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“The Terror of Evil Dead’s Cheryl: A Look at an Iconic 80s Movie Villain”


In the horror movie genre, certain villains stand out and become ingrained in pop culture. One such iconic villain is Cheryl, from the 1981 film “The Evil Dead”. Cheryl serves as the reluctant antagonist of the film, after being possessed by a demonic entity while spending time with friends in an abandoned cabin. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Cheryl’s character, her impact on the film and its legacy.

Who is Cheryl?

Cheryl, played by actress Ellen Sandweiss, is one of five college friends who journey to an isolated cabin in the woods. During their stay, Cheryl stumbles upon the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, a book bound in human skin and inked in human blood. She unwittingly recites incantations from the book and summons a demonic presence that begins to haunt the group.

As the group’s fear grows and their isolation intensifies, Cheryl becomes increasingly tormented by the demon’s possession. The once sweet and timid character transforms into a terrifying, violent and bloodthirsty entity.

What Makes Cheryl an Iconic Villain?

Cheryl’s gradual descent into madness and possession makes her a standout villain. The film sets her up as the innocent character who serves as the movie’s moral center. Her descent into evil is all the more terrifying as she fights against the demon’s control.

Additionally, Sandweiss’ performance brings an authenticity to the character that lingers with audiences long after the film has ended. Her screams, growls, and emotional distress add another layer of terror to the already haunting story.

Cheryl’s role in the film also paved the way for future female horror villains. As one of the earliest examples of female possession in horror, Cheryl demonstrated the capacity for traditionally non-threatening characters to become the source of horror.

Cheryl’s Impact on Pop Culture

“The Evil Dead” has gone on to become a cult classic, spawning a franchise that has captured the hearts of horror fans worldwide. Cheryl’s character has become so well-known that she has been referenced, parodied, and tributed in various films, TV shows, and video games.

One notable example is the hit TV show “Stranger Things”, which features a possessed mother who bears a strong resemblance to Cheryl. Other examples are the films “Drag Me To Hell” and “The Cabin in The Woods”, which referenced “The Evil Dead” and nods to Cheryl’s character.


Cheryl from “The Evil Dead” is a character that has stood the test of time. Her portrayal as a reluctant villain who becomes a source of horror serves as a testament to the character’s influence on future horror villains. Through her iconic role, Cheryl demonstrated the potential for horror in supposedly innocent characters and paved the way for future female villains.

As we look to the future of horror, Cheryl serves as a reminder that sometimes, the most unassuming characters can become the most terrifying.

So, if you haven’t already seen “The Evil Dead”, grab some popcorn, turn off the lights, and enjoy a terrifyingly good time.