Starring Barbara Hershey, Ron Silver and David Labiosa

Directed by Sidney J. Furie

Written by Frank De Felitta

Anchor Bay

Despite online chatter that an Entity remake is on the way (allegedly helmed by Ringu director Hideo Nakata), I find that hard to imagine. First, what studio is going to finance a movie about a malevolent spirit that repeatedly rapes the leading lady? Secondly, which actress would be brave enough to step into the shoes of the original’s star, Barbara Hershey? While not perfect by any means, the original Entity remains a disturbing film made in a bolder time, and a new version would likely be toothless by comparison.

Hershey gives a raw performance as Carla, a single mom raped in her home by an unseen figure. Was it an intruder? Her teenage son Billy (Labiosa) can’t find anyone and the doors are locked. Is she crazy? Her psychiatrist Dr. Sneiderman (Silver) doesn’t think so but nor does he believe that his patient is being attacked by an incubus. Carla struggles to hold her family and her sanity together, and the relief she feels when her best friend Cindy (Margaret Blye) witnesses one supernatural incident is palpable.

There are weaknesses: a final act twist involving scientific attempts to capture the spectre could be ridiculous but is perfectly believable if you’ve bought into what’s gone on before, and the persistent sexual nature of the attacks (and Furie’s lingering camera on Hershey’s nude body double) are distasteful, but that speaks more to my discomfort than the quality of the film. Practical effects by Stan Winston, meanwhile, are incredible, and the musical stings that accompany each attack are discomfiting to say the least, made all the more so on the Blu-ray re-issue.

The Entity asks provocative questions about reason, sex and sanity. Carla’s life is dissected by the attending physicians, and her sexuality, while normal, is implied to be a cause of the attacks. Is she somehow to blame for the assaults? It’s not a huge leap to infer that society also blames rape victims for their attacks, an ongoing issue today.

Anchor Baby’s Blu-ray looks and sounds great but is devoid of extras. Viewers looking to delve further into the film’s history and production are advised to pick up the July issue of Rue Morgue Magazine whose current cover story on the film includes interviews with Furie and Labiosa.

Rating: 3.5/5

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