Director: Sydney Furie
Screenplay: Frank De Felitta
Starring: Barbara Hershey, Ron Silver, David Labiosa
Duration: 119 mins
BBFC Certification: 18
The year 1982 is widely regarded as a benchmark for sci-fi and fantasy films, with The Thing, E.T., Blade Runner and Poltergeist being some of the classics being released. While not quite in the same league as these films, The Entity is another of that year’s films that reflects well on the genre. Adapted by screenwriter Frank De Felitta from his own novel, based on a supposed true story of a Californian mother who endured repeated sexual abuse at the hands of a ghost, Barbara Hershey plays Carla Moran.
One night while in her bedroom, Carla is attacked by an unseen presence which pins her to her bed and rapes her. After the ordeal is over, neither herself nor her teenage son, Billy (David Labiosa), can find any trace of an intruder. Later that night, objects begin to fly around her room of their own accord and Carla flees the house with her three children. The next day events take a more sinister turn, as the entity takes control of Carla’s car and attempts to run her off the road. At the end of her tether, Carla seeks help from psychiatrist, Dr Scheiderman (Ron Silver), however he is sceptical thinking it could be a case of hysteria or a manifestation of childhood sexual trauma.
Hershey is the film’s main strength, ably portraying a woman who is unable to comprehend what is happening to her. Credit must go to her for enduring the rape scenes, as these are particularly brutal. She’s supported by impressive special effects created by Stan Winston, especially when you consider they are physical and not CGI. The effects alongside Hershey’s acting really bring the demon to life, despite it not appearing on screen.
Less effective is Charles Bernstein’s oppressive score, which is not very subtle with loud synth and guitar stabs to try and increase the tension. In fact, I found this actually destroyed any tension that has been built. Sydney Furie’s direction is a little workmanlike, but he does draw good performances from the supporting cast. However, he does have an annoying happen of including too many angled shots, which started to remind me too much of episodes of the ‘60s Batman TV series!
Overall, The Entity is a tense horror/thriller with an engaging central performance, which is unfortunately let down by a hokey final act and unsatisfying conclusion.
The Entity is being distributed by Eureka Entertainment on Blu Ray.