Henrietta Knowby was the wife of Professor Raymond Knowby and the mother of Annie Knowby. Following her husband's translation of the recently discovered Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, Henrietta became the first person to fall victim to the Kandarian Demon and become a Deadite at the Knowby Cabin in the Fall of 1982.
Henrietta first appeared in the 1987 film Evil Dead II, where she was portrayed by Lou Hancock (in her "Human" and "Stage 1 Deadite" form). The character later returned in the two-part Season Two finale of the Ash vs Evil Dead television series, now played by Alison Quigan. In both Evil Dead II and Ash vs Evil Dead, Ted Raimi portrayed Henrietta during the more make-up heavy "Stage 2" and "Gooseneck" Deadite form sequences.
Almost nothing is known about Henrietta's life prior to the events of the cabin, except at some point she married Raymond Knowby, and later gave birth to the couple's only child, Annie, on September 2nd, 1962.
Discovery of The Necronomicon
In 1982, Henrietta accompanied her husband and daughter to an archeological dig in England, uncovering the ruins of what was once Castle Kandar. While exploring the ancient corridors with her family (along with Ed Getley), the four came across the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis and the Kandarian Dagger in one of the castle's chambers. Upon making this discovery, both Henrietta and Raymond left England and returned to the United States with the Ex-Mortis, leaving Annie and Ed to continue excavating and exploring the castle.
"Original" Events At The Cabin (October, 1982)
Now in the solitude of their cabin in the mountains, Raymond began to study and translate his latest find at his desk while Henrietta would silently sit in a nearby rocking chair and knit. During one of Raymond's translation sessions, he accidentally awakened the Kandarian Demon, a creature which laid dormant until the incantation within the Book of The Dead was read aloud. The Demon's first target was Henrietta, wasting no time turning her into a Deadite. Now possessed by a soul-hungry monster, Henrietta attacked Raymond and threatened to kill him next. Raymond then managed to subdue his wife and bring her into the cabin's fruit cellar, chaining her up to one of the basement walls.
While Henrietta remained imprisoned in the cellar, Raymond recruited Tanya (one of his students) to return with him to the cabin, under the guise that she would be helping him translate the Necronomicon. Arriving at the cabin, Raymond quickly trapped Tanya in the cellar and revealed to Tanya his true intentions of trying to transfer the Deadite spirit from Henrietta's body into hers. Tanya was ultimately killed during this experiment of "spirit transference". Raymond, unable to bring himself to kill his beloved wife, simply buried her body under the cellar's earthen floor, which somehow managed to put Henrietta into a sleep-like state.
Roughly one week after this incident saw the arrival of a group of five friends at the cabin, who listened to Raymond's story (which had been detailed through his reel-to-reel tape recordings). Though Henrietta laid dormant for the first night of the group's stay at the cabin, she would be resurrected the following night after the arrival of her daughter Annie, Ed Getley, and two more individuals. Henrietta spent much of her time during the night still locked in the cellar, but eventually she managed to pull in the injured Jake through the small gap in the cellar door and kill him.
When Ash Williams ventured down into the cellar to retrieve the pages of the Necronomicon, Henrietta attacked him shortly before he could get back up to the upper cabin. Believing that Williams was incapacitated, Henrietta flew up to the main room of the cabin and began to attack her daughter Annie. Ash managed to climb back up from the cellar, watching as the Deadite mutated into her "Gooseneck" form. Williams made quick work of Henrietta with his chainsaw hand, slicing off her limbs before disconnecting her long neck from the body. While Henrietta's body began to "deflate", Ash delivered the killing blow to Henrietta by blowing apart her decapitated head with a shotgun.
"Altered" Events At The Cabin
More than 30 years after the original events at the cabin, an older Ash Williams would travel back in time in order to prevent his younger self from discovering the Ex-Mortis in the cabin. This middle-aged Ash encountered Henrietta in the fruit cellar shortly before the arrival of Professor Knowby with Tanya. Ash, wise to the common methods of Deadite deception, saw the seemingly human woman chained in the basement and began to slap her around, trying to provoke her Deadite self to come out. Henrietta (already possessed), tricks Ash into releasing her when Raymond shows Tanya to the fruit cellar. Now fully unleashing her Deadite appearance, Henrietta attacks Tanya as Raymond escapes, and Ash steps into the fight. When Tanya is killed, Henrietta turns her full attention to Ash, mutating into the "Gooseneck" form once more. Ash, having fought Henrietta before, manages to decapitate and destroy the Deadite Knowby once again.
Powers & Abilities
While the human Henrietta had no powers of her own, her Deadite-possessed self had several superhuman abilities:
- Levitation/Flight: Though she was not a Deadite with wings, Henrietta managed to levitate off the ground with ease, flying up from the cabin's fruit cellar and hovering above Annie Knowby.
- Shape-Shifting: Henrietta was able to shift between her human, Deadite, and "Gooseneck" forms.
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- In the original script for The Evil Dead, Henrietta's name was originally Suzanne Knowby. The script also mentions her husband managed to trap her in the fruit cellar with the hope that she would die of dehydration or starvation before he had to dismember her.