In the wake of The Amityville Horror (1979) a ridiculous clunky haunted house film which purported to be based on true events, a number of horror films tried to use the same trick to sell tickets and add legitimacy to the sadistic events played out in the film. The Entity is one of the more sadistic poltergeist/haunted house films to see the light of day, but this hasn’t stopped its descent into cinematic obscurity. Unlike Poltergeist (1982) which revelled in and celebrated its fantasy elements (and is all the more enjoyable for it) The Entity is solemn and takes itself way to seriously - especially when you consider that the premise is simply suburban single mum gets raped and sexually molested by an invisible demon/poltergeist/spirit (the film is unclear as to what it actually is). The film is pretty unclear on just about everything, and the final message is confused. Unusually the film offers no clear cut answers to the paranormal events, but its position is clearly with that of the parapsychologists who emerge as unlikely heroes in the face of academic snobbery.
Carla Moran (played with grace and dignity by Barbara Hershey) is a hardworking single mother of three children, one of whom is grown up. By day she works and by night she studies at college. She struggles to make the payments on the house and spends her spare time pining for her lover, who is away on business most of the time. In other words Carla appears to be totally undeserving of the molestations she endures. The first attack is shocking, simply because it is so unexpected and so vicious and violent with the filmmakers leave nothing to the imagination. This entity is an abusive and violent rapist. The film never quite lives up to this opening, which establishes both Carla’s innocent and hardworking nature and her sudden status as victim. The screenplay is unable to resist the clichés of the form and we get plenty of shaking mirrors, broken ornaments and slamming doors. Unfortunately the impact of this imagery is destroyed by a thumping soundtrack which strikes up every time the entity is up to no good.
© Shaun Anderson 2010