The Entity


"The Entity" is based on a supposedly true story from the 1970s, about a mother of three who was continually attacked and raped by an invisible spirit. According to the film, the real-life Carla Moran left California and moved with her three children to Texas... where these attacks reportedly continue to this day.

Barry E. Taff, Ph.D. kindly wrote in to add: The real life Entity case occurred from 1974-5 in Culver City California. The focus of the case, Doris Bither, had four children, three boys and one girl. I was the principle investigator of the case and if you want to read what really transpired, read chapter two of my book "Aliens Above, Ghosts Below: Explorations of the Unknown"

More Trivia from The Entity
Carla Moran (Barbara Hershey) is a beautiful and intelligent single mother, who lives in Los Angeles with her three children - teenage son Billy (David Labiosa) and little daughters Julie (Natasha Ryan) and Kim (Melanie Gaffin).

Life is pretty uneventful for Carla, who lives on welfare and attends secretarial school while missing boyfriend Jerry (Alex Rocco), who is on the road for long periods of time because of his job.

However, Carla's life changes forever one night when she returns home late and is viciously attacked and raped by an unseen presence. Carla's screams awaken Billy, who searches the house only to find absolutely nothing, or nobody, there... and all the doors and windows are firmly locked. Billy tells Carla she must have been having a nightmare, but Carla knows she was wide awake.

At the advice of her kindly best friend, Cindy (Margaret Blye), Carla seeks professional help from psychiatrist Dr. Phil Sneiderman (Ron Silver). However, as the assaults by this invisible being continue and Sneiderman believes it all to be a figment of Carla's imagination, she instead turns to parapsychologists for help...


Based on Frank De Felitta's bestselling novel, which itself was inspired by allegedly true events, "The Entity" is a horror film similar in vein to such films as "The Amityville Horror" and "Poltergeist", while never managing to become such a cult favourite like those two particular titles.

"The Entity" works best due to an outstanding performance from the brilliant Barbara Hershey. Her portrayal of Carla Moran must surely go down in history as one of her most amazing pieces of acting, envoking huge audience sympathy for her plight, managing to stay strongwilled for the sake of her children, and eventually doing anything in her power to stop this evil thing from entering her life. It's a shame that horror films are more or less ignored by the Academy, because Hershey really was deserving of a Best Actress Oscar nomination that year.

The film is not exactly scary, but it is certainly intense and disturbing - the many scenes in which Carla is raped by something not seen by the human eye are quite unpleasant to watch, although Hershey plays them very well. As is so often the case in horror movies, it is far more chilling when things are left to the viewer's imagination - the film's special effects are its weakest element, when the entity of the title at times appears as bolts of lightening or a shade of green light.

Some of the best scenes are the therapy sessions between Hershey and Ron Silver, as her disbelieving psychiatrist. Silver had the best role of his career in "The Entity", as the shrink who cannot believe what his patient is telling him, while his personal affection for her becomes stronger by the day.

Margaret Blye is a breath of fresh air, as Southern belle Cindy - Carla's best friend, who is there for her at the drop of a hat. Blye also has the film's best quote, when she tells her friend: "Carla, you are definitely NOT insane - but when men who are not actually there come into your room and have intercourse with you, then it's time to see a good psychiatrist!"

Unfortunately, the film lets itself down in the third act, when stereotypical scientists enter the picture to hopefully capture and isolate the entity (with huge cannisters of liquid helium, no less!), but that shouldn't put you off watching an otherwise intelligent horror film.

Notice any mistakes? Review

Strengths: Barbara Hershey's outstanding performance

Weaknesses? Disturbing rape sequences, unnecessary special effects

Our rating: 7.5 out of 10

Review Written by Barnaby Marriott:  Contact  |  More Reviews by Barnaby Marriott
The Entity