Origin: Evil Dead (1981 franchise)
"I know now that there is such a thing as a 'Living Evil': a foul and shapeless thing that lives not in the spaces that we know, but between them... in the dark... in the night..."
— Ash Williams (Alternate "Army of Darkness" opening monologue)
"I believe I have made a significant find in the Kandarian ruins, a volume of ancient Sumarian burial practices and funerary incantations. It is entitled "Naturum De Montum", roughly translated: Book of the Dead. The book is bound in human flesh and inked in human blood. It deals with demons and demon resurrection and those forces which roam the forest and dark bowers of Man's domain. The first few pages warn that these enduring creatures may lie dormant but are never truly dead. They may be recalled to active life through the incantations presented in this book. It is through the recitation of these passages that the demons are given license to possess the living.... I know now that my wife has become host to a Kandarian demon. I fear that the only way to stop those possessed by the spirits of the book is through the act of... bodily dismemberment...."
— Professor Knowby (tape recording from "Evil Dead" 1981)
Not necessarily a specific type of Demon, the Kandarian Demons as portrayed in the Evil Dead (1981 franchise) are (generally) disembodied, incorporeal presences that wait in the empty places of the Earth to be awakened and unleashed by incantations and conjurations such as those found in the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, a forbidden tome written by the Dark Ones (cult) who sought to summon and bind the demons into service. The demons are rebellious spirits, filled with hatred for all natural life, difficult to control and contain, generally running amok when accidentally summoned by those who are unaware of the power of the book, with such accidental summonings typically resulting in possession, slaughter, and worse.
The Kandarian demons are not especially sophisticated or smart; in their incorporeal form, the demons are physically invulnerable, invisible or misty forms which interact with the world through the power of telekinesis and hallucinations; in this form, they might be compared with Poltergeists, Elemental spirits, Demons, and Djinni; they can be relatively easily deceived and tricked when caught off-guard, though encounters with these demons can be so disconcerting and violent, it will be difficult for an investigator to think fast enough on his/her feet to try to do so.
In a physical form the demons are even more dangerous, able to possess and tamper with animals, plants (such as evil trees), humans, and inanimate objects (such as corpses, and even such objects as a deer's-head trophy or telephone!) Human victims of such possession are known as "Deadites" - effectively grotesque, violent "zombies" or "ghouls" imbued with demonic magical power, capable of levitation and casting spells, and uttering blasphemies designed to inspire a sense of hopelessness and despair in those the demons torment. (Compare/contrast Deadites with Ghouls and Zombies.) Deadites can be dismembered to render the demons possessing them somewhat less dangerous, though Deadites have been known to keep causing mischief even after they have been decapitated and dismembered, even attacking investigators in the form of severed hands, or biting with severed heads.
The Necronomicon Ex-Mortis contains spells which can bind Kandarian Demons into a more or less corporeal form, in which they are both vulnerable to attack, and extremely dangerous. When in corporeal form, these demons might take on any of a bewildering variety of grotesque appearances, ranging from dark clouds, to bizarre humanoid beings, to disembodied and levitating horned skulls, to hideous shriveled giants. One notable demon summoned by name in the Ash vs. Evil Dead streaming series was Eligos, implied by the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis to be a "weaker" demon, though when summoned it took the form of a faceless humanoid abomination and actually proved to be quite powerful and capable of breaking the wards intended to confine it.
Some of the stronger Kandarian Demons have been able to open portals and vortexes in time and space, and once unleashed upon the Earth the demons have brought about apocalypses which have only been reversed by heroic investigators who have traveled into the past to stop them at tremendous cost to themselves.
When materialized in corporeal form, Kandarian Demons are especially vulnerable to attack with specially crafted, enchanted weapons, such as the Kandarian Dagger made from human bones.
Heresies and Controversies
- The Chaosium Call of Cthulhu RPG scenario "The Haunting (aka The Haunted House) (Scenario)" can be thought of as an encounter with Kandarian Demons, translated into Call of Cthulhu terms, complete with an attack by a Deadite (Mr. Corbitt), and even a sort of Kandarian Dagger.
- Though the Evil Dead franchise takes a few of its cues from Lovecraftian horror, it should be noted that the Kandarian Demons as they appear in the movie franchise are rather decidedly evil supernatural entities with a strong and personal hatred of mankind, rather than cosmically aloof aliens who are only incidentally malevolent in the effects of their interactions with humans, which results in a different flavor of horror from typical Lovecraftian scenarios; Keepers improvising scenarios around the "Evil Dead Mythos" might consider giving these "Demons" a more Loecraftian, less personal spin better-suited for underscoring the relative insignificance of humanity against the bigger cosmic picture, though the different flavor of the "Evil Dead" might be a welcome diversion from standard Lovecraftian horror.
Associated Mythos Elements
- tome: Necronomicon Ex-Mortis
- artifact: Kandarian Dagger
- race: Deadites
- location: Kandar or Ca'n Dar
- cult: The Dark Ones (cult)
- entity: Eligos, a "weak" Kandarian demon named in the Necromicon Ex-Mortis
- film franchise: Evil Dead (1981 franchise)