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Horsemen of the Apocalypse
aka: The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse

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"The Horsemen are drawing nearer.
On leather steeds they ride.
They have come to take your life.
On through the dead of night,
With the four Horsemen ride,
Or choose your fate and die!"
Metallica, "Four Horsemen"

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 job descriptionnote  and item for each horseman, and a color for each horse (seen here).

Some Bible historians have tried to identify them as some historical figures of the time the Revelation was written — but let's not get into that, okay?

Most adaptations will replace Conquest with Pestilencenote , 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. Famine is also occasionally overlapped with the concept of Pestilence in some depictions, as a Walking Wasteland.

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; others interpret him as 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. note  The other three horsemen don't trigger quite as much discussion, but they aren't universally agreed upon either. There is even the theory that there are actually five horsemen, interpreting the line "and Hell followed after him" as referring to another entity. Don't be surprised if the writer forgets about how they're not supposed to show up till the very end of the world.

Compare Destroyer Deity. For Death when he's a solo act, see The Grim Reaper (or Don't Fear the Reaper for the more benign version). See also Four Is Death.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Animatrix features a symbolic one through The Second Renaissance Part II, where War Is Hell is taken way past eleven and toward infinity. Both horse and rider are machines, acting as a hint of the oppressive future to come under the vengeful creations of mankind.
  • Blassreiter uses the horsemen as a theme for the main Demoniacs characters; Gerd is Conquest, Joseph is Famine, Hermann is War, and Xargin is Death. As they are also Kamen Rider expies, the first three also get motorcycles instead of riding horses, while Xargin does ride a genuine pale horse. Zwolf's Apocalypse Knights mechas also share this theme, with the white Bow Rider, red Sword Rider, and black Scale Rider.
  • Chainsaw Man: Makima mentions a battle against the Four Horseman as being what reduced the Chainsaw Devil to his weakened form known as Pochita. In a world where people's fear power devils based on their names, the ones named after the horsemen would naturally be in a league above the rest. They can be identified by a common Exotic Eye Design: concentric rings on their irises. And despite being called "Horsemen", all of them are female. To make matters worse, the series takes place in 1998 and people are currently enthralled by Nostradamus' prophecy that the world would end in 1999, potentially making this a case of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy as they live in a universe that runs on Clap Your Hands If You Believe. Ironically, three of the four horsemen are actively seeking to prevent this as they've grown to enjoy the human world.
  • 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).
  • Four Knights of the Apocalypse features four children who are prophesied to destroy the world. Tristan is Pestilence, Lancelot is War, Gawain is Famine, and Percival is Death. Note that the Horsemen in Japanese are commonly called "kishi (騎士)", which means "samurai on horseback", but also "knight".
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean sees Big Bad Enrico Pucci commanding Made in Heaven, a Stand with the ability to accelerate time to the point of destroying and resetting the entire universe; fittingly enough for both its apocalyptic power and its user being a priest, Made in Heaven resembles a cyborg horse fused to a cycloptic jockey wearing a crown of thorns, being a literal Horseman of the Apocalypse.

    Comic Books 
  • 2000 AD:
    • In Strontium Dog, the Satan-figure created four beings modelled on the horsemen to watch over the desert of despair.
    • Judge Dredd: The Dark Judges are also modelled after the Four Horsemen, being four undead beings from a lifeless dimension with assorted apocalyptic powers. Their leader Judge Death is obviously their version of Death, while Judge Mortis (with his cow skull head and rotting touch) is Famine/Pestilence. The other two are harder to place, but Judge Fear is probably War and Judge Fire is Conquest.
  • The DCU:
    • Wonder Woman: When the Adjudicator decided to judge Earth in Judgment In Infinity, he formed four deadly horsemen based on the Biblical ones as his agents through which to judge humanity via their reaction to them.
    • The Four Horsemen of Apokolips, tying them into Jack Kirby's New Gods mythos, are primordial deities of the aforementioned evil planet, with the Horsemen themselves being mere vessels created to contain a fraction of their power. In 52, a band of mad scientists bring about the Horsemen's rise and they proceed to initiate World War III, causing mass destruction.
    • Doom Patrol: In the "Painting that Ate Paris" arc, the team encounter the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse (Oblivion or Nullity or Belgian sitcoms) 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.
    • DC Future State debuts a new Four Horsemen team, a group of superheroes who have been possessed and corrupted and their powers used to cause destruction.
    • Earth 2 introduces the Four Furies of Apokolips in Eath 2: World's End, consisting of four alien females recruited after their homeworlds were destroyed and trained to cause destruction on subjugated worlds on behalf of Apokolips while given the codenames Famine, War, Pestilence and Death.
  • The Four Horsemen are among the main characters of East of West. The story deals with conflict after Death split from the group, and War, Famine and Conquest are holding a grudge.
  • 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.
  • Image Comics: The horsemen make an appearance as a major obstacle for Deathblow.
  • Marvel Comics:
    • X-Men:
      • 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 convince her become Famine, or offering to heal the ailing Abraham Kieros and then making him War). The first four introduced in the comics had three being eponymous with the Bible ones, the aforementioned Famine (an anorexic who could disintegrate organic matter and induce extreme hunger) and War (who could create explosions), along with Pestilence (a Poisonous Person formerly known as Plague); the fourth was Archangel as Death (probably because there is a Death in the Marvel Universe, and she's not much evil).
      • 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.
      • After the M-Day event, Gambit voluntarily joined Apocalypse to become the new Death. He had been planning to play The Mole, but the brainwashing used to turn him proved too strong. By the time Gambit shook it off, he felt he couldn't go back to the X-Men.
      • At the same time as Gambit, Sunfire and Polaris were also made Horsemen, against their will, Famine for Sunfire, Pestilence for Polaris. Polaris at least shook off the brainwashing quickly, and returned to the X-Men, but Sunfire spent the next several years working for Mister Sinister.
      • X-Men: The Krakoan Age reveals that all of the Horsemen featured throughout Marvel's history are just pale imitations of the original Horsemen, who were Apocalypse's very own children. Said original Horsemen serve as the main antagonists of the first major arc of that run, X of Swords.
    • Another Death, in an alternate reality, was Deadpool.
    • A dimension-hopping arc in Cable & Deadpool included a Bad Future where Archangel was Death, Spider-Man was Pestilence, Blob was Famine, and Cable himself was War.
    • 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.
  • Monica's Gang:
    • Bug-a-Booo has a main character Lady McDeath, a comedic Grim Reaper. In one story she has a beer with the other three horsemen, with Famine being now well-fed and War married to Peace.
    • A different (and much more menacing) version of the Horsemen appear in the Monica Teen spin-off manga, although they are named as Horses rather than Horsemen, and they serve an evil entity known as The Serpent. Penha is the Red Horse of War (although she doesn't seem to be aware of The Serpent and the other Horses' existence), the Flying Donkey is the Pale Horse of Death, and Captain Fray was the White Horse of Decay (but apparently got rid of The Serpent's influence thanks to Smudge and Maggy). The Horse of Famine hasn't appeared yet, but writer Emerson Abreu mentioned this title will likely be given to Viviane, the Moon Witch.
  • In Archie's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures series, the Four Horsemen make an appearance in a long miniseries of comics and eventually kill the Turtles' friends/friendly rivals, the Mighty Mutanimals (which includes fan favorite Mondo Gecko).
  • Transformers: Energon: In the Dreamwave continuity version, Rhinox, Airazor, Cheetor and Terrorsaur got abducted by Unicron and turned into his Four Horsemen.
  • 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.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Crow: Wicked Prayer: The villains are a biker gang/cult that model themselves after the horsemen.
  • In Elf, the four rangers of Central Park show up to arrest 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 Faust Mephisto the demon wants to bring them to Earth. Oddly, only three, namely War, Plague, and Famine, are shown. Death was probably busy.
  • The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: The Four Horsemen are alluded to, and then repeately shown in anthropomorphic form. They were summoned by the outbreak of World War I.
  • Horsemen is about a group of serial killers who model themselves after the four horsemen. Dennis Quaid must solve this murder!
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day: The opening credits show an Abandoned Playground, with four mechanical horses, as the whole thing burns in nuclear fire. The horses are of course a reference to the biblical horsemen.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse has the villain detailed in the comics folder, and implies the Four Horsemen inspired those from the Bible. In the movie they are Storm (Famine), Psylocke (Pestilence) Archangel (Death - who is appropriately recruited while "The Four Horsemen" plays), and Magneto (War). The opening also shows the (unnamed) Four Horsemen who served Apocalypse during his rule over Ancient Egypt.

  • 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.)
  • Robert Rankin's Brentford Trilogy 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).
  • The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness: The main antagonists are a group of power-hungry clan mages called the Soul Eaters. Four of them each function as main antagonists in four of the six books, and they can be compared to the Four Horsemen by their personal attributes and the plots in the respective books.
    • The Crippled Wanderer (Tenris) is "Pestilence": the plague he creates and spreads is the driving plot point of Spirit Walker. In addition to that, the demon bear he created runs rampage across the Forest and grows more powerful with each kill in Wolf Brother. (If the bear hadn't been killed before the zenith of the Great Auroch's red eye, it would have become invincible.) Tenris has also won the complete trust of the Sea clans over the years, making him the real authority figure of the Seal Islands.
    • Thiazzi is "War": not only he's the strongest man of the Forest and the most violent of the Soul Eaters, in Oath Breaker he drives the Deep Forest clans into war among each other, and then he unites both sides and nearly leads them into an open war with the Open Forest clans.
    • Seshru is "Famine": in Outcast, she causes Lake Axehead to gradually dry and grow sick with deformed and inedible fish (with her having actually committed the latter only), which are the main food source of the Otter Clan.
    • Eostra is "Death": she has always been obsessed with the secrets of the dead, and she even resembles a corpse. She resurrected a deceased boy in her youth, and in Ghost Hunter she summons the spirits of all the deceased Soul Eaters.
  • Darkness Falls: The second book introduces the Four Horsemen as agents of good — or at least neutrality. They are revealed as guardians against a world ending threat, only to end up walking weapons for said threat, who inevitably uses them to wreak havoc upon the human world.
  • Discworld:
    • After establishing Death, along with his pale horse Binky, not just as a recurring but as a main character, the other three had to 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 introduces the fifth member, Kaos, a.k.a. Ronnie Soak the dairyman, who quit the Horsemen before they got famous. 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 prophecy just says they'll ride out; nothing in there says against whom.
    • When Twoflower meets the Four Horsemen, he teaches them to play Bridge.
      Rincewind: "How long do you think that'll keep them busy?"
      Twoflower: "I don't know. Probably until the last trump..."
    • Terry Pratchett 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, through her, a granddaughter with her own books. War married a Valkyrie and they had at least three children together; sons Panic and Terror and daughter Clancy.
  • Fate/strange Fake: The False Rider is identified as being the Pale Rider. "It" is the personification of pestilence and appears as a black mist with three lights to give "it" a face, with the power to infect people with black fog and bring them to Tsubaki's dream world.
  • 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 of 1988. The Headless Horseman itself is an undead being 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.
  • Good Omens, which is about the end of days, naturally features the Four Horsepersons of the Apocalypse (that term will be explained below), who have traded in their horses for motorcycles. The novel also has a Good Counterpart group of preteens called "the Them" who are the best friends of Adam, the novel's Anti-Christ. One of the most awesome moments in the book is when the Them face off against their Horseperson counterparts using nothing but crude facsimiles of the sigils mentioned in Revelations...and win.
    • Carmine "Red" Zuigiber, aka Scarlet, is the Horsewoman of War. As her name implies, she is a Fiery Redhead whose very presence can cause huge acts of violence. In the first half of the novel, she works as a war correspondent for a small newspaper, and is extremely successful because she's causing the wars in the first place. Her counterpart in the Them is Pepper, the only girl in the group, who is equally fiery and short-tempered.
    • Dr. Raven Sable is the Horseman of Famine, who delights in causing different ways to make humans starve themselves to death (including making people hungry just by looking at them). To that end, he runs a global diet empire that specializes in nutritious "food" which contains absolutely zero real food content. He's also the mastermind behind nouvelle cuisine and a series of cheap fast-food joints that never satisfy. His counterpart in the Them is Wensleydale, who is something of a know-it-all.
    • Chalky, or Mr. White, is the Horseman of Pollution—it's revealed that Pestilence retired with the advent of penicillin, prompting Chalky to take the job. His touch can turn even the most pristine river into a stream of post-industrial sludge, and his presence automatically makes the area around him filthy. His counterpart in the Them is Brian, a somewhat cowardly boy of dubious hygiene.
    • Death himself is the Final Horseman, and though he functions as their leader, he's actually probably the nicest of the four—it's implied that he's a Punch-Clock Villain who, unlike the others, is a proper angel and part of the natural order of things, rather than a mere Anthropomorphic Personification of humanity's fears. As such, he can't be defeated permanently. His counterpart in the Them is Adam himself.
    • Later in the novel, a group of Hell's Angels tags along with the Four Horsepersons as they travel to Lower Tadfield, where the apocalypse will begin. When the Hell's Angels learn of their new friends' true identities, they take to 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?"
      Pollution: Verses two to eight.
  • The Immortals: In Book 4 , 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.
  • Incarnations of Immortality: Some of the characters — 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.
  • The late Charles L. Grant's Millennium Quartet introduces one Horsemen per novel.
  • Pact has an incarnation of Conquest as a major antagonist, and it's noted that while he is one of several different incarnations of the concept, the idea behind the four horsemen of the apocalypse grants him a lot of power, and there are certain agencies interested in using that concept to their advantage who like to feed such individuals. Unfortunately, since he's based in Toronto, the narrative for him as one of the four horsemen is weak at best, and he himself is correspondingly relatively weak. This does not stop him from being extremely dangerous, especially given the interpretation of Conquest as "forceful subjugation," which makes Conquest, among other things, the god of torture.
  • 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.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's The Raven, the Elf, and Rachel, the princess's visions of other worlds include one where the horsemen (unnamed) are menacing it.
  • Shannara: The Heritage of Shannara books have Walker Boh fighting Shadowen demons who deliberately modeled themselves after the horsemen.
  • Third Time Lucky: And Other Stories of the Most Powerful Wizard in the World: In "And Who Is Joah?" Magdelene and Joah run into them while in the Netherworld. As Magdelene's good friends with Death, it's quite the happy meeting.
  • Un Fuego Lento: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are the main characters. They reunite after their latest failure in ending the world in 2012.
  • Wraith Knight: The four Dark Lords (or Wraith Knights) deliberately invoke this. They are the four undead horsemen servants and wizard-knights of the King Below, who is the setting's god of evil. They are the Wraith Knights of War, Despair, Lust, and Plague.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Babylon 5 episode "Soul Mates", Londo Mollari refers to his three much-hated wives as "Pestilence", "Famine", and "Death". The viewer is left to infer that Londo is, by exclusion, War. Word of God confirms that this is quite deliberate.
  • Charmed (1998) 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 they're responsible for every major disaster in history, and that any powerful warlock, demon, and possibly even human may be chosen by the Source to serve as a Horseman. The Source itself is also the only being capable of killing them, and routinely does so when the current incarnation of the quartet gives an unsatisfactory performance in their attempt to instigate the apocalypse (which the group that appears in the episode treats like a business).
  • Dexter: Season 6 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.
  • In the Game of Thrones episode "Hardhome", four horse-riding White Walkers appear on the hill, possibly to invoke this.
  • In Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, God orders Archangel Michael to kick start Armageddon by unleashing the Horsemen. In the end, the entire thing turned out to be a Secret Test of Character for Hercules, and humanity in general.
  • In Highlander, a group of Immortal villains uses this name, including, at one time, Duncan's friend Methos. Methos is Death, Kronos was Pestilence, Silas is War, and Caspian is Famine. 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.
    • Fitting for Pestilence, Kronos specializes in biological warfare. When the Horsmen reunite in the present day, he plans to unleash a genetically engineered virus on humanity to cull the population and rule over the survivors. He implies that he had a hand in The Black Death.
    • Fitting for War, Silas is incredibly strong and a supreme Blood Knight.
      Silas: I don't like this killing from a distance. I like to feel my axe in my hands. Look into my enemy's eyes before I strike.
    • Fitting for Famine, Caspian is a cannibal. It's indicated in a deleted scene that he believes consuming the brains of others will make him smarter.
  • Kamen Rider
    • Kamen Rider Gaim: Each of the series' movie-exclusive villains are represented by this trope:
      • Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider Gaim & Wizard: The Fateful Sengoku Movie Battle: Kamen Rider Bujin Gaim represents both "Famine" and "Conquest", because of his usage of the God Tree was causing drought to cripple the land of the Sengoku Period, and due to his plan involving killing the rest of the Bujin Riders and taking over Japan in a plan to rule.
      • Heisei Rider vs. Showa Rider: Kamen Rider Taisen feat. Super Sentai: Ren Aoi/Kamen Rider Fifteen represents "Death", due to the skeletal motif of his suit and Badan's end-goal to flip the lands of the dead and the living in the movie.
      • Kougane from Kamen Rider Gaim: The Great Soccer Match! The Golden Fruit Cup!, as Kamen Rider Mars, he represents "War" because of his ability to cause the Armored Riders and New Generation Armored Riders to turn on each other, causing a war between the factions. When he returns as Kamen Rider Jam in the epilogue, he represents "Pestilence" due to his companion, the Grasshopper Monster, and being able to control the swarm of locust monsters, like that of the Ten Plagues of Egypt.
    • Kamen Rider Outsiders: Zein's presence throughout the miniseries even invokes biblical undertones to the same, if not all, extent as Gaim above, going hand in hand with the Kamen Riders' powers having a connection to their respective show's villlains; not helped that Zein is the AI equivalent of The Antichrist. Zein represents "Conquest" because of its endgoal to create a utopia free of malice, but at the cost of sacrificing human freedom and individuality.
      • Sakuya Tachibana/Kamen Rider Garren represents "War" because of the Battle Fight, a fight for survival in the name of evolution. He, along with his fellow Riders and most of the Undead were manipulated by Hiroshi Tennoji, who started a new Battle Fight with the intent of rewriting the world under his own image.
      • Yuto Sakurai/Kamen Rider Zeronos represents "Death" because of his constant use of his Zeronos Cards jeopardizing the existence of his own future self and even Yuto himself. Basically, being erased from existence still counts as death.
      • (Kamen Rider) Horobi represents "Pestilence" due to the Ark using him as its vessel to transform into Ark-Zero, and the Ark being a Digital Abomination that spreads malice and corrupting any Humagear reaching Singularity.
      • George Karizaki/Kamen Rider Juuga represents "Famine" because of Giff being drawn to the negative emotions of humans, manifesting as inner demons, to the point of turning humanity into his personal People Farm to provide him an endless food supply. Matters not helped that George himself manages to collect Giff's eyeballs to create his own Rider System.
  • Misfits: In the Season 4 finale, it turns out that Nadine's superpower is to bring about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse when she sees people sinning, although in this version they are ninjas on bicycles. The only way to stop them from killing everybody is to kill Nadine.
  • The Mist has the Four Horsemen manifest before a priest who is testing his faith by entering the Mist. War impales him with a harpoon arrow and the four drag him away, presumably to his death.
  • In one episode of Rawhide, appropriately titled "Incident of the Four Horsemen", four men the drovers encounter each have the theme of the horsemen: one is about war, one can give the appearance of having died, one is always hungry, and the last one is often sickly. They also manipulate events revolving around a marriage between rival families to the point of an all-out war with Favor and his men in the middle. It's left ambiguous whether or not they are the actual embodiments of the Apocalypse.
  • In Red Dwarf, they are called "Gunmen of the Apocalypse", and they are actually computer viruses that have infected both the Navicomp and Kryten — who happens to envision his struggle with the virus as a Western.
  • Sleepy Hollow:
    • The Headless Horseman is interpreted as Death. And if he reclaims his skull, he'll be able to summon his companions and bring about The End of the World as We Know It. It turns out to be Ichabod's former friend Abraham Van Brunt, who sold his soul and services to Moloch in order to gain revenge of Ichabod for "stealing" Katrina from him.
    • Conquest/Pestilence (who's actually referred to by both names), shows up in the episode "John Doe". It turns out he caused the disappearance of Roanoke Colony, as he infected them with a plague intended to kick-start the Apocalypse. They only survived by being guided to a safe place where Time Stands Still by the spirit of Virginia Dare. In the present day, Pestilence lures a young boy out of the safe zone into Sleepy Hollow to try and spread the plague, which would allow him to spread across the world. Fortunately, when Ichabod and Abbie return the boy, it seems Pestilence is banished again.
    • The first season finale deals with the heroes attempting to stop the rise of the Horseman of War. Unfortunately, he's already loose, as it turns out he's their supposed ally, Henry Parish the Sin-Eater, who's actually Ichabod and Katrina's son Jeremy Crane, who agreed to serve Moloch in order to escape being Buried Alive.
  • Supernatural introduces the Four Horsemen in the 5th season as servants of Lucifer preparing the world for the apocalypse, with their steeds replaced by cars, named after horses. They serve as a kind of Quirky Miniboss Squad for the season, as the Winchesters and Castiel must track all four down and collect their powerful magic rings to serve as a key to Lucifer's cage.
    • War, the first of the Horseman to be revealed, drives a red Mustang. A cheerful fellow who loves his work, he doesn't actually commit any violent acts himself; rather, he gets people to divide up and start killing each other with a twist of his ring. War casually brags about being behind every major war in history: "I was in Europe. Then I was in Europe. Then I was in Vietnam..." He was apparently in Darfur causing strife when Lucifer called him to the United States to start messing with the Winchesters.
    • Famine is an incredibly creepy, rotten-toothed old man in a wheelchair, driven around in a black Cadillac Escalade; he needs demonic help because the Haber process, which massively increased the world's food supply, crippled his health. His presence increases people's desires of any kind—drugs, food, sex, love, money, etc.—eventually prompting them to self-destruct as they lose all self-control (one poor cook becomes so overwhelmed with hunger that he sticks his entire upper body in a deep-fat fryer). Famine's also somewhat poetic, waxing philosophical about America as a "swarm of locusts in stretch pants."
    • 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, and only superficially polite—he likes to talk and make jokes, but is also prone to furious rants about the uselessness of humans; he can't understand why God loves them so much. He drives a green '72 AMC Hornet with the license plate SIKN TIRD ("Sick and Tired"); the car is often filled with disease-carrying flies.
    • Death, the leader of the Horsemen, first appeared on-screen in the episode: "Two Minutes To Midnight". He drives a white 1959 Cadillac. 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 (as he's a natural force in the universe), and only serves because he is bound to Lucifer by a spell. Death later becomes something of a recurring character; the Winchesters are prone to calling him up when they have a problem that even the angels can't solve (for example, saving Sam's soul from the depths of Hell). Oddly, Death has an affinity for human junk food.
  • The Young Ones features 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.

  • 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.
  • "Four Horsemen" from Aphrodite's Child's 666 is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. The whole album is an apocalypse-themed Concept Album. 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. "Revelation (Death's Angel)" is based on the book of Revelation, and describes the "four horsemen rid[ing]" and the destroyed Earth they leave in their wake.
  • 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. Word of God says that he is the fifth Horseman, Flatulence.
  • 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 2011 album, Alpocalypse, features on the cover Al riding along with the other 3 Horsemen. He replaces Famine, as a Call-Back to all the food songs in his catalogue (and the black horse Al rides has his trademark curly hair).
  • The cover of Muse album Black Holes and Revelations has the horsemen sitting at a table, upon which are their miniaturized horses.
  • Coldplay's "Death And All His Friends" is probably about this ("No, I don't want a battle from beginning to end, I don't wanna cycle or recycle revenge, I don't wanna to follow death and all of his friends").
  • Pantera's "Cowboys from Hell", while not explicitly about the Four Horsemen, definitely can evoke the feeling of "oh fuck" that would accompany seeing them.
  • The German Metal Band Die Apokalyptischen Reiter are named after the German word for the horsemen. They have several songs about the apocalypse and themselves as horsemen.
  • The Oh Hellos sing about them in "Pale White Horse." "Neither plague nor famine tempered my courage / Nor did raids make me cower, / But his translucent skin made me shiver deep within my bones. / It was a pale white horse / With a crooked smile / And I knew it was my time."
  • The song "Trojan Horses" by Cormorant mention the horsemen, not to mention the Wham Line:
    The truth is not worth hiding:
    you are Death, and Death is you.
  • Chris de Burgh mentions them in "The Vision".
  • In Coldplay song "Death and All His Friends" from the album Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends, the four horsemen (Death and "his friends") are used to represent the hardships that plague the human condition.
  • The music video for Iron Maiden's "The Writing on the Wall" has the Four Horsemen riding motorcycles in an apocalyptic wasteland, following a robed stranger. The stranger crashes a warlord's party/rave (implied to be Belshazzar's Feast) and throws himself into the central bonfire, transforming into a giant Eddie-faced warrior samurai. He overpowers the warlord and calls the Horsemen to destroy the warlord's sycophants and minions, punishing them for their sins. The Horsemen here are named Death, War, Plague, and Famine.
  • The music video for "Dance Apocalyptic" by Janelle Monáe concludes with the Horsemen, represented by morotcyclists in leather, barging into the studio where the Electric Lady (Monáe's character) is performing with her band. The Lady and her three backing singers then hitch a ride on the bikes.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • 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, while the idea of having Pestilence as a separate Horseman of the Apocalypse came later. It was 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.
    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.
    Book of Revelation chapter 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 Roman Emperors to enforce worship of 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).

    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).
  • WWE referred to Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Bayley and Becky Lynch as the "Four Horsewomen". (Banks has since left WWE for NJPW as Mercedes Moné.)

  • In The Gungan Council, Regnum In Potestas, a Sith faction, ran off of this idea by having the horsemen leading the faction.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Deadlands, the now-un-Sealed Evil in a Can "the Reckoners" were revealed eventually to be the Four Horsemen.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • One 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Munchkin Apocalypse contains a monster named "The Four Horsies of the Apocalypse", which features a My Little Pony-style depiction.
  • The Old World of Darkness crossover game Midnight Circus features an equestrian act by this very name, operated by the four DeEquesto siblings; of course, since this particular game is all about a Circus of Fear, the Horsemen also hunt down anyone trying to escape from the carnival with extreme prejudice. Each of them fights with a different weapon and their own distinct style: War is a loudmouthed Tin Tyrant armed with a broadsword; Famine is a Lean and Mean spearfighter armed with an enchanted spear that cripples its victims with induced starvation; Sickness is a clubfooted horse-archer, commonly making use of Wyrm-tainted arrows that infect its victims with deadly plague; and of course, Death is a ominously quiet Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette, armed with a scythe.
  • Pathfinder:
    • The Horsemen are the nigh-omnipotent leaders of the Neutral Evil daemons. All represent the end of life in some form or another, and each follows what they consider the most efficient way of ridding the multiverse of living things. Szuriel, the Horse(wo)man of War, believes in taking the direct route; Trelmarixian, the Horseman of Famine, considers starvation and privation the most efficient way of doing things; Apollyon, the Horseman of Pestilence, prefers to cleanse nations with disease; and Charon, the Horseman of Death, represents the inevitable death of old age and is content to let entropy do his work for him. Most Horsemen took their place after the previous died, often by their hand; only Charon is the original.
    • At least one Horseman seems to have quit this role without dying first — the Pale Horse, also called the the Lash and the Plough, is an entity resembling a gray-white horses with a floating, flaming and crowned skull for a head that serves Pharasma as a psychopomp usher, and which was once a Horseman of unknown role that abandoned its depredations on the living to serve the cycles of life and death instead.
  • 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.
  • Shadowrun introduced their version of the Four Horsemen in the 4e supplement Hazard Pay. They're a group of four Toxic Shamans who showed up around 2070 on separate continents before joining together as a cohesive unit in 2071, with large "kill or capture" bounties on their heads (250,000 nuyen a head if handed over to the DIMR alive or dead, 150,000 nuyen for each dead one handed to the Corporate Court), unique powers themed around their respective biblical Horseman, and control over various toxic spirits.
    • Pestilence is a Human operating in South America, and is the least active of the four - mainly because the original one was Killed Off for Real back in 2071 by a Runner team. His replacement (the current Pestilence) is currently surrounded by a network of cultists while he builds his power up; this makes him the weakest link of the overall team. Combat-wise, he wields a monofilament sword and wields a multitude of spells such as Inflict Disease, Inflict Disease (VITAS), and Rot. Unusually, he's implied to not be immune to his own pathogens, having lost part of his magical ability due to experimenting with them.
    • War is a Troll wielding a BFS and mace, who operates in Asia. Wherever he goes, violence follows - SINless people riot, organised crime syndicates go to war, and violent crimes generally spike. Appropriately enough, he's the most close combat-focused of the Four, with Super-Reflexes, multiple offensive spells based around fire, and the ability to spread a magical Hate Plague.
    • Famine is a Dwarf operating in Africa, who has been waging a sophisticated war against food supplies in the region, using sludge and acid spirits to create droughts, poison land, and destroy independent farmers' crops. He's even attacked facilities belonging to Aztechnology, Horizon, and Shiawase, and maintains a dozens-strong Cult-like group that aids him in his increasingly damaging raids. Most of his spells are based around summoning sludge spirits, creating feelings of crippling pain in his enemies, and attacking his enemies' Body attribute; his special spell Emaciate permanently reduces Body by one point for every two successes on his roll.
    • Death is a Troll operating in Europe, mainly around Brussels, Paris, and Bern. His presence is usually accompanied by Metahumans dying with no identifiable cause, beyond a faint signature in astral space around the body. Appropriately enough, he wields a Sinister Scythe, controls powerful toxic and nuclear spirits, and focuses on damaging offensive spells, such as an indiscriminate version of the Slaughter (metatype) spell, Toxic Wave, and Death Touch.
    • They also share a unique mentor spirit, Doom, who seeks to bring about the End Times.
  • The Chaos gods from Warhammer and Warhammer40000 are analogous to the Four Horsemen: Pestilence is Nurgle, War is Khorne, Death is Tzeentch, and Famine is Slaanesh.
    • Meanwhile, Warhammer has a Hellish Horse that is outright called "The Steed of the Apocalypse". Part of the requirements for becoming the Everchosen of Chaos is to break him and make him let you ride him. Yes, in Warhammer, there is only one Horseman of the Apocalypse... and that's all they need!

    Video Games 
  • Web RPG AdventureQuest 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.
  • The MMORPG AdventureQuest Worlds gave us a group of undead centaurs known as the Horsemen of the Undead Apocalypse, some of Dage the Evil's most loyal servants. They showed up on Dage's 2014 birthday event, and defeating each of them seven times (once per day, of course) would reward you with a character page badge for each one.
  • Afterlife (1996), a sim game by LucasArts, had "the Four Surfers of the Apocalypso", who would ride waves of magma to destroy your simulated heaven and hell if you stay in debt for too long (or run out the time limit in the demo version). Their descriptions are Surfer Dude versions of their Biblical introductions.
  • 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 (Death, Pestilence, War, and Beast). War strangely reminded him a lot of his ex-wife.
  • The Binding of Isaac has the Four Horsemen as random boss fights after you beat the game once, depicted as corpse-like beings riding on flying hobby-horses. 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, who will give you one of those flying hobby-horses when defeated. Conquest also appears in the expansion pack; a Dummied Out achievement even refers to him as a forgotten horseman.
  • In Chaos Rings II the Four Horsemen — Conquest, War, Famine, and Death — are the agents of the Destroyer Neron dedicated to ending the world. It's all a complete lie. They are actually the agents of the Creator Amon dedicated to spreading destruction to rekindle humanity's belief in Amon (which he needs to survive) through fear. They can also fuse together to create Herald.
  • 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.
  • These guys show up twice in Civilization IV, once in the "Omens" official scenario, and again in the Fall from Heaven mod.
  • In Cult of the Lamb, the Big Bad Quadrumvirate known as the Bishops of the Old Faith represent this. Heket represents Famine, and curses the Lamb's followers with starvation while her own pray to her for bountiful harvests. Kallamar represents Pestilence, and curses the Lamb's cult with illness while his followers pray to him for good health and long lives. Shamura represents War, and brainwashes some of the Lamb's followers into attacking them. The Baby of the Bunch Leshy is the exception, as the role of Death was filled by The One Who Waits before his imprisonment.
  • In Dark Age of Camelot, they serve as minibosses you fight prior to engaging Apocalypse, the Albion realm's boss of the first expansion.
  • The Darksiders series features the Horsemen as the main characters. In this setting, they're "Nephilim" (half-angel, half-demon) and act as enforcers for the Charred Council that the Creator tasked with preserving the Balance Between Heaven and Hell (and Man). Famine and Conquest have been renamed Fury and Strife, as the former names don't fit an action series. The formula so far seems to be that each Horseman stars in a game of their own, each happening concurrently with the others, before they'll presumably team up.
    • Darksiders had someone trigger the Apocalypse early, and the Council blames War for it. Now he's incredibly pissed-off and hunting for those responsible.
    • Darksiders II features Death trying to fix War's supposed crime and resurrect humanity.
    • In Darksiders III, Fury is dispatched to slay the Seven Deadly Sins running amok.
    • Darksiders Genesis somehow features not only the fourth Horseman, Strife, but also War again as a possible playable character, in a mission to kill demon masters.
  • 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!
  • Far Cry 5: The Seed siblings, leaders of the Project of Eden's Gate Apocalypse Cult are clearly set up to echo this. John, a dark-haired man who dresses in black and is responsible for looting the countryside for supplies and recruits is Famine. Jacob, who brainwashes people and animals to fight for the cult and is red-haired is War. Faith, who dresses in white and is responsible for the cult's drug program is Pestilence. The leader, Joseph, is a blond and pale-skinned man whom all the others serve. Death, natch.
  • 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.
  • Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance: Although they don't all have mounts, Ashnard's top generals are called the Four Riders. Makes sense for someone intent on releasing a Sealed Evil in a Can. That said, the sequel suggests that the previous king had Four Riders for a nobler purpose.
  • You fight them in the game Hexen II. Interestingly, Death is only the second boss you fight. The very fact that you're fighting them makes War the heavyweight (while having the most straightforward fighting style).
  • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords: The primary adversaries 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).
  • League of Legends:
    • Four of the Champions from the Shadow Isles seem to be inspired by the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Mordekaiser is Conquest, or going by his association to sickness and malady, Pestilence; Hecarim is War, seeing as how he's a Blood Knight and his title is "the Shadow of War"; Thresh is associated with Famine due to his weapon and the fact that Famine is an extremely slow and torturous killer, fitting Thresh's theme; Karthus is, obviously, Death due to him being an Omnicidal Maniac who wants to bring death to everything.
    • Champion Yorick's skills are references to the Horsemen. They are: Omen of War, Omen of Pestilence, Omen of Famine and Omen of Death.
  • Lobotomy Corporation: Each damage type, employee stat and work type is associated with the color of one of the Horsemen.
    • Red (War) is tied to physical damage/resistance and satisfying an Abnormality's basic needs like food or cleanliness. One of a creature's basic instincts is to defend itself and fight, thus War.
    • White (Conquest) is tied to mental damage/resistance and managing an Abnormality's environment...or Conquering its territory, in a sense.
    • Black (Famine) is tied to work effectiveness and satisfying an Abnormality's social needs; also, Black damage affects both the body and the mind similar to how a Famine affects both the physical and mental, and is said to feel like a thousand thorns prickling you.
    • Finally, Pale (Death) is tied to "soul" damage (acts as a Percent Damage Attack), movement/attack speed (i.e making an agent more deadly), and repressing (i.e killing) an Abnormality's urges. As a bonus, Pale is actually a tealish green color in the game itself, referencing the aformentioned 'pale green' thing.
  • If you Kick the Dog thoroughly enough in the RTS Lords Of The Realm 3, you may just end up recruiting four mysterious knights who are ridiculously overpowered... And 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.note 
  • 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.
  • Modern Warfare: The villains of the first game are called the Four Horsemen in supplementary material, and in achievements you get for beating missions concerning them on Veteran difficulty. While only three of them are clearly identified in the first game, the sequels established Makarov as the fourth member. If we match the order of they are listed in achievements with the order from the Bible, Makarov is Conquest, Al-Asad is War, Viktor Zakhaev is Famine, and Imran Zakhaev is Death.
  • MotorStorm: 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.
  • 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. That's ambiguously hinted if you try to #chat with one of them (they'll say "Who do you think you are, War?") and unambiguously spelled out in a comment in the source code. And you can't tin their corpses, because War does not preserve its enemies.
  • They act as the higher ups of Apocalypse Inc. in Peace, Death!, with you, as a newly hired reaper, working directly under Death himself. The other three will occasionally offer you bribes to help them out, which gives you money but raises their influence, which lowers your overall score at the end of the game.
  • Pokémon: Glastrier and Spectrier, two legendary Pokémon introduced in the Crowned Tundra expansion of Pokémon Sword and Shield, arguably take some of their inspiration from two of the horses of the apocalypse (Conquest and Famine, respectively) — Glastrier will take anything it wants by force, and Spectrier steals the life-force or sleeping people and Pokémon as it dashes past. Interestingly, while the horses are sinister, their rider — Calyrex, the main legendary Pokémon of the expansion — is a noble individual whose influence tempers the horses' worst qualities.
  • Randal's Monday: You actually get to meet them! They hate their job, mainly because they have a Bad Boss.
  • 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.
  • RuneScape:
    • 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.
    • Death is unsurprisingly the Grim Reaper.
      • The other three finally make their in-game appearance during the 2018 Halloween event. War is a Boisterous Bruiser Giant, Famine is a vulture type Aviansie and Pestilence is an infected Werewolf who's lycanthropy is the only thing keeping him alive.
    • Horses the Chicken, the pet of an NPC named Frank who helped found the Horsemen Clan, has transformations based on the Horsemen's attributes.
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police: In Sam & 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 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.
    • The first to ever appear is the Pale Rider in Shin Megami Tensei I, along with fellow Fiends Daisoujou and David. He and the others appear with a 1/256 spawn rate, and their rare drops are the finest weapons of each path. The Rider's is the Angel's Trumpet, of the Law Path.
    • They 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.note 
    • Shin Megami Tensei: 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.
    • Shin Megami Tensei IV has all four of them, plus most of the Fiend race. However, in a Shout-Out to Shin Megami Tensei I, their spawn rate is 1/256, their HP's shot to the roof, and have Artificial Brilliance allowing them to bombard enemies into oblivion with Antichthon should any dare to eat any of their precious Press Turns. They also appear in much weaker forms, sans Antichthon, in a Domain in Infernal Tokyo, as part of a Challenge Quest.
    • 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 Mother Harlot (the Whore of Babylon herself).
  • 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.
  • Total War: Attila references them as part of its trailers, each represented by a faction that fulfilled an aspect during that time such as the Eastern Roman Empire (Conquest),the Sassanid Empire (War), Visigothic hordes (Faminie) and finally the Huns (Death).
  • In Town of Salem, if the Plaguebearer manages to infect every other player in the match, they become Pestilence who is a Purposefully Overpowered role who is Nigh-Invulnerable (only lynching kills them) and kills both a target of their choosing, anyone who visiting that person, and anyone who visits or attacks Pestilence itself. Town of Salem 2 has the other three join, with the Berserker turning into War, the Baker turning into Famine, and the Soul Collector turning into Death. All of them are basically invulnerable once they fulfill the conditions needed to transform into their respective horsemen.
  • Treasure of the Rudra: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are monsters from the Netherworld and fought in Sion's scenario. Weirdly, their names have nothing to do with the original Horsemen.
  • The Turn-Based Strategy Warlords series and its Spinoff 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, who gets along even worse with the rest, sending armies to invade their realms (except War's, but that's just because he was busy being dismembered and scattered everywhere).
  • 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, Lady Blaumeux best represents Famine for her reliance on health-draining void zones, and Baron Rivendare's reliance on strong, focused damage over time spells makes him suited for Death.
    • The pre-Wrath of the Lich King Four Horsemen were organized as such: 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 and fire magic that uses actual fire rather than meteors like Thane Korth'azz.
    • In Legion, The Knights of the Ebon Blade assemble a rare (anti-) heroic example of this trope. The new Horsemen consist of General Nazgrim, Thoras Trollbane, High Inquisitor Whitemane, and Darion Mograine when the Knights failed to acquire Tirion Fordring's corpse.

    Web Animation 
  • This video presents a hilarious Deconstructive Parody of the concept; thanks to all the advances in medicine and peace agreements, the Horsemen have been reduced to a bunch of retired losers screwing around in suburbia.

  • And Shine Heaven Now's universe has the Good Omens Horsepersons as their horsemen, except for Death, who is from The Sandman (1989).
    • 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.
  • In A.P.O.C, the protagonists have the power to destroy the world. Instead they have therapy sessions with their demonic counterparts - Conquest, War, Famine/Disease and Death... but not all of them.
  • In Apocalyptic Horseplay, they are the main characters, but Hell no longer follows with them, for they are retired. Having had a change of heart and sworn off their destructive ways, they are now settled in a small town where they live in anonymity. They now also go by Pesty (Pestilence), Warrace (War), Marvin (Famine) and Mot (Death).
  • In Educomix, the horsemen are War, Famine, Pestilence, and Joel. Dave also joins them, as Death.
  • Femmegasm: One arc shows My Little Pony versions of the four's horses.
  • Irregular Webcomic!: Parodied. Near the Parthenon, Monty Jones and family are confronted by the Four Norsemen of the Acropolis.
  • Masquerade (2011) has this, with the Deadly Sins for added flavour!
  • Mountain Time: The horsemen are present, although as Paul, Chris, Barry and Bertram (complete with a shout-out to Nethack). They're short one horse, though.
  • In Mystery Babylon, when the seal to Pit is opened, three of the Horsemen rise out along with Adrian, the Antichrist. Judas then joins them and mounts a white horse, completing the quartet.
  • The Noob: The Game Masters 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.
  • Sluggy Freelance: The "Meanwhile in..." Saturday filler arc 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.
  • S.S.D.D. once had the four horsemen, who resemble the four main characters of the comic, discussing the ridiculous panic over year 2000.
  • Subnormality, in its usual Anvilicious yet hilarious splendour, brings us The Four Horsemen of the Atheist Apocalypse. Tiptoe... through the tulips...
  • In Urban Animal, it's stated that the Four Horsemen in the Bible were inspired by the four element-based Avatars of the Ravel.

    Web Original 
  • Badass of the Week discusses how impossibly badass the four Horsemen are in this article.
  • The Crew of the Copper-Colored Cupids: A version of the group appears in the story The End of the Homeworld. They are initially trapped in a scroll until Conquest makes a deal with Gorbazaglaz for a way to destroy the Cupid Homeworld, and summons them by breaking the seal on the scroll. The original line-up is Death, War, Famine and Pestilence — with Death calling the other three his "brothers", although that could simply be him being dramatic. Death appears as the classic hooded skeleton, Famine is a humanoid rat, War a Beast Man with a Hair-Trigger Temper, and Pestilence a bald old man wearing a stained hospital gown, his skin covered with mold and lichen. However, Pestilence gets taken out by Juliet and Sneernobiel. When Pythe casts a reverse spell to bind them again and save the day, the magic, being designed for four Horsemen, makes up the numbers by grabbing Conquest-932 to be the new Fourth Horseman — thus banishing him with them.
  • Lioden: The horsemen themselves don’t appear, but their steeds do to warn that the end of the world is approaching. The horse of pestilence is a white horse dripping black liquid from its eyes and hooves, the horse of war is an enormous red war-horse with Fireball Eyeballs, the horse of famine is starved-looking black horse, and the horse of death is a completely silent dead horse with an exposed skull.
  • There are only four horsemen of the apocalypse, because Mr. T is going to walk.
  • And now they're on Twitter.
  • 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:
    • SCP-1295: They got stuck on earth after they mistook an atomic bomb blast for the end of the world.
    • The Competitive Eschatology stories offer alternative identities to the Four Horsemen.
      • Conquest: SCP-231-7, a young woman being contained under the belief she was an Apocalypse Maiden. After she abandoned SCP-343 (aka God) because he did nothing to stop the Foundation from her Fate Worse than Death, War suggests that he create a new Horseman.
      • War: SCP-993, a children's television show host named "Bobble the Clown" that brainwashes children under ten to become murderers, torturers, and cannibals.
      • Famine: SCP-027, an unknown phenomenon currently possessing a man, who attracts vermin to him.
      • Death: SCP-053, a young girl whom prolonged exposure to causes people to become homicidal (with any that try to kill her instantly dying). What's more, the Pale Horse she rides is SCP-682, an indestructible reptile that hates all life.
      • Interestingly, the canon lampshades the issue of Pestilence replacing Conquest; Bobble, being the most tech savvy of the Horsemen, points out to God that most people in the modern day don't even remember Conquest anymore, but Pestilence always seems to end up in its place. At his encouragement, it's heavily implied that God decides to recruit SCP-353 ("Vector", a woman with the power to absorb diseases and infect people with them) to this position.
    • A more traditional depiction is also mentioned in the Hell Gate that is SCP-1844:
    Containment breach of SCP-1844 for seventy-two minutes. Entity resembling an emaciated humanoid mounted on an albino specimen of Equus ferus caballus emerges from pit and escapes.
  • A certain "Did you know" sentence from Wikipedia on 23 December 2020 definitely had this in mind.

    Web Videos 
  • The Nostalgia Chick: 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.

    Western Animation 
  • Cartoon Network Groovies featured the music video "Atom's Theme", where Atom Ant fights what is heavily implied to be the Four Horsemen: War is represented by a general with a tank, Famine is represented by a three-headed salesman extolling the virtues of nuclear fire, Pestilence is a giant robot breathing fire all over the city and Death is a cartoon robber planting bombs all over the world. Atom Ant defeats all of them— except Death, whom he merely stops from destroying the world.
  • Claymation Comedy of Horrors featured the Horsemen on sabbatical: Pestilence, War, Famine, and... Bad Dentures.
  • 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. One of Peter Venkman's snarks provided the caption underneath this article's picture.
  • Robot Chicken had a My Little Pony commercial based on their four horses.
  • The Simpsons:
    • One episode has Flanders react to a stampeding pachyderm with "It's the four elephants of the apocalypse!".
      Maude: That's horsemen, Ned.
      Ned: Well, getting closer!
    • In "Simpsons Bible Stories", the horsemen are there causing the end days once the family leaves church.
    • In the opening of "Treehouse of Horror XXXI", as a result of Homer not voting in the 2020 election, on the day of inaguration, the world had become an apocalyptic wasteland policed by huge robots. Homer then sees the four horsemen, with Death carrying a flag bearing a Title Drop.
  • 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?
  • One episode of Super Jail featured bizarre stories from tabloids suddenly becoming real. The episode ends with the arrival of the Four Horsemen and stops there; luckily for the prison, the show has Negative Continuity.
  • In X-Men: Evolution season four, Apocalypse naturally gets in on this once again, brainwashing four powerful mutants — Charles Xavier (Death), Storm (Famine), Magneto (War) and Mystique (Pestilence) — into guarding his nodes of power across the earth so he can enact the grand finale battle for the series.
  • Similarly, in X-Men: The Animated Series we had Apocalypse recruiting and then commanding the original Horsemen: Kieros/War, Autumn/Famine, Plague/Pestilence, and Angel-then-Archangel/Death.

    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.
    Random drinker witnessing the... "debacle" caused by the mixture mentioned above: "You idiot! Captain Morgan is a racist! HE HATES MEXICANS!"
  • The four calculus professors with the lowest class averages at Georgia Tech are known as the Four Horsemen.
  • The Notre Dame backfield from 1922 to 1924 entered football lore as the "Four Horsemen of Notre Dame". Probably those who tried to tackle them would understand why.
    • The nickname was coined by legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice in a 1924 lead following Notre Dame's upset over then-power Army:
    Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore their names are Death, Destruction, Pestilence, and Famine. But those are aliases. Their real names are: [Harry] Stuhldreher, [Jim] Crowley, [Don] Miller and [Elmer] Layden. They formed the crest of the South Bend cyclone before which another fighting Army team was swept over the precipice at the Polo Grounds this afternoon as 55,000 spectators peered down upon the bewildering panorama spread out upon the green plain below.
    • It stuck after the team returned to South Bend. A publicity aide to coach Knute Rockne had the players photographed in uniform riding horses, and made sure the wire services picked it up.
  • The outspoken atheist intellectuals Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett are occasionally referred to as the "Four Horsemen of Atheism". Since Hitchens' death due to throat cancer in 2011, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has seemingly replaced him.
  • A group of LGBTQ Chilean artists and intellectuals, led by the late writer and poet Pedro Lemebel, referred to themselves as "Las Yeguas del Apocalipsis" ("Mares of the Apocalypse") in the Chile of the late eighties/early nineties.
  • The Four Horsemen appear at The House On The Rock, at the end of the Doll Carousel Room.
  • Chris Dahlberg, Jim Preziosi, Eric Treadaway, and Eric "Cornboy" Mayse are "The Four Horsemen" of toy sculpting. They've done everything from Spawn to the modern He-Man toys, and also own their own studio now.
  • The 2013 Denver Broncos team was known for having an incredibly lethal passing offense thanks to their four receivers: Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker, and tight end Julius Thomas. All of them have since retired from playing, and Thomas died in 2021, though Wes Welker is the wide receivers coach for the San Francisco 49ers.
  • There's an erstwhile theory that the Four Horsemen are not individuals, but rather events. It surmises that Conquest is whoever launched the first missiledetails . With that, War follows, and where War goes, Famine and Death are not far behind.
    • It might also be pointed out that Revelation 6:1-2 stipulates "a bow" but not necessarily "and arrow."
  • In 2019, President Donald Trump got into a media spat with four left-wing Democratic congresswomen, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and Ilhan Omar. They adopted the moniker "The Squad" during a press conference lambasting Trump, but right-wing commentators quickly dubbed them "The Four Horsewomen of the Democrat Apocalypse". They would add two more members following the 2020 election, adding Cori Bush and Jamaal Bowman.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse


Papa John's Horsemen.

Mario just wants to go home with his Toilet Paper, only for Papa John to summon his Four Horsemen to try destroying him: Wendy, Colonel Sanders, Ronald McDonald, and The Burger King.

How well does it match the trope?

4.88 (8 votes)

Example of:

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