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A recurrent type of villain in fantasy, horror, superhero, science fiction and, in some cases, Western fiction, an Evil from the Past is a villain or a monstrous entity who threatened the world before, either many centuries (referred to as an Ancient Evil) or a few decades before the start of the story (referred to as a Modern Evil or as simply New Evil). It was either defeated, sealed away, imprisoned, or even killed one way or another, or it somehow managed to escape, but eventually manages to rise again. These villains can return because of a particular circumstance or through their own efforts, but they are most often brought back by evil beings who seek to rule the world by their side or expect a reward. They also appear in flashbacks.

It must be noted that villains who lived for centuries without being defeated before the story, or recurring villains who are slain or banished in a story and brought back in one (or more) sequel, do not fit into this category. An Evil from the Past reappears once and was defeated outside the story, though it might become a recurring antagonists after its first return.

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