The Entity isn't one of the most popular horror films of the 80s especially among the likes of The Thing, Poltergeist and Nightmare on Elm Street which all came out within a similar time frame. However, with legendary director Martin Scorsese naming The Entity among his top 10 scariest films of all time it will bring attention to a horror film that is amongst the most deeply unsettling of the decade.
The film, based on a novel, is about a mother of three who is repeatedly raped by a demonic entity. When the doctors fail to help her she is forced to seek the help of paranormal experts. With its harsh subject matter it comes to no surprise that the film is a difficult watch, the multiple rape sequences are mercifully short but have a lot of power. It's not often that demons are this sexually aggressive, even films such as The Exorcist (which does have its moments) and Rosemary Baby (which also features a demonic rape), which this film is influenced by, don't have such sexually aggressive demons.
The Entity is at its best when you can't see any physical demon activity such the bolts of lightning and green splat which I think is supposed to be the demonic entity. Though they may have been acceptable in its time the special effects are now very ropey and hardly convincing and it is for this reason that the film is by far more terrifying when the demonic entity does not have a physical presence. It's clear, however, that the film's special effects would go on to influence Steven Spielberg in his production of Poltergeist which was released a year later, they are far too similar to be coincidence.
The Entity is a deeply disturbing film and one that is anchored by a magnificent Barbara Hershey performance as she delivers a strong yet vulnerable performance.