Monday, December 28, 2009

The Entity (1981)

Director: Sidney J. Furie
Anchor Bay DVD OOP

It's safe to say I am a horror fan (though my tastes do lean to Gothic & classic horror) but I seldom find horror films scary. While the cheap jump/scare moments can be effective, very few horror films make me genuinely nervous. But watching The Entity, my nerves were definitely rattled. The problem is what it took to throw off my iron constitution. We're told that the story is based on fact. Barbara Hershey plays a single mom of three that is attacked one night by an invisible force. This is the first of many attacks that are depicted in the film and by attack, I mean sexually assaulted by a ghost. Each one gets progressively more violent and one is even witnessed by her children. If the subject matter and it's supposed truth wasn't disturbing enough, it's accompanied by a loud metal clanging noise on the soundtrack that sent me into fits. In fact, the noise probably contributes to about 70% of my jangled nerves during the screening experience. The problem of the film, however, is the fact that we are told that these are based on true events. The moments we see re-enacted are in no way presented in such a way that they're are open for interpretation. In such outstanding films as The Haunting or The Innocents, the events could be just figments of imagination or conversely, in something like Poltergeist, we know we're in a fictitious story and are not supposed to think these things actually happened. The other major flaw with the film is not knowing anything about the Barbara Hershey character other than that she is a struggling single mother. The scenes between the attacks, like her seeing a psychiatrist played by Ron Silver, are tedious and feel like nothing more than filler to get us to the set pieces. The largest of which is the rather ridiculous ending on a giant sound stage that is built to recreate her house. Overall, it's not a film I ever wish to revisit, but I have to give some credit for it actually being a disturbing experience.
The DVD on Anchor Bay is now out of print and getting pricey. I was able to get this pretty easily on Netflix but who knows how long that will be available. The print is fine and the disc contains a half hour interview with one of the parapsychologists that worked on the real life case. He reveals that the story is exaggerated for the film (big shock!).


1 comment:

  1. Here ya' go, Homes:
    I think this is quite a bit better than the source material.