Jacqueline Brookes as Dr. If the men of the film do not undermine her credibility or sanity, they objectify her, exploit her victimhood, belittle her ability to take control of her unfortunate circumstances, and ultimately give her the dignity of a glorified lab rat. Furie told journalist Michael Doyle that he did not consider The Entity to be a horror film in spite of its extreme imagery, unsettling atmosphere and horrific plot. Instead, Furie said he considers The Entity to be more of a "supernatural suspense movie.
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The book was not only scary at all turns, but the author included a few custom features I wished more authors paid attention to. The story -- which manages to be tightly constructed and screws loose -- is divided into four major parts, and includes an opening "statement" and epilogue. The statement is that of Jorge "Jerry" Rodriguez, a suspect booked on first degree assault on March 23, Jerry grabbed a chair and instead of knocking whatever was assaulting his girlfriend off her, strikes her in the head.
Police arrive to take Jerry into custody. Part one introduces Carlotta Moran, a single mother in her early thirties. Subsidized by welfare, Carlotta is enrolled in a clerical course and rents a house on Kentner Street in West Los Angeles.
Initially, the only unusual feature of the house is the four-post bed, built by a previous tenant and left behind, too big to move. Her teenage son Billy spends most of his time in the garage building stuff. Daughters Julie and Kim, who share a different father than Billy, are two years apart.
Carlotta grew up in Pasadena and comes from money, the only child of a rich minister. Now estranged from her family, she carries herself with a regal lift that others seem to notice. She has a steady boyfriend named Jerry whose executive career has him on the road for weeks at a time. Her son, threatened by this new man in the house, came to blows with Jerry before he left town this last time and Carlotta is guardedly optimistic that they can be a family together.
All that changes on October 13, at p. One moment, Carlotta was brushing her hair. The next she was on the bed, seeing stars. Some knock, like being hit by a charging fullback, plummeted her across the room and onto the bed.
In a blank mind, she realized that the pillows were suddenly around her head. Then they were smashed over her face. She sleeps in the living room that night. The next evening, she wakens at the sound of scratching in the walls and a terrible smell, and is attacked again, only this time, hears laughter and voices.
Her son and an elderly neighbor walk in on this, but find no one else in the room. The third night, Carlotta wakes with a premonition that something is coming for her. She scoops up her kids and flees the house as she hears her bedroom being trashed and a voice yelling "CUNT! Over the next several weeks, whether in her car during daylight or at the home of her best friend Cindy, the attacks against Carlotta escalate. Part two introduces a young staff psychiatrist named Gary Sneidermann at West Coast College, where as a welfare recipient, Carlotta is able to receive mental evaluations and treatment for free.
He becomes excited by the prospect of researching her peculiar case and curing her. Ultimately, both Billy and the girls sense him in the house, with Billy suffering a slight injury during one attack on his mother. He begins pushing the boundary between doctor-patient by developing feelings for Carlotta. Part three propels the novel into a whole other level of insidiousness. After Cindy takes her friend to various mystics or fortune tellers around Los Angeles, Carlotta is in the West Coast University bookstore and overhears two graduate students talking about paranormal activity.
She nervously approaches to ask questions. Eugene Kraft is an electrical engineer. Joseph Mehan, one of his brightest students, developed empathetic skills and found his calling in parapsychology. Carlotta tells the researchers only enough for them to conclude her home might be experiencing poltergeist activity.
A field visit to Kentner Street confirms this. Kraft and Mehan consult with their faculty head, Dr. Elizabeth Cooley, whose division is the black sheep of the department and her position among her peers tenuous. Cooley urges caution when she learns that Carlotta was undergoing evaluation at the university, concerned on stepping on toes in the department. Carlotta is elated, believing her army has her attacker on the run.
Sneidermann seeks to put a stop to it. Part four, titled The Entity, pits the psychiatry department, with Dr. Sneidermann leading the charge, against Dr. Sneidermann not only seeks to shut down the experiments at Kentner Street, but marginalize the entire division.
The Entity is a novel where much of the prose and even some of the dialogue reads like it was written on a wooden block; not wildly imaginative writing.
De Felitta is on the nose when it comes to summarizing and telling a lot of things for the reader. None of that matters in the end because the narrative is so thrilling, the characters complicated adults, and the research material impeccable. The story is based on a haunting documented in Culver City, California in that was centered around a single mother of four named Doris Bither.
She ultimately sought the help of parapsychology research assistants she overheard talking shop at a university bookstore. De Felitta uses the case as a solid departure point for a story about how unexplained phenomena might manifest and create problems for a society ill-equipped to deal with these things.
Both groups stake their ideological territory, dig in for a variety of professional and personal reasons, and in the climax, have their pet theories about Carlotta put to the test.
I naturally despised the shrinks and was buoyed when the ghostbusters entered the story, but De Felitta populates the story with complex characters as opposed to caricatures.
I could identify with her. Nice touches. And the book is scary. I can see how it would be too much for some readers to handle. Read the warning signs. This movie might have been the start of parental warnings at the beginning of TV broadcasts. As with the movie, the novel is merciless when it comes to preying on the nocturnal fears of its readers, with intellectual underpinnings that are just as thrilling,
Frank De Felitta