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Slay the beast! Tis a Deadite!
— The Priest (Evil Dead II)

Deadites are undead spirits that seek to possess a body and feast on the souls of living creatures.

The primary antagonists of the Evil Dead franchise, Deadites first appeared in the 1981 film The Evil Dead.

History

Pre-Banishment

Prior to the rise of mankind, Deadites had free reign over the Earth, making up a large portion of the world's population. How the Deadites were created and where they originate from remain unknown, but one creature simply known as The Faceless Man once claimed that he was the first Deadite. Like their masters The Dark Ones, the Deadites were eventually banished from the Earth and trapped in an alternate dimension.

Post-Banishment

Following their imprisonment to another realm, Deadites would periodically be released upon the Earth through history. When and where they appeared vary from universe to universe, though most seem to occur between 1300 AD to the mid-21st Century.

Powers & Abilities

Possession

The signature "power" of a Deadite is their ability to possess any living creature (or even deceased individuals in some cases). Though possession is commonly achieved through contact with the Kandarian Demon, there are several methods in which a Deadite can take over a host:

  • Violent/Lethal Attack From Another Deadite: There have been several instances of attacks from Deadites on living beings that have resulted in the possession of said beings. Ash's girlfriend Linda became possessed after being stabbed in the ankle by the Deadite Cheryl Williams. During Ash's second night at the cabin, he saw Ed Getley become possessed after getting his body thrown against a wall and head slammed against a picture frame by Henrietta Knowby.
  • "Touch of Evil": One of the more infamous methods of possession comes from a physical violation of a potential host's body from "living objects". Two well known examples of this are Cheryl Williams and Mia Allen, with the both of them becoming possessed after an attack from the living forest around them.
  • Bite/Scratch: Deadites have been shown to possess others via a bite or a scratch from their claws. The most well known example of this type of possession occurred when the severed head of Linda bit the right hand of Ash Williams. Ash was able to prevent a complete possession of his body after cutting off his hand with a chainsaw. On Earth-818793, Sister Ronnie (a member of a team of monster fighters assembled by Eva St. George) was scratched by a Deadite on her arm during a confrontation, which later resulted in her transformation into a Deadite.
    BradAndTheOrb-AODVol3-1

    Brad (the boyfriend of Ashley K. Williams) touches "The Orb" (Army of Darkness Volume 3 #1)

  • "The Orb": Very little is known about "The Orb", except it exists in two alternate realities (the native universes of Ashley K. Williams and the insect Ash). Direct physical contact with the orb results in possession by a Deadite spirit.
  • Necronomicon Spell: A spell can be found within the Necronomicon that causes instantaneous possession without the need for summoning the Kandarian Demon.

While Deadites often prefer taking over a living body, they can take over a corpse, even those that have been reduced to nothing more than skeletons.

Other Powers

CherylLevitate-TED

Cheryl Williams levitates after becoming possessed (The Evil Dead)

  • Enhanced Strength: There have been many known instances of Deadites picking up large/heavy objects without any strain.
  • Levitation: While some Deadites mutate their host body's appearance to have wings, most "standard" Deadites have demonstrated the ability to levitate for brief periods of time.
  • Superhuman Durability: Deadites can withstand many injuries from firearms or other various weapons before falling.
  • Shape-Shifting: Another one of the Deadites more notable powers is the ability to appear uninfected in an attempt to deceive other beings they wish to possess. Following their possession over a body, they also have access to the host's memories, another method of trickery they use during their "uninfected" deception.
  • Super-Speed: Deadites can run, climb, and "disappear" out of a target's sight in mere moments.
  • Hive-Mind: Due to their frequent usage of "We" instead of "I", it's been strongly implied that the Deadites are connected to a form of "hive mind", though they might also be referring to their species as a whole.

Characteristics

Physical Appearance

EdDeaditeED2

Ed Getley is a prime example of the alteration of one's physical appearance following Deadite possession (Evil Dead II)

Following possession over a living creature, Deadites manipulate the body of the host to reflect a more inhuman appearance. Though it varies to different individuals, there are a small amount of physical traits that seem to be shared by all Deadites. These traits include:
  • White Pupil-less Eyes
    • In one alternate reality's version of Deadites, the pupils of a possessed individual turned a dark yellow color instead of the solid white.
    • Several other alternate universes have depicted glowing red or blue eyes as a method of indicating possession.
  • Skin Tone Change ("Rotting Flesh"): Ranging from grey, green, yellow, or white colors.
  • Blood/Bodily Fluid Color Change: Black, green, and blue being some known color alterations.
  • Claws: Sharp fingernails are used not only for slashing and digging into a target's body, but also for climbing along walls and ceilings like insects.

Fears

Like any species, there are creatures that even the powerful Deadites fear. One of these fears shared among Deadites is Vampires, since Vampires have been mentioned to be one of the few species that Deadites cannot posses.

Properly "Killing" A Deadite & Weaknesses

In a general manner of speaking, there is no real way to destroy a Deadite, only methods to prevent the continued usage of a individual flesh and blood body. When the bodies of possessed individuals are destroyed, the Deadite spirit is sent back to the Mirror Dimension, where it waits until another opportunity arises for it to possess another living creature. One example of this Deadite spirit "recycling" involved an alternate reality version of Sheila, who was possessed a second time following Evil Ash's attack on Castle Kandar in 1300 AD. The Ash Williams of that reality managed to expel the Deadite spirit from Sheila's body, turning her human. In the late 20th Century, the spirit that possessed Sheila in 1300 AD took a new host, and attacked the young Ash Williams (whom it recognized from several centuries prior).

Dismemberment

Perhaps the most well known method of killing a Deadite is through bodily dismemberment: the separation of all four limbs and the head from the torso (in cases involving Deadite possessed Humans). Should the head of the Deadite not be destroyed during this dismemberment process or during the initial confrontation, there is a possibility that the head itself can continue to be active and still able control the body's movements (Ash's girlfriend Linda being the most well known example).

Non-Dismemberment Weaknesses

"Power of Love" (Emotional Connection)

DeaditeAshNecklace-ED2

The Deadite Ash begins to grieve over the loss of Linda (Evil Dead II)

One of the more uncommon ways to free oneself from Deadite possession involves the remembrance of love, or a deep emotional connection to someone else. This method was how Ash Williams was able to free himself of Deadite control during his second night at the Knowby Cabin. After finding the necklace he gave his girlfriend Linda, it was a overwhelming feeling of grief over his deceased lover that managed to dispel the Deadite spirit from Ash's body. The Sheila of Earth-818793 was also released from her Deadite control in this manner after Ash Williams reminded her of his feelings towards her.

Sunlight

DeaditeAshSun-ED2

The Deadite Ash tries to shield himself from the sunlight (Evil Dead II)

There is conflicting information regarding sunlight as a weakness for Deadites, as it seems to vary from universe to universe and person to person. The first instance of sunlight driving a Deadite spirit away occurred during the morning of Ash's second day at the Knowby Cabin. Various alternate universes also depict this method as being effective, but some universes have shown this to only work some of the time. An example of this comes from the "original" universe, where Deadites such as Lem and other infected members of Crosby's Militia organization were seen in broad daylight. One universe's explanation involves The Faceless Man, who upon his resurrection, gave all currently active Deadites the ability to survive in sunlight.

Severe Injury

DeaditeSheilaFall-AOD3

After being tossed from the castle walls, Sheila was later released from her Deadite control (Army of Darkness #3)

Another method that seems to work on certain possessed individuals is a severe injury that would normally kill non-possessed individuals. The Deadite Sheila was thrown from a high wall by Ash Williams during the siege of Castle Kandar, and was later seen as human following the attack on the castle. It's possible that the destruction of Evil Ash (who was responsible for Sheila's possession) had some part in her turning human again, though this has never been confirmed. The Deadite Wise Man of an alternate universe was freed from his Deadite control in a similar manner, with his body being picked up and slammed down by a giant.

Objects

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The Wise Man's powder turns once hostile Deadites back into more "tame" beings (Ash Gets Hitched #2)

  • Kandarian Dagger: The Kandarian Dagger's powers differ from universe to universe, though they all are effective against stopping Deadites. One depicts it as only having the ability to "capture" a Deadite spirit within the blade, saving the host from death, while another shows it destroying the Deadite completely.
  • Necronomicon Connection: Since the Deadites have some sort of connection to the Book of The Dead, should the book be "injured" in any way, it can harm the Deadites as well. When Ash Williams tossed the Necronomicon into the fireplace of the Knowby Cabin, it managed to stop and effectively "kill" his Deadite friends.
  • Ankh Amulet: The Ankh Amulet could not completely expel the Deadite spirit from a host's body, only turning the individual who wore it human again as long as the amulet was around their neck. Once the Amulet was removed, the individual turned back into a Deadite. Ash Williams and Abbey Chase used the Ankh to turn the Deadite Professor Theodore Kage human for a brief period of time.
  • "Magic Powder": Very little is known about a "magic powder" used by an alternate universe version of The Wise Man, but much like the Ankh Amulet mentioned above, it does not expel the Deadite spirit, only suppressing it for a moment.

De-Possession Methods

DeaditeJennySpirit-HttK

The Deadite spirit is extracted from Jenny's body via a vortex (Hail To The King)

Two alternate universes have depicted methods to expel a Deadite spirit from a body without causing physical harm to the host. One method involved opening up a portal in time and space (reminiscent of the portal Annie Knowby opened shortly before her death) and using the portal's gravitational pull to drag the Deadite out. A version of Ash Williams used this to save his girlfriend Jenny when she became possessed during a trip back to the Knowby Cabin. Another universe's version of the Necronomicon contained a spell which released all currently possessed individuals from Deadite control.

Deadite Variations

"Digital Deadites"

DigitalDeadites-Shop3

The Digital Deadites of 2501 AD (Shop 'Till You Drop Dead #3)

In two alternate realities, Deadites have adapted to the digital era, effectively turning into a form of computer virus. One reality (a possible future of Earth-818793), the digital Deadites are held captive in the "Necronomicon Program". The other universe to feature digital Deadites had them stored in a malware file called "Nekron0micon" widely available on the PathWeb. Since some humans had computer implants on their bodies, the Nekron0micon malware could take over the user's body. That universe's version of Ash Williams sought help from a help desk avatar called "Orakle" when his version of Linda became possessed.

The Deadite Queen of Darkness

The Deadite Queen of Darkness was a Deadite spirit that had more powers and abilities than that of a "standard" Deadite. Very little is known about her actual purpose, besides a desire to conquer the world using an army of Deadites (much like Evil Ash in 1300 AD). Unlike most Deadites, the Queen's spirit could be exorcised from a host's body. The one known host of the Deadite Queen was Julie Hastings, in the reality where Ash Williams teamed up with Darkman.

Deadite/Human Hybrids

There are two known Half-Deadite Half-Human hybrids in two alternate realities, both being midgets and sidekicks to their versions of Ash Williams. One is Sam, who was turned into a Half-Deadite by an experiment with the Necronomicon conducted by Doctor Vladimir Reinhard. The other known hybrid is Ted (though how he became a hybrid remains unknown), who eventually met the Ash Williams of Earth-818793 after "his" Ash was killed in Hell.

Animal Deadites

DeaditeAnimals-A2A1

Ash faces off against Deadite Animals (Ashes 2 Ashes #1)

While it is uncommon, Deadites can also possess animals. It's possible that they do not take animal hosts more often due to the animals having qualities that limit the Deadites in some way.

Trivia

  • The first on-screen mention of the word "Deadite" was in the climax of the Evil Dead II film.
  • A rough prototype of Deadites appeared in the 1978 short film Within The Woods. While the monsters in the short acted more like shambling zombies, they did have some level of intelligence and super strength.
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