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|Index||133 reviews in total|
When any film incurs user-comments that are at a 180 degree variance from
one to the next, the odds are it is the subject itself which is the catalyst
behind the emotion. We have those who admire its technical expertise (at
least for 1981) and who recall its fear-factor and professionalism to others
who deplore the entire work, branding its laughable script and effects. The
truth I suspect lies midway between these inconsistent
To start with there are always going to be a significant percentage of the population who are affronted by the concept of a young girl being sexually assaulted by a ghost for a prolonged period of time....whether it actually happened or not. This, incidentally IS based on a true story that was itself the grounding for Frank De Felita's top selling book. If the notion is a distasteful one, the chances of you liking the film are slim HOWEVER technically adept it is. As it transpires, Barbara Hershey is remarkably good as Carla Moran, the young lady with a problem neither the Police, the Medical Profession or the supposed experts of the paranormal have much luck with. The rapes and sexual assaults are both graphic and quite worrying. Some loopy reviewer likened them to scenes in the SCREAM and I KNOW WHAT YOU DID films! Huh? I think being taken apart by a psycho with a knife or hook is way THIS side of normal compared to being sexually molested in your own bed! but hey, thats just MY opinion!
For its day THE ENTITY was nearer the edge of hard-core horror than many of its contemporaries. I suspect those who claimed to have "laughed" at the entire thing are having themselves on or at least putting up a front for whatever reason. The film was not laughable! I can understand those who believed the film was exploitive and bordering on the distasteful - but hey, so was SILENCE OF THE LAMBS!
I believe you owe it to yourself to find a copy of this film (a) If you have never seen it or (b) If some reasonably heavy-duty horror scenes appeal to you!
All up I would rate this a 6.6 which probably errs on the side of conservativeness.
The Entity has an extremely sloppy script. First of all, it basically
repeats itself a dozen times. Each attack is more or less identical. The
biggest problem has to do with the psychologist. He thinks it's all in
Carla's head. It would have been nice for the filmmakers to give us the
possibility for interpretation, but we see these attacks outside of Carla's
point of view. The audience knows for sure that what is happening is real.
And then there are half a dozen witnesses. When they corroborate her story,
the psychologist still refuses to believe them. Jerry (Alex Rocco) swears
that he saw Carla's body being manipulated by an unseen force, and Dr.
Sneiderman still believes it's all just in her head. What this does is make
him the bad guy throughout the film - we know that, because of him, Carla's
attacks are going to go on without a chance of relief. And the script wants
us to feel a romantic connection between the two of them. A lot of the film
is told from his point of view, trying to get us to believe he is a helpful
force, and all we can do is despise him as if he were a weasel taking
advantage. This, more than anything else, stops the film dead in its
However, there are a couple of positive things that save the film and make it worth a watch. Barbara Hershey is absolutely excellent as the frightened victim who gradually grows stronger. The rest of the acting isn't bad, either, but only her performance stands out. Also, the special effects, even though they are very cheap, are enormously effective. Well, the lightning wasn't, but this film goes to show you that a simple rattling mirror is worth so much more than a million dollar CGI ghost.
...and wait until the final moments of the film. I don't think ANYTHING has made me shiver as violently as that moment after the door slams closed. Also, I've rarely been as proud of a character after Carla opens it right back up.
I never heard about the case before (and I'm too lazy to do further research) but if this story, like it claims, is indeed based on factual events, then it really is one of the greatest supernatural mysteries in the history of mankind! Barbara Hershey stars, in what unquestionably is the role of her life, as the struggling mother of three children who gets (sexually) assaulted repeatedly by an invisible spirit everywhere she goes. The inexplicable attacks naturally affect Carla's social life and pretty soon her sanity as well. When seeking for help, Carla becomes the desired study-object of scientists in several different branches, but none of them really cares for the woman's growing agony, since they're all defending their own obnoxious "theories". The theme and background of this remarkable film are a bit similar to Steven Spielberg's blockbuster "Poltergeist", but that's pretty much where the comparison stops. The supernatural "horror" in Poltergeist is childish nonsense compared to the genuinely devastating and often disturbing footage featuring in this film by Sidney J. Furie. The scenes in which Hershey's character is defenselessly thrown around the room are truly rough and the sight of her being raped by something you cannot see makes you feel very, VERY uncomfortable. Despite the sleazy-sounding premise that, in the hands of other directors, easily could have resulted in an overly exploitative and graphic picture, "The Entity" is very suspenseful and compelling. I'm not even sure this movie fully qualifies as horror, as it feels a lot more like psychological drama and at times even like a portrait of pure feminist power. Carla Moran is such a strong woman and determined to survive this nightmare, whereas all the male characters in the story are either stubborn egoists or insensitive bastards. Their insufferable personalities are brilliantly illustrated by the camera's reluctance to picture them! The male characters in "The Entity" are often just voices off the screen or partial faces in sequences dominated by Barbara Hershey's image, which is a really efficient trick actually. You can't possibly develop sympathy or respect for someone you can't initially see and, by the time they fully appear on screen, it's too late already. The film delivers great shocks, surprises, uncanny music and special effects and the wholesome is overall very tense. Whether truthful or not, the screenplay approaches the bizarre supernatural events with great respect and inserts absolutely no humorist situations or satirical disbelief. It's a little hard to stomach sometimes and two hours of intense substance like this perhaps is too long, still, it's an impressive piece of 80's cinema.
'The Entity' is a disturbing account of what are supposed to be true
events, obviously they are the usual dramatisation's and alterations to
the plot to heighten the viewing experience, but it's still a damn good
Barbara Hershey gives the performance of her life as the frightened character of Carla, who grows and evolves as the film moves forward. She is adequately supported by the rest of the cast who all play likable characters, except for the doctor; he just becomes annoying and ultimately ends up looking very stupid.
Unfortunately the special effects have not withstood the test of time very well, they aren't laughably bad by any stretch of the imagination, but they really do look pretty tired now.
Overall 'The Entity' is an under-rated film that is actually one of the best horror movies of the 80's. It has great tension that starts right from the word 'action', it successfully grabs your attention and doesn't let you go and it's very graphic and disturbing in the way a horror movie should be.
8/10 brilliant supernatural Horror
As I viewed this film, I felt appalled yet effected by it. Anytime a woman is sexually taken advantage of, the reaction isn't forthcoming. Couple that with the fact that the woman is taken advantage of by a paranormal entity and you have a whole different experience on your hands. The film shook me to the very core for the unusual "invisible" rape scenes that occur are chilling and hard to forget. The film is a horror film at the very core, but daring to dive headfirst into the subject matter. It is unflinching and haunting. It is badly uneven and at times has some cooky dialogue. The makers claim this film is based on fact which only adds to the film's underlying theme. The ending is quite bad and ruins the film from being totally mind thumping. Plus it is hard to swallow. But Barbara Hershey is outstanding and never comes off hammy or over-the-top. I really must offer restraint to those who are easily disturbed or squeamish. ****/*****
I saw this movie in the theaters when I was 6. It scared the crap out of me then... Now I am 30 and it still scares the crap out of me. Wow! What an amazing horror/thriller. This movie is what a suspenseful horror film should be. The directing and cinematography are incredible. The story unfolds as it sucks you in and doesn't let go for a second. It's a shame these types of films are rarely made anymore. The atmosphere is nauseatingly creepy, the acting on every front is exceptional and the soundtrack is fresh and original. The fact that it is based on true events only adds to the scares. Why can't Hollywood make movies like this anymore? 25 years after its release it still holds up! If you want to have some serious nightmares watch it alone, at night with the lights off. I dare you...
"The Entity" is a well made horror film about a supernatural phenomenon
tormenting a woman by sexually attacking her repeatedly. The thing that
strikes me interesting about this movie is that it's supposedly based on
fact! Barbara Hershey gives a very strong performance as Carla Moran, the
woman who one night has her life turned upside down when she's raped by an
unseen mass. And this invisible visitor has no intentions of leaving her
alone! She seeks help first from a psychiatrist (played by Ron Silver) who
she feels ain't helping her. Then she runs into a group of parapsychologists
who think have a solution to get rid of this entity. "The Entity" is quite
scary in certain spots helped occasionally by an eerie and overbearing music
score. There are some scenes that are kind of laughable, but for me "The
Entity" provided more scares than laughs. Hershey gives a terrific
performance in an early film role that could have been demeaning but isn't.
The nude scenes are either the use of a body double or a make-up puppet. And
when you watch this scenes, you can see it can't be Hershey's body your
looking at. "The Entity" has a few silly moments, but all-in-all it's an
effective horror film.
*** (out of four)
Aspect ratio: 2.39:1 (Panavision)
Sound format: 6-track Dolby Stereo
(35mm and 70mm release prints)
A busy single mother (Barbara Hershey) is inexplicably targeted by a monstrous, invisible 'entity' which emerges from nowhere and begins to assault her on a regular basis.
Based on events recounted in Frank DeFelitta's bestselling book, Sidney J. Furie's compelling shocker takes all the dramatic liberties one might expect of a Hollywood production, though DeFelitta's script manages to establish a genuine conflict between intractable science (spearheaded by Ron Silver as Hershey's disbelieving psychiatrist) and open-minded parapsychology (led by warm-hearted Jacqueline Brookes). Furie uses dutch angles and vivid closeups to emphasize the human tragedy at the heart of the story, as Hershey struggles to come to terms with her fantastical situation, only to be torn between Silver's increasingly ludicrous 'rationalizations' (he concludes that her experiences amount to little more than a sublimated incestuous crush on her handsome teenage son, played by David Labiosa!) and the day-to-day reality of her encounters with paranormal forces. Thankfully, despite suggestions of Silver's romantic attraction to Hershey, director and screenwriter keep a tight rein on proceedings, stripping all non-essential business from the central narrative.
Giving one of her best performances, Hershey is deeply affecting as the simple woman caught up in extraordinary circumstances beyond her control, and Furie stages the various supernatural assaults with frightening intensity, underlined by Charles Bernstein's pounding music score which elevates proceedings to a whole new level of horror. Despite the sexual nature of the attacks, Furie resists an urge to indulge the audience's voyeurism, and aside from one brief nude scene (employing a fairly obvious body double) and a full-body appliance (courtesy of Stan Winston) to depict invisible fingers manipulating Hershey's torso, the film is quite restrained in its portrayal of this sensitive material. The climactic visual effects - supervised by William Cruse - are remarkably poor, but this minor blemish isn't enough to weaken the film's cumulative impact. Listen out for the entity's only line of 'dialogue', as creepy as it is obscene.
Actually, "The Entity" isn't a haunted house movie as much as it is a
haunted person movie since the ghost or "the entity" only follows the
main character around. What makes this movie darker than say
"Poltergeist" is that we hardly ever see the demon that causes all the
trouble. We only see what it does and that's raping its poor victim
A story such as this could easily have become campy, especially since it was made in 1981. Surprisingly, "The Entity" still holds up very well. The performances are convincing, the characters are believable and the special effects are reduced to a minimum. The whole script comes dangerously close to losing its balance when in the last third of the movie a team of parapsychologists turns up and has some "really rad ideas" on how to destroy The Entity. However, thankfully the movie doesn't go too much over the top.
The weak points of "The Entity" are that it's not too scary and too long, both for the sake of maintaining veracity since this is supposedly based on a true story. As a horror movie it could have used better pacing and some jump scenes. The score is minimalist in that it's only a thunderous beat that kicks in as soon as The Entity turns up. What worked well in "The Thing" is a bit too little here. The same can be said about the ending. An open ending can be a good thing, but there should at least come a satisfying climax before it and at the end the main character's situation should have changed for better or for worse. "The Entity" kind of just stops without the heroine achieving anything.
A remake by Hideo Nakata is in the works and it seems to be a good idea to hand the project to an Asian director as the rawness of the story would probably get lost in the hands of an American. Here's one original movie that can be bettered as much as it could be worsened. We'll see what happens.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
*SPOILER ALERT* *SPOILER ALERT*
Barbara Hershey lives in a house with a son, two little girls and an invisible rapist. Her doctor thinks she's hysterical. She has had a rough life. Therefore, it must be all in her head. Everyone else believes her except the doctor. "It must be mass hallucinations!" People get thrown around, wrists are broken and yet the doctor still can't give in. His skepticism continues unabated throughout the movie. Thankfully some college ghostbusters show up to help Barbara.
The movie's main strength is this: It ain't subtle. The filmmakers go out of their way to show that invisible guy is in fact, raping her. See Barbara Hershey's breasts get squeezed by invisible hands! That was a classic moment. I liked the invisible rapists theme song too. Every time he would attack this loud music would accompany his assault.
The doctor got annoying after awhile. There always seems to be the scientific fool who doesn't believe in ghosts, trying to ruin the movie for everyone. I wish he would have come to his senses a little earlier in the flick than never. Why The Entity is so obsessed with her is never explained. The flick tries to make an argument about female hysteria creating The Entity but that argument loses steam by about the third assault. Invisible man is there, he wants her and there you go. I liked it.
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