The Film: The Entity, 1981
The Principals: Sidney J Furie (Director), Barbara Hershey, Ron Silver, Alex Rocco, Caspar the Horny Ghost
A woman is repeatedly and brutally raped. By a ghost.
Is it Good:
Hell yeah. The Entity is one of the weirdest movies in existence, and not because of its subject matter of ghost rape. No, it’s the fact that The Entity isn’t an exploitation film but rather a fairly well-budgeted and entirely self-serious movie about the problem of ghost rape that makes it so completely odd.
Barbara Hershey is a single mom of three who, out of nowhere, gets savaged by an invisible being. The attacks continue while Hershey seeks psychiatric advice. Ron Silver is the Scorsesian shrink who gets assigned to her case, and who can’t believe that she’s actually getting penetrated by deceased dong. As Hershey’s life predictably falls apart – she is, after all, being beaten and molested by a horny ghost more or less every night – she gets desperate for help and turns to some local parapsychologists. These folks hatch a scheme so harebrained, so unwieldy and so expensive that the ghost raping isn’t the least plausible part of the movie.
But it’s the seriousness of the film that keeps getting to me. The Entity plays like The Accused with a ghost instead of a Bally machine; the entire movie feels like the focus is on telling the story of a brave victim who stood up. There’s a proto-Lifetime movie thing going on here, which is so silly with the subject matter. But if this was just exploitation trash – an excuse to show a naked lady being taken advantage of without a dude in the way of the best view – it wouldn’t be so odd and charming.
Without a doubt. At the very least it’s worth watching for the crazy special effects when the ghost is feeling up Barbara Hershey’s boobs and you can see the indentations of his ghost fingers but nothing else. It’s also worth watching so you can try to imagine what it was like to be on the set for the days when they shot the rape scenes, with poor Barbara Hershey giving it her all while an invisible hand smooshes her face into the shower curtain.
Oh, and how can you skip a movie where not only does a ghost keep on raping Barbara Hershey, he does it in front of her kids? Also, I don’t want to spoil the ending but the parapsychologists decide liquid helium is the best way to fight a ghost. Have I sold you yet?
Alex Rocco is cast as Hershey’s boyfriend. Can you imagine that Hollywood used to do stuff like that? This movie is interesting because the parapsychologist angle really reminds one of Poltergeist, years before that film was made. They even suspect the titular entity is a poltergeist at one point. This movie is supposedly based on true events, but give me a fucking break.
Cinematic Soulmates: Poltergeist, High Spirits, Inseminoid, The Accused