Released around the same time as the original Spielberg production of Poltergeist, The Entity is based on a real-life incident that allegedly took place in 1976.
The film does share similarities with Poltergeist in that it also focuses on the impact of a parapsychological experience on a closely-knit family and interestingly, according to some online reports, this film was originally touted as a 1981 release, a year or so before the Tobe Hooper classic appeared in theaters, so intriguingly might have become a far bigger success in cinemas had it arrived at that time.
Directed by Sidney J. Furie and adapted by Frank De Felitta from his novel of the same name, The Entity chronicles the story of single mother-of-three Carla Moran (Barbara Hershey) who one night becomes the focus of a rather vicious and malevolent supernatural force who attacks and physically rapes her. The subsequent trauma becomes a point of interest, particularly to a doctor, Dr. Phil Sneiderman (Ron Silver), who is cynical about Carla's interpretation of her experience and tries to add rational medical reasoning. For all this assessment and analysis, it isn't helping to find a solution as the physical attacks on Carla continue...
The Entity wastes no time in getting to the nitty-gritty of the story and maintains a series of consistent shocks throughout. However, these moments are combined with some really smart performances, especially from the superb Hershey in one of her early best performances, countered by riveting support from competent character actor Silver, who went on to appear in other films like Enemies: A Love Story and Timecop, amongst others.
Technical credits are also impressive, with the music from Charles (A Nightmare On Elm Street) Bernstein, camerawork from Stephen H. Burum (St. Elmo's Fire, The Untouchables) and some nifty make-up effects from the late, great Stan Winston (T2: Judgment Day et al).
If you like more recent offerings like Paranormal Activity, The Entity will certainly be one that will float above the bed. It's another welcome Blu-ray re-issue which looks as good as ever.
Overall, even today, The Entity remains a refreshingly intelligent take on parapsychological and unexplained phenomenon. The intent of the evil spirit makes it all the more shocking and the attacks on Carla are disturbingly executed. The subtext of Carla's own emotional worries and stresses make both the physical and psychological issues all the more of a concern and an interesting focus for people who might want to explore the reality of the context. More recent offerings like Paranormal Activity will also provide some appeal to younger fans to see The Entity.
THE ENTITY (1982) / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: SIDNEY J. FURIE / SCREENPLAY: FRANK DE FELITTA / STARRING: BARBARA HERSHEY, RON SILVER, DAVID LABIOSA / RELEASE DATE: 15TH MAY