Top 10 Movies Starring Death16.08.11 # Top Ten # 15 Comments
With Final Destination 5 on release, let’s look at the top movies about Death. Too morbid? Oh, don’t be such a stuffed shirt. Sure, a real-life visit from the Grim Reaper might be a cause for woe and woe alone, but Mr. Death can be as much a figure of fun as one of tragedy.
Here are his most striking appearances as a character -
10. Embodiment of Evil (2008)
Let’s kick this list off with something of an obscurity, in the gnarled and knobbly shape of Embodiment of Evil, the third in the official chronology of Zé do Caixão, aka Coffin Joe (kind of the Brazilian answer to Freddy Kruger).
Having finally exited prison after the crimes depicted in his first two screen outings, the colourfully-titled pair of At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul and Tonight I Will Possess Your Corpse, Joe is soon back to his murdering ways. However age has clearly brought with it a sense of guilt, as exemplified by the psychedelic dream sequence which finds the murderous gnome visiting a fiery underworld where cannibalism reigns, and a lady Reaper (Geanine Marques) ominously lurks.
9. Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)
A short but pivotal appearance from a figure with power to dictate continuation or expiration, as Hellboy and his cohorts encounter the Angel of Death (played by Doug Jones, who also stars as one of those aforementioned cohorts, Abe Sapian). A fan-headed freak that showcases director Guillermo del Toro’s adeptness at fashioning memorably offbeat creatures, the Angel actually proves something of a sweetheart, as he reprieves Ron Perlman’s Big Red ahead of his final showdown with Dude Who Used To Be In Bros.
8. Vanishing Point (1971)
A sexy Death?! Well, Marvel Comics goon Thanos had such a hard-on for the old gal that he was willing to wipe out half the made-up universe, and if she looked, as she did in counter-culture road movie Vanishing Point, like a young Charlotte Rampling, then who could blame him? Mind you, Rampling’s is no ordinary Reaper, appearing instead as a enigmatic hitch-hiker, in a film made in an era where explanations and explicit meanings were solely for squares and narcs, man.
7. Deconstructing Harry (1997)
With Woody Allen again aping Bergman, his other main cinematic idol aside from Fellini, this neglected writer-in-crisis pic delivers a few references to the Swedish maestro’s The Seventh Seal (unsurprisingly, featuring later in this list). The director’s own character shares a surname, Block, with the knight played by Max von Sydow in Seal, while a comic vignette sees Death make an appearance, as a cock-up leads to the dark one claiming the soul of a luckless Tobey Maguire. As in killing him. Not turning him emo like in Spider-Man 3.
6. The Last Action Hero (1993)
Ian McKellen, then still to make a Hollywood breakthrough, crops up in this cameo-heavy meta-flop, as a fairly sympathetic Death. A bizarre appearance in what is a fairly bizarre film, the failure of it sent star Arnold Schwarzenegger scurrying back to the relatively safe bets of True Lies and Eraser. Watch McKellen get curious here.
Movies About Death – 5th to 1st >
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