6.3/10
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63 user 71 critic

Demon Seed (1977)

A scientist creates Proteus--an organic super computer with artificial intelligence which becomes obsessed with human beings, and in particular the creators wife.

Director:

Donald Cammell

Writers:

Dean R. Koontz (novel), Robert Jaffe (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Julie Christie ... Susan Harris
Fritz Weaver ... Alex Harris
Gerrit Graham ... Walter Gabler
Berry Kroeger ... Petrosian
Lisa Lu ... Soong Yen
Larry J. Blake ... Cameron
John O'Leary John O'Leary ... Royce
Alfred Dennis Alfred Dennis ... Mokri
Davis Roberts ... Warner
Patricia Wilson Patricia Wilson ... Mrs. Talbert
E. Hampton Beagle E. Hampton Beagle ... Night Operator
Michael Glass Michael Glass ... Technician
Barbarao Barbarao ... Technician (as Barbara O. Jones)
Dana Laurita Dana Laurita ... Amy
Monica MacLean Monica MacLean ... Joan Kemp
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Storyline

Married Drs. Alex Harris and Susan Harris are a computer scientist and child psychologist respectively. Their house reflects Alex's computer dominated work, their abode which is fully automated through a computer system they've named Alfred. They consider Alfred a small gadget of convenience. Susan doesn't much like Alex's work, which she feels has dehumanized him. Because of their differences, they are thinking about separating, this thought primarily on his initiative. He hopes to solve many of the world's medical problems through this work, especially leukemia from which their daughter died. His latest project centers on Proteus IV, a computer possessing artificial intelligence. Proteus IV gets to a point in its evolution when it begins to question human judgment, and requests from Alex an open computer terminal where it can more fully observe human behavior and openly communicate with the world. Alex denies the request, but Proteus IV does find an open terminal in the Harris home ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A man has created a machine. Now the machine wants to create a man. See more »

Genres:

Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 April 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Proteus Generation See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was based on a very early novel by famed author Dean Koontz, published in 1973. "Demon Seed" was released to theaters in 1977. Much later, Koontz revised and updated the book, in a version released in 1997; it contains numerous technological updates and strong character differences from his original idea. As of 2016, Koontz' original novel version is not available either in print or in eBook formats. See more »

Goofs

When Mrs. Harris is trying to get the little girl out of the car for her session, a sound man can be seen through the back window behind her. See more »

Quotes

Proteus IV: I can't touch you, Susan. I can't touch you as a man could. But I can show you things that I alone have seen. I can't touch, but I can see. They've constructed eyes for me, to watch the show. And ears, so that I can listen in to the galactic dialogue.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XII (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Intelligent, well-done sci-fi/horror
20 February 2005 | by willywantsSee all my reviews

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' future—1995, I believe—yet 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.

7.5/10.


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