Demon_Seed

Review: DEMON SEED (1977)

by Meredith Grau
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Best Bad Quote:
“How… Stupid…”
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Seven years before James Cameron’s masterfully satirical sci-fi brainchild about sophisticated technology in attack mode, author Dean Koontz had pre-pushed the envelope with the novel Demon Seed, soon after adapted into a film. Imagine if you will, The Sperminator. Put Batteries Not Included and The Accused into a blender and you’ve pretty much got the story. Well, not the whole story… I’m leaving out a magical spinning diamond with an extendable phallus for maximum vaginal penetration. The good news is, the sex is “out of this world.” [Computer Voice]: There are many intergalactic images to prove it.
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So, Susan Harris (Julie Christie, yes really), is held hostage in her own home after her husband’s (Fritz Weaver) sophisticated, artificial intelligence magoo-machine decides that life in a box is far too limiting. Somehow connecting himself to a port in Harris’s basement while she’s estranged from her husband, he syncs up with and controls her security system and her many housekeeping robots– which we all have, or course. He performs experiments on her to further his understanding of human beings, then decides to flesh himself out by playing a game of “hide the server” in her fertile womb. His goal is to father and thus live vicariously through a human mega-genius who will, one assumes, take over the world. (Was this the influence for the GI Joe, “Hey Kid, I’m a computer” clip? I hope so). Naturally, “Proteus,” as he is called, insists that what he is doing is for the greater good. A true Machiavellian, he believes this one act of sexual obscenity will be counterbalanced by the superhuman he creates who will undoubtedly end global warming, deforestation, yadda-yadda-yadda. Will Susan cave into this to peer pressure or will she keep her legs crossed and give him blue bots? My God, the tension!!!
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Doesn’t quite cut the mustard, does it? While digital rape is indeed a tangible thing– in a matter of speaking #BadTouch– digital rape is not uh… Well, it’s just not… Look, it’s not friggin’ possible. I don’t know what Koontz had in mind, but none of the words in this movie make sense. While I can certainly suspend disbelief for entertainment purposes, it’s gonna take a little bit extra to get me to buy a normal person having a conversation with a toaster like it’s all gravy. Now, if Ridley Scott, David Fincher or Christopher Nolan had been handed this outlandish concept, they perhaps could have tailored it with their very specific magic to make it palatable to viewers. Unfortunately, coming from Donald Cammell, Demon Seed is very hard to swallow. (Ha. Hahaha…).
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The story itself is interesting, particularly in identifying technology– the son of Man, you could say– as the anti-christ, but the brain has no time to process any such far-reaching thoughts or  underlying themes. One is too busy laughing at the piss poor special effects, the haphazard editing, and the inauthentic atmosphere. It’s far too sanitized and detached, and not in an artistically purposeful way like 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s friggin’ clumsy. Character development, what? Story, who? It’s a dry f*ck, folks. No lube. And poor Julie… I mean, this woman does her best, but she has absolutely no support. An actress revered for her gutsy and provocative work, here she is left completely discombobulated, her usual thoughtfulness coming off as batsh*t crazy.
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In the end, the concept is far too heady and heavy for the kindergarten style with which it is applied, so the thing becomes this sadly ridiculous stalker story about HAL’s annoying, inbred second cousin with a sex addiction. Would have found a better home on Lifetime. While the film gets more interesting toward the end, it’s too little too late. Oh, and then, the ending sits there stupidly like a joke without a punchline. A “flop,” I guess you could say. It’s absurd enough to be funny, but not enough to make it worth it. You leave the film feeling used, vulnerable and unsatisfied. Horror of whores, this computer porn never reaches a climax.
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Rating: 
 2 out of 5 Rubberless RAMs
JulieChristie650x405 JulieChristie650x405
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