10 Biggest Movie Villains Who Were Killed Off-Screen


A villain’s inevitable demise (or general besting) doesn’t need to happen on-screen to be memorable, e.g. falling deaths such as Emperor Palpatine in The Return of the Jedi, Hans Gruber in Die Hard, and Dick Jones in Robocop. But even those at least start out on-screen.

An off-screen death can very easily be underwhelming, particularly when the character who’s died off-screen has acted in a vile manner throughout the film’s runtime. However, there are plenty of villains’ ends that are perfectly satisfying without it being seen in a single frame.


The Wicked Witch Of The East In The Wizard Of Oz (1939)

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The Wizard of Oz‘s Emerald City is one of movies’ best fictional settings, but it takes Dorothy a while to get there. Unfortunately, it’s also a tumultuous journey and even starts out fatal. With that being said, the fatality is the Wicked Witch of the East.

Besides her ruby-slippered feet and her monochrome stockings, the viewer never sees much of the Wicked Witch of the East. Even still, she’s integral to the procession of the narrative. Because the Wicked Witch of the East decided to stand under the wrong falling house, the Wicked Witch of the West found herself with a vendetta.

Norma Watson In Carrie (1976)

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Just one of several Stephen King stories to inspire Stranger Things, the horror classic Carrie is loaded with memorable characters both kind and cruel. One of them is Norma Watson (Halloween‘s P.J. Soles), who is more or less a nonentity in the novel, but in the movie, she’s totally just as bad as Chris Hargensen (Robocop‘s Nancy Allen).

When the bullied Carrie begins her attack on the school, Norma is basically the first one to go. However, Carrie just uses her mind to spray Norma with a fire hose. This leaves her eventual death (presumably by fire) off-screen.

Satipo In Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)

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Raiders of the Lost Ark‘s Satipo (portrayed by the great Alfred Molina) was not one of Indiana Jones’ best sidekicks, but his greed helped make him one of the most memorable. His greed also made him pretty short-lived, and the way he went out was pretty gruesome. Even still, his demise is not on-screen.

Satipo is with Indy throughout Raiders of the Lost Ark‘s impeccable extended opening. He’s there when Indy swings himself across a cavern with his whip, when he’s running from a boulder, even when darts shoot across the tunnel. However, once he bails on Indy, Satipo is on his own, and he almost immediately falls victim to a spiked trap. Had he not stolen the golden statue from Indy, he’d probably have made it out with his life. Instead, he chose greed, and that choice only granted him a few more minutes on Earth.

Carter Burke In Aliens (1986)

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The first two Alien films are outright astounding in their world-building ability. Yet, they go about it in very different ways. The quieter Alien introduces the audience to the Nostromo, one of many spaceships soaring through the galaxy with nothing on them but working men and working women. Then Aliens blew the door off by showing viewers the Xenomorph queen, space marines, and a more direct look into the company Weyland Yutani.

Wey-Yu rep Carter Burke is one of the Alien movies’ most despicable characters. He meets his end after trying and failing to kill Ripley and young Newt. Naturally, he tries to worm his way out of it but fails again. It’s not until a herd of Xenos attack the remaining marines that Burke actually worms his way out of the situation. Unfortunately for him, the door that he opens has a snarling alien right behind it.

Max Schreck In Batman Returns (1992)

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One of 1992’s best movies, Tim Burton’s Batman Returns is a visually stunning and gothic look at the Dark Knight. It also features a superb original character in the form of Christopher Walken’s business tycoon Max Schreck. An abhorrent, sexist figure, Schreck receives a deadly kiss from his former employee: Selina Kyle.

Unfortunately for him, Ms. Kyle is now Catwoman, and she can’t stand him. The kiss she gives him includes a sparking cord, and Schreck is killed. Once Kyle goes in for the kiss the action is shown from Bruce Wayne’s perspective, and the next time Schreck is seen is when his charred body pops up while Wayne is digging through the wreckage.

Dennis Nedry In Jurassic Park (1993)

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Every one of Steven Spielberg’s changes to Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park was for the better, including more memorable character deaths for several characters. For instance, Dennis Nedry, who is killed by a Dilophosaurus in both the novel and film. The movie has a way of dragging it out, making the build as scary as the inevitable result.

Nedry thinks the Dilophosaurus is friendly. He tries to feed it only for it to scurry off, then keep following him. Once Nedry enters his Jurassic Park vehicle, the Dilophosaurus is in there waiting.

Dieter Stark In The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)

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While imperfect, Spielberg’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park is a fun yet dark rollercoaster ride and one of the best movies turning 25 in 2022. The original film had its relatively graphic moments, e.g. the lawyer’s final trip to the bathroom and Mr. Arnold’s arm, but the overall tone of Lost World is significantly grimmer.

Case in point: Dieter Stark. He was one of many hunters sent by InGen to Isla Sorna. Very few members of that team are likable to begin with. But Stark is a sadist, and it’s obvious from the moment he shocks the first Compsognathus that not only will he get it, but he’ll also probably get it from one (or, more likely, many) of that very species. And Stark does, but it’s behind a log, and after already having been pecked apart on-screen, the amount of blood gives the viewer the sense there’s barely anything left of him.

The White Witch In The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe (2005)

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The first cinematic adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ excellent fantasy book series The Chronicles of Narnia stands as its best by a country mile. A big part of its success: Tilda Swinton’s Jadis the White Witch. Jadis, like James McAvoy’s Mr. Tumnus, became an instant icon with the film and, like Tumnus, Jadis is killed off-screen.

However, while Mr. Tumnus got a second chance at life after being turned to stone, the White Witch does not. Her death takes place during the First Battle of Beruna, when Aslan the lion leaps on her. Naturally, it’s a PG movie, so a lion ripping a woman apart is off-screen.

The Kraken In Pirate Of The Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)

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The Kraken is a major threat throughout Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (and is just one aspect that makes that first sequel particularly underrated). However, it gets an unceremonious off-screen death in the trilogy-capper, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. With that being said, the scene with it laying motionless on a beach is both memorable and visually stunning (even 15 years after the film’s release).

It was also necessary. After Dead Man‘s Chest, the Kraken’s novelty (and ability to intimidate viewers) had naturally diminished. Furthermore, At World’s End had to be about Davy Jones himself. A trilogy capper focuses on the “big bad,” not his pet squid.

Hela In Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

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In Thor: Ragnarok, Cate Blanchett’s Hela gets a fair amount of screen time running Asgard as its newly self-appointed queen. She even gets a fun action sequence or two, but Blanchett’s villain is not one who dies on-screen (though she most certainly is gone for good). Instead, she’s left to the fire demon Surtur, who brings her down along with her temporary kingdom.

The destruction of Asgard is a memorably bombastic conclusion for one of the MCU’s better villains. It also allows the film to come full circle from its opening with Thor and Surtur, further allowing Thor and the MCU at large to expand beyond his hometown.

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