The Entity [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - Australia - Umbrella Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: James-Masaki Ryan (20th May 2018).
The Film

"The Entity" (1982)

Carla (played by Barbara Hershey) is a single mother of three living in a fairly normal suburban home. But one night is suddenly attacked in her own bedroom. She is thrown onto her bed unable to move, pillow covering her face, physically violated, but when all is done, there is nothing to be seen. The next day something suddenly takes control of her car and she is nearly killed. As the issues start to scare her even more, she goes to Dr. Sneiderman (played by Ron Silver) who tries to study her case. He does not believe or understand what she is going through but tries to help her in any way possible. While people are skeptical that something unseen is attacking her, when the supernatural entity starts to shake the house, destroy windows, and bruise her up and people around her start to witness the happenings, what some suspected were only in her mind start to question the reality of the issue...

"The Entity" was an adaptation the book of the same title from 1978, written by Frank De Felitta, which in turn was based on the true case of Doris Bither who in 1974 claimed she was haunted by an invisible entity and investigated by paranormal investigators. While the film states that the events were based on true happenings, there were many things that were changed from the true case and the novel/film. First of all the names of the people have been changed, the number of kids the mother had were also changed. Bither's home was in a terrible state with both her relationship with her children and literally with the house being condemned, while in the film the mother has a healthy relationship with her children and her home is an average suburban clean home. The novel and film are dramatic recreations that took liberties for entertainment, it used the basis of reality for more frights which may not feel as true as it can be but it works in storytelling sense. Barbara Hershey's portrayal as Carla is one that audiences can easily sympathize with. She is a mother who cares for her children and the children also care for her in return. Although she has made mistakes in the past, she looks at her teenage son Billy, played by David Labiosa with protective eyes, as she at his age made the mistake of running off with a biker and becoming pregnant with Billy at the age of 16. She went through a lot to make the best of things for her children as a single parent and turn her life right side up, and the supernatural forces that are tormenting her give genuine care for the viewers.

Films of supernatural possession such as "The Exorcist" set off a wave such as "Beyond the Door", "The Shining", "Possession", and more, some were truly original while others were carbon copies cashing in. "The Entity" falls somewhere in the middle. Visually it is fairly impressive with its camera angles and composition, and the tension is not always on easy jump scares or about blood and gore. Instead the performance of Hershey and her pleas for help that drive the plot forward. As for the effects, they unfortunately do not stand out very well. The body suit for Hershey during two of her possessions look a bit on the fake side - more noticeable with the high definition transfer, and the scene near the end with the liquid helium looks oddly unsatisfying. Director Sidney J. Furie was not a horror director and was more known for dramas and "The Entity" also falls in that category. The drama is much stronger than the horror elements and for people expecting jumps of fear will be disappointed but for people wanting something on the emotional side will be pleasantly surprised.

"The Entity" was shot in 1982 and received its theatrical premiere in the UK opening on September 30th 1982, followed by Japan, Hong Kong, and other parts of Europe in late 1982. An American release would be delayed until February 4th 1983, opening to mixed reviews and barely a blip in the box office, grossing $13 million on a $9 million budget. In later years it led to a bigger cult following with television and video rentals. DVDs were also issued as well as Blu-rays in more recent years. The film has its minor flaws and unfortunately didn't have a healthy run theatrically in its time, but it is still a very entertaining suspenseful ride more than thirty years onward.

Note this is a region ALL Blu-ray which can be played back on any Blu-ray player worldwide

Video

Umbrella Entertainment presents the film in the theatrical 2.35:1 aspect ratio in 1080p in the AVC MPEG-4 codec. The master from 20th Century Fox has its positives and negatives but mostly on the positive side. It is a fairly consistent transfer with a good balance with skin tones and darker scenes have good detail. Damage has mostly been removed, but there are a few points of dust and specs if looked on close inspection for some scenes. There is a bit of flickering in some color tones and the shots of the special optical effects used can look blurry. Overall, it may be good but it certainly could have benefit from a newer master.

The film's runtime is 125:08.

Audio

English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
The film's 5.1 track is a fairly aggressive one when it comes to music and effects. The score by Charles Bernstein includes synthesizer creepiness, pounding scares, with some orchestral beauty as well, and all the music and effects are well surrounded in the audio track. Dialogue is mostly center based, with some occasional chatter offscreen placed in the left and right channels. Dialogue is almost always easy to understand, but sometimes the balance seems to be a bit lower than the music and effects. There are no issues with hisses, pops, or other errors in the track for a clean mix.

There are optional English HoH subtitles in a white font. The subtitles are well timed and easy to read. There were some portions with errors such as a missing apostrophe, period, or sometimes "I" being spelled as "L" instead.

Extras

"Finding a Voice: A Conversation with Composer Charles Bernstein" featurette (33:15)
In this exclusive interview with the composer Charles Bernstein, he talks about his feelings toward the film as a positive one, how he and Furie collaborated on the score, the use of both synthesizers and an orchestra for the production, as well as anecdotes on composing for film in general.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

"Robert MacNaughton Remembers The Entity" featurette (2:55)
Robert MacNaughton is best known for his performance as the older brother Michael in "E.T.", and may be surprising to see here in the extras for "The Entity" which he wasn't in. In this short interview he recalls auditioning for the part of Billy and not getting the part, but for a fortunate twist, he was referred to the auditioning of "E.T." and won the role. The interview was shot by MacNaughton himself and if he learned anything from his short stint in Hollywood, it definitely wasn't camera work. The camera is placed at a strange angle, MacNaughton is barely in shot, the framerate is low, and looks closer to a bad Skype call where the speaker has no idea where the camera is pointed.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles

Poster and Stills Gallery (1:11)
A collection of mostly behind the scenes stills are offered in an automated slideshow with no music accompaniment.
in 1080p AVC MPEG-4, in 1.78:1

Trailer (1:22)
An upscaled transfer of the original trailer. It is riddled with artifacts, specs, and uneven colors.
in 1080i 60hz AVC MPEG-4, in 1.85:1, in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with no subtitles


The film was released on DVD in various territories, with the US Anchor Bay release having an exclusive featurette on the real case while others only offered the trailer. When Anchor Bay released it on Blu-ray they unfortunately did not port the DVD extras and gave a barebones release. The UK's Eureka! Entertainment later announced a Blu-ray release, but it was also a barebones release. This Umbrella Entertainment release presents the first time the film got extras on Blu-ray. While it was nice that a lengthy interview about the music was given, it would have also been interesting to hear about the special effects, the behind the scenes of the production, as well as information on the real life case.

Packaging

The cover is reversible with the only difference being the other side is missing the Australian "M" rating logo.
In addition, the packaging claims the disc is region B only, but it is actually a region ALL disc.

Overall

"The Entity" is scary, suspenseful, and downright disturbing, but the shining force is the performance by Hershey in the lead. Possession and supernatural horror fans should definitely find great moments though the dramatic angle is the key. The Umbrella Entertainment Blu-ray features good video and audio with fair extras, a recommended release.

The Film: B Video: B Audio: B Extras: C Overall: B-

 


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