Horsemen of the Apocalypse

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The Fab Four.
"And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword. And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth."
Revelation 6:1-8

So it's The End of the World as We Know It, or a reasonable facsimile. Chaos, anarchy, and destruction reign. But just when you think it can't get any worse, these guys show up. The Anthropomorphic Personifications of the worst things imaginable, if the Four Horsemen show up, you know it's an Apocalypse with a capital A.

The Bible has a name and item for each horseman, and a color for each horse (seen here). One part has:

  • Conquest - Bow and Crown - White
  • War - Sword - Red
  • Famine - Scales - Black
  • Death - Hell - Pale (Green)

Some Bible historians identified them as some historical figures of the time the Bible was written.

Most adaptations will replace Conquest with Pestilence, or a similar apocalyptic agent, like Pollution, Genocide, Nuclear Holocaust, or Overpopulation. In the Bible, Pestilence and Death are often understood as being the same being, and in some translations Death is named as Pestilence.

The Bible, however, is not consistent on what the four horseman are. Ezekiel has them as:

  • Sword
  • Famine
  • Wild beasts
  • Disease

The only one of these actually named in the Bible is Death; the others are only identified by the horses they ride. The other names come from the tasks and powers they are assigned. The exact nature, role and purpose of the Horsemen has been the subject of centuries of theological debate - Conquest, for instance, is thought to be either a figure of incalculable evil, perhaps The Antichrist or Satan, setting out to conquer the world; or, he could be a benevolent being like Jesus or the Holy Spirit, and his "Conquest" or "Victory" could be the beginning of the final triumph of Good over Evil. The other four horsemen don't trigger quite as much discussion, but they aren't universally agreed upon either. Don't be surprised if the writer forgets about how they're not supposed to show up till the very end of the world.

A sub-Trope of Biblical Bad Guy. Compare with Four Is Death.

Examples of Horsemen of the Apocalypse include:


  • Digimon Adventure: The final Big Bad was Apocalymon, and he was responsible for the creation of a four member Quirky Miniboss Squad called the Dark Masters, whose arrival heralded the twisted reformatting of the Digital World into a brutal, lifeless place of oppression; while none of them are actual horsemen or horses, they can be construed as thematically connected to the Four Horsemen. They consisted of MetalSeadramon (probably Famine), Pinocchimon (most likely Pestilence), Mugendramon (War), and Piemon (Death).

Comic Books

  • X-Men villain Apocalypse appropriately has had a rotating cast of minions under the names of the Four Horsemen, whose job was to wreak havoc in his name as a way of culling the weak from the strong. Several heroes have been brainwashed into serving him; Angel becoming Death and later Archangel is the best-known example. Most of his Horsemen join him by choice, however; in that case, Apocalypse recruits each one via a Deal with the Devil (like telling Autumn that he'd give her more attention than her neglectful parents to covince her become Famine, or offering to heal the Ill Boy Abraham Kieros and then making him War).
    • Another Death, in an alternate reality, was Deadpool.
    • In X-Men: Evolution, the Four Horseman are Professor X, Magneto, Mystique, and Storm, all brainwashed and with their powers enhanced. According to The Other Wiki, their roles were: Ororo as Famine, Magnus as War, Charles as Death and Raven as Pestilence.
    • In the main Marvel Universe, Wolverine was kidnapped by Skrulls working with Apocalypse and brainwashed, turned into Death, too. He did it gambling that he would be able to break free somehow—and also to get the adamantium Sabretooth had recently been upgraded with away from him (Magneto had ripped out Logan's skeleton years earlier; his getting adamantium-laced bones back was part of the deal to become Death). He was even sent after The Hulk in order to subdue him, so he could be War. Hulk refused, but ended up as War at another time, leaving after hurting Rick Jones by accident.
    • Recently, after the M-Day event, Gambit was basically handed an idiot ball by the writers and voluntarily joined Apocalypse to become the new Death. Not only was it questionable logic, but he ended up turning into a mutant Drow: black skin, white hair, and, ahum, "Death Gas." Supposedly he's gotten better.
  • The Fantastic Four have become a legend similar to this Trope among some alien races who tried to invade Earth only to get their ass handed to them.
  • DC Comics recently introduced their Four Horsemen of Apokolips, tying them into Jack Kirby's New Gods mythos as primordial deities of the aforementioned evil planet, with the Horsemen themselves being mere vessels created to contain a fraction of their power.
  • In Strontium Dog, the Satan-figure created four beings modelled on the horsemen to watch over the desert of despair.
  • In the Dreamwave continuity version of Transformers Energon, Rhinox, Airazor, Cheetor and Terrorsaur got abducted by Unicron and turned into his Four Horsemen.
  • In the "Painting that Ate Paris" arc of Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol, the team encounter the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse (Oblivion or Nullity) at the bottom of an infinite regress of paintings inside the eponymous painting, each of which represent a different art school/style. (It's actually more confusing than it sounds.) The Horseman is finally defeated when the heroes get it to go through Dada, where it is turned into a rocking horse.
  • In Archie's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures series, the Four Horsemen made an appearance in a long miniseries of comics and eventually killed the Turtles' friends/friendly rivals, the Mighty Mutanimals (which included fan favorite Mondo Gecko).
  • Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse reveals that the Four Horsemen arrived a long time ago, but they liked drugs, sex, and junk food too much to bring themselves to do the whole "reap a quarter of the population" bit. Wormwood keeps them supplied with cocaine, hookers, cheese snacks, and a penthouse suite so that they stay too distracted to trigger the Apocalypse.
  • The Fantastic Four have become a legend similar to this trope to several alien cultures who have had the misfortune of thinking the invasion of earth was a good idea.
  • In Hellboy: The Fury, they make an appearance. And a timely one, as Hellboy is busy battling the creature intended to bring about Ragnarok. The four end up squaring off against a reincarnated King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

Fan Works

Films -- Live-Action

  • A movie called Horsemen is about a group of serial killers who model themselves after the four horsemen. Dennis Quaid must solve this murder!
  • A film about the Holocaust is called The Fifth Horseman Is Fear.
  • The title of Pale Rider is a reference to Death. The protagonist does ride a white horse, and he ends up killing quite a few bad guys.
  • Come And See, a Soviet war movie, was influenced by the verses about the Horsemen, especially Death. Also, during the film, the protagonists have to endure illness, guerrilla and hunger during the Nazi invasion. Death is... well, everywhere.
  • The villains in The Crow: Wicked Prayer were a biker gang/cult that model themselves after the horsemen.
  • In Elf, the four rangers of Central Park show up to destroy Santa Claus for putting them on the naughty list. The way they are depicted make them seem like they actually are the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.


  • In Good Omens, Pestilence retired in disgust after the advent of penicillin and was replaced by the Horseman Pollution. Also, War is a horsewoman, a gorgeous redhead one, who can make men fight over her. And they've traded in their horses for motorcycles.
    • Later in the novel, a group of Hell's Angels tags along, calling themselves Grievous Bodily Harm, Really Cool People, Cruelty to Animals and No-Alcohol Lager (he changes his name every time he thinks of something else he hates, and finally ends up as People Covered In Fish).

Biker: "'Ere, you're Hells Angels are you? What chapter you from then?"
Death: Revelations. Chapter six.
Pollution: Verses two to eight.

  • In Book 4 of The Immortals, the world is ravaged by the local equivalents of War, Famine and Pestilence. Given the option to try and stop one of the three, Daine and company choose Pestilence, as that one could cause the most long-term harm.
  • Robert Rankin's Brentford includes a pub called The Four Horsemen; its landlord is a devil worshipper with a Dorian Grey painting upstairs. (Other Brentford pubs include The Hands of Orlac and The Shrunken Head).
  • Naturally, after Discworld established Death not just as a recurring but as a main character, they had to have the other three show up. They would have ridden out in Sourcery, but they stopped at an inn and got drunk. Only Death could hold his liquor, and the other's horses were stolen, so Death had to ride out alone.
    • Thief of Time introduced the fifth member, Kaos, a.k.a. Ronnie Soak the dairyman, who quit the Horsemen before they got famous.
      • What's even funnier about this is that there actually was a member of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse who quit before they got famous; see Conquest above.
      • This is something of a subversion: after gathering together, the Four Horsemen decide they like the world too much and decide to try and save it from being destroyed. Hey, the prophesy just says they'll ride out; nothing in there says against who.
      • In one of his better bits, when Twoflower meets the Four Horsemen, he teaches them to play Bridge. I bet War is an overbidder...
    • Terry Pratchett also mentions that it's not just the Apocalypse—many things have their four horsemen. The Four Horsemen of the Common Cold are Sniffles, Chesty, Nostril and Lack Of Tissues, for instance, and the Horsemen of Panic are Misinformation, Rumour, Gossip and Denial.
    • Two of them even started families. Death has his adopted daughter and her daughter with their own series. War married a Valkyrie and they had at least three children together; sons Panic and Terror and daughter Clancy.
  • The Heritage of Shannara books have Walker Boh fighting Shadowen demons who deliberately modeled themselves after the horsemen.
  • In Nancy Springer's Apocalypse, four small-town horsewomen take on the role. (Please note, however, that the Publisher's Weekly synopsis got several details wrong.)
  • The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie features a pub with Death's horse from the Book of Revelation on the sign with multiple references to this trope. Not surprisingly, the place specializes in death-for-hire, in the form of murder by clever heavy metal poisoning.
  • The late Charles L. Grant's Millennium Quartet introduces one Horsemen per novel.
  • The Fifth Horseman (by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre) is a novel about a nuclear terrorist threat, which makes sense, as judicious application of nuclear weapons would lead to famine, pestilence (in the form of radiation poisoning), war, and death.
  • The Fifth Horseman: A Sleepy Hollow Legend (by Gregg Gonzalez) is a novel about a terrifying battle with the supernatural in the town of Sleepy Hollow, set over the course of September and October, one year in the late 1980s. The Headless Horseman itself is inhabited by Chaos, the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse, who "brings anarchy, conspiracy, suspicion, paranoia, confusion, mistrust and doubt - all of which destroy man from the inside out." The Horseman is finally defeated when it is sucked from its physical body and confined in a certain crystal skull, which first has to be activated via a special ritual.
  • Some of the characters In Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series -notably Death and War- are based on The Horsemen.
    • The Incarnation of War is accompanied by four horsemen of the Apocalypse: Conquest, Slaughter, Famine, and Pestilence. War also rides a horse called Were.
  • Larissa Ione's Lords of Deliverance series features four siblings as people chosen to be the horsemen. They mostly reject their roles and try to help the world instead of destroy it. Famine is a girl and betrothed to Satan, which she hates because she has a human boyfriend.

Live-Action TV

  • Red Dwarf, though there they were called "Gunmen of the Apocalypse," and they were actually computer viruses that had infected both the Navicomp and Kryten- who happened to envision his struggle with the virus as a Western.
  • Highlander the Series had a group of Immortal villains that used this name, including, at one time, Duncan's friend Methos.
    • It is explicitly stated that the Horsemen of the Bible were actually inspired by this Immortal group.

Methos: I killed. But I didn't just kill fifty, I didn't kill a hundred. I killed a thousand. I killed ten thousand! And I was good at it. And it wasn't for vengeance, it wasn't for greed. It was because... I liked it. Cassandra was nothing. Her village was nothing. Do you know who I was? I was Death. Death — Death on a horse. When mothers warned their children that the monster would get them, that monster was me. I was the nightmare that kept them awake at night.

  • Charmed featured them once, though they decided to go the biblical route and had Strife instead of Pestilence, as mentioned above, and War seemed to be their leader (as opposed to Death in most other media, assuming they even have any sort of hierarchy). It's hinted that any powerful evil warlock may be chosen by the Source to serve as a Horseman, and have done so repeatedly in the past.
    • They are responsible for every disaster that happens in the world. And they have their own agency.
    • They are also beyond the Charmed Ones' powers to vanquish as they can only be killed by the Source by showing there is too much good in the world.
  • Supernatural introduced the Four Horsemen in the 5th season as servants of Lucifer preparing the world for the apocalypse, with their steeds replaced by cars.
    • War was introduced in the second episode of Season 5, and he drove a red Mustang. He gets people to divide up and start killing each other with a twist of his ring.
    • Famine is an incredibly creepy, rotten-toothed old man in a wheelchair, who pushes people's desires Up to Eleven so they'll gorge themselves, die, and he can eat their souls. Interestingly, it isn't always food he makes people crave, it could be attention, drugs, money, sex, alcohol, or whatever their personal vice is. Was driven around in a black SUV.
    • Pestilence appeared in "Two Minutes To Midnight", where he is amusing himself breeding super-viruses in a residential care home. It is revealed that he spread Swine Flu in order to distribute a vaccine which is really the Croatoan virus. Very Chessmaster-y. License plate: SIKN TIRD ("Sick and Tired"). Portrayed by Matt Frewer, who played him as swinging between cool and collected (chilled) and raging fury (hot/fevered).
    • Death was summoned by Lucifer from where he was bound beneath the earth in "Abandon All Hope", and remained offscreen for a long time. He finally appeared on-screen in the episode: "Two Minutes To Midnight". He drives a white 1959 Cadillac (license plate: BUH* BYE) and walks with a cane. A man drops dead in the street after bumping into him, and an entire pizzeria dies just because he fancies a slice. Dean talks to him extensively, and Death reveals that he is at least as old as God, if not older (since he says that neither he nor God can remember any more), and that in the end even God will be reaped by him. Rather than being a willing servant of Lucifer (as the others are implied to be), Death reveals that he is far more powerful, and only serves because he is bound to Lucifer by a spell. He willingly gives Dean his ring in exchange for a promise that the latter will do anything in order to return Lucifer to his prison. He is portrayed by the skeletal Julian Richings.
  • In Babylon 5, Londo Mollari refers to his three, much-hated wives as "Famine", "Pestilence", and "Death". The viewer is left to infer that Londo is, by exclusion, War.
  • The Young Ones featured the four horsemen Famine, Pestilence, Death, And... The Other One. They mostly sit around, bored to tears, playing Travel Scrabble and listening to Famine complain about how hungry he is. All except for Death, who is dead.
  • Season 6 of Dexter features the Doomsday Killer, who fashions his victims' bodies into tableaux based on the Book of Revelation. DDK manages to create The Four Horsemen by stitching the body parts of one victim onto four different mannequins, attaching the four complete "horsemen" to real life horses, then setting the horses (complete with Horsemen) free onto an unsuspecting downtown Miami.


  • The song "Death Voices" By Gallows contains the lyrics "Four nails, Four corners, Four riders and Four horses. Bring me famine, Bring me death, Bring me war, pestilence"
  • Johnny Cash's "The Man Comes Around" is a song about the apocalypse which makes direct reference to this at the end:

"And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts, And I looked and behold: a pale horse. And his name, that sat on him, was Death. And Hell followed with him."

  • They're featured to wonderful effect in a Spitting Image song-and-video segment.
  • The line "seven horses seem to be on the mark" from the Doors' song Love Her Madly is most likely not meant to be a reference to the Apocalypse, but some people think it is anyway. The song is about being in love with a girl who is leaving (or at least threatening to). Maybe that is the end of the world to some people?
  • There is a 80s rock band called The Four Horsemen. Of course.
  • Metallica's "The Four Horsemen".
    • Though they replace War with "Time". Wonder why.
  • Megadeth's "Blessed Are The Dead", which is pretty ironic when you consider that Mustaine hated the fact that Metallica rewrote "Mechanix" into "The Four Horsemen" after he left the band.
  • Aphrodite's Child have a song called "The Four Horsemen". Later covered by Gregorian, a band that's a lot like, but not exactly, what it says on the tin.
  • The Clash also did a song called "Four Horsemen".
  • Saviour Machine, who explicitly wrote songs about the Book of Revelations, wrote a song called "Behold A Pale Horse" which describes the terrible state of the world after The Horsemen ride out.
  • The Manowar songs "The Warrior's Prayer" and "Glory, Majesty, Unity" both talk about 4 mysterious riders who challenge and defeat the combined mights of several armies.
  • An unfinished music video for the Gorillaz song Rhinestone Eyes briefly shows the horsemen riding across a nondescript plane, with the Boogieman trotting behind them on a donkey.
  • Running Wild's "Apocalyptic Horsemen", like many songs from their earlier days on darker (or downright evil) things, portray them in a positive light.
  • They are featured on Judas Priest's Nostradamus Rock Opera.
  • They are portrayed on the cover of WASP's album Babylon.
  • The Hold Steady mention them in 'Cattle and the Creeping Things': "don't it all end up in some revelation? with 4 guys on horses, and violent red visions. famine and death and pestilence and war."
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's album Alpocalypse features 3 of the 4 Horseman, with Al himself replacing the missing Horseman (Famine, in case you were wondering).
  • The cover of Muse album Black Holes and Revelations has the horsemen sitting at a table, upon which are their miniaturized horses.

Professional Wrestling

  • WCW, and the NWA before it, had a long-running Heel stable called The Four Horsemen. It was led in all its incarnations by Ric Flair, although the name was coined by Arn Anderson. Of course, they were not actually depicted as the Horsemen of the Apocalypse; the name was simply a symbolic reference. Their gang sign was holding up a hand, all four fingers on each spread apart (although, strangely, sometimes they'd hold up both hands in the 4-finger sign; with all four doing this, that of course signifies the coming of the 32 Horsemen of the Apocalypse).


  • The Bible's Book of Revelation is the Trope Maker, making this Older Than Feudalism. Interestingly enough, the biblical Horsemen combined Pestilence and Death into the final horseman, with War being the second horseman and Famine being the third. The first horseman was Conquest (or possibly Strife), commonly believed to be the Antichrist. The idea of having Pestilence as a Horseman of the Apocalypse is inspired partially by the terrible suffering of the Black Death (a plague which killed roughly one third of Europe's population) and partially to avoid Cast Speciation with War. Mostly the former.
    • "I looked, and there was a white horse! Its rider had a bow; a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering and to conquer....And out came another horse, bright red; its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people would slaughter one another; and he was given a great sword.....I looked, and there was a black horse! Its rider held a pair of scales in his hand, and I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, 'A quart of wheat for a day's pay, and three quarts of barley for a day's pay, but do not damage the olive oil and the wine!'...I looked and there was a pale green horse! Its rider's name was Death, and Hades followed with him; they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, famine, and pestilence, and by the wild animals of the earth." from Revelation 6; the opening of the seven seals.
      • Some Biblical Archaeologists have theorized that Revelation is actually intended as a coded message to the Jewish people to resist the attempts by the current Caesar (usually believed to be Nero, but some think it may have been Caligula) to enforce worship himself on their people and to pray for the destruction of the Roman Empire, that a Jewish kingdom may be built from the ruins. In this theory, the Horsemen are actually allegories for the four most powerful enemies of the Roman Empire.
      • Also if they are interpreted by historical background of 1st Century: Death (pale green horse), Antonius (war, red horse), Brutus/Nero (corruption, black horse—note this means political corruption), Caesar (conquest, white horse)

Tabletop Games

  • The fourth World Book for Rifts primarily concerned the arrival of the Four Horsemen to Earth (Africa, precisely), and a war between a gathering of heroes and an Empire of demons and monsters to keep them from merging together to form a demon capable of wiping out the entire planet.
  • One Dungeons & Dragons supplement that contains rules for four epic-level, near-godlike fey beings: the Harbinger (Death), the supreme incarnation of entropy and of life leading inevitably to death; the Scourge (War), the incarnation of life's tendency to wage war against itself from the microscopic level on up; the Blight (Pestilence), the incarnation of the destructive nature of communication, and the Bereft (Famine), the incarnation of lack-it is equal parts thirst, hunger, lust, etc-the incarnation of all un-fulfillable needs.
    • Green Ronin's Advanced Bestiary has a set of Four Horsemen templates, envisioning the 4Hs not a monsters in their own right, but as possessing spirits. It can be a little weird seeing Death as CR 7.
    • Pathfinder has the Horsemen as the nigh-omnipotent leaders of the Neutral Evil daemons. All represent the end of life in some form or another. Szuriel, the Horse(wo)man of War; Trelmarixian, the Horseman of Famine; Apollyon, the Horseman of Pestilence; and Charon, the Horseman of Death (representing the inevitable death of old age). There is also a fifth horseman, the Oinodaemon, whom the others overthrew.
  • Geist: the Sin-Eaters has each one of the five Thresholds symbolically claimed by one of the Horsemen. It actually works out; in Revelations, it says that Hades rides behind Death, so there are technically five horsemen. Each one ties closely to the means by which the Sin-Eater died; for instance, the Torn, who died by violent means, are favored of the Red Horseman.
    • It's highly dubious that "Hades" is being anthropomorphized as a horseman in the original passage. Presumably, they needed something to keep the theme intact, and that's kind of how it's treated in-universe. The Forgotten (the Threshold associated with Hades, representing Death by Chance) originally didn't have an association with a Horseman until one of them began talking about a vision of a Gray Horseman who represented them. Sin-Eater culture as a whole went, "Um... 'kay."
  • In Deadlands, the now-un-Sealed Evil in a Can "the Reckoners" were revealed eventually to be the Four Horsemen.
  • In the Ghostbusters RPG, the adventure module "ApoKERMIS Now!" has the Four Frog-Riders of the ApoKermis, who are meant to keep the party going until the world ends. Their names are Feast (in charge of the party's snacks), Merry (in charge of the party's music and atmosphere), Cheers (in charge of any drinking going on at the party), and Dancer (in charge of the dancing).
  • Arguably, the Chaos gods from Warhammer Fantasy Battle and Warhammer 40,000 are analogous to the Four Horsemen: Pestilence is Nurgle, War is Khorne, Death is Tzeentch. Where it breaks down is Slannesh, the lord of Excess, who's pretty much the opposite of Famine...
    • Until you realize that one of the core principles of Famine is an overwhelming hunger - but that "hunger" and "craving" don't always refer to food. Slaanesh's role as the god of both lust and addiction slot quite nicely into the pattern.

Video Games

  • In Sam and Max Season 2: Ice Station Santa, the Freelance Police must collect a full set of Horsemen of the Apocalypse action figures in order to perform an exorcism.
  • The Turn-Based Strategy Warlords series and it's Spin-Off Warlords Battlecry include the Horsemen Of The Apocalypse as Demonic Invaders. Rather unusually for the trope they really don't get along with each other. War and Death are particularly hostile against each other after a failed Villain Team-Up in the third Warlords game. The campaign in the third Warlords Battlecry centers around the Fifth Horseman: Destruction.
  • Curiously, the primary adversaries of Knights of the Old Republic 2 fit into these archetypes. Atris as Pestilence (having fallen to The Corruption), Sion as War (The Brute who deals with every problem with his lightsaber), Nihilus as Famine (a hole in the universe that is eternally hungry) and Kreia as Death (her ultimate goal is to destroy the Force, and through it all life).
    • Not quite true - Kreia didn't actually want to kill all life, as much as she sought a way to separate all life from the Force, so that it could survive without being manipulated. It was that specific desire that led her to the Exile, who seemed to be a perfect example of someone who had been cut off from the Force yet survived, in the hopes of learning precisely HOW it had happened.
  • The Shin Megami Tensei series maintains the full stable as part of its pantheon of demons. While their given names are White Rider, Red Rider, Black Rider, and Pale Rider, they are identified in the Compendium as the proper representations of Conquest, War, Famine, and Death. As the world is almost always ending in the SMT franchise, the presence of these guys is almost expected.
    • They first show up in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne. Unfortunately, they're a bit late to the party as the world already ended. Luckily, Tokyo survived as the world in between the past one and next one, albeit now it is ball-shaped.
    • In Raidou Kuzunoha VS King Abaddon, the player can encounter the horsemen in special battles on a new moon or as part of various sidequests given out by the game's resident Louis Cypher. The catch is that they are directly referred to the reward items gained from beating them (i.e. The Crown of Victory for beating the white rider, The Sword of War for the red, etc.).
    • Shin Megami Tensei Imagine also has these bosses, albeit you have to use Ultimate Summon Orbs to, well, summon them. Oddly enough, three of the Riders are found in one dungeon, and the Pale Rider is all by himself in another.[1]
    • Strange Journey features them again, as hidden bosses each in a different sector of the Schwarzwelt. They can be fought and summoned using the Fiend Converter.
    • Beyond the main four, there are also several other signs of the apocalypse that can show up depending on the game, such as Trumpeter (the trumpeting angel signifying the beginning of the apocalypse), or Lady Harlot (the Whore of Babylon herself).
  • You fight them in the game Hexen II. Interestingly, Death is only the second boss you fight.
    • Same reasoning as in Nethack below. The very fact that you're fighting them makes War the heavyweight (while having the most straightforward fighting style).
  • The game Afterlife, a sim game by LucasArts, had "the Four Surfers of the Apocalypso". Yeah. They would ride waves of magma to destroy your simulated heaven and hell if you stay in debt for too long. Their descriptions are Surfer Dude versions of their Biblical introductions.
  • City of Heroes has a group of elite bosses named after the Four Horsemen, but they're actually extra-dimensional pseudo-alien invaders in giant floating egg suits with only vaguely thematic powers.
  • RuneScape has the Security Stronghold, a dungeon accessible to all players and designed to teach players how to keep their accounts secure. Each of the dungeon's four levels is named and themed after one of the Horsemen, in the order: War, Famine, Pestilence, Death.
    • Though they do not actually make an appearance, they are heavily referenced to in the 2011 Deathcon II quest, where the player must arrange statues associated with the Horsemen and place them on plinths. Also, Horses the Chicken, the pet of an NPC named Frank who helped found the Horsemen Clan, has transformations based on the Horsemen's attributes.
  • World of Warcraft has the Four Horseman in Naxxramas, a group of Death Knights who are the final boss fight of the Military Wing of the raid. It's generally agreed that each one is based off a classic horseman, though people aren't entirely sure which.
    • Thane Korth'azz seems most similar to the Horseman of War due to using fire magic, Sir Zeliek is most similar to the Horseman of Conquest due to having a white horse and Holy spells, and Baron Rivendare and Lady Blaumeux are unclear for Death and Famine. The pre-Wrath of the Lich King Four Horsemen were more obvious. Thane best resembled Death for his green-colored horse, Blaumeux best resembled Famine, Zeliek was still best fit for Conquest, and the now-missing Highlord Mograine best represented War for his red horse.
  • These guys show up twice in Civilization IV, once in the "Omens" official scenario, and again in the Fall From Heaven mod.
  • Darksiders has you play an incredibly pissed-off War in an Apocalypse gone awry. In this setting however, Famine and Pestilence Conquest have been replaced by Fury and Strife.
    • And the Sequel Hook promises much asskicking with all the horsemen there and accounted for. Darksiders II has you playing as Death.
  • In Nethack, once you have the Amulet of Yendor and make it to the Astral Plane, three of the Horsemen show up—Death, Pestilence, and Famine, of which Death is the most annoying, Pestilence the most scary, and Famine the biggest pushover. The fourth horseman, War, is the player.
  • Web RPG Adventure Quest recently began to introduce the concept of a Demipower group (weaker than gods or the beings who control the elements, but higher than any normal human and most Avatars) known as the Riders, specifically designed to destroy (or, unusually, create) worlds. War is a fightable boss who becomes stronger as the fight goes on and his HP drops, with Pestilence being alluded to in a cutscene when someone suggests smashing the altar that serves as their power source (it didn't work). The heroes eventually break War's altar... by having two draconic gods breathe on it simultaneously. It knocks out one of the summoners and still leaves War with enough power to fight you a second time.
  • Although they are named after demons, the Elemental Lords of Final Fantasy IV are clearly meant to be analogues of the Horsemen. They do help end at least one or two civilizations on the planet, to boot.
  • Fallout Tactics has a random encounter in which you can meet the Four Horsemen of the Post-Apocalypse, standing around a campfire, talking. They just stand around and exchange dialogue, probably because they don't have much to do now. they are labeled as 'almost dead', you can attack them, but they have no equipment, lots of hitpoints and give little experience.

Horseman of War: "War never changes? F*** you! You don't know me!"

  • In Dark Age of Camelot, they serve as minibosses you fight prior to engaging Apocalypse, the Albion realm's boss of the first expansion.
  • While not the traditional Horsemen, Lufia's four Sinistrals are clearly inspired by them, as they represent Chaos, Terror, Destruction and Death. One of them is in your party.
  • Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare has the four Horses of the Apocalypse that John Marston can ride once he breaks them. They each have unique abilities.
  • If you Kick the Dog thoroughly enough in the RTS Lords Of The Realm III, you may just end up recruiting four mysterious knights who are ridiculously overpowered... To make things even more awesome, if you go the other way around and end up as a pious, honorable, chivalrous lord to end all lords, you instead get Micheal, Raphael, Gabriel and Uriel. For a game that is otherwise fairly realistic, this either ruins everything or makes the hard work totally worth it.
    • Note that the horsemen and archangels only appear after about two hours has passed in a single game. They're absurdly powerful for the purpose of breaking the stalemate and getting the game over with (likely in favor of the slightly stronger player).
  • The Binding of Isaac has the Four Horsemen as random boss fights after you beat the game once. Each one has a chance of dropping a piece of Meat Boy, who will follow you around and deal damage. It's also possible to meet the Headless Horseman.
    • Conquest also appears in the expansion pack.
  • The appropriately titled Apocalypse game on the Playstation starred Bruce Willis (Yes, him) as the only man for the job to stop the upcoming apocalypse by defeating the four horsemen. War strangely reminded him a lot of his ex-wife.
  • The Sin's City mission tier in Superhero City presents the Four Horsemen (Conquest, War, Famine and Death) as villains for your hero character to fight. Conquest has the power to instill the desire to rule over all things in humans within his vicinity; War, to instill bloodlust; Famine, to instill hunger to the point of the victims eating anything (including human flesh); Death, to drain the life-force from everything in her immediate area.
  • The Revelation Pack DLC for MotorStorm: Apocalypse adds in four new vehicles themed on War, Pestilence, Famine and Death. They are represented by the Molotov Uradna-66 (a racing big rig), Jester Arclight (a sprint car converted into a buggy), Voodoo Acheron (a skeletal custom chopper) and Falfer Tombstone (a monster truck hearse) respectively.


  • The "Meanwhile in..." Saturday filler arc in Sluggy Freelance has Satan send the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse out to destroy the world. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective) they run into the Four Horsemen of Inconvenience: Indigestion, Insomnia, Impotence, and Incompetence. Death is left impotent, Disease can't get any sleep, Famine's stomach hurts, and War fell off his horse and broke his arm. They don't feel much like destroying the world after that.
  • The horsemen are present in Mountain Time, though as Paul, Chris, Barry and Bertram (complete with a shout-out to Nethack). They're short one horse, though.
  • Subnormality, in its usual Anvilicious yet hilarious splendour, brings us The Four Horsemen of the Atheist Apocalypse. Tiptoe... through the tulips...
  • The Game Masters in The Noob are named after the Four Horsemen (and dress in Ku-Klux-Clan like dresses). There is one strip where they are really the Horsemen of Apocalypse.
  • And Shine Heaven Now's universe has the Good Omens Horsepersons as their horsemen, except for Death, who is from Sandman.
    • Death has also filled in as the Ghost of Iscariot Yet to Come when she had some free time, and War appears to Pip Bernadette as the spirit of his new weapon, Scarlet, to try to claim him as her own.
    • And even before that, Death appeared to explain to the readers that a time paradox was about to happen, due to Integra's maternal grandfather being killed in the past.
  • Masquerade has this, with the Deadly Sins for added flavour!

Web Original

  • There are only four horsemen of the apocalypse, because Mr. T is going to walk.
  • And now they're on twitter.
  • Team NChick did this to themselves for laughs. Lindsay (the Nostalgia Chick) is war because she's apparently scary when she's angry, Elisa (The Makeover Fairy and Dr. Tease) is Death, Nella is Pestilence and Kali (the puppy) is Famine.
  • In The Gungan Council, Regnum In Potestas, a Sith faction, ran off of this idea by having the horsemen leading the faction.
  • Virtual Pet website Chicken Smoothie released a series of horses themed after the Four Horsemen for Halloween in 2011. Unusually for a website normally aimed at younger kids and preteen girls, the designs of the four horses were surprisingly grotesque, especially Pestilence. They were explicitly identified as "not for the faint of heart" when they were released.
  • A modern take on the Four Horsemen.
  • SCP Foundation's SCP-1295 is this. Apparently, they ended up on Earth due to a "false alarm" (they mistook an atomic bomb test as a real nuclear war) and ended up stuck here. Since then they've posed as old men - calling themselves Warren, Frederick, Pat, and Dwight - and hang out at Meg's Diner (which is technically the actual SCP-1295) waiting for the true apocalypse. Trying to make them leave (which the Foundation does their best to prevent) causes bad things to happen.

Western Animation

  • They turned up in an episode of The Real Ghostbusters, when an order of monks accidentally loses a Book Sealed With Seven Seals. Centuries later, the book is purchased by Janine, and she breaks the seals, thinking the book harmless reading material, and so prematurely released the Four Horsemen. The Ghostbusters are called in as a desperate last resort as the Horsemen begin ushering in the Apocalypse. Not surprisingly, they find that their traps and proton packs are virtually useless, but they eventually do manage to contain the horsemen long enough to reapply the broken seals and return things to normal.
    • You know the caption underneath the picture? Well, that's what Peter Venkman called them.
  • A Claymation Halloween featured the Horsemen on sabbatical: Famine, Death, War, and... Bad Dentures.
  • In X-Men: Evolution Season 4 Charles Xavier (Death), Storm (Famine), Magneto (War) and Mystique (Pestilence) are taken complete control of by Apocalypse to be his "four horsemen" guarding his nodes of power across the earth so he can enact the grand finale battle for the series. And turn everyone into mutants. Each of the controlled mutants representing one of the four horsemen of Apocalypse. Calling it the Apocalypse makes it sound like it's a time and not a person. Unfortunately Rogue was stopped from touching Apocalypse or things would have gone very differently (or Rogue would have been turning everyone into mutants instead).
  • Similarly, in the original X-Men we had Apocalypse recruiting and then commanding the original Horsemen: Kieros/War, Autumn/Famine, Plague/Pestilence, and Angel-then-Archangel/Death.
  • Robot Chicken had a My Little Pony commercial based on their four horses.
  • Pestilence appears during an episode of Squidbillies, to usher in the end of days. Amusingly, the Cuyler's aren't impressed by him, and actually mock him.

Early: War, Famine, Death, and grasshoppers. One of those don't quite belong, do they?

Real Life

  • A drink called "The Four Horsemen" is made of equal parts Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, Johnnie Walker and Jose Cuervo.
    • Mixing in Everclear makes it "The Four Horseman and Hell Follows". It's a pretty accurate description.
    • Toss in some Wild Turkey bourbon and it becomes "The Four Horsemen Go Hunting".
    • A different drink with the same name is composed of Jaegermeister, Goldschlaeger, Rumple Minze and Bacardi 151. This is the "I have too much blood in my alcohol stream" version.
    • Replace either whisky with Captain Morgan and prepare to become a walking puke machine.
  • The four calculus professors with the lowest class averages at Georgia Tech are known as the Four Horsemen.
  • The Notre Dame backfield in the thirties was once known as the "Four horsemen of Notre Dame". Probably those who tried to tackle them would understand why.
  • The outspoken atheist intellectuals Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett are occasionally referred to as the "Four Horsemen of Atheism". To be fair, it was their own idea.
  • A group of LGBT Chilean artists and intellectuals, led by the writer Pedro Lemebel, referred to themselves as "Las Yeguas del Apocalipsis" ("Mares of the Apocalypse") in the Chile of the late eighties/early nineties.
  1. They are found in, respectively: Suginami Tunnels and Celu Tower.