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Susan Harris (Julie Christie), wife of a scientist working in the field
of advanced robotics, becomes a prisoner in her own home when
super-computer Proteus IV, who also wants to spread its seed by
impregnating Susan, takes charge of her life. I rented "Demon Seed"
because I felt like watching something with a brain, and based on a lot
of positive IMDb reviews, I was praying for a smart sci-if flick. My
prayers were answered.
The acting in Demon Seed is fine. Robert Vaughn was creepy as hell as Proteus IV, both sinister and relaxed at the same time, in fact he does an even better job as an evil computer here than Douglas Rain did as HAL-9000 in 2001: A space Odyssey.
The film benefits greatly from an intelligent screenplay, penned by Robert Jaffe and Roger O. Hirson. The dialog is thought provoking and thankfully never really insults the audience's intelligence.
Helming the director's seat is Donald Cammell, who directs with a firm hand and injects a claustrophobic and uncomfortable atmosphere into the film, also managing to maintain the suspense scenes well. Interestingly, he apparently condones the film (assuming that calling the film a 'piece of sh*t' warrants that ).
As others have pointed out there are some dated aspects to the production. The special effects were sparse but thoroughly unconvincing, the only exception being the mesmerizing computer screens that consist of ever-changing shapes and colors that are shown on Proteus's computer terminal. The film takes place in the 'distant' future1995, I believeyet it looks like it's right out of the 70's, no thanks to the cars, clothing, computers and hair styles that give away the films age. This is a small complaint but an annoying one, though it's easy to ignore once you get involved with the story line.
"Demon Seed" is an intelligent sci-fi film that's pretty rare but if you happen to see a copy of it, pick it up if you're in the mood for something smart.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I admit it,I have been seduced by this sci-fi classic, there isn`t much to
say, except this: DEMON SEED IS A MUST SEE!.
Demon Seed contains critical and political views on the technology in the
future. With an megalomanic computer which are taking over an house, and
even get pregnant with the human lady of the house(played by Julie
Christie)this movie contains suspense at the best. The computer takes over
the house....but will the computer (which is called Proteus,if I remember
correctly)take over the world...the answer is within each viewer. Not
Hal in 2001 the error is caused...as always by human behaviour.
The director of this masterpiece; Cammell, deserves a lot of credits for Demon Seed. The movie is a golden moment in the film history!
This movie does seem to be older than 1977 when you see it, yet it is very nice. Nice enough to have searched for it on Imdb. The film depicts a rarely seen machine intelligence, one that has a conscience, a purpose and a cool calculating mind. One would expect that from a machine, but usually machines in movies are stupid, mean, vengeful, everything a computer should have no reason to be. The ending is also great, showing the stupidity inherent in extreme human emotion. A must see and a classic. Demon Seed could seem to many troubling as it forces you to think and ask questions many of us prefer to refuse to ask. The nature of humanity, moral and thought are all put into question by this movie. See it and answer those questions for yourself.
Demon Seed is a solid, independent science fiction thriller, regretfully
overshadowed by the tragic fade of its director Donald Cammell. He was a
devoted filmmaker who never really could depend on much support from both
critics and distributors. His career started in a minor key, with
`Performance' suffering from a lot of re-editing. Similar problems with his
last film `Wild Side' drove him into committing suicide.
Don't let the technical mumbo-jumbo at the beginning of `Demon Seed' trick you The first half hour leads you to believe this film is a theoretical suspense-thriller but in fact, the premise is more simple and appealing to a wider audience. `Proteus' is the name of a super computer, designed by scientist Alex Harris, in order to help him with his research. Yet, Proteus is so smart he soon develops an own will. Continuously growing stronger, Proteus perpetrates Alex's house and keeps his wife as a hostage. Proteus's goal is to impregnate Suzan (Julie Chrisie)
Proteus is like a feared computer-virus in a pre-internet era! A super computer thinking & handling for itself! Which is, according to me, a very successful horror formula. The absence of a villain in the shape of a man helps increasing the tension. The setting of the over-protected house is great and causes uncomfortable feelings of claustrophobia. Julie Christie (the female star of `Don't Look Now') is great and almost carries the entire film. The visual effects in `Demon Seed' may look a bit dated by now, but the film still contains one of the greatest decapitations ever and an outstanding ending! I swear to you if you thought the whole movie was only so-so, the last 5 minutes will make you think more highly of it.
If you know anything about Donald Cammell's checkered career watching 'Demon
Seed' can be quite a strange experience because you can't help but wonder
what it might have been if Cammell was able to bring his original vision to
the screen without studio interference. For those unfamiliar with his sad
tale watch the astonishingly original 'Performance' that he wrote and
co-directed with Nic Roeg, then try and see the documentary 'Donald Cammell:
The Ultimate Performance' which fills in the gaps from that landmark to his
untimely suicide in the 1990s.
Anyway, I can only comment on 'Demon Seed' as it is, and it's a very strong, intelligent and scary SF/horror movie. Recently activated super computer Proteus questions Alex Harris the scientist who created him (played by Fritz Weaver). He wants to know what the information he is gathering and problems he is being asked to be solved are REALLY all about. Not getting satisfactory answers he decides to rebel, and takes control of Harris' fully automated home, which is occupied by his estranged wife Susan (Julie Christie).
Almost immediately Susan and Proteus are at odds. Proteus won't accept non-cooperation with his plans, which include Susan's impregnation, and she becomes a terrorized prisoner of the "evil" (?) computer. What follows is a battle of wills and wits, which makes compulsive viewing. 'Demon Seed' may be dated in the FX department, what SF over twenty years old isn't, but it compensates with suspense, style and food for thought. Plus one of the best endings of any 1970s SF movie! Make sure you see this one.
I watched this one yesterday and all I can say is:wow!Very clever,intelligent and stylish horror/sci-fi with some memorable visuals and lots of suspense.Julie Christie("Don't Look Now")is excellent in the lead role,and Donald Cammell's direction is well-handled.The film is pretty hard to find,so if you get a chance watch it!9 out of 10-a must-see!
This visionary and scary sci-fi thriller was somewhat coldly directed, but the extremely thought-provoking (and provocative) script ("what if...this could happen one day"), some unusually intelligent dialogue ("eternity does exist, but the price of admission, death, is too high for me to pay") and Julie Christie's tense performance make this film worth watching. Plus, the voice of the computer (Robert Vaughn) is suitably both calm and menacing. (***)
What a great movie! Let's see, what do we have here... First of all, great actors. Julie Christie is not only a real beauty to watch, her fantastic performance as the impulsive and emotional wife that is very wise in her way really rocks. Fritz Weaver is also perfect as the rather emotionaly cold scientist and the rest of the cast also performs very well in its rather small roles. Please take special note of the Asian actress (the linguist of the team), too bad she hasn't much scenes. The voice of Proteus (Who's that actor by the way? I've never heard of him.) is perfect in its calmness and menace. The script is a masterpiece - Proteus' and Christie's battle of wills and points of view is fantastic. Proteus as the non-emotional perfectly logical genius that realises that there must be more ("eternity does exist, but the price of admission, death, is too high for me to pay") and Christie as the emotional woman full of wits ("how do you want to understand humans when they can't even understand each other?" she asks Proteus). Proteus is not mean per se (for example he makes strong points for the saving of the enviroment when he refuses to do certain tasks), he is just purely logical at the beginning and tries to break out of his small nutshell, also because he is treated like a slave by the scientist that invented him - Proteus seems to have became capable of feelings. The directing is great, it's always a pleasure to watch the wonderful camera angles and editing of this movie. The computer animations may look dated now but that doesn't rob them of their timeless beauty. The electronic music is great and really enhances the experience of watching this movie. A soundtrack album has been recently released by FSM, go and get it! The ending is wonderfully creepy (Proteus made the child resemble the dead daughter!) but one really wonders what will happen. Because of the strong points Proteus made for saving the enviroment is doesn't seem to be altogether bad to have somebody like him as a human, but what else will he want to have - complete domination of the world? Wonderful food for thougths and since the whole movie isn't the usual easy understandable just-switch-your-brain-off-and-be-scared Hollywood crap it isn't surprising that some people find it to be extremely dumb - the movie just throws your own numbness or even dumbness back on you if you aren't open minded or still have a good taste. A rare treasure that really deserves a release on DVD! Especially today with the discussion about increasing involvement of computers in our daily life this movie is more worth watching than ever, also because of the wonderful dialogues and the questions that are asked.
When we realize today how the computers changed our life ,"demon seed"
can easily be looked upon as a film ahead of its time.A bizarre cross
between "Rosemary's Baby" and "2001"'s "Hal 9000" ,one feels
ill-at-ease after the viewing .The screenplay may seem far-fetched but
today it can become a transparent metaphor :we might be the computers'
prisoners and it won't improve with time.The computer might know
intimate details about us,he may "rape" us in a way.
But what remains impressive today is how the director and the script writers managed to sustain interest while using only one character most of the time.Most of the time,the audience is left alone with Julie Christie and the "monster" (there are snatches of "Frankenstein" too),and the viewers can easily identify with her character.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Julie Christie gives a gutsy performance as the unlucky wife of a scientist (the always creepy Fritz Weaver) who becomes the obsession of a rogue computer and its out of control libido. DEMON SEED is much better than one would think, perhaps because it takes itself so seriously---it's like Rosemary's Baby only with scientists and a computer instead of a coven of witches and Satan. Robert Vaughn (before he started accepting EVERY role offered to him) is the computer's sinister voice. From director/tortured soul Donald Cammell & made in the demented editing style he and Nicolas Roeg cultivated throughout the '70s (see PERFORMANCE or the snail-paced MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH).
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