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11 Popular Depictions Of The Necronomicon, Lovecraft's 'Book Of The Dead'

Updated July 31, 2019 15.3k views11 items

Aside from Cthulhu, the Necronomicon is H.P. Lovecraft's most enduring creation. There are tons of books and movies featuring the Necronomicon aside from those created by Lovecraft and his contemporaries, as this mysterious book continues to captivate audiences. The fictional grimoire collects spells, rituals, and other arcana, and frequently shows up in connection with all kinds of spooky arts. From short cameos alongside other cursed objects to lengthy, plot-heavy storylines, the Necronomicon has transcended its literary roots to become a pop culture mainstay.

All depictions of the Necronomicon are different; some properties use it as more of a winking reference, while others use it to tie their universes directly into the Lovecraft mythos. This is part of the enduring legacy of the Necronomicon in popular culture, as each reference builds up its history and popularity even further. At this point, the fabled creepy book is a legend in its own right, living on through reference after reference and only growing in mystery with every mention.

  • Photo: New Line Cinema

    The Evil Dead's Necronomicon is an undeniable reference to the iconic H.P. Lovecraft version, and is arguably as impactful on pop culture as the original. In the film's case, the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis (called the Naturom Demonto in the first film) is a relic of ancient times, a book bound in human skin and created for the purpose of summoning demons and casting horrible spells. When Ash and friends find the book in the cabin they're staying in and play a recording of a professor reading from it, they unleash a demon that torments them throughout the night. Though it's probably not the origin of the "Don't Read the Latin," trope, it certainly raised it to the pop culture standard it is today.

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  • Photo: Lionsgate

    Few horror films cram as many references in as The Cabin in the Woods. Even its title is a reference to The Evil Dead, which, while it didn't invent the isolated horror house genre, certainly brought it to prominence. In the basement of the titular cabin, the teens find a series of objects that summon different horror staples to kill them, with one of them being a tape recorder believed to summon the Deadites from The Evil Dead. Even more prominent is the diary that summons the undead Buckner family. One particularly genre-savvy character instructs the others not to read the Latin, but is ignored, kicking off the slaughter.

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  • Photo: New Line Cinema

    The Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, the one popularized by The Evil Dead franchise, also makes an appearance in the Friday the 13th series. In Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, the film's protagonist, Jessica, has to go to the Voorhees' home. There, she finds not only a dagger reminiscent of the one from The Evil Dead, but also a copy of the famed Necronomicon, human face and all.

    The tie between the franchises is made explicit in the Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash comic, where the three famous horror characters duke it out in a battle for the ages.

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  • Afterlife With Archie All Started With The Necronomicon

    Photo: Archie Comics

    Afterlife With Archie puts a horror spin on the classic comic, dropping the beloved Riverdale heroes in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. Even Sabrina, resident teenage witch, gets in on the action - in fact, she's partially to blame for the sudden upswing in supernatural occurrences. When Jughead's dog gets hit by a car, Sabrina and her aunts try to bring him back to life, to no avail. Sabrina takes it a step further and reads from the Necronomicon, inadvertently resurrecting Cthulhu (the zombie apocalypse was a side effect). Sabrina is set to be married off to the Great Old One himself, while the rest of the teens struggle to stay alive.