and other sea-life, then empty it again, in about five minutes in broad daylight while the other characters (and the camera) are looking away. Ironically, teleportation officially becomes one of his powers in the third movie, where he actually is undead. At one point he slashes the tires of Final Girl's bike when she looks away for maybe a second or two.
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was possibly the first movie to use this deliberately, and to great effect. Leone specifically shot the movie with the idea that the characters could only be aware of what the camera saw. The most noticeable moments are probably Angel Eyes managing to sneak up on the other two in an empty graveyard, and when Blondie and Tuco walk into the middle of a Union encampment without noticing.
  • In The Night of the Hunter, Harry Powell is truly impossible to shake off. You think you've lost him, he should be miles away, and wouldn't you know it, there he is along the horizon, trotting along on his horse and belting out gospel. Asks one character, "Don't he never sleep?"
  • Subverted in the Scream films, the killer appears to be able to do this but is really two killers working as a team. Scream 3, however, has a killer who can do this and is working alone so shouldn't be able to, a clear case of Sequelitis. It was supposed to have two killers (Angelina was supposed to be the other one), but a bit of Executive Meddling fixed that.
  • Played with in the movie Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, in which a documentary crew essentially follows around a rookie horror-movie villain. (it turns from deconstruction to straight out horror when they realize he means it.) Throughout his preparations it is shown that this move is just a combination of careful planning and cardio. Among other things, Vernon is shown as a student of stage magic and devoted to his cardio workout. At one point, he bets the interviewer (who lettered several times in track) that he can catch her in a footrace by walking slowly. The scene shows him sprinting when her back is turned, reading when she's going to look back at him, and dropping to a walk in time. The motion of looking back in surprise while running full-tilt causes her to do the traditional horror-movie fall-over.
  • Possibly played with in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, when John Cleese's Lancelot is seen running towards the camera from the other side of a field. The camera switches between this scene and two guards watching several times with Lancelot getting no closer every time it looks at him (in fact, every shot of Lancelot is the same piece of footage, replayed) then suddenly when the camera is on the two guards, Lancelot runs in from offscreen and stabs them.
  • In A Hard Day's Night, this may be the only way to explain the climax of John's bathtub scene.
  • A non-villain example in Young Frankenstein. During final preparations to reanimate the monster, Igor is up on the roof.
    Frederick: Now tie off the kites and hurry down as fast as you can.
    Igor: What's the hurry?
    Frederick: There's a possibility of electrocution! Do you understand?
    [Igor looks down through the skylight]
    Frederick: I say: There's a possibility of electrocution! Do you understand?
    Igor: [comes in from offscreen next to Frederick] I understand, I understand! Why are you shouting? [Frederick looks back up at the skylight and does a double take]
    Frederick: Did you... Did you tie off the kites?
    Igor: Of course.
  • The Prestige:
    • Subverted at one point, when Angier is tailing Borden, another magician. Borden crosses a street and a carriage passes between them... and Borden's still there. Played straight quite frequently, but then, they are magicians.
    • Another instance that is averted by waiting until the end of the movie for the reveal, occurs towards the beginning of the film when Borden drops Sarah off at her door and walks away, and she goes in, and he's suddenly in her kitchen making her tea. Once it's revealed that Borden has an identical twin, it makes sense: the twin broke in beforehand.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy:
    • In Batman Begins, when Batman appears to Rachel for the first time on the train platform after rescuing her from the "mugger." And he comes and goes several times around Gordon in both movies.
    • In The Dark Knight, while the Joker is threatening Rachel, Batman appears out of nowhere in the middle of a crowded party surrounded by the Joker's goons. Indeed, one of Batman's few supernatural powers seems to be the ability to teleport whenever anyone turns his back for one second.
    • Lampshaded in The Dark Knight Rises, when Selina Kyle disappears in front of Batman, prompting the latter to quip, "So that's what it feels like."
  • Used to terrifying effect in Ring 0: Birthday, the Prequel to the Japanese Ringu movies. Even though she still has a living, breathing body (well... kind of) Sadako can project herself across relatively long distances to corner her prey. Justified in the American remake, where Samara's unique nature and "video glitches" grant her true teleportation.
  • At the climax of Star Wars, the Millennium Falcon swoops in and saves Luke's bacon. How exactly did Han fly a cargo freighter close enough to shoot one of Darth Vader's wingmen, without any of the other TIE fighters or gunners on the Death Star noticing him?
    • And Star Wars does it again in The Force Awakens. Rey and Chewbacca escape the exploding superweapon, wounding and leaving Kylo Ren behind as they run away and into the woods. Suddenly their way is blocked by Kylo Ren, his lightsaber ready for action. Considering Kylo Ren's parentage, this seems to be a family trait.
    • Also happens earlier in the film. Finn is fleeing Rey through Niima Outpost, when she suddenly appears around a corner in front of him and knocks him flat.
  • Lampshaded in Vidocq, where the Alchemist not only teleports offscreen but also manages to change position in absolutely impossible movements. However, this is consistent with the impossible nature of the Alchemist, who even manages to have two left arms in one scene.
  • Simultaneously Justified and Averted in Van Helsing with Dracula as apparently super speed is one of the powers you get as top vampire.
  • The title character in The Good Witch likes this one.
  • Done in the film Cube. Quentin, now insane, gets pulled down into a cube room and left by the other survivors, who have to use the composite of their knowledge and mathematical prowess to figure out how The Cube works and avoid the traps. They manage to get to the exit but then Quentin shows up, kills Leaven and mortally wounds Worth. How he managed to get there without their aid to avoid trapped rooms and to figure out the final pieces of The Cube's puzzle is unknown. Even if he did somehow get there by sheer blind luck, Leaven and Worth also don't notice him opening the door, which is quite loud and clunky.
  • In the movie Dante's Peak, Pierce Brosnan and the Mayor's family need to cross a stream of cooling, but still very hot, lava. They're just barely making it through in their car when the dog, which disappeared a scene earlier, appears out of nowhere even though there's no way he could have gotten there without teleporting or flying.
  • Apparently if you ever become a vampire/werewolf hybrid this is one of the primary powers you will receive, according to Underworld.
  • Spies Like Us. While Austin and Emmett are walking away from them and talking, the two KGB Special Branch agents somehow get from the jeep they were in (behind our heroes) to standing in front of them.
  • As per the page quote, accidentally used in Girl in Gold Boots. "Accidentally" because it wasn't actual teleportation, just really bad film editing that made a character magically appear at a restaurant table in the middle of a scene. See for yourself.
  • In Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Dr Evil and Mini Me are seen getting in a rocket to go to his moon base. Upon arrival all his minions are present despite previously seen still at his volcano lair when he left. Frau even initiates the countdown from there upon takeoff yet she is suddenly present in his new lair.
  • Bang Bang from The Brothers Bloom. Bloom looks through his binoculars and she's there, he looks behind him, she's there.
  • Used memorably in 2001: A Space Odyssey for the appearances of the Monolith and to show the progression of Dave Bowman's age in the hotel room near the end of the movie. In 2010: The Year We Make Contact, the same technique is used when Bowman talks to Heywood Floyd, switching back and forth between his various ages before turning into the Star Child and disappearing.
  • Used hilariously in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, when our eponymous heroes want to cross a street at a crosswalk. Kumar convinces Harold to jaywalk, and Harold checks both directions, to find the road clear on both sides for miles. Then he steps off the sidewalk and a cop car instantly pulls up from just off-screen. Cue Kumar trying to ignore Harold's Death Glare.
  • The Professor, an asset in the employ of Treadstone, does this to Nicky in The Bourne Identity when he receives his order to kill Bourne.
  • Cthulhu (2007). The protagonist encounters the Ancestor in an Abandoned Warehouse and flees, only to find him waiting on the street outside.
  • Mr. Teatime does this in the Hogfather adaptation, accompanied by a sound similar to a blade being drawn. Such an ability may well be expected for an assassin, but he manages to surprise even the head assassin, Lord Downey, with it.
  • Used humorously in Daybreakers when a non villainous human suddenly appears behind a non villainous vampire, spooking the vampire. Played straight when vampire Frankie manages to sneak up behind Audrey (a member of the human resistance) while she's in the middle an open field. Of course, he's a trained soldier, and her being in broad daylight gives her a false sense of security (Frankie is wearing a full-face helmet and body cover).
  • The ghost played by Emma Stone (the Valley Girl) in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past at the start of her appearance does this. Then again, as a ghost, it's normal.
  • Heroic version similar to the "ninja-rex" example above: in The Golden Compass, suddenly Raargh! Stealth Bears! in plate mail!
  • Perhaps one of the most unlikely examples appears in Cloverfield, when the giant creature somehow approaches the characters unnoticed across Central Park, even though it must have been directly in their line of sight.
  • In the film Blame It on the Bellboy, a hit man stalking his target looks away from her for a second ... only to have her show up directly behind him, saying hello and introducing herself.
  • In the film of Eragon, Brom practically comes out of nowhere to perform his Heroic Sacrifice for Eragon. In fact, attentive viewers will notice that, in previous shots, the area where Brom leaps from was blocked off completely by a wall.
  • The Music Man: Used repeatedly by the Matthew Broderick version of Harold Hill in Marian The Librarian. Played for Laughs: every time Marian tries to get away from Hill for about the first half of the song, she turns around and he's standing right in front of her. She lampshades it after the first few times with increasingly frazzled aside glances.
  • In Fantastic Four (2005), the eponymous heroes (and Doom) are all knocked unconscious by a radiation wave. The next scene shows them all waking up in a hospital. No explanation at all is given as to how they got back to Earth. In a more typical example, when Reed, Sue, and Johnny are trying to get to Ben in the bridge scene, Reed tells Sue to turn invisible. She does so and slips through the crowd. The film moves on to show what Ben's doing for a couple minutes, and when it comes back to the others, Sue is complaining about having to strip her clothes off, and Reed says "Well, at least it got us through the crowd." The movie doesn't even attempt to Handwave the explain how Sue turning invisible got all three of them through the crowd.
  • A Running Gag for the titular Nanny McPhee.
    "I did knock."
  • While deleted for "Film/Bruce Almighty", it DOES remain in "Evan Almighty". Then the character is GOD.
  • In Mr. Deeds, the character "Emilio", who is Deeds' butler, is extremely sneaky. He will suddenly appear, and disappear, right next to someone, exclaiming his sneakiness.
    "I am very very sneaky, sir."
  • Played oddly straight in Nosferatu, where Hutter arrives at the castle. The carriage driver (who is assumed to be Orlok in disguise) drives the carriage into the woods, away from the castle. Approximately 5 seconds later, Orlok walks out of the castle. This is never made light of in the rest of the film.
  • The Lord of the Rings
    • Gandalf does this in The Fellowship of the Ring when Bilbo turns invisible at his birthday party and runs home. Gandalf is in the audience when this happens, yet when Bilbo gets inside, he's already there, even though there's no way that he could have run the open ground unseen, even though his longer legs would have carried him faster. And wizard or no, no-one in Middle-Earth has the power of teleportation.
    • In The Return of the King, Gollum is busy ranting about how he plans to kill the hobbits, and drops a stone into a puddle. In the two seconds it takes for the ripples to clear, Sam is now behind him, his reflection in the exact spot Gollum dropped the stone. Given that Sam overheard a fair portion of the rant, one would almost think he did it on purpose.
  • Black Dynamite knocks a mook to the floor from the right. The mook flees, only to be attacked again by Black Dynamite, who's also standing Behind the Black on the left side of the frame. Black Dynamite attacks the mook again when he runs back to the right.
  • Sartana seems to have this ability in his films. Because of this and having no personal reason to help the people he finds, it's theorized that he may be some sort of supernatural spirit of vengeance.
  • In the 1999 version of A Midsummer Nights Dream, Oberon offscreen teleports right next to Titania, and later Titania offscreen teleports away from Oberon. Justified, as they are fairies, after all.
  • Seen from the teleporter's vantage point in the Buster Keaton film Cops. As Keaton's character is running away from the police, he grabs on to a large car passing by and disappears from the cops' view.
  • Bunnymund from Rise of the Guardians seems capable of this. When Bunny first talks to Jack Frost in the film, Bunny somehow manages to make it to the North Pole in the span of time it takes for the Yetis to toss a Jack through the portal. And Bunny isn't even winded, despite having to physically run through his tunnel network.
  • Appears twice in Children of the Corn films, and justified in both cases since the disappearers are ghosts.
  • The Wolf when he's singing "Hello Little Girl" in Into the Woods.
  • God uses this in a deleted scene of Bruce Almighty, but then, you'd sort of expect God to have this ability.
  • Excalibur: Merlin makes repeated use of this. A Justified Trope, given that he's a wizard.
  • Occurs near the end of Fight Club, when the protagonist arrives at the office building and encounters Tyler. Several times, Tyler suddenly is elsewhere entirely between shots—moving to the other side of a locked door, appearing before the protagonist despite standing behind him a moment ago, moving from one place of the parking lot to another in order to punch the protagonist in the face. Justified, as Tyler is the narrator's hallucination and thus isn't constrained by laws of physics.
  • Superman II shows this happening on-screen when Ursa confronts the astronaut. Freaked out by the sight of a beautiful woman standing on the Moon's surface without a spacesuit, he turns and flees. Ursa just uses her superpowers to leap ahead of him, appearing to be this trope from his perspective.
  • Universal Soldier: The Return: During Deveraux's climactic fight with SETH's superprototype cyborg body, the former is crawling towards a rifle while the latter is doing an Ominous Walk behind Deveraux when Seth suddenly teleports in front of him to snatch the weapon away.
  • The killer in Night School (1981) at one point vanishes and reappears inside a cupboard, with no indication of how they could have got there. At another point, the disappear from the café and turn up at the mouth of the alley ahead of the woman who is attempting to escape them, despite the fact this would have involved them completely looping the block.
  • Sheitan: After Joseph is pushed out the broken window of Ladj's car, he somehow turns up on the roof: trying to stab down through it.
  • In Gold Diggers of 1933, as Ginger Rogers is singing "We're in the Money," the camera pans from left to right across a line of Chorus Girls, ending with Rogers popping up again at the other end of the line.

Alternative Title(s): Film


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