Entity, The (1982)

Entity, The (1982)

“I don’t know what they were; I couldn’t see them — I felt them.”

After a single mother (Barbara Hershey) of a teenager (David Labiosa) and two girls is violently raped by an unseen entity in her bedroom, she struggles to get those around her — including her best friend (Margaret Blye) and a psychologist she begins seeing (Ron Silver) — to believe her. Eventually, as the attacks persist, she secures help from a pair of paranormal researchers (Richard Brestoff and Michael Alldredge) working for a noted professor (Jacqueline Brookes), all of whom are determined to help document what might be happening to Hershey.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Barbara Hershey Films
  • Horror Films
  • “No One Believes Me!”
  • Psychotherapy
  • Rape
  • Single Mothers

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that this horror film — “supposedly based on a genuine case history” — includes “rape scenes [that] are truly scary (though the brutality may turn off some viewers),” and “shows how males immediately try to give females the weaker inadequate position in relationships.”

He notes that Silver is presented as someone “who simultaneously tries to get [Hershey] to believe there is something wrong with her and to take him as her lover,” and points out that while “it seems that Silver will be the film’s hero despite playing mind games with Hershey,” “fortunately, in a very good scene, Hershey permanently rejects him.” He concludes by noting that “director Sidney J. Furie wisely shot the beautiful Hershey in close-up to build intensity:

… [and] gave her free reign,” resulting in “a truly great performance that, because it’s in a very flawed horror film, won Hershey little attention instead of a deserved Oscar nomination.” I’m essentially in agreement with Peary’s assessment of this intriguing but over-long, overly brutal horror flick which pulls no punches in depicting a truly demonic entity ravaging poor Hershey. Hershey’s performance is consistently compelling, and it’s satisfying to watch her holding her own in the midst of the numerous men who fail to support her — but with that said, I won’t be returning to this deeply disturbing flick any time soon (if again).

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Barbara Hershey as Carla Moran (nominated as one of the Best Actresses of the Year in Peary’s Alternate Oscars)
  • Impressive visual and special effects

Must See?
No, but it’s worth a look for Hershey’s performance.


2 thoughts on “Entity, The (1982)

  1. ⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    When I first saw this film on VHS in the mid ’80s I took it to be a sort of adult Poltergeist (1982) but it actually predates that film; although released in ’82 it actually is copyrighted 1981.

    I agree with both Peary and yourself Sylvia; disturbing film guided by an award worthy central starring performance. I’m not sure I buy it as being based on a true incident but these kind of supposedly true supernatural / paranormal tales proliferated back then.

    It is also overlong and could’ve done with some tightening up. A good film that’s recommended but not a significant film in any way so not essential or must see.

  2. Not must-see.

    Director Sidney J. Furie is on-record as saying that he did not consider this a horror film but, instead, a “supernatural suspense movie”. Screenwriter Frank De Felitta had written a novel based on “true events” but there appears to be little known re: where ‘truth’ leaves off here and where pure fiction begins. Furie apparently never met the real-life victim, nor did Hershey.

    I have a sort-of interest in ‘the unexplainable’ but what we have here is basically the supernatural brought down to the level of an average popcorn flick (moments of terror spliced in-between talky ‘What can be done?!’ sequences).

    Ultimately the film is unsatisfying but fans of phenomenon flicks will have interest.

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