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Demon Seed

4.3 out of 5 stars 96 customer reviews

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(Oct 04, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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

Special Features

  • Theatrical trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Julie Christie, Fritz Weaver, Gerrit Graham, Berry Kroeger, Lisa Lu
  • Directors: Donald Cammell
  • Writers: Dean R. Koontz, Robert Jaffe, Roger O. Hirson
  • Producers: Herb Jaffe, Steven-Charles Jaffe
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), French (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 4, 2005
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000A0GOFU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,016 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Demon Seed" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Edward M. Erdelac on June 30, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
Demon Seed concerns a Hal-9000 like supercomputer called Proteus IV (voiced with calculated detachment by Robert Vaughn) developed by a stodgy genius whose marriage to a lovely child-counselor (Julie Christie) is strained to the breaking point following the early loss of their only daughter to leukemia. It seems that to deal with the loss, the scientist plunged into his craft, alienating his wife. The husband's constant absence (he is forever away at the corporate labs, working with Proteus) has been compensated for by technology -he has effectively been replaced. Their entire home, from security to general domestic chores is automated by a benevolent, subservient robotic program called Alfred (?) -Christie's only constant companion, it would seem. Christie is ultimately more comfortable with machines than with her husband.
Enter Proteus, who ironically finds a cure for leukemia within four days of his activation. However, once the eager corpies begin requesting better methods of mining the ocean floor, Proteus takes the moral high ground and refuses. When Proteus confidentially asks his creator to allow him an outside terminal to conduct biological experiments through, the scientist laughs nervously and tells him there is no free terminal. But then Proteus recalls that there IS an outlet for his intelligence which has been overlooked - the extensive systems in his designer's own home.
Proteus proceeds to take over the automated butler program and locks Julie Christie within the house, subjecting her to a variety of uncomfortable experiments, and punishing her when she resists (in one scene he superheats the kitchen floor to egg-frying degrees, forcing her to sleep on the kitchen table) or attempts to escape.
Eventually he makes known his true purpose to Christie.
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Format: VHS Tape
The 1977 horror/sci-fi film "The Demon Seed" has all the trappings of those deliciously entertaining gloom/doom productions of this era. Stark sets, huge talking computers, bad clothes and interesting themes are all on display. Equal parts "2001- A Space Odyssey," "Colossus - the Forbin Project," "Saturn 3," and "Westworld," this film essentially details a futuristic society that becomes a slave to the very technology it has created. In "The Demon Seed," a computer wants to become human.
Based on an early Dean Koontz novel, "The Demon Seed" is rarely predictable, concluding with a memorable scene that's hard to forget. Directed by cult legend Donald Cammell ("Performance," "White of the Eye"), the film's story surrounds super computer Proteus IV, recently put online by the government. After discovering the cure for leukemia (nice job!), the computer suddenly decides to think independently, considering its human creators to be self destructive and misguided. Top scientist Fritz Weaver (I always loved his supporting work during the 1970s) gets a bit nervous, but assumes Proteus IV is under control. Unfortunately, there's a terminal at Weaver's house, and the sneaky super comp proceeds to imprison his estranged wife for impregnation (you heard right). This computer definitely wants to push the outside of the envelope, so to say.
Yes, the estranged wife is played by the lovely Julie Christie. She gives a fine performance in an otherwise formula film. Christie screams, pounds the walls, cries for help and eventually is forced to submit to the will of the great computer, who talks in short sentences with the eerie voice of Robert Vaughn (yikes!). It's kind of odd, though the contrast is intended, that Weaver's creation shows more affection towards his wife than he does.
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Format: VHS Tape
For me, "Demon Seed" was a curious midnite movie I caught by sheer chance back in 1989, and I can unequivocally say it is rare diamond strewn among all the sordid lumps of CGI-bloated sci-fi today! From start to finish, all key entities of this film: Bill ("Jaws") Butler's claustrophobic cinematography, Jerry Fielding's evocative score, and the art direction (especially the stately, computerized Harris manor and basement lab) struck such high accord with me. Having veteran horror star Fritz Weaver in the role of Dr. Alex Harris, the prodigiously brilliant creator of the supernovel AI system, Proteus, was a judicious decision on behalf of the producers. Weaver just exudes the mannerisms of a supercilious, obdurate, and overzealous scientist with aplomb!
This cautionary, futuristic fable revolves around the genesis of the aforementioned supercomputer Proteus, a clandestine Defense Dept project spearheaded by Dr. Harris. It is an organically constructed megaprocessor that Harris and his colleagues believe will be the ultimate panacea in solving the world's most intricate scientific problems (from curing elusive diseases to advanced underwater mineral excavations). Proteus was a fervent 8-year labor of love on Alex's part; however, his obsession precipitated a faltered marriage with his estranged wife, Susan (Julie Christie). Soon enough, sentient Proteus no longer wants to be a shackled, docile computational tool for his masters, but desires to study humanity. When denied a private terminal, he surreptitiously usurps the Harris manor's nerve center & holds Susan prisoner until she succumbs to bear a child infused with his superintellect. The child is Proteus' opportunity to be the human who can feel the sun on his own any deadly cost to those who impede upon his plans.
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