THE ENTITY, directed by Sidney J. Furie and released in 1982, is a psychological horror film that remains both intriguing and controversial to this day. Based on a true story, the movie delves into the unsettling experiences of a woman named Carla Moran, who claims to be haunted and sexually assaulted by an evil, invisible entity. This retrospective will explore the critical aspects of the film, its impact, and its legacy in the realm of horror cinema.
THE ENTITY is loosely based on the real-life case of Doris Bither, a woman who claimed to be tormented by supernatural forces in her home during the 1970s. The film explores fear, powerlessness, and the blurred line between the supernatural and psychological.
The story follows Carla Moran, portrayed brilliantly by Barbara Hershey, a single mother who becomes the target of an evil entity that subjects her to repeated, brutal sexual assaults. Her struggle to find help and understanding from skeptical friends, family, and professionals adds to the film’s tension. The plot takes a psychological approach, exploring the trauma and psychological toll that paranormal experiences can have on an individual.
THE ENTITY is notable for its effective use of suspense, atmospheric tension, and well-paced storytelling. Sidney J. Furie’s direction creates an eerie atmosphere, heightened by Jerry Goldsmith’s haunting score. The film also excels in its practical effects, which were groundbreaking for the time, making the entity’s attacks on Carla all the more terrifying.
Barbara Hershey’s performance as Carla Moran is a standout. She conveys the terror and anguish of her character with raw emotion, making her struggle relatable and heart-wrenching. Additionally, Ron Silver delivers a memorable performance as Dr. Sneiderman, the parapsychologist who becomes convinced of Carla’s ordeal.
THE ENTITY was released when supernatural horror was gaining popularity, alongside films like THE EXORCIST and POLTERGEIST. Its graphic depiction of sexual assault generated controversy, with some critics accusing the film of exploiting its subject matter for shock value. Others praised its willingness to tackle a complex and disturbing topic head-on.
The film also questioned the validity of paranormal claims, as it was based on a real case that remains unverified. This ambiguity adds an extra layer of intrigue and discussion to the film’s legacy.
THE ENTITY has endured as a cult classic in the horror genre. Its unflinching portrayal of supernatural assault and its psychological aspects have contributed to its lasting impact. It has inspired discussions on the intersection of horror and trauma, and its influence can be seen in later films that explore similar themes.
THE ENTITY remains a polarizing but undeniably significant film in the horror genre. Its powerful performances, unsettling atmosphere, and willingness to confront challenging subject matter continue to make it a thought-provoking and memorable piece of cinema. Whether one views it as a disturbing exploitation of real suffering or a daring exploration of the human psyche, THE ENTITY has secured its place in the annals of horror film history.