Angel of Death, Grim Reaper or whatever you prefer to call the personification of death, the macabre character has popped up in many forms in mythology, TV and film over the years.
Depending on which version of the typically scythe wielding figure you prefer, the icon may be the malevolent cause of death and collector of souls, or it may be that the being is a dark companion to accompany the spirit as it crosses over to the land of the dead once they have died.
Although the supernatural being is usually depicted in a way that is meant to incite fear and unease, not all representations adhere to this. In myth and movie alike there have been Gods of Death that represent protection and safe passage to the afterlife, without being the scary, cloaked, dealer of death. All things considered, the reaper probably isn't all bad. I'm sure having company on the journey to your eternal resting place must be comforting. Until you arrive at the flaming gates of hell, that is.
Today let's countdown the coolest on screen representations of Death. Some you're going to wish that you never have the misfortune to encounter and others you'll definitely want to hang out and have a beer with.
10. The Ghost of Christmas Future (A Christmas Carol)
The Ghost of Christmas Future is the third and final spirit that visits Ebeneezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. The many versions of the movie are adaptations of the story by Charles Dickens. Unlike it's benevolent predecessors, the Ghost of Christmas Future has the typical Grim Reaper look and the purpose of the spirit is to forewarn Scrooge that is he continues on the path he is currently on, he will die and it is unlikely that people would shed a tear. There have been many versions of the movie over the years, but take a look at my favourite variations of the spirit below.
9. Death (The Last Action Hero)
In 1993's The Last Action Hero starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ian Mckellen appears as the ominous and stereotypical depiction of Death sporting pale white skin and a black hooded cloak. Just because it is stereotypical doesn't make it less eerie.
8. Death (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1)
Although Death only appears in a brief animated scene as Hermione reads aloud the story of the Deathly Hallows, the scene is beautifully done. Death appears as a dark, winged silhouette. Creepy but in an attractive, Tim Burton kind of way.
7. Angel of Death (American Horror Story)
The Angel of Death, also known as Shachath appears in American Horror Story's Asylum. Unlike the usual representations of Death, she is a benign entity that comes when beckoned and plants a 'kiss of death' upon those that are nearly dead or wishing for death. The charactor is portrayed in a stunning way but that is no suprise, Frances Conroy sparkled in all of her roles throughout the seasons of American Horror Story.
6. Grim (The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy)
The first entry on our list that comes from a children's TV show, but not the last. It wouldn't be right to exclude Grim from The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy. The unfortunate Grim Reaper is forced to become the companion of two mischievous kids.
5. Death (The Simpsons)
Death has appeared in The Simpsons on a couple of occasions, differing slightly in appearance each time. The most memorable appearance of the character is when Homer himself becomes the Grim Reaper. After killing Death and disposing of the remains Homer jokingly puts on the cloak which prompts him to become the new Grim Reaper.
4. La Muerte and Xibalba (The Book of Life)
La Muerte is the Goddess and ruler of the Land of the Remembered in children's film The Book of Life. Her estranged lover, Xibalba is the dark ruler of the Land of the Forgotten. A little different from the other entries on this list, they are still deities concerned with Death so they deserve a mention. The style of animation in this movie is charming and unique.
3. Death (Adventure Time)
This time a particularly unique representation and the last children's show on the list, Death appears as the ruler of the Land of the Dead in an episode of Adventure Time. Rolling with the trippy nature of the show, Death appears as a horse skeleton dressed in white.
2. Death (Family Guy)
Death is a character that appears frequently throughout the show when a character dies. There is one episode in particular that shares a theme with the aforementioned episode of The Simpsons. Death hurts his leg and sends Peter Griffin out to fill in for him. It is hilarious as ever.
1. Grim Reaper (Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey)
Has there been a more iconic representation of the Grim Reaper than the performance of William Sadler in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey? Absolutely not. Is it an Oscar winning movie or performance? Absolutely not. It is cheesy and awful and absolutely hilarious.
You might be a king or a little street sweeper but sooner or later you'll dance with the reaper.
Did your favourite representation of death make it on to the list? Who would you have included? I would love to hear your suggestions. Tweet me @curiouslycreepy or hit me up on Instagram @creepyandcurious.
Stay creepy and curious, ghouls.
About the Creator
Sharing factual and fictional stories of the horrific, disgusting, macabre and frightfully peculiar. Appealing to the morbid curiosity within us all.
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