The Entity – Film-News.co.uk

Claudia A

This disturbing horror film from 1982 is based upon Frank De Felitta’s novel of the same name (Felitta also wrote the script) and was inspired be the real-life case of Doris Bither.

For the book/movie, Doris’ name got changed to Carla Moran and actress Barbara Hershey portrays the troubled soul in what can only be described as an exhausting tour-de-force performance! Carla, a single mother, lives with her two young daughters and an almost grown up son in a neat and spacious house in the suburbs of what is probably Culver City in California. One day, completely out of the blue, Carla is attacked and raped in her own home by someone or something invisible. Several days later she is attacked again while driving in her car, almost causing a serious accident. Frightened and hysteric she takes her kids and spends the night in her best friend Cindy’s (Margaret Blye) house, who suggests that she should go and see a psychologist. Taking her friend’s advice, Carla goes to see Dr. Sneiderman (Ron Silver) who, although understanding towards her, immediately dismisses any possibilities of a supernatural or paranormal nature. Various sessions later establish that the sexually frustrated Carla has a troubled past… as a child, she had been abused by her father (a deeply religious man), as a runaway she fell in love with a young man who later died in a traffic accident and so forth. Sneiderman is convinced that the past has come to haunt Carla and that her hysteria is so severe that it manifests itself in bruises and scratches on her body. However, when the invisible ‘entity’ attacks again it also attacks Carla’s son Billy (David Labiosa) but Sneiderman remains unconvinced and puts the latest incident down to mass hysteria within Carla’s small family. He wants to place her under observation in a psychiatric clinic. Fuming over the suggestion, she leaves the doctor’s room and slams the door behind her.

The following day, while browsing in a bookshop, she overhears a conversation between two men who turn out to be parapsychologists. Introducing herself and explaining her scenario, the two men agree to come to Carla’s house with special equipment and wait for the entity to manifest itself though initially the parapsychologists are still on the sceptical side… as is Carla’s current beau who is pretty much kept in the shadow over what has happened those past few weeks (we learn that he is a guy who travels a lot on business and may not always be faithful). That same night, while Carla and the parapsychologists lay in wait, another attack occurs and this time round the two experts are no longer sceptic. After what they have witnesses they suggest an experiment which is supposed to trap the nasty poltergeist in liquid helium and freeze it but there are risks involved. When Dr. Sneiderman finds out about the planned experiment he tries everything to stop Carla from participating…

The film has a lot of tension to offer, there is no doubt. Equally disturbing are the attack and rape scenes, intensified by a thumping and aggressive soundtrack whenever the entity plays havoc. Hershey’s intense performance is near flawless and Ron Silver is always quality. That said, THE ENTITY is nowhere near in the same class as other ‘paranormal activity’ movies such as The Haunting (1963) or The Legend of Hell House (1973) for example. Still, fans of this particular genre will be delighted with this Blu-ray edition and the movie’s crisp restoration.

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