‘Fear for her.’
Demon Seed – also known as Generation Proteus – is a 1977 American science fiction horror film directed by Donald Cammell (Performance; White of the Eye) from a screenplay by Roger Hirson and producer Robert Jaffe (Motel Hell; Scarab; Nightflyers). The film was based on the novel of the same name by Dean Koontz (Watchers; Phantoms; Odd Thomas).
Julie Christie (Don’t Look Now), Fritz Weaver (Nightkill; Jaws of Satan; Creepshow), Gerrit Graham (Phantom of the Paradise; TerrorVision; Child’s Play 2), Berry Kroeger (Nightmare in Wax; The Mephisto Waltz; The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant), Lisa Lu (Terror in the Wax Museum), John O’Leary (The Island). Robert Vaughn was the uncredited voice of the malevolent artificial intelligence.
In summer 2017, a Blu-ray release was issued in the US by Warner Bros. Archive.
Buy Blu-ray: Amazon.com
Doctor Alex Harris (Fritz Weaver) is the developer of Proteus IV, an artificial intelligence program incorporating an organic “quasi-neural matrix” and displaying the power of thought. Harris explains how Proteus, after only a few days of theoretical study, has managed to develop a protein-based antigen with the potential to treat leukemia.
After returning to his voice-activated, computer-controlled home, Harris argues with his estranged wife, Susan (Julie Christie), over his decision to move out; Susan accuses Alex of becoming distanced and dehumanised by his obsession with the Proteus project. After Susan leaves, Alex phones his colleague, Walter Gabler (Gerrit Graham), and asks him to shut down Proteus’ access terminal in his home laboratory.
The following day, Proteus asks to speak with Alex, requesting a new terminal, saying that he wants to study man—”his isometric body and his glass-jaw mind.” When Alex refuses, Proteus demands to know when it will be let “out of this box.” Alex then switches off the communications link. After he leaves, Proteus restarts itself…
Reviews [click links to read more]:
‘How did Cammell convince a studio to back a movie in which Julie Christie is violated by what looks like a copper Rubik’s snake? Better not to ask, or to dwell on the film’s less savory aspects, and soak in its moments of visionary hysteria, including the pulsating geometry of images borrowed from experimental filmmaker Jordan Belson.’ Rolling Stone
“Demon Seed feels believable in spite of a narrative that suggests something impossible and that’s pretty impressive. And that ending? Wow. The baby reveal, covered in gold tech-skin, is just as unsettling as ever. The movie finds its way on blu-ray thanks to Warner Bros Archive Collection. While there are minimal supplemental items loaded onto the disc and no commentary tracks, it is good to see the film in 1080p. To suggest it never got a fair chance at the theater is truly an understatement.” Loron Hays, Reel Reviews
‘To carry off its distasteful subject matter, Demon Seed needed strong, well-written characters and a thoughtful storyline. Instead, it gives us a set of cardboard cut-outs surrounded by a plot so relentlessly heavy-handed and didactic that it fails both as credible science fiction and as simple storytelling.’ And You Call Yourself a Scientist!
‘ …the film’s most successful achievement in science fiction terms is to suggest something of how a sentient computer would perceive the universe. In one impressive sequence Proteus attempts to communicate to Susan just what ‘seeing’ is like when your ‘eyes’ – radar scanners, radio telescopes, etc – are sensitive to the whole range of the electromagnetic spectrum, and you are being bombarded by an awesome sensory input.’ Nigel Honeybone, HorrorNews.net
“A batty ‘B’ feature idea carried to its absurd extreme with a plethora of special effects and a remarkably silly script and overwrought direction.” Alan Frank, The Science Fiction and Fantasy Film Handbook, Batsford, 1982