First appearing in the film The Evil Dead, the Necronomicon has become very popular in modern cult horror and one of the few antagonists of said cult horror films to have such notoriety. It is most easily recognized and envisioned in later material based on its appearance and habit of having teenagers 'activate' its powers. In the Evil Dead, it was called the Naturom Demonto: the Book of the Dead. In the other two films its name was changed to Necronomicon Ex Mortis.
Fictional biographyEditThe Necronomicon is said to have been written by the Dark Ones, bound in human flesh and inked in human blood. This text contained prophecies, funerary incantations, and demon resurrection passages. In the first two films, the book is found by Professor Raymond Knowby. In the third film, it is in a graveyard, being that it is almost 700 years before Knowby was even born.
Evil Dead II: Dead by DawnEdit
- Main article: Evil Dead II
Evil Dead II - Despite the first 7 minutes of the film distorting the continuity between the two movies (this has merely been provided as a re-cap), it is said that Sam Raimi had lost the rights to the first film and had to re-shoot the beginning of the movie in order to provide re-cap, so new footage was shot. The new footage was shot with some trims made just to get the important stuff covered in so little time, which is why there is a new Linda and none of the original characters (except Ash and Linda) return. Evil Dead II actually begins when Ash is propelled into the air by the deadite forces as seen at the end of the first film.
(In the re-cap, the audience is introduced to Ash and his girlfriend Linda, who go to the cabin for a weekend getaway. While Linda's changing, Ash finds the tape-recorder and the Necronomicon itself. At Linda's request, he plays the tape, once again releasing the spirits who immediately attack Linda. Hearing her scream, he goes out to look for her and finds her possessed. She attacks him. Ash decapitates her with a shovel and buries her in the ground. Once he walks toward the cabin, the demon bursts through the front door and propels him in the air and through the woods.)
(This is where Evil Dead II in actual fact starts.) Ash is carried a good distance by the demon and slammed hard against a tree, falling into a puddle of water. He rises from it possessed but is subsequently released by the coming of dawn, and passes out. Ash regains consciousness moments before sunset. Deciding to get out of there as fast as he can, he climbs into his car and drives to where the bridge was, only to find it shaped into a giant claw, completely destroyed by the evil force. As the sun quickly sets, the spirit starts climbing up the cliff and Ash hops into his car, driving away as fast as he can and as a result, crashing right into a tree stump that sends him flying through the windshield. With the evil close behind him, he runs into the cabin and runs through it attempting to find a hiding place. He ducks under the trapdoor to the fruit cellar waiting until the evil force leaves. After it leaves Ash comes out and barricades the cabin, stuck at the cabin with the spirits for yet another night.
After a dream where Linda's severed torso dances outside the window, her severed head lands in Ash's lap, and bites hard onto his right hand. After Linda's finally killed, Ash goes to the mirror to console himself, and after his reflection comes out for a brief moment, his right hand begins to shake and tremble uncontrollably, now possessed. After a brief struggle with it, Ash has no other option but to cut off his hand with the chainsaw. Despite trying to trap it, it escapes and disappears.
Meanwhile, Annie Knowby, the Professor's daughter, her boyfriend Ed, are brought to the cabin by Jake, one of the locals, and Bobby Jo, his girlfriend, via an alternate route, with newly discovered pages of the book. However, around the time they arrive, Ash has been fighting to keep his sanity, and accidentally fires on them and hits Bobby Jo. Once Annie sees the chainsaw, she believes he killed her parents and has him thrown in the cellar. Once she plays the tape-recorder to figure out what happened, a possessed Henrietta, the Professor's wife, rises from the ground in the fruit cellar and Ash is rescued. Time passes, and one by one, Ed becomes possessed, Bobby Jo's taken on a wild ride by the trees (similar to the tree rape scene in the first film), and Jake is killed when Ash becomes possessed again. He comes very close to killing Annie, but when he finds Linda's locket, the memories and anguish of losing his love allow Ash to exorcise the evil from his soul.
After convincing her he's no longer possessed, the two team up, and Ash receives his famous chainsaw hand. After he receives the pages from the cellar and a brief battle with Henrietta resulting in her death, Annie recites the first of the passages, and the Evil takes a physical form. However, as she recites the the second passage, Ash's possessed hand (having survived twice), stabs her with the Kanderian dagger. Just as Ash is about to be killed, Annie finishes the passage with her dying breath. However, the time portal that opens is unable to close, and Ash is pulled in as well. Ash, the Evil, and the Oldsmobile are sucked into 1300 A.D. and Ash and the Oldsmobile crash-land. Suddenly, he is surrounded by knights who mistake him for a deadite, until a real one appears and he kills it. Ash is named 'He who comes from the skies to deliver us from the terror of the Deadites', after which he breaks down and screams 'No!' as they chant to him.
Army of DarknessEdit
- Main article: Army of Darkness
The next film continues the story from there (though Ash receives far less of a warm welcome than the end of the previous film suggests). Ash has to defeat his alter-ego, known as Evil Ash, who is leading the Army of Darkness to steal the Necronomicon. In this movie, Ash constructs a mechanical prosthetic hand out of a gauntlet from a suit of armor, using it throughout the film in place of the chainsaw (though he still carries it with him). The movie has two different endings, one where he returns to his own time and defends S-Mart from a possessed woman, and another, the director's cut (or Japanese version entitled "Captain Supermarket"), where he ends up in a post-apocalyptic future.
The Necronomicon is shown in a cemetery, which is where it apparently vanished to in 1300 A.D. The Deadites will rule the world if they have the book. Though it is unclear, it seems that if the chosen one (Ash) takes the book and says the words "Klaatu verata nikto", the book will have the power to destroy the Deadites. If Ash misspeaks the words, however, an army of the dead will be raised. Ash finds the book with two fake books. He picks out the real one after trying to take each of the two fakes and being attacked by them. He forgets the word "Nikto" and misspeaks it (coughing to try and trick the book, remembering it was an N word), thus raising the army of Deadites, including his recently deceased alter-ego Evil Ash. Ash takes the book back to the castle, where it is defended from the Deadites, with Evil Ash being destroyed.
The book remains in the castle until a week before the events of The Evil Dead, where it is taken by Professor Knowby, and the events of the series are set in motion.
Characteristics, and abilitiesEdit
The Necronomicon is bound in human flesh, inked in human blood, and has a variety of different passages and translations to do mainly one thing: Awaken the Evil to possess the living so it can be reborn on Earth.
In The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II, the reading of passages from the book out loud "activates" the powers of the book to awaken evil in inanimate objects (such as trees), and raise the dead to serve as its servants. It can also turn living people into its servants as well, making them "Deadites" (there seems to be no notable physical difference between when a living human being or a dead human being becomes a Deadite). Sunlight, though, can release those possessed from the affliction (as seen in Evil Dead II when Ash is released from being possessed). In addition the passages of the book can be used to open portals to other places in time and space, as seen in Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness. Also the book, supposedly, has the ability to return the evil it awakens back to sleep, or restore people to normal (though this is suggested to be possible it is never shown to happen.)
In other incarnations of the Evil Dead/Army of Darkness franchise the book is shown to have a larger range of powers, as well as having a personality and inclination to want to destroy the living, particularly the "Chosen One".
In the Army of Darkness comics the book is shown to be able to infect animals, and any living entity, with its evil creating Deadites out of them. The book is also shown to be able to be physically injured, causing it to bleed, though such injuries allow the book to spread its evil even easier as it seems as the "blood" can infect anyone it comes into contact with. The book also, is apparently indestructible (or at least Ash believes it to be so).
In addition, the spells and powers of the book are extremely varied in the comic books depending on the passages read and who is reading the passage. Freddy Krueger, in Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash, was able to use the spells in the Necromonicon to bring himself to the physical world out of the dreaming world, physically alter Jason Voorhees so he had a greater intelligence, and make his own powers in the dreaming world powers he could use in the real world. Ash has used the book to open a wide range of portals throughout time and space, as well as write in the book itself to use it to change reality (in the Ashes 2 Ashes series). The book has been shown to have a detailed history of its interactions with the line of Chosen Ones who are called to protect the world against the evil of the book.
In the stories of the video game, depending on the game, the book, or its pages, serve often as sources of different powers for Ash and also as cheap transportation. He is able, in the Fistful Of Boomstick game, to use pages to possess various types of Deadites, become super strong, summon lightning, and travel through time.
In the fan-made game Terrordrome, Ash uses it to summon Pumpkinhead to defeat Pinhead when he failed to beat the demon himself, then banish him to the underworld. He also banished the Cenobites to the Dream World.
The book (originally referred to as 'Naturom Demonto') is first seen having a horribly mutilated face in The Evil Dead, thus bringing more meaning into being bound in human flesh. Also, the back side of the book has a human ear visible, possibly meaning that blood sacrifices were made in order to create the book.
In Evil Dead II, the book is officially called Necronomicon Ex-Mortis (what 'Book of the Dead' is translated from). The book pretty much retains all of its original features from the first film, but with a much darker color of brown and many of it pages are missing. The pages missing mean that the powers of the book are much greater, as evidenced by the passages on the pages brought by Annie Knowby. However, it appears some of the passages, such as the time portal, are hard to control or can't be controlled at all.
Due to this film taking place in 1300 A.D., the Necronomicon appears to be much cleaner. It also has all of its pages intact and the face on the front is much less mutilated, with the book having a more grayish color. Despite having been found in the castle in The Evil Dead, the book is instead found in a cemetary miles away (because this happens before The Evil Dead and therefore Ash has not yet gone back in time and brought the book from the cemetary to the castle). As well as the main book, there are two other books at the site as well, one with a portal, and one a deadite itself. The book is shown to have, in this film, not just passages, but also potions for certain things (such as giving the user the ability to sleep a century for every drop taken in).
The book is first found wrapped in plastic and barbed wire and the pages have warnings and annotations scrawled on them to not read the text. Passages containing evil spells are also scribbled out with ink in an effort to render them unreadable, but Eric manages to uncover the missing words with charcoal and paper.
Unlike the first film, the book is unaffected by fire. However, as well as containing passages on summoning demons, the book also contains instructions on how to destroy them as well as clues about their motivations and aims.
Appearances Outside the Evil Dead (References)Edit
The inspiration for the Book of the Dead in the Evil Dead is the Necronomicon in H.P. Lovecraft's stories. It's origins are very similar to the one in the Evil Dead movies, but are tied to the demons like Cthulhu and Yog-Sothoth. It was written by the "Mad Arab," Abdul Alhazred, who wrote the book and filled it with all sorts of spells and incantations with human blood.
A parody video game of the Evil Dead was in Season 3 of the CGI animated series, Re-Boot.
In this parody of the Evil Dead remake, Mama and the Paranormal Activity movies, protagonists Dan and Jodi have a demon called Mama invade their home after taking in two lost children belonging to Dan's brother, Charlie. After looking up the Book of the Dead online in the hopes of ridding the house of Mama, Jodi and her friend Kendra went to the cabin where the remake took place. They found the book in the fruit cellar and upon reading the words, "Gort Klaatu Barada Nikto", nothing happened...to them. The inhabitants of the cabin, however, became possessed by the Deadites and were forced to do horrific things including self-mutilation and projectile vomiting. Upon saying the word, "Adunda", the cabin inhabitants were exorcised, and left confused as to what happened. Unfortunately for them, Kendra and Jodi curse and exorcise them two more times, and after thinking that the book's words did nothing, they left the cabin, leaving the other people possessed by the Deadites. One of Dan's friends, Caesar (a chimp with advanced human intelligence) later learned of a way to remove Mama upon reading the book, but was framed by her to keep him from saving the family. Eventually, Dan and Jodi stopped Mama from sacrificing herself and the girls by throwing the book at her literally.
There is an item that is used to summon an archer and a warrior for your character in the game Dota 2 with the same name.
There is a possible reference to the Necronomicon in the form of a bomb-throwing book known as the Bombinomicon wielded by the magician, Merasmus. It also appears as a cosmetic item for all classes, causing them to explode on death. It is also a secondary "Antagonist" in the comic named after itself, in which the Demoman opens the book, causing his eye to become a giant monstrosity of airborne destruction.
There is a possible reference to the Necronomicon in the form of a quest item in the Point Lookout expansion pack. The Krivbeknih, as referred to in the game, play a similar role to the Necronomicon in the mythos, often being used by evil men for sinister purposes.
In the base game of Fallout 3, an audio log by a "Jamie" individual in the Dunwich Building contain references to the Necronomicon's fictional author "Alhazred".
Friday the 13th: Jason goes to HellEdit
The book can be seen sitting on a desk in the Vorhees family home. It hints that Jason's powers and resurection may be due to his mother using the book.