I’ll be the first to admit that I love a good supernatural movie. Those types of films have the ability to get under my skin more than any of the horror subgenres. Today I’m reviewing a supernatural movie, one I had never heard about until recently and a film that I haven’t been able to erase from my mind since seeing it. For those of you who have been living under a rock like myself, let me present to you the 1982 horror film THE ENTITY, which, of course, is based on a true story.
Directed by Sidney J. Furie (Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Iron Eagle), and starring Oscar-nominee Barbara Hershey (Insidious, Black Swan, The Portrait of a Lady), THE ENTITY is based on a novel by author Frank De Felitta (Audrey Rose, Scissors). Carla Moran (Hershey), a hard-working single mother whose life becomes a nightmare when she is attacked in her bedroom by someone – or something – that she cannot see. Disbelieved by her friends and dismissed by skeptical psychiatrists, Carla begins to lose her grip as she is repeatedly attacked in her car, in the bath, and even in front of her children. Could this be a case of hysteria, a manifestation of childhood sexual trauma, or something even more horrific? Seeking help from a group of daring parapsychologists, Carla will attempt an unthinkable experiment: to seduce, trap and ultimately capture the depraved spectral fury that is The Entity. The film also stars Ron Silver (The West Wing, The Arrival), David Labiosa (Bullet Proof, Walker, Texas Ranger), and George Cole (Archer, Wilfred).
TW: This review includes topics such as sexual assault and rape. To say that THE ENTITY was A LOT would be an understatement. Prior to watching the film, my friends gave me a heads up on what to expect and boy were they right. As I said, I love supernatural films but this was one of the more difficult ones I’ve watched due to the fact that our main character Carla is getting repeatedly raped by an unknown entity. You would think that not seeing the individual(s) in question would make it a tad bit easier to watch, but that was not the case, as it allowed for the viewer to see Carla’s pain and anguish front and center. A lot of this can be credited to the visual effects team which made it seem like Carla’s body was undergoing a horrific violation.
What I found to be interesting was how the doctors and psychiatrists handled Carla after she came to them with her concerns and desperate pleas for help. I won’t lie and say that if someone came to me and admitted that they were being repeatedly raped by an unknown presence that I wouldn’t have some concerns, but I felt like the doctors were quick to assume that Carla’s condition was based on hysteria and repressed sexual desires. Instead of truly listening to Carla’s concern, I felt like the doctors were quick to diagnosis without truly understanding what Carla was going through. This reminds me of a lot of modern-day doctors as well. I suffer from an autoimmune disorder called Fibromyalgia and I can’t even begin to tell you the number of people who have told me that since my disorder is invisible it must not be real. Granted that is very different than what Carla was going through but I can understand the frustration when doctors don’t believe you, regardless of if it was in the early 80’s or 2019.
Even though it was difficult to sit through the numerous assaults, I still found a lot to enjoy about the movie. Barbara Hershey goes through the ringer portraying Carla and I couldn’t help but feel for both her and her character. I can only imagine how vulnerable Hershey must have felt in order to prepare for Carla’s state of mind and I commend her for the work that she did. I also really enjoyed Ron Silver’s portrayal of Dr. Sneiderman as he struggled with wanting to believe Carla but also sticking by the factual evidence that science has presented. Thankfully, two parapsychologists swooped in to remind both Carla and Ron that not everything can be easily explained away by science. It’s at this point that Carla agrees to work with the parapsychologists in hopes of eradicating the entity once and all.
As for my critiques towards the film, I felt like the runtime was way longer than it needed to be at just over 2 hours. I understand that the director wanted to get in as much of the story as possible but there were moments that felt like they dragged on longer than necessary especially in regards to the number of times we have to see Carla being assaulted. Other than that, I found THE ENTITY to be an effective and chilling horror film that piqued my curiosity in regards to the actual story behind it. In all, very few films have left me feeling as disturbed and uncomfortable as this one so be forewarned. THE ENTITY is now available to own as Collectors Edition Blu-ray from ShoutFactory.com.