Director: Donald Cammell
Screenplay: Robert Jaffe
Release: Warner Archive Collection
Demon Seed is one of the few 80s suspense /horror pictures which could easily be remade with only slight modification for time. There is no struggle to believe that smart home tech, with AI could cause a real ruckus at home.
From Warner Archives:
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 performances” (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.
Demon Seed is 40 years old on April 8th; 40 years later Demon Seed is terrifying. The film is historical example of one my fears when it comes to smart devices in my house. While it may be inane I am unsettled by the idea that smart thermostat become upset with me and cooking me in my sleep. With AI moving at the clip it is this is a conceivable concern.
Will my thermostat want to use my DNA to generate a flesh and blood instance of itself? No. Can a foreign power use my smart device as a tool to launch a DDoS attack? Maybe. However, this is not the purpose of this blog.
In Demon Seed the wonderful Julie Christie, wife of a scientist, is targeted by their home automation system as a sample of physical human perfection and thus the perfect specimen to this AI system to base its life form. Okay, it is weird. But it was also cool and weirdly innocent in its malfeasance.
I highly recommend this film, to anyone. It is well made and easy to follow while still being a techno-thriller. Warner fans have to check out the WBShop for this and thousands of Warner titles.
Director: 7 – Cinematography: 5 – Edit: 4 – Parity: 2 – Main performance: 7 – Else performance: 4 – Score: 5 – Sound: 6 – Story: 7 – Script: 6 – Effects: 7 – Design: 7 – Costumes: 7 – Keeps interest: 8 – Lasting: 5