The Entity (1982)

When Becca and I first started dating, we looked for this movie on DVD everywhere.  That’s when we learned one of the mysteries of collecting films. Once you find something, it seemingly shows up everywhere.

The Entity was directed by Sidney J. Furie (Iron Eagle, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace) and written by Frank De Felitta (who wrote Audrey Rose and The Edict, which was filmed as Z.P.G. He also directed Dark Night of the Scarecrow). It was based on the true story of Doris Bither, who alleged that the ghosts of three Asian men were raping her.

Carla Moran (Barbara Hershey, Insidious) is a single mother who is continually attacked by a poltergeist who rapes her and then tries to kill her at every turn, including taking control of her car in traffic. She tries to work with Dr. Sneiderman (Ron Silver, one of the best heels ever in a rare babyface role) to solve her issues.

There’s a bonkers scene here where a room of smoking male doctors mansplain away the ghost rape and insult her every step of the way. After all, Carla has endured sexual and physical abuse, teenage pregnancy and the motorcycle riding death of her first husband.

But how can you explain away the fact that she’s been attacked in front of her kids and scientific witnesses? That the ghost zapped her son with electrical energy? Or that her boyfriend (Alex Rocco!) has even seen these attacks?

That’s when the movie descends into madness. Parapsychologists create a model version of her home as a trap, with liquid helium to freeze the entity. It tries to turn the experiment on her, but the doctor saves her and there’s a brief moment where we can see the entity trapped in ice before it vanishes.

The next day, she comes home only to have the front door open by itself and a demonic voice say, “Welcome home, cunt”. Unlike every character in any horror movie before or since, she calmly opens the door, walks outside and drives away with her kids.

There’s a disclaimer at the end that says “The film you have just seen is a fictionalized account of a true incident which took place in Los Angeles, California, in October 1976. It is considered by psychic researchers to be one of the most extraordinary cases in the history of parapsychology. The real Carla Moran is today living in Texas with her children. The attacks, though decreased in both frequency and intensity…continue.”

Interestingly enough, Sidney J. Furie dropped an entire dream sequence and plot thread from The Entity which featured Carla being forced by the entity to have incestuous thoughts about her own son. David Labiosa (who played Carla Moran’s teenage son Billy) said that those aspects were too controversial and sex-charged for the early 1980’s. I guess he’s never seen Amityville II: The Possession!

The Entity is a scary, rough and only in the early 1980’s horror movie. The actual attacks are brutal in their intensity and the sound design of each scene sound like staccato bursts of industrial noise. It’s well-worth hunting down. But be warned! Once you find it, you’ll find it everywhere!

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