An unusual science fiction thriller, Donald Cammell’s Demon Seed casts Julie Christie as child psychologist Susan Harris, whose marriage with her computer scientist husband, Alex (Fritz Weaver) becomes strained following the loss of their child to leukaemia
Susan fears Alex has grown increasingly remote and unemotional, immersing himself in work she views as dehumanizing technology. Specifically, the creation of an organic super-computer named Proteus IV.
Attempting a trial separation, Susan opts to remain alone in their spacious, fully-automated, fortress-secure home, run by Proteus – an all-seeing computer with a moral code (of sorts), a man’s voice (Robert Vaughn), and a particularly masculine tendency to think he’s right in the face of blatant contradictions.
Proteus can control everything, from the cooking and the phones to the doors and television.
Susan is imprisoned in her hi-tech house and raped and impregnated by Proteus, which manages to activate normally inanimate objects in their home.
The artificially-inseminated ovum is placed in a special incubator and eventually hatches into a metallic-scaled baby.
In a fit of mother-love, Christie stops her husband from taking to it with a hatchet. The scales then fall away, revealing a perfectly normal human baby.
Everyone is frightfully relieved for a few moments until the baby intones mechanically “I live”.
This film is not as bad as it sounds, and well worth watching once.
Dr Susan Harris
Dr Alex Harris
Dr Soon Yen
Larry J Blake