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Release year: 1982
Director: Sidney J. Furie
Screenwriters: Frank De Felitta (based on his own novel)
Starring: Barbara Hershey, Ron Silver, David Labiosa, George Coe, Margaret Blye, Jacqueline Brookes, Richard Brestoff
After being attacked by an unseen presence, Carla Moran (Hershey) starts questioning her own sanity along with everyone around her. But as the attacks continue, she seeks the help of parapsychologists who is interested in researching the case.
Based on the real-life attacks on Doris Bither in what is known as one of the most compelling stories in the history of paranormal research, backed up by parapsychologists. But while the ‘true story’ label may add something extra to the film for you, it is not the main reason for watching this 1980s classic. Hershey’s (Beaches, 1988) down-to-earth approach to the role brings a raw honesty and credibility to her character, making you care for her well-being. While the two daughters merely get to scream and be scared, it is up to the teenage son alone to gain any sympathy from the children. Luckily Labiosa (Bulletproof, 1996) has no problem doing the task on his own, helped tremendously by a teenage part written as refreshingly supportive and responsible, making it hard not to fall for Labiosa’s caring son Billy. Silver (Timecop, 1994) is good as the frustratingly sceptic psychiatrist and Blye (The Italian Job, 1969) completely endearing as Carla’s best friend, but despite a very good cast, this comes down to the special effects, especially considering the age of the movie. Do they still work? Yes, they do! The special effects team of the movie cleverly manage to make the attacks of an invisible entity realistic looking, even for today’s eyes. The story is intense and the thought of being attacked by something you cannot fight has made many see this as a horror movie (Martin Scorsese included it on his Top 11 Scariest Horror Movies of All Times list), but it more lands in the supernatural thriller category where it holds a position as a memorable and influential member.
For the scenes where the entity attacks Carla moran, the visual effects team designed a hot air stream’s system, imitating fingers that touch her body.
Picture copyright: SF Film