Directed by Sidney J. Furie [Other horror films: Doctor Blood’s Coffin (1961), The Snake Woman (1961)]
The Entity is a decently strong film with somewhat harrowing subject matter, and while I think a case could be made that it runs a tad long, it may well be worth a look.
Based on a novel by Frank De Litta from 1978, I’ve seen this one once before, at least eight years ago (at the time of this writing), and I think my views are pretty consistent. The special effects are impressive when they pop up (Stan Winston’s involvement may have something to do with that), the story has its strong moments, and some scenes have fantastic suspense.
On the flip-side, it’s probably longer than it needs to be (at two hours and five minutes, it’s not a quick walk through the park), but for the most part, I think the content awards it if you can deal with it’s run-time.
Barbara Hershey (who pops up quite some time later in the Insidious series) does fantastically as the central character, and the scenes in which she’s raped are actually somewhat hard to watch. Though little is ever shown, save a specific scene or two, the performance is so real that it feels legitimately uncomfortable. I don’t know Hershey from many other things, and aside from the aforementioned Insidious, she hasn’t really been in many horror films, but her performance here is top-notch.
Most interesting to me was Ron Silver. Firstly, his character was entirely wrong about the situation that Hershey’s character was going through throughout the whole film, and yet he’s arguably one of the few who legitimately cares for her (though, I think, to the detriment of her mental well-being). On Silver himself, though, ever since I finally watched through all of The West Wing (a show in which Silver occasionally pops up on), I’ve been intrigued when I see him in other places, such as the made-for-television horror Shadow Zone: The Undead Express. His performance here is the best I’ve seen, and it’s quite riveting stuff, especially since his character is quite interesting.
No others really stood out all that much. I liked Margaret Blye, and how her character was one of the first to really believe what Hershey was going through. As much as I wished otherwise, neither of the parapsychologists stood out that well, though their superior, played by Jacqueline Brookes, wasn’t too shabby. Also, though not that relevant to the story, Alex Rocco (Moe Greene in The Godfather) randomly popping up was interesting.
The story does get a bit iffy around the hour and twenty minute mark – it’s around this time that the central character has parapsychology students swarming her house, and seems more invested in getting evidence of the entity on camera or pictures as opposed to her own well-being (though I don’t doubt that validation too would be helpful). It does lead to a somewhat interesting debate, though, between the harder sciences of psychology versus the pseudo-science of parapsychology, and those debates are always fun.
I don’t think The Entity is a great movie because elements of the conclusion could have been tightened up a little (I like much of the mock-house experiment, but I wanted more out of it), but it is a decent movie, and if supernatural phenomena is your thing, and you’ve not seen this movie, treat yourself.