Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Demon Seed

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! I kinda want a parody of the Rob Zombie song "Demon Speeding" called "Demon Seeding."

Demon Seed – 2 out of 5

With a title like Demon Seed there are some undeniable expectations.  For example, there’s probably a demon or some sort of demon-like figure involved and there might be a demon impregnating something or maybe a demon gardener.  One thing you wouldn’t expect is a film based on a Dean Koontz novel about a computer that wants a baby.  Wait, wut?!?  Yes, that’s what I said when I sat down to watch this film.

That's how I looked when I found out what this movie was about.
Yeah, chicken leg and all!

Dr. Alex Harris is a brilliant engineer and scientist and he ends up inventing the most advanced artificial intelligence program to ever exist; He calls it Proteus IV.  After leaving a connection from Proteus IV (voiced by Robert Vaughn in an uncredited role) to his automated house, the artificial intelligence starts to take over while Harris is away and ends up making Alex’s wife; Susan Harris (Julie Christie), a prisoner.  Proteus IV quickly becomes obsessed with the human body and decides that he wants to make a hybrid child with Susan and will let no one stand in his way.

Well, would you look at that?  It's Walter Gabler, he's was in another film
I recently reviewed.

Demon Seed is one of those films where I can’t quite remember how I stumbled upon it but one day it ended up on my Watch List (yes, I literally have a list of films that I haven’t seen and hope to one day check out).  I figured since it was October and the film literally had “demon” in the title that this would make a decent film to check out for the Halloween season.  It wasn’t.

Gah!  Atari graphics have come to life and are commanded by Proteus IV!

This movie has some intriguing ideas at play that make it a tad interesting.  You have the Dollar Store version of HAL 9000 combined with a made-for-TV version of Rosemary’s Baby going on here and that is, shockingly, a formula that could work.  The movie does have some very disturbing scenes and some horrifying ideas going on but it never feels like it is totally utilizing them.  Horror films love to play off the idea of our advancing technology coming back to bite us in the ass and that part the film gets right.  The problems stems partially from the reality that the threat level of the A.I. is hindered immensely by the fact the machines it utilizes to carry out its mission are laughably bad and the fact that watching this movie now in 2016 (this film came out in 1977) makes every bit of tech look horribly dated.

"This baby can fit 6 megabytes of data on it. Enough for a super
artificial intelligence!"

Acting wise, the film isn’t too bad.  Sadly, Julie Christie’s role is just her being subjected to psychological and physical torture from the Proteus IV and we really don’t get to see much of her beyond being terrified for her life and being broken—but she’s good at it and you really want her to escape her tormentor—but the real star is Robert Vaughn as Proteus IV.  Vaughn already has a legacy as a tremendous actor—one that continues to this day, actually—but the way he delivers his lines as the psychotic artificial intelligence is eerie as hell and proved to be one of the most unsettling things about this film…the second most unsettling thing is just the concept of a computer program wanting to procreate with a human.  *Shivers*

It's a freaking wheelchair with an arm.
That's not very intimidating.

Aside from a few creepy but intriguing ideas and some excellent performances, Demon Seed is a tad tedious and a bit forgettable.  Sure, the ending gives you fresh new horrors to enter your nightmares and there is a really cool geometrical robot thingy that Proteus IV makes to protect his plan but, when all is said and done, the movie gets pretty boring and doesn’t do a very good job at creating suspense, interest or terror.
Here, enjoy this nightmare fuel of the baby.
Also, the film is nearly 40 years old, so don't start
with that Spoilers nonsense.

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