Movie Name: The Entity
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date(s): February 4, 1983
MPAA Rating: R
Carla Moran (Barbara Hershey) is a single mother of three. When she is attacked in her home, she discovers she cannot see the attacker because he isn’t there. As the violent rapes continue, Carla questions if she is crazy and goes to see Dr. Phil Sneiderman (Ron Silver) who can’t believe what Carla is telling him. As the entity gets stronger, Carla must find a way to stop them before they turn deadly.
Directed by Sidney J. Furie, The Entity is based on the 1978 novel by Frank De Felitta (who also wrote the screenplay). De Felitta in turned based his novel upon the real case of Doris Bither who said she was continuously being raped by the ghosts of three Asian men in her home in Culver City, California. The movie was generally well received by critics.
The Entity came out around the time of Poltergeist which dealt with similar themes but in a totally different way. While Poltergeist was more of a horror movie, The Entity was possibly more horrific. With tons of great atmosphere built, the movie was slighted a bit by an ending that doesn’t quite live up to the plot. Due to discussion of the ending, a ******spoiler alert****** is in effect for the rest of the review.
The movie deals with the concept of a haunting in a time of science. Like The Exorcist and Poltergeist, science says that people are crazy who believe in ghosts and demons, but the fact that Hershey’s character is being menaced by a monster can’t be stopped by believing in the unseen. It is a good theme that will always be a good theme as science and faith clash.
The problem with this story is that there is no good solution. The whole liquid helium/fake house aspect never worked for me. Thematically, it serves the story in that she receives the proof she isn’t crazy and shows it to the doctors, but it isn’t very satisfying…but if the ghost had been exorcised, it also wouldn’t have been realistic. She must go on being raped.
The cast is quite strong. Barbara Hershey helps give the main character heart and believability. She also isn’t afraid to put herself entirely out of there for the role which demands a lot from her. Ron Silver starts out nice before trying to prove himself right (over Hershey’s health), and George Coe plays his boss pulled into the mess. Margaret Blye is the only friend who will believe Hershey and Alex Rocco plays her confused boyfriend. Hershey’s son is played by David Labiosa who is known for playing “the busboy” in the Seinfeld episode “The Busboy”.
Visually, the movie is very atmospheric. The special effects are rather limited. The entity only appears as flashes of lightning and unseen force. The effect of Hershey being touched was created by air streams and it is effective.
The Entity is a different type of thriller and worthy of checking it out. The Entity often is often not called a horror film due to the heavy psychological aspect of the story. The movie (like The Exorcist) really has horror aspects but really is about Hershey’s character and her fight to overcome the odds. The movie ends on a down note (she doesn’t beat the demon), but she finds her inner strength. It might not be what everyone wants, but it does work to a large extent.