Yesterday, Jonny Metro pulled the curtain back on Celtic mythology and found a series of frightening and fascinating monsters from Irish lore. Some which might even be ripe for a screen adaptation. Today, Wicked Horror Contributor Nat Brehmer is back with more evil creatures from Irish mythology! In this follow up installment, we will spotlight two more monsters, both of which would make for great screen adaptations. Check out part one of the piece here.
Ireland has always had a long tradition of horror and macabre stories. From fairies and elves to dark, mischievous and even murderous folkloric creatures. Everyone latches onto leprechauns, obviously, and sometimes banshees, but there are many different types of monsters dreamed up in Irish history. Even Halloween, our apex of horror, is purely rooted in Celtic traditions. Dracula, one of the most famous and successful horror stories of all time, was written by Irish author Bram Stoker.
Yet for all of that, Irish folklore has never had great success on screen. It’s never swept the genre. There’s the Leprechaun franchise, which is not exactly an accurate representation of the folklore or the culture, and that’s really about it. But with such a long tradition of stories and storytellers, there are things that never made it to the screen or any kind of mainstream adaptation. And most of them would make for pretty horrific films if they were to ever be dug up.
The Dearg-Due is also known as the Irish vampire. The Gaelic name translates literally to red blood sucker. Traditionally, this is a beautiful young woman who is forced into marriage and can’t escape, so she resorts to suicide. After death, she rises again and murders the abusive husband and the father who sold her off. The Dearg-Due is one of the earliest traceable female vampire stories and one of the first feminist revenge stories in general. The influence of this tale can clearly be felt in J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s seminal vampire novel Carmilla and even in Stoker’s Dracula. It would be interesting to see what would happen to treat the story head-on, on film, as it is an interesting old folk tale and could ironically inject some new blood to vampires if it were adapted to film.
The abhartach is somewhere between a vampire and a dwarf. The legend goes that the dwarf was a cruel, evil tyrant and magician who cursed the people who crossed his land. A sort of vampiric leprechaun, the abhartach would not only mutilate but drink the blood of his unassuming victims. He was finally killed and buried in a standing posture, but the story goes that each time he was slain the abhartach would keep rising from his grave. Finally, the dwarf was once more put to death and this time was buried with his head facing downward, so that the dark magic inside of him was drawn back into the earth. The rich, complex myth around the creature would be ripe for a film adaptation. Particularly if the grave was unearthed in the modern era.