The Evil Dead Series has continued to entertain and frighten audiences over the last several decades using its campy tone and gory fun. With the release of the new sequel to the original franchise, Evil Dead Rise, fans could once again return to theaters to watch a new batch of unfortunate survivors as they battle with the series’ iconic and bone-chilling foes, the dreaded “Deadites.”
Acting as the secondary antagonists, these demonically possessed adversaries were once human beings who later became corrupted by the looming evil force that remained unseen throughout the franchise. Throughout each installment, these terrifying monsters remain some of the best and scariest creatures in the horror genre. Here are ten of the most frightening Deadites from the original series, as well as its television show and 2013 remake.
10 Evil Ash
The series’ main protagonist Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell), has on several occasions become overtaken by the evil force or battled sinister demonic versions of himself, usually resulting in darkly comedic situations. However, it’s Ash’s first possession in the great horror comedy sequel Evil Dead II that depicts his most menacing form as the unstable “Evil Ash.”
With no pupils and sunken eyesockets, this demonic Ash is a far cry from his usual likable persona. His time on screen brings dread and suspense as he becomes a true menace to the other survivors at the cabin. Only by looking at his late girlfriend’s necklace, which symbolizes his humanity, he defeats his possession and returns as the boom-stick-wielding hero fans have come to love.
Appearing in Ash vs. Evil Dead‘s Season 3 opener, Cougie started as an unnamed student from Elk Grove High School who became possessed while still wearing his costume. Once transformed, this monstrous mascot terrorizes the halls in an attempt to harm Ash’s estranged daughter Brandy (Arielle Carver-O’Neill.)
Being half human, half mascot, Cougie came equipped with exaggerated sharp teeth and claws capable of inflicting terrible damage to anyone that crossed his path. When he met his ultimate comeuppance, this unique Deadite did not go down without a fight, as it took many hits and even a grenade to the mouth to finally bring his brief rampage to an end.
Played by Sian Davis, Vivian appeared in the series premier of Ash vs. Evil Dead as a helpful old neighbor to the “El Jefe” himself, Ash Williams. However, when Ash accidentally read from the Necronomicon again and released the spirits from its passages, she became another unfortunate victim of their possessions.
Equipped with long sharp fingernails and a menacing grin, this Deadite woman became one formidable adversary that was not easy to defeat. Despite having Ash and his two friends surrounding her in a confined trailer, she still proved to be a powerful opponent, even getting the best of the trio at several moments. However, she still met her end after Ash regained his Deadite slaying skills and his iconic chainsaw hand.
7 Suzy Maxwell
Appearing in Ash vs. Evil Dead Season 1, Episode 2, “Bait,” Suzy Maxwell (Mimi Rogers) was the supposedly deceased mother of Ash’s new sidekick, Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo), but mysteriously reappeared alive and well, much to the shock and joy of her daughter. However, Ash saw right through her deception, and eventually, she revealed her true nightmarish form.
Complete with a deep demonic voice and a disheveled, bloody appearance, Suzy became a frightening challenge for Ash and company to destroy as she used her cunning wits and ferocity to outmaneuver the group in their suspenseful encounter with her. She also could switch back and forth from her Deadite form to ruse her daughter into lowering her guard. Ultimately, Ash defeated her after trying one last time to trick Kelly into thinking she was alright.
Shelly (Theresa Tilly) was among the first friend group that accompanied Ash Williams on his supposedly peaceful weekend vacation to the secluded cabin in the woods. However, just like the others in his group, Shelly was taken over by the dark spirits released from the Book of the Dead and became a horrifying shell of her former self.
Once possessed, Shelly immediately became unrecognizable from her original appearance. With a scarred face and soulless eyes, it became apparent that her true self was gone and corrupted by a terrifying force of evil. Her boyfriend Scott (Richard DeManincor) eventually stopped her after she tried to attack him and Ash.
Director Fede Alvarez‘s 2013 remake of the original film was a welcoming re-imagining that became one of the bloodiest films of all time and introduced some shocking depictions of the infamous Deadites. The character Olivia (Jessica Lucas) became a perfect and horrifying example of this upgrade as her possessed self surely left audiences terrified in their seats.
Though her appearance was brief, this Deadite made the most of her time on screen by appearing truly disturbing with yellow eyes and a bloodcurdling snarl. Olivia was a genuinely lovely and caring person, turned into a monster by the evil forces outside the cabin until she was eventually defeated by her friend Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) to stop her from harming her other friends.
There have been several reinterpretations of Ash’s ill-fated possessed girlfriend Linda throughout the franchise. However, Betsy Baker‘s original performance from the first installment stands out as the most terrifying and unsettling depiction.
Once possessed by the evil spirits, the Deadite version of Linda dawns a sinister cackle as she speaks with a disembodied voice and has her face covered in splotchy make-up reminiscent of a creepy clown. This intimating antagonist mentally tortured Ash until he had no choice but to put his girlfriend out of her misery before she could harm him.
Played by Director Sam Raimi‘s younger brother Ted Raimi in her possessed form, Henrietta is arguably the most repulsive and relentless Deadite Ash Williams has ever gone up against. Throughout the second installment and even the TV series, Henrietta matches up to Ash, becoming his most challenging foe in defeating the evil plaguing the cabin.
With her rotting skin, maniacal laugh, and ability to change different shapes and forms, this nightmare-fueled body horror monstrosity fills each scene she’s in with fear as she torments the heroes while delivering some pretty memorable horror one-liners. Eventually, she met her end at Ash’s hands with his newly equipped chainsaw hand while he tried to recover important pages of the Necronomicon in the cellar.
Mia (Jane Levy) was a troubled recovering addict who arrived at an isolated cabin with her supportive friend group to kick her habit in peace. However, she soon realized the surrounding woods harbored a frightening demon that slowly took possession of her, changing her into an eerie beast hungry for violence.
The highly rated Evil Dead remake pleased fans of the original trilogy with a fresh and unabated horror re-imagining thanks largely due to Levy’s physically demanding role as Mia. This nightmare-inducing Deadite looks and sounds purely horrifying. She became heavily marketed during the film’s promotions to let viewers know they were in for an unsettling experience. Mia’s also an interesting character in general, as she’s one of the few characters in the franchise to successfully come back from her possession and live to see another day.
The first Deadite Ash Williams has ever encountered was his sister, Cheryl (Ellen Sandweiss). Once she arrived at the sinister cabin, Cheryl quickly suspected something evil was lurking within the ominous forest. Unfortunately, she became its first victim, kick-starting Ash’s violent war against the dark forces of the Necronomicon.
With accelerated aging and deteriorating skin, this iconic character became influential for future interpretations of the Deadites and helped introduce audiences to these horrifying creatures’ lore and mystery. Ultimately she was defeated at the end of the original The Evil Dead after Ash threw the Necronomicon into a fire, effectively destroying her possessed form as she dissolved into a bloody mess of gore.
KEEP READING: All of the Evil Dead Movies and Series, Ranked According to Rotten Tomatoes