THE ENTITY. 1981. DIRECTED BY SIDNEY FURIE. SCREENPLAY BY FRANK DE FELITTA. BASED ON THE BOOK 'THE ENTITY' BY FRANK DE FELITTA.
STARRING BARBARA HERSHEY. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
I love the little bit of text at the end of some films that tells you what happened to the protagonists after the credits stopped rolling. I nearly died when I read at the end of THE ENTITY that the film was based on true events and that for Carla Moran, the woman at the centre of the story, the nightmare didn't end when the movie did... Wow. Seriously? Man, that is messed-up!
Carla Moran is an ordinary single mom of three in 'Seventies America who is raped repeatedly by a ghost. Yep, that's right. A ghost. Her perfectly ordinary little house is haunted by an 'entity' that holds her down on her bed and in her bathroom and commits serious sexual battery on her, crazy as that sounds.
Her psychologist, the hirsute Dr. Schneiderman, thinks that the problem lies in Carla's mind and that old traumas from her past are manifesting themselves now in the form of ghostly attacks that leave real bruises and actual real chaos behind them.
Carla disagrees with cuddly, kindly Dr. Schneiderman's diagnosis, however. She believes that the entity is real, very real, and so does parapsychologist Dr. Elizabeth Cooley and her little band of ghostbusters. 'Who ya gonna call...?'
They set up camp in Carla's home and witness first-hand some irrefutable evidence that the house is possessed. They have a mad plan to trap The Entity and freeze the bejeesus out of it with liquid helium, the coldest substance known to man. As cold as a woman giving a guy the cold shoulder after he's f***ed up in some way? I doubt it.
In order to do this, anyway, they recreate a facsimile of Carla's home in their laboratory and use Carla to lure The Entity there. Personally, I kind of feel that the film, which was brilliant and terrifying up to this point, falls apart (only briefly, mind you) round about here.
The rape and battery scenes in Carla's real bedroom and bathroom are genuinely atmospheric and frightening. The banging, clanging, pumping, thumping musical score that is used to accompany these scenes is spot-on, too, and adds much to the freaky atmosphere.
I watched the film on my own the first time round and this was a big mistake. I was too terrified to go to bed properly in case there was an Entity-Rapist in my bedroom. I put on clean underwear and some perfume, though, just in case there was, ahem.
The scenes in the laboratory just don't have the same scary atmosphere. Also, it's a pretty stupid Entity that can't tell the difference between someone's home and a controlled scientific environment designed solely to trap him. What a schmuck, eh...? Stupid Entity.
The experiment appears to be working at first, but it looks like it ultimately fails as the end of the film sees Barbara Hershey, who's excellent in this role, by the way, returning to her home and being greeted by the voice of The Entity welcoming her home with some pretty f**ing foul language, the bad-mannered little f**k! Creepy f**ing stuff indeed.
According to the text at the end of the film, the film was not only based on true events but the sexual assaults to which Carla Moran was subjected continued at least until the film was made some years afterwards. It boggles the mind, doesn't it? Ghost-sex is freaky enough but ghost-rape...? That's something else again.
I was reading up on the true story behind this fantastically scary film. Doris Bither was the real-life Carla Moran. Still is, if she's alive today, which I don't know, unfortunately. She lived in the real-life 'Entity House' with her small daughter and her three sons aged ten, thirteen and sixteen. The house still exists, I think, in Culver City, California.
Poor Doris had a history of having been sexually, emotionally and physically abused by the men in her life. She was self-medicating, as they call it, with alcohol and maybe pills as well. (Woo-hoo! I don't have a drinking problem at all, I'm merely self-medicating...!)
Doris reported being attacked and raped numerous times in her home by a force she couldn't
see. It sounds just as terrifying as what goes on in the film, which director Martin Scorcese incidentally describes as 'one of the scariest horror films of all time.'
I tend to agree with the great director, because your home is where you're supposed to be safe from assailants. Safe from attack. Safe from rape, the worst crime against the person after murder.
To get back to Doris though, the psychologists around her had kind of a field day when she described being raped by a very strong male entity while two entities of lesser strength and size held her down. And her with three growing sons, if you catch my drift.
The truly horrific thing about Doris's story, and I see no reason to disbelieve it (there are more things in Heaven and Earth, after all, than we shall ever know) is that stuff like that can happen to anyone. An online article by a chap called Xavier Ortega references the words of Dr. Barry Taff, who investigated the real-life 'Entity' case:
The unconscious mind that is troubled by a physically or verbally abusive environment and negative upbringing is like a lightning rod to paranormal activities. Either attracting poltergeist activity or psychosomatically creating it.
In other words, Doris's abusive upbringing coupled with her drinking and the hostile relationship between herself and her three sons, plus the negative energy present in the house generally, may have combined to create some sort of psychic force in the house that made it seem like the physical attacks on Doris were really happening.
That doesn't, of course, explain the outline of a huge muscular male that appeared through a greenish mist in the house during one of the psychic investigators' researches. One of the investigators fainted after witnessing this materialisation. I think I would have passed out, too.
It's a great little horror film, though, even if the second hour doesn't quite measure up to the first for sheer, heart-stopping terror. It brings the idea of things that go bump in the night to a whole new level. Ghost-sex, though...? I suppose it could come in handy if you haven't been laid in a while. Cure for a dry spell? Why, some good strenuous ghost-sex, of course.
I remember Marge Simpson from THE SIMPSONS once snapped at her hapless hubby Homer that 'ghost-sex is nothing. It's worse than nothing!' Obviously, they were ghosts at the time for some reason which I can't remember, haha. Anyway, Homer counters with: 'Then why were you moaning?' To which Marge replies, quick as a flash: 'I'm a ghost...!'
I'm not sure I'd fancy it myself, though, ghost-sex. It's hard enough to get a human male to remember to call you after you've had sex, but a ghost...? You'd have no chance. He'd have hauled his sorry ectoplasmic ass the hell out of Dodge before you could say: “So, when can I see you again...?”
I'll stick to live guys, thanks very much. They may not always be perfect but at least they're slightly easier to track down when you're filling out those all-important child support forms. Imagine having to put down 'Unknown' when you have to write in the father's address...
The good news is that this brilliantly scary supernatural horror flick will be out on special release from Monday 15th May 2017, courtesy of the jolly folks at EUREKA ENTERTAINMENT.
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:
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