THE ENTITYUnited States-1982

Barbara Hershey as Carla Moran

Ron Silver as Dr. Sneiderman

Directed by Sidney J. Furie

Screenplay by Frank DeFelitta

Based on the novel by Frank DeFelitta

It’s bad enough when you’re a woman to not be able to fight back when you’re sexually assaulted. The assailant, full of anger and rage, sees you as nothing but an object, an end to his means. Fueled by that anger and rage, he forces himself on you, pushing onto you and driving you open with unchecked strength and power as he takes from you what he wants. I’m not even going to pretend to know what that’s like. I’m not a woman; I’ve never been raped nor have I ever raped anyone. I couldn’t imagine doing that to any woman. But I can imagine the helplessness of the situation. I felt that helplessness for Carla Moran, the young woman repeatedly raped and assaulted by an unseen force in The Entity. I felt for this woman. To be raped by some drunken, smelly excuse for a man is bad enough. At least you can get a description. Carla Moran could barely get anyone to believe her; even after her children, her best friend and her boyfriend witness the attacks. That’s the thing I found scariest about this film; her complete helplessness to combat this force and drive it away from her life.

The Entity is based on a novel by Frank DeFelitta. DeFelitta in turn based the novel on the real life Carla Moran and her case of demonic sexual assault in Los Angeles in 1976. At the end of the film, after the final scene, a scrolling marquee tells you that she lives in Dallas, Texas and is still assaulted to this day (the film was released in 1982). I felt for Carla Moran as I watched the film. I was scared for her and I pitied her. There are moments in the film where I felt a chill run down my spine and a feeling of dread would come over me. Not even her own house was safe haven for this woman.

If I had watched the film when it was first released, I don’t think I would have appreciated it. There’s no blood, no gore, no masked man with a machete. But there is fear, helplessness and utter dread. To be honest, I’ll take my chances with the guy with the machete.


The real-life Carla Moran’s teenage son described a particularly vicious attack in which Carla was thrown by the malevolent force and hit her head. He tried to intervene, but he was also thrown, breaking his arm. In the filming of the movie, the actor playing the son broke his arm in that scene, and the curtains tore from top to bottom without explanation.

Robert MacNaughton auditioned for a role for this film, after being asked because the casting director saw him in an off-Broadway play, in New York.

For the scenes where the entity disturbs Carla Moran by touching her, the visual effects team designed a hot air stream’s system, pretending fingers that “touch” her body.