Susan Harris is alone in the house when, suddenly, doors lock, windows slam shut and the phone stops working. Susan is trapped by an intruder - but this is no ordinary thug. Instead, the intruder is a computer named Proteus, an artificial brain that has learned to reason. And to terrorize. In "one of her finest, most vulnerable perfromances" (Danny Peary, Guide for the Film Fanatic), Julie Christie plays Susan in this taut techno-thriller based on the Dean Koontz novel. Packed with suspense, surprise and special effects, Demon Seed follows Susan's desperate attempts to outmaneuver and outthink her captor. Then Susan learns what Proteus wants: its own child, conceived in her womb and destined for domination.
One of the better examples of the mad-computer genre, Demon Seed
is a sci-fi nightmare brimming with ideas. Julie Christie dominates the film as an unsuspecting woman whose house has been completely automated by her computer-genius husband (Fritz Weaver). He, in turn, has just completed Proteus, the world's smartest Artificial Intelligence machine. When Proteus traps Christie alone in the house, it--or he--has notions of passing his intellectual power to another generation... by impregnating her. One of the many intriguing things about Donald Cammell's film (based on a Dean Koontz yarn) is that Proteus's dreams are actually visionary and utopian, unlike the commercial uses planned for him by others. Of course, he's also scary as hell; the voice of Proteus, uncredited, unmistakably belongs to Robert Vaughn. Cammell, a fascinating and frustrated talent (he co-directed Performance
), completed very few films and ultimately killed himself in 1996. Somewhere around the halfway point Demon Seed
begins to break down dramatically and logically, yet it has so many ideas kicking around that it sticks in the mind anyway. A good Jerry Fielding score adds to the overall dread. --Robert Horton