• Entity, The

    Released by: Eureka
    Released on: May 15th, 2017.
    Director: Sydney Furie
    Cast: Barbara Hershey, Ron Silver, David Labiosa, George Cole
    Year: 1968
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    The Movie:

    Directed by Sydney Furie from a script by Frank De Felitta based on his novel of the same name, The Entity purports, like many supernatural horror films made around the same time, to be based on a true story. In this case, it’s the Doris Bither case, wherein said woman reported to have been raped by the spirits of three dead Asian men in her California home in 1974.

    The movie starts off with a genuinely intense scene where single mother Carla Moran (Barbara Hershey) is beaten and raped by an unseen force in her bed late at night. He three kids hear her screams and run into the room, but no one is there with her – she has them look around the house and check the closets, but they come up empty handed. When it happens again, Carla takes her kids and flees to the home of her friend Cindy (Margaret Blye). The next day when she returns home, she’s almost killed in a strange car accident.

    At Cindy’s behest, Carlo starts seeing a psychiatrist named Dr. Phil Sneiderman (Ron Silver), but the attacks only seem to intensify and eventually she starts showing up with bruises and abrasions on her body. Sneiderman believes that these were self-inflicted and as the sessions continue we learn that Carla did have a pretty traumatic childhood, the kind that could leave mental scars on a grown woman, but again, the attacks continue and the next assault takes place in front of her three kids, one of whom is injured when he tries to interfere on his mother’s behalf. When Cindy witnesses the next attack, she starts to see things from Carla’s perspective and after a chance meeting with two paranormal investigators at a book store, the two men agree to look into her case. Soon enough, Carla’s boyfriend Jerry (Alex Rocco) also witnesses an attack. When one of her sons hears the commotion and believes Jerry to be abusing his mother, it’s enough to cause Jerry to end the relationship. Despite Sneiderman’s warnings to the contrary, as Carla creeps ever closer to her wits’ end she agrees to participate in an unorthodox experiment in which they hope to trap the entity haunting her.

    This one takes some obvious liberties in terms of how it interprets the events that Doris Bither supposedly went through, but the basic principal is the same – a woman is sexually assaulted by an unseen force and presumed to be crazy be her psychiatrist. It makes sense that those around Carla in the film would doubt her, it’s a fairly preposterous proposition in the first place. What makes The Entity interesting, and less exploitative than it would have been otherwise, is how the lead character finds strength through her experiences. Carla is weak at first, understandably upset and terrified by what has happened to her, but she gets tough and persists, even pushing back against Sneiderman, insistent on using the paranormal investigators she sees as her only hope.

    Despite an interesting but fairly ludicrous premise, the movie works quite well. At almost two hours in length the film doesn’t lag too much and Sydney Furie does a pretty solid job of building tension and suspense. Some of the effects work featured in the film’s finale haven’t aged so well, but you can’t fault a product of its time for being a product of its time. The real reason that this one works, however, is the incredibly committed performance from its lead. Barbara Hershey is remarkably convincing here, really putting herself into the role and delivering some seriously impressive acting. The supporting cast are fine too, but really, this is Hersehy’s show for the most part and she makes the most of it.


    Eureka brings The Entity to Blu-ray on a 50GB disc framed at 2.35.1 widescreen in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. Not much to complain about here, this is a solid film-like effort with a good bit rate and strong black levels. Detail isn’t typically outstanding the way that the best HD presentations are but this certainly rises about what DVD could provide, especially in close up shots which tend to fare better than medium and long distance shots. Colors are nicely reproduced and the image shows no evidence of noise reduction or edge enhancement. Grain appears natural throughout and the image is quite clean, showing very little in the way of print damage, just the odd white speck now and again.

    The only audio option for the feature is an English language DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track with optional subtitles provided in English only. This track is pretty solid, with the genuinely effective score occasionally giving your surround sound system a nice workout. Dialogue is clean and clear and there are no problems with any hiss or distortion to note.

    The only extra we get is a theatrical trailer for the feature, though menus and chapter selection are also included on the disc. It’s a shame that there wasn’t more done here – a featurette on the events that inspired the picture would have been very welcome as would a commentary from the director or Hershey. There are some interesting stories from the set that could have been documented here and it seems like a wasted opportunity.

    The Final Word:

    The Entity was thoroughly trashed by critics when it was first released, but over time it’s rightly developed a decent sized cult following. The film isn’t perfect but it is interesting and Barbara Hershey is frighteningly convincing here – her performance is very good. Eureka’s Blu-ray release is disappointingly light on extras but it looks and sounds very good.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!