The 1980s proved to be the defining decade for horror movies. It was also responsible for producing some of the most memorable characters and franchises in cinematic history. The beginning of the decade saw a particular focus on the paranormal. One of the most popular films of the time was Poltergeist. Sidney J. Furie’s The Entity was released in the same year, but takes a rather different approach to the subject of nocturnal visitations.

Carly (Barbara Hershey), who lives with her teenage son (David Labiosa) and two young daughters, is violently raped by an invisible entity. This sparks a series of poltergeist phenomena. Scared and confused, she seeks help from a therapist, Dr. Sneiderman (Ron Silver), keeping events secret from her boyfriend Jerry (Alex Rocco). Dr Sneiderman is a cynic and believes she’s suffering from delusions brought-on by past traumas. Increasingly desperate, Carly’s only hope is a dangerous plan concocted by a pair of parapsychologists.

The Entity is based on the real-life case of Doris Bither, one of the most compelling in the history of paranormal research. Furie’s film benefits from an impressive cast and some notable, albeit now dated, effects work. Hershey delivers an emotive and credible performance which allows you to invest in the drama. Given the subject matter and the era, it’s unsurprising that The Entity struggled to find an audience upon release. More psychological and supernatural thriller than horror movie, it contains a number of tense set-pieces which lead-up to a terrifying climax.

The Entity is released on Blu-ray by Eureka Classics on Monday 15 May.