Evil Dead: The similarities between Deadites and a Bulgarian legend

Photo: Ted Raimi ("Possessed Henrietta") stars in EVIL DEAD 2.. Image Courtesy Lionsgate Entertainment
Photo: Ted Raimi ("Possessed Henrietta") stars in EVIL DEAD 2.. Image Courtesy Lionsgate Entertainment /

The Deadites of Evil Dead might share some similarities with an ancient Bulgarian vampire legend. We have the details on why there might be a shared history.

Evil Dead is one of the most famous horror movies of all time. Directed by Sam Raimi and starring Bruce Campbell as Ash Williams, the low budget cult favorite gave us an enduring genre legend, the Deadites.

Fans of the franchise have debated over the origins of the creatures that Raimi created. For those readers who are familiar with the films and TV series, Ash vs Evil Dead, the “Dark Ones” possess bodies and use them to wreak havoc on the living.

In the “Tales from the Rift” episode from AVED, the character of Kelly Maxwell (Dana DeLorenzo) is killed by Ruby Knowby (Lucy Lawless) with the Kandarian dagger. Ultimately, she gets possessed by Ruby’s old chum and former Knight of Sumeria, Kaya.

Of course, in the Evil Dead universe, anything goes so even the living can get taken over by a demonic entity. Case in point, Ash in Evil Dead 2 and in Army of Darkness, he ends up having a malevolent spirit inhabit his body for a bit. However, he survives and reverts back to his human form.

What is interesting to note, the concept of the Deadite is closely related to an ancient Bulgarian legend, specifically surrounding vampires. It sounds odd but it is rather fascinating.

Everyone is familiar with Dracula. Most people are aware of Bram Stoker’s book, Bela Lugosi’s portrayal of him in movies and the actual historical figure, Vlad Tepes, the Romanian prince who became known as “The Impaler” because of his penchant for torturing his enemies.

However, as far back as the 6th century, vampires were found in Bulgarian folklore but not in the traditional sense. According to Matthew Beresford, author of From Demons to Dracula: The Creation of the Modern Vampire Myth, the Creatures of the Night were not human, in fact, they were demonic entities that possessed the dead.

They would reanimate the corpses and then plague villages and villagers as they went on their rampages for blood. Like the fanged devils, Deadites are also killers but they don’t feed off the blood of their victims for sustenance.

If you want to get rid of vampires, call in the Sabotnici. They are groups of Bulgarian vampire hunters who have a particular set of skills. Some might say they possess supernatural gifts that renders them able to view the bloodsuckers in their shadow forms.

As for Deadites, that is a no brainer. All you need is a guy with a boomstick and a chainsaw, his daughter and two loyal sidekicks, otherwise known as Ghostbeaters.

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You can stream the Evil Dead franchise on VUDU, iTunes, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Google Play, YouTube, Hulu and Sling. Ash vs Evil Dead is found on Netflix, Starz, Hulu, YouTube TV, Sling TV and Amazon Prime. 

Were you aware of the Bulgarian vampire legend? Let us know in the comments.