1983 was a pretty unspectacular year for horror films. Jaws 3D, Psycho II and Stephen King’s Christine were the top grossing genre films of the year while The Hunger, Amityville 3D and Nightmares all flopped at the box office.
Yet the year wasn’t a total write-off. Right there in 53rd place on the highest grossing films of 1983 was a supernatural film based on a shocking true story. The film was The Entity and starred Oscar Nominee Barbara Hershey (Insidious, Black Swan) as Carla Moran, a single mother who is repeatedly tormented and raped by a powerful paranormal entity.
There is no true explanation as to why the attacks begin but a thundering original score by Charles Bernstein accompanies each increasingly violent encounter and signals some frightening and terrifying events.
Carla soon takes refuge first in psychiatrist Phil Sneiderman (Ron Silver). Phil is a rational voice who is open to many possibilities as to why Carla believes she is being attacked.
But when Phil and Carla’s frustrations reach a boiling point, Carla turns to a team of parapsychologists who set up elaborate equipment and perform various tests in an attempt to prove that ghosts and the entity that is distressing Carla are indeed real.
The Entity was directed by Sidney Furie (Iron Eagle) based on the bestselling novel by Frank DeFelitta and has been hard to find outside of some rare European VHS copies that can be found on Ebay. That is until this week when The Entity finally gets released on Blu-Ray ready to be experienced by a whole new audience.
Being over 30-years since its production, The Entity has a few scenes that do feel dated. The concluding chapters capture of the entity in liquid hydrogen being the most groan worthy.
But the story, the acting and the fascination of the story being a fictionalized account of a true story lead to some shocking good scares and even film maestro Martin Scorsese listed The Entity as the 11th scariest film of all-time. Granted, Marty’s list was circa 2009.
For a film shot in 1981, there is a mixed bag of good and bad special effects. When the entity appears in some form of laser show, the sound effects that accompany the practical effects seemed ripped right out of Flash Gordon. On the other hand, the rape scenes were incredible effective and the unseen fondling of Hersey’s breasts remain one of my most memorable horror scenes (I originally screened the film in 1985).
Anchor Bay Entertainment has now given the film new life with the release of the stripped down blu-ray disc. There are no special features to be found. But there is a fascinating and at times frightening movie. One that every horror aficionado should seek out.