As we were watching Eureka’s Blu-ray release of the 1980s shocker ‘The Entity’ we got into a discussion, what was the secret back then? How come so many films not only gained notoriety at the time but persist decades later to continue to shock and entertain us? (referencing of course other power house movies, specifically ‘Rosemary’s baby’ and ‘The Exorcist’.
‘The Entity’ certainly is one of those films, and this re-release brings us yet another definitive edition – certainly in terms of picture and sound quality, and most importantly, another great excuse to revisit its traumatic content.
The plot of ‘The Entity’ revolves around the continual sexual assaults of a mother by an unseen and unknown force. The film doesn’t waste any time getting to the point either, with the dirge of distorted electronic drums following a subtle, silent and chilling build up, we see the helpless mother raped and tormented only for her screams to be met with a returning silence as her assailant vanishes into thin air. Naturally she begins to try to escape her living nightmare by visiting friends, a psychiatrist and ultimately paranormal team of ‘experts’, but nothing seems to deter her tormentor.
Despite the age of the film the plot has pace and structure akin to more modern movies, which ultimately sees its 2 hour running time pass in a blink. The films scare sequences come at frequent intervals, with the tension being built up through a number of character interactions, all fantastically acted, and all designed to narrow the margins of escape for our protagonist as one by one those she trusts abandon her in one way or another. It isn’t a pleasant film by any stretch of the imagination, and between the atmospheric scare sequences and the harrowing subject material it is a genuinely nerve wracking ride to the films odd final act.
In terms of the final third of the film (anyone who has seen the film will get what I mean), it doesn’t quite match up to the quality and tone of what comes before it, but, it certainly doesn’t detract as much as I remember it doing the first few watches. I won’t ruin it for you, but the film takes a rather slight diversion which would be more suited to one of the poltergeist movies. Here the Blu-ray quality shines through, and whilst I wouldn’t go as far as stating that this film is a special effects masterpiece, they certainly fit in better to this remaster than my previous version of the film. As a result, I felt the departure from the sinister more typical horror-movie style has a little more gravitas, and a little less jarring.
The odd diversion aside, this film is nothing short of a masterpiece with regards to tension and tone; despite not showing a great deal of the assaults – and lord knows you surely wouldn’t want to – it creates such a grim feeling which will stick with you long after the disc has stopped spinning and the ‘Entity’ protagonist has growled its final vile torment and we are treated to the statement that this was based, in part, on a true story.
Overall, ‘The Entity’ is an easy recommendation to make, with Eureka’s release offering up a perfect rendering of a classic shocker. It’s available from all the usual retailers May 22nd.