FANGORIA Presents: Getting Possessed By “ENTITY,” Part One
There are few thoughts that inspire as much dread as the sins of our pasts—our figurative ghosts following us, reminding us of our fallacies and mortality through our own mistakes and trespasses. And if our sins could manifest themselves into something malevolent and unrelenting, we could be sure we’d be dead to rights. It’s for this reason that ENTITY, the new release under the FANGORIA Presents banner (go here for details; to find Fango’s Comcast collection on your VOD channel, search Movies > Movie Collections > Fangoria), transcends simplistic scariness and creates an overall atmosphere of visceral fear.
Written and directed by Steve Stone, ENTITY offers horror fans more than a conventional ghost story, following a documentary crew as they investigate a reported haunting site and discover evidence of something far more horrific. Fortunately, the ENTITY cast are much less threatening than the title character, and divulged details of this eerie entry in the ongoing FANGORIA Presents series.
“I’ve been all for psychological terror ever since I saw SILENCE OF THE LAMBS,” says Branko Tomovic, who plays the ominous Yuri (pictured below) in the film. “I think no special effect is as strong as the imagination of the human mind. ENTITY has a very claustrophobic feel to it. This weird location the group find themselves in, which is almost like an additional character, combined with [the Entity] Mischka and Yuri’s own ideas, makes the film really uncomfortable and tense, as there seems to be no escape. It feels like you’re slowly being suffocated.”
Tomovic’s notions are supported by co-star Rupert Hill, who plays the skeptical Matt and notes that the experience of watching ENTITY matches that of shooting it. “Steve is a very generous director, and he believed we should feel as claustrophobic and alone as our characters are,” Hill recalls. “So during those scenes, we were quite often left on our own.”
The actors overall approached the project from a place of passion and respect for their roles and the scare genre. “I love horror films, although I wouldn’t say I’m an expert,” says Oliver Jackson, who plays David. “There are lots of different subgenres in ENTITY, but as an actor, that didn’t really cause a problem. Regardless of the shot or camera setups, your preparation is really the same.”
“I’m a big fan of movies in general, and I love a good horror film, although I’m more into the older ones like ROSEMARY’S BABY or THE SHINING,” adds Hill. “ENTITY is a character-led film, which is quite rare in horror. In the first draft of the script, Matt wasn’t really that cynical, and I was extremely happy when Steve rewrote him to be a bit more suspicious and reluctant to trek further into the Siberian forest. A lot of people may find him ‘unlikable,’ but I really enjoyed playing him. I quite like him, actually; I’d definitely be cynical in that position. I identified with Matt quite a lot; I’m extremely skeptical about the paranormal. And I would hope that if I was thrown into a terrifying situation like this one, I would want to help those around me escape to safety.”
Tomovic, who previously appeared in THE WOLFMAN, also shares his appreciation for the fright field. “I am a huge fan of horror cinema, as there are no boundaries to your imagination. I grew up with DRACULA, THE INVISIBLE MAN and THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON. And many of my favorite directors today, like Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro Amenábar and Juan Antonio Bayona, work in this genre.”
Tomovic, who delivers one of the film’s most surprisingly eccentric performances, elaborates on Yuri’s complex nature: “He is a very ambiguous but also twisted guy, and I absolutely loved playing this part, especially the unpredictable, twisted and tormented side of him. The first script of ENTITY was a completely different story; my original character was a 50-year-old British professor of paranormal studies. But since I am from Eastern Europe and the story is set in Siberia, Steve changed the part for me, and it made sense for him to be Russian. He is more of a victim himself, probably a complete psychological mess inside, and desperate men can be the most dangerous, as they are so unpredictable and have nothing left to live for.”
ENTITY’s sleek visual style and unsettling atmosphere are also impressive, especially given its frequent documentary-style aesthetics. “Quite a lot of the POV footage was actually shot by me,” Hill reveals, “and in one particularly intense scene where we are almost caught by the Entity, I shot it all myself, and could only see via the night-vision display on my camera. There was literally no one else down there apart from us and Mischka, whom we hadn’t even met because Michael David Worden [who plays the paranormal being] and Steve decided the scene would be more frightening for us to not know who he really was at all. All that dialogue was improvised. That scene is terrifying, and works brilliantly.”
“As an actor, there is no difference in your work whether it’s for an independent horror film or a big-budget one,” Tomovic offers. “What you bring to the character and what you do with the part should make no difference at all. ENTITY is set in a remote Siberian forest, but most of our locations were old industrial locations in Northern England. We had a tiny budget and were limited with time, so we shot all day, six days a week for three weeks. It was freezing and extremely cold and dusty. It would probably have been warmer to shoot in Siberia!”
Now that they’ve survived the wrath of the Entity, what’s next for these talented thespians? “I just played opposite Josie Long in a short called RAIN ON FILM, in which we recreate scenes from famous movies,” Hill says. “That was great fun. I’ve also written, directed and acted as a robber in a short called MOLEHILLS. Later this summer, I’m going on tour, performing in THE PRIVATE EAR/THE PUBLIC EYE by Peter Shaffer.”
“[I have] no more horror projects in the pipeline,” Jackson says, “although I’d love to work on more. I’m currently shooting REDIRECTED, starring Vinnie Jones.” On the other hand, Tomovic says, “I just did a very beautiful horror film called THE CASE OF MARY FORD, which will do the festival circuit soon. It’s very eerie and atmospheric. I play this sea vampire, and I think the film will be unique and special. I absolutely would love to do more horror films. I certainly wouldn’t mind following in the footsteps of one of my idols—Bela Lugosi.”
ENTITY is currently available for rental at Blockbuster and can be found on VOD. Plus, you can buy the movie on June 11. Check out the ENTITY article in FANGORIA #324, on sale this month.
TO BE CONTINUED