Books/Movies Whose Main Characters are Dead

Fairly self explanatory title. The rule is that the character has to either be dead or be clearly narrating from death from the first chapter or first few minutes of the movie. For example, (I won’t put spoiler tags since it’s several years old and because) you learn in the first few seconds that Kevin Spacey’s character is going to die in American Beauty even though he doesn’t die until the end of the film, so this qualifies.

Of course most of Anne Rice’s schlock would be here, not just the 391 Eurotrash vampire novels but also Servant of the Bones, but I’m more interested in books and movies whose main characters are still human, if somewhat ghostly perhaps.

The several adaptations of Here Comes Mr. Jordan (Heaven Can Wait, Down to Earth, etc.) would qualify, as would count (man dies prematurely due to a glitch in heaven and is sent back in a billionaire’s body). Topper and Beetlejuice center on ghosts and would count, but I particularly prefer vehicles that don’t use ghosts somehow (though they do count for this).

“Sunset Boulevard” starts with William Holden face down in a swimming pool, shot in the back. Originally, it started in the county morgue as all the corpses chit-chatted about how they ended up there.

“The Lovely Bones”. The murdered teenage main character narrates from heaven.

How about Meet Joe Black? If you include vampires, you’ll have an awfully long list, including Angel (TV) and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s **St. Germain ** vampire novels.

Do the likes of Citizen Kane or Rebecca count?

A Matter of Life and Death is probably one that should be on your list.

Hey Nostradamus! is told in four parts by four different people at 4 parts. The narrator during the first part is dead. She talks about how she died.

…it’s told in four parts by four people at four different times. Sorry 'bout that.

Dracula by Stoker

Do comic books count?
Deadman , Casper , The Spectre , and Spawn come to mind, off the top of my head.

I will mention my own “Curse of the Undead” (in Vampires edited by Jane Yolen and Martin H. Greenberg). I’m still proud of the opening line: “I knew something was wrong when I woke up inside the coffin.”

There are many bad unpublished science fiction and fantasy stories where the twist is the main character is dead and in hell. There may also have been a Twilight Zone episode on that theme.

In 12 Monkeys, everyone Bruce Willis sees is dead. :wink:

Weekend at Bernie’s, anyone? I realize he doesn’t narrate, so I don’t know if this violates the “rule”.

Don’t forget the Topper series of movies!

These are the ones I can recall off hand, and I’m sure I’m missing some.

“The Hunt”, about a dead hillbilly and his dog who can’t find their way home.

“The Passerby”, about some dead Civil War soldiers.

“Death Ship”, about three astronauts who find their own spaceship wreck on another planet.

“A Nice Place to Visit”, about a criminal who believes he’s in Heaven because he can have anything he wishes for.

“And When the Sky Was Opened”, about astronauts who return home, can’t remember anything about their trip, and one by one vanish into thin air.

“The Hitch Hiker”, about a woman who, after being in a car accident, is pursued across the country by a mysterious hitch hiker she can’t seem to escape.

It’s been a long time since I read it, but at least some of “As I Lay Dying” is narrated by the dead matriarch.


“An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”
Why has nobody mentioned The Sixth Sense?

Amy Tan’s Saving Fish From Drowning is narrated by a ghost.

The Others - If you don’t see the ending coming from the first fifteen minutes or so, you haven’t been paying attention.

Sixth Sense

The Comic starts at the main character’s funeral, his disembodied voice then proceeds to narrate the story of his life and also make some snide comments about the few mourners that turned up.

American Beauty since someone beat me to An Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge