Demon Seed (1977)

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Demon Seed (1977)

Post  BoG on Sat Mar 06, 2010 10:50 pm


BASED ON THE NOVEL BY DEAN KOONTZ
I first watched this many years ago, probably in the early eighties, on TV. I remember even PBS ran it once on a special Sunday night. A DVD was released much more recently and I bought it a few years ago. I've got a soft spot for many SF films of the seventies; a lot of them are beginning to look like they were ahead of their time (Rollerball; Soylent Green; Westworld) while, at the time of release, most people didn't think too much about them.  I think Demon Seed (kind of a strange, inappropriate title - author Dean Koontz seems to always have this problem, such as "Phantoms") also falls into this category, to some extent. Some of these SF films are true 'thinking man' films; how well they succeed - well, that's a matter of opinion.
As with many SF films of that period, Demon Seed faced ridicule or indifference, for the most part, in the seventies. The whole concept of a computer or machine raping an attractive woman sounds very cheesy and exploitive on the face of it (see also Saturn 3 from 1980). But, I find that it delves into possibilities of our ever-growing technology that most other films dare not or cannot explore. Our current relationships with computers (who is controlling who?) makes this film more & more insightful as more time goes by.

A lot of the film's critics also probably compared it unfavorably to 2001:A Space Odyssey - HAL vs. Proteus - perhaps with good reason. It also has a bit of a slow pace, but director Donald Cammell definitely has his own style and directed one of my favorite films a decade later, White of the Eye. He had a strange, infrequent career and committed suicide. The film also ends at the point which many, including me, would want it to begin - what happens with Proteus as a new breed of humanity now? We never got the answer, no sequel, nothing. BoG's Score: 6.5 out of 10
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