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Hortlak: A Friendly Introduction

Hortlak is a term used in Turkish mythology to describe a troubled soul of the dead that rises from the grave. According to some beliefs, some Hortlak can be living people with certain magical properties, such as the ability to transform into an animal, invisibility, and the ability to control the weather. Despite its negative connotations, the term has also been used in popular culture to describe ghosts, spooks, and ghouls.

The origins of the term Hortlak are not entirely clear, but it is believed to have roots in ancient Turkic mythology. Over time, the term has evolved to encompass a variety of supernatural beings, including ghosts, spirits, and other malevolent entities. Despite its negative associations, the term continues to be used in modern times to describe a variety of supernatural phenomena.

While the concept of Hortlak may seem frightening to some, it remains an important part of Turkish folklore and mythology. Whether viewed as a symbol of death and decay or as a powerful force of magic and transformation, the term continues to fascinate and intrigue people around the world.

Origins of Hortlak


Hortlak is a Turkish word that means “revenant” or “ghost”. The word is related to the Turkic verb “hortlamak”, which means “to get out” and “to get out of the grave”. In Turkish culture, the word refers to a zombie-like entity that rises from the dead and wanders the earth. In Azerbaijani folklore, the same creature is known as “Xortdan” and is believed to be a vampire.

Historical Context

The origins of the Hortlak can be traced back to ancient Turkish mythology. In these myths, the Hortlak was a creature that was created when a person died a violent death. It was believed that the soul of the deceased could not rest until it had avenged its death, and so it returned to the world of the living as a Hortlak. In Turkish culture, the Hortlak was often associated with death and the afterlife, and was believed to be a sign of impending doom.

Over time, the Hortlak became a popular figure in Turkish literature and folklore. It was often depicted as a frightening and malevolent creature, capable of causing great harm to the living. In modern times, the Hortlak has become a popular subject in horror movies and literature, and continues to fascinate and terrify people around the world.

Cultural Significance


In literature, the concept of the Hortlak has been used in various works of fiction. For instance, Kelly Link’s short story “The Hortlak” features two characters who work at a convenience store located next to a zombie city. The story explores themes of death, grief, and the supernatural. Similarly, the Turkish horror movie “Hortlak” tells the story of a young woman who moves into an apartment building haunted by a malevolent spirit.


In Turkish and Azerbaijani folklore, the Hortlak is a type of undead creature similar to a zombie or vampire. The name Hortlak is derived from the Turkish word hortlamak, which means “to get out of the grave.” According to legend, the Hortlak rises from the dead to seek revenge on those who wronged them in life. In some versions of the folklore, the Hortlak is said to be able to transform into a cat or dog, while in others, it is believed to be able to control the weather.

Overall, the Hortlak holds significant cultural value in Turkish and Azerbaijani folklore and has been featured in various works of literature and film. Its portrayal as an undead creature seeking revenge on the living has captivated audiences for centuries.

Hortlak in Modern Media


Hortlak has not been adapted into a feature film yet, but the concept of revenants has been explored in movies like “Pet Sematary” and “The Crow”. These movies have portrayed revenants as undead beings that come back to life to seek revenge or fulfill some unfinished business. It would be interesting to see a movie adaptation of “Hortlak” and how the concept of revenants is portrayed on the big screen.


“Hortlak” has not been adapted into a television series yet, but the concept of revenants has been explored in shows like “The Returned” and “Resurrection”. These shows have portrayed revenants as people who come back to life after being dead for a certain period. They have to deal with the changes in their lives and how their loved ones have moved on without them. It would be interesting to see a television adaptation of “Hortlak” and how the concept of revenants is explored in a serialized format.


There are no video games based on “Hortlak” yet, but the concept of revenants has been explored in games like “Dark Souls” and “Bloodborne”. These games have portrayed revenants as undead beings that the player has to defeat to progress through the game. It would be interesting to see a game based on “Hortlak” and how the concept of revenants is explored in an interactive format.

Comparative Mythology

Hortlak is a creature of Turkish mythology, often depicted as a vampiric entity that feeds on the life force of sleeping humans. While it is a unique entity in Turkish folklore, there are similar entities in other cultures as well.

Similar Entities in Other Cultures

In Slavic mythology, there is a similar creature called the “vampir” which is also known for feeding on the life force of humans. The vampir is said to be created when a person dies with unfinished business or if they are not given a proper burial. The vampir can also be created if a person is bitten by another vampir.

In Greek mythology, there is a creature called the “Empusa” which is also known for feeding on the life force of humans. The Empusa is said to be a beautiful woman with one leg made of bronze and the other made of donkey’s leg. She is said to prey on young men and is often associated with the goddess Hecate.

In Hindu mythology, there is a creature called the “Rakshasa” which is also known for feeding on the life force of humans. The Rakshasa is said to be a demon that can shape-shift into various forms, including animals and humans. They are often depicted as being very powerful and are feared by humans.

Overall, while Hortlak is a unique entity in Turkish mythology, there are similar entities in other cultures as well. These creatures are often associated with death and the afterlife and are feared by humans.

Psychological Interpretation

Hortlak is a graphic novel that explores the psychological effects of grief and loss. The story follows a man named Charlie as he struggles to come to terms with the death of his wife. Throughout the novel, Charlie experiences a range of emotions, including sadness, anger, and guilt.

One possible psychological interpretation of Hortlak is that it highlights the importance of processing one’s emotions in a healthy way. Charlie’s inability to cope with his grief leads him to engage in destructive behaviors, such as binge drinking and self-harm. By the end of the novel, however, he begins to take steps towards healing, suggesting that it is possible to recover from even the most devastating losses.

Another possible interpretation is that Hortlak emphasizes the role of social support in the grieving process. Charlie’s interactions with his friends and family members demonstrate the ways in which they can provide comfort and understanding during a time of intense emotional turmoil. Additionally, the novel suggests that seeking professional help, such as therapy or counseling, can be beneficial for those struggling with grief.

Overall, Hortlak is a poignant exploration of the complexities of grief and loss. Through its vivid illustrations and nuanced storytelling, it offers readers a glimpse into the psychological struggles that can accompany such experiences.

Public Perception and Impact

Hortlak is a unique and intriguing character that has sparked public interest and curiosity. The character has been featured in various media forms, including comics, films, and video games. Hortlak’s appearance and personality have been subject to interpretation and analysis by fans and critics alike, leading to a diverse range of opinions and perceptions.

The impact of Hortlak on popular culture and media has been significant. The character has gained a cult following and has been the subject of various fan theories and discussions. Hortlak has also been referenced in other media forms, demonstrating the character’s lasting impact and influence.

While Hortlak has been well-received by many, it is important to note that not everyone shares the same perception. Some may find the character unsettling or disturbing, while others may simply not be interested. It is important to respect different opinions and perspectives, as they contribute to a diverse and dynamic cultural landscape.

Overall, the public perception and impact of Hortlak are complex and multifaceted. The character’s unique appearance and personality have sparked interest and discussion, while also eliciting a range of opinions and reactions. Regardless of one’s personal perception, it is clear that Hortlak has made a lasting impact on popular culture and media.