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The Entity – Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray Review)

The Entity is a much respected and loved horror film that still is probably under the radar for many (Including fans of the genre). Anchor Bay (When owned by Starz) originally released the film in the most barest of bones releases. I’m not talking void of bonus features, this thing had no menu and played like that of a review screener. There are some that roll their eyes on double dips and whatnot, but having a menu for the movie is a massive improvement already. In addition, Scream Factory has loaded it with new interviews and such. You’ll be able to pick it up starting June 11th.

Film 

Single mother Carla Moran (Barbara Hershey) is raped and attacked by an invisible force. She begins therapy with Dr. Phil Sneiderman (Ron Silver), a psychiatrist who believes Carla’s traumatic past is motivating her to commit self-induced injuries, rather than anything supernatural. When the attacks continue, Carla invites two college students with an interest in the paranormal to visit her house. After seeing the ghost in action, they agree to help Carla defeat her invisible attacker.

The Entity is a pretty outstanding horror film and really unique to the poltergeist/haunted house/ghost subgenre. Its also a movie that’s a very difficult watch. What Barbara Hershey goes through in this movie, you have to just sit, powerless, and watch unfold. Yes, you’re tasked with watching a series of many violent ghost rapes. Sidney J Furie should be credited for never fully embracing exploitation of making them provocative or sexy. At every single one, it always feels wrong, dirty and makes you want to shout at Barbara Hershey to wake up and/or run away. You feel powerless in your seat, and that’s the film doing its job.

Barbara Hershey is pretty damn terrific and gives a horror movie hall of fame performance in the film. James Wan casting her in Insidious DEFINITELY came from her being in this movie. And most people probably don’t recognize that or realize that his film is riffing on many attributes here in addition to Poltergeist. Hershey really takes charge of the film and is able to expertly wield a range of emotion throughout the film in both verbal and physical factions. Its a demanding role, and Hershey just absolutely crushes it.

If you’ve never seen The Entity before, you should rectify that. The Entity is definitely a movie that is probably a one-timer for most folks, but that’s all you need. It does its job, you’re glad you checked it out, but you’ll probably never return to it (Or not in any near future if you do decide to). Aside from the violence in the film, there is some weirdness to it that makes it pretty interesting. But, its a horror film that disturbs, makes you feel uncomfortable while also delivering popcorn haunts and jump scares. The Entity is a forgotten gem from the genre that truly shouldn’t be.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: The Entity returns to Blu-ray, but I have no information regarding where this transfer came from. I’m not experienced with the previous transfer of the film, but I’ve seen that it wasn’t looked upon very fondly. This isn’t the most magnificent of transfer, but I’ve found it suffices and has a bit more of a dated look to it. There may not be a workabout source other than this one, but I think it has enough strong details and presents the film in a haunting enough way to be effective.

Depth:  Depth of field presents a decent distance between foreground and background. Motion is cinematic and natural with no real motion issue that cause any sorts of problem in viewing.

Black Levels: Grain finds itself a little heftier in the darker sequences and there are many in this. Details do vanish a bit into the black void, but some shots and decently lit venues provide some strong detail on darker surfaces, fabrics and follicles.

Color Reproduction: The palette on display in the film is that of a typical late 70s/early 80s bit of plain normalcy. Browns, whites, grays, with some strong but contained colors.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are naturally and consistent throughout the duration of the film’s runtime. Details and facial textures are strongest in close up shots and vary the more the camera is pulled back.

Noise/Artifacts: Its mostly clean, though there are some areas with light noise at times.

Audio 

Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 4.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: The audio track does fare better than the video here and is an obvious upgrade over the previous release. For this review I opted for the 4.1 track and it was a pretty thrilling little experience. The volume waivers between quite and an effective and jumpy loud. Many of the tense sequences with scream and loud crashing really are effective and make you squirm in your seat as they happen. This isn’t setting the world on fire, mind you, but when the film needs to deliver, it does.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: There are some nice booms from the score and the crashing that happens throughout the film during “those scenes”.

Surround Sound Presentation: Wind gusts, haunting sounds, whispers and other sounds swirl around and play through the 4 channels to some good effect. Much of the film relies on the front but it doesn’t shy away from utilizing the rear channels

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals have a solid crisp and nice analog feeling to them throughout. Its aged sounding but still clean.

Extras 

The Entity – Collector’s Edition comes with a reversible cover feature the original poster artwork.

Audio Commentary

  • With author/filmmaker Daniel Kremer (Sidney J. Furie: Life and Films)

Inner Strength (HD, 19;29) – An interview with actress Barbara Hershey. She’s very candid talking about the movie, going over how it was her first time headlining a film that many actress had reprehensibly passed on before her. Hershey has no trouble going over any of the shoot or the subject matter and is quite pleased with everything except one little touch on the ending of the film. There’s a question trying to present a sort of woke take on the film to which she’s just kinda like “Sure, I guess that’s there, but I never played it or saw it like that”.

Seeing Is Believing (HD, 13:21) – An interview with actor David Labiosa. He goes over being 19 and playing 16 and discusses backing out of an effects scene because he thought it would give him cancer and how breaking his arm on the set wound up getting him written out of many scenes. This one also goes into how original drafts had many more incest inferences in it.

High Dread (HD, 16:59) – An interview With Composer Charles Bernstein. He opens, joking that of over 130 scores he’s done for film and television, he’d only done horror 5 times, yet those are the only ones he’s ever talking about. Bernestein them details the different moments and inspirations and thoughts behind how he filled out the musical score in the film.

Spirits & Sprocket Holes (HD, 12:08) – An interview With Editor Frank J. Urioste. A happy camper, he goes over his work in the film and collaborating with director Sidney J Furie.

The Entity Files Featurette (SD, 27:30) – This is a carry over from an Anchor Bay DVD release where a parapsychologist goes over the true story, the film and paranormal occurrences like the one featured in the film.

Trailers From Hell: The Entity  (HD, 2:19) – With Audio Commentary by Luca Guadagnino

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:23)

TV Spots (SD, :59)

Radio Spots (HD, 1:02)

Still Gallery (HD, 2:09)

Blu-ray Credits (HD, :13)

Summary 

The Entity certainly earns status as an underground horror classic, tough as it may be to watch, it excels to a high degree in effectiveness and timelessness. Scream Factory brings it to Blu-ray again with a pretty rock solid collector’s edition. The video transfer gets the job done and the audio tracks are all plenty effective. No matter, the extras really seal the deal with a host of fulfilling and educational, honest extras that’ll keep you busy but not exhausted.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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