Demon Seed (1977)

Dean Koontz is a novelist well known for pushing the boundaries and delivering something a little different to what has gone before – and his novel of the same title that Demon Seed was based on is certainly that! However, while this may be different; it’s not all that good. Many Koontz fans say that his novel ‘Demon Seed’ is one of his weakest – and although I haven’t read it, based on this film; I assume that the people who say that are right. I realised, while watching this movie, that I really don’t like seventies Sci-Fi all that much. The machines look so dated, and it’s hard these days to buy a movie being set in the future, when all the technology on show was out of date years ago. I realise that it’s nobody’s fault the movie is like this – but the simple fact is – seventies Sci-Fi just doesn’t age well. Anyway, the plot here follows a scientist that creates a brand new super intelligent computer. While he goes away, the computer has the bright idea that, in order to complete itself, it must have a child. Seeing as it doesn’t have the resources to create an artificial womb…it has to make do with the scientist’s wife!

Despite the effects being poor and the plot being rather shallow, Demon Seed does have its good elements. Firstly, the fact that most of the film takes place in the main location ensures that it gets the claustrophobic, paranoid handling that it deserves. Late director Donald Cammell has definitely done the best he could with the material. He’s also succeeded in casting the right people for the movie, and getting good performances out of them. Julie Christie is no stranger to horror films after her role four years earlier in the classic ‘Don’t Look Now’, and she puts in a good, and mostly believable performance here. She is joined by Fritz Weaver, who looks every bit the sort of man who would have the ability and the will to create a supercomputer. The voice of the computer, which echoes that of Hal in Kubrick’s masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey, helps to ensure that the film has an underlying evil; and that alone is the most horrific element in Demon Seed. Throughout, the film basically just carries along the predictable lines that the plot suggests it will; and even the ending, despite being almost shocking, doesn’t really do anything that you don’t expect. On the whole, this is still worth watching – but be warned! The plot isn’t all that good, and age hasn’t been kind to it either.