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With: Barbara Hershey, Ron Silver
Written by: Frank De Felitta
Directed by: Sidney J. Furie
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 125
Date: 09/30/1982

The Entity (1981)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Spectral Outlet

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Before Poltergeist or Ghostbusters came this based-on-a-true story horror pic about a single mother (Barbara Hershey) who is repeatedly raped and psychologically tormented by an unseen demon. A psychiatrist (Ron Silver) tries to persuade her that it's all in her head, but we in the audience know better. Though reviled upon its original release, The Entity is in hindsight quite interesting, especially for the way it doesn't wear it's based-on-a-true story claim on its sleeve.

Veteran director Sidney J. Furie (The Ipcress File) films in an appealingly inky widescreen frame, employing a very intense hammering score to underline the terror. The A-list cast and very good dialogue by Frank De Felitta -- who adapted his own book -- helps a great deal. Seen here at the top of her game, the deeply beautiful Hershey especially goes the extra few yards for her agonized performance. At age 72, Furie is still working steadily as of 2005, having logged nearly 50 pictures -- mostly of the "B" variety -- since 1959.

Anchor Bay Entertainment has released a lovely widescreen DVD of The Entity, though its lone 2.0 audio track is too soft in dialogue and too loud in sound effects, and there are no subtitles. Extras include a 27-minute featurette, interviewing one of the parapsychologists who worked on the original case in 1976, a photo gallery and a trailer. The original screenplay is included as a DVD-Rom extra. A Blu-ray followed in 2012.

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