Yes, I'm talking about The Entity, yet another sadistic horror movie detailing the malevolent menacing of an innocent person by much more powerful forces that claims to be based on a true story. Much like others that make this dubious claim, the real deal Holifield is probably much less close to the truth than the Studio Marketing Group would like you to believe.
However, this one's a bit deeper.
Unlike The Exorcism of Emily Rose and The Amityville Horror, The Entity is significantly harder to find the Kernel of truth within. In fact, it's hard to gain any real consensus on whether our main character Carlotta "Carla" Moran (here played by the lovely Barbara Hershey) ever really existed at all. It's hard to say that she has gained any Texas Chainsaw Massacre-like "Urban Legend Status", mainly because few people really remember this critically panned horror film, or the 1978 Frank De Felitta novel it's based on. Still, many of those who do are dead-serious about the idea that Carla Moran and The Entity itself are both 100% real. Many women have even come forward claiming to actually be Carla Moran. None of them are named Carla or Moran, but hey... ah? Hey!
Perhaps it's just as well, as such theories of reality are maybe the only things that keep The Entity's following, such that it is, going. As I said, the film was poorly received by critics, and it's truly "Not That Great". However, in hindsight The Entity isn't so bad either. It features a solid cast, some challenging ideas, palpable fear (even if the audience isn't scared they believe the characters truly are) and some very lovely nudity on the part of the cute and shapely Barbara Hershey. Still, with such classics as Poltergeist, The Exorcist, and any number of also-rans in the same category (like the original The Amityville Horror) it's also hard not to feel that this is a gratuitous and superfluous sub-entry into a dying category.
Carla Moran is a suburban, hard working mother of three. While she's got two well-behaved young daughters (Natasha Ryan's Julie and Melanie Gaffin's Kim) and an older, take charge teenaged son (David Labiosa's Billy), she doesn't exactly have it all. As if she didn't have enough problems, along comes The Entity, an invisible night stalker who makes old Alex De Large look like H.R. Pufnstuf. Upon their first meeting, Carla is thrown onto her bed, a pillow is thrown over her face and she's violently raped and humiliated.
It pretty much goes downhill from there.
Of course the concept of a woman being raped by an invisible lead singer to an equally invisible heavy metal band comprised of horny midgets is a little hard to swallow, so Carla's best girlfriend Cindy Nash (Margaret Blye) insists that she seek medical help.
Unfortunately, kindly doctor Phil Sneiderman (Ron Silver) is convinced (at least at first) that this is all a figment of Carla's imagination and a psychological side-effect of her overly puritanical and abusive upbringing, followed by a colorful and semi-promiscuous adulthood. In short... she's doing this to herself because she has a problem with men. Yeah, now THAT's an enlightened attitude. Way to go, guys! I'll bet the Feminist Alliance is just pouring donations your way. Hell! Man, I'll bet old Sneiderman's boss Dr. Weber (George Coe) is the same kind of doctor who thinks the Women's Suffrage movement was the bi-product of mass PMS, and that the Female Orgasm is a myth. Man, I tell you... if the Female Orgasm is a myth that pretty much burns away the only thing I'm truly good at doing.
What follows is a collection of the mostly-familiar with repetitive scenes of rape and humiliation laced throughout its run time. You've got the Paranormal Psychologists that set up camp in the haunted house (led by Jacqueline Brookes' excellent Dr. Elizabeth Cooley), the controlled environment where the experiment is recreated, the skeptical doctors... everything but the creepy priest showing up to give ominous warnings.
It's hard not to predict this film piece by piece and step by step. And that includes the ending. However, there are some pretty original elements here and there, including some earnest acting and interesting effects. For one, the typical clichÚs of poltergeists, like shaking walls and horrible smells, are supplemented with an interesting use of free floating electricity. This lightening suggests the form of The Entity and gives us the only clues about whether this is real or not. Further, some of the special effects are interesting to the point that it's hard to tell how they did them. For example, there's an exciting scene in which Carla is sleeping topless, and her breasts are being fondled and suckled by an invisible presence. And let me tell you, there is no question that they are being fondled and suckled. I don't know how they did it but they did it beautifully! Yes, I realize that sounds like the same old Brother Kneumsi Lechery, and you're right, I'm fixated on breasts, however, think about this. Regardless of the part of the body we're talking about, the fact that we could see exactly what the effects artists wanted us to see, and detect the biological responses thereof is something noteworthy. Seeing as how we do see Barbara's Beautiful Breasts in another scene, I have to say that if this was a mock up of her chest and torso with bladders, pumps and gizmos inside, I'd have to point out that Stan Winston's special make-up and effects group knows Ms. Hershey's boobs pretty perfectly. They must have paid even more attention than I did, which says something. Man, what a job. I'd feel guilty for even accepting a paycheck for that.
Aside from that, it's rather cheesy, and while The Entity can be watched and enjoyed, especially by fans of the Genre, if you're going to watch a movie like this anyway, why not shoot for Poltergeist? By the time the conflict between Silver's Dr. Phil and the double-pronged approach of Paranormal Investigators Richard Brestoff's Gene Kraft and Raymond Singer's Joe Mehan really gets going it's hard to stay that interested without more Barbara in the Nude. And it's hard to really get behind anything her do-nothing, occasionally appearing, dumbass boyfriend Jerry (Alex Rocco) does. Of course he's just a drop in the misogynistic bucket that is The Entity. This could have turned out to be a great nudity-packed supernatural horror flick, but by about the fifth time some myopic male treated our heroine like a "silly little girl", I was about ready to turn the ol' TV-bone off, punch myself in the balls and limp around the neighborhood apologizing to anyone and everyone without a Y Chromosome I could find, on behalf of all males.
Still, you could do a lot worse, especially when the predictable, yet exciting ending comes around. For you fans of films like The Amityville Horror, Poltergeist and especially The Exorcism of Emily Rose (the balance between illness and possession is explored in spades here), make sure you add The Entity to your Netflix list. Two Stars out of Five for director Sidney J. Furie's The Entity. For those wondering what to expect from a Furie Film, his most famous works are three of the four Iron Eagle movies and his most infamous is Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. Yeah, I know, I know, I know, but again, Barbara Hershey is naked in The Entity. But will she be naked in the next reel? Let's find out, I'll see you there.
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