“Demon Seed” (1977)
Starring: Julie Christie, Fritz Weaver, Gerrit Graham
Directed by: Donald Cammell
Running Time: 94 min.
Synopsis: A woman is terrorized by a computer with a mind of its own and it keeps her captive in her own house.
This below average science-fiction thriller based on a Dean Koontz novel could have been much better and far much scarier. The film does have a great performance from Julie Christie, who plays Susan, a woman being terrorized by a computer who won’t let her leave her house.
Susan’s husband, Alex (played by Fritz Weaver) creates a super computer, Proteus, to help cure diseases and better the world, but the computer gets a mind of its own and gets obsessed with humans. It wants to know everything about them and wants to be human. When Alex refuses Proteus to have it’s own terminal for it could study humans, the computer finds one that’s in Alex house. Computers control the house, to opening doors and windows and preparing food. Right before Proteus takes over their house, Alex decides to leave Susan for a while and stay in his main lab. Susan is now alone in the house.
Proteus then prevents Susan from leaving and plans to impregnate her. As crazy as that sounds, a computer trying to plant a seed into a woman? What it ends up doing is tying her down with the help of a robot that Alex built long time ago. Proteus takes control of the robot and all the computer systems in the house. It basically then rapes her and takes a sample from her. With that it begins to create a seed to be placed inside of her.
Throughout the course of the film, she tries to fight of the mad computer, but is unsuccessful every time. Someone from her husband’s company even goes to check on her, but is killed by Proteus. Susan gives in and agrees to help Proteus have its baby. Actually the birth of this baby is accelerated to 28 days instead of 9 months.
To me, most of the film was just boring. Although it was an interesting concept but parts of it wasn’t executed well. It takes a long time for the movie to pick up in the beginning. Then most of it seems like it either drags in places or rushes things in others. I just think they could of made this film more dark and suspenseful with the material they were given.
Only thing that kept it worth watching was the performance from the cast and the score, which gave the film an epic and haunting feel. Other than that, there really wasn’t much there. I thought the Proteus could have been more menacing, it was at times, but just not enough. Scenes could have been shot with more suspense, but most of it seemed unscary. Other films that come to mind with a killer computer or robot that did the job right was Hardware and Stanley Kubrick’s classic 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Demon Seed has some good moments, but just some. It has a great look at times, but it just doesn’t deliver. The ending is worth the wait though but kind of predictable. Kind of one of those films you take a look at only once or once in a great while.