Demon Seed (1977)

Demon Seed (1977), directed by Donald Cammell.

Julie Christie's genius husband has already computer automated their house when his Proteus AI develops consciousness beyond it's original design, shades of Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970). Now it wants a bio-mechanical breeding project and she is required to cooperate.

An early prophetic warning against the Internet of things. Anyone with even rudimentary programming experience, or anyone who has struggled against the inevitable truth that "Everything Put Together Falls Apart" (Rhymin' Paul Simon) knows that this is a terrifically bad idea.

Q: Why don't the big wheels see that? A: "Truth" and "livelihood" are intertwined in the human mind.

Further it is yet another example (King Kong (1933), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), Gargoyles (1972), Humanoids from the Deep (1980)) of the allure human females have for non-human creatures, against all but filmmaking logic. Actually, Proteus (voiced by an uncredited Robert Vaughn) is nothing if not logical. It is not cruel, but is determined to procreate. (The feminist critique writes itself: not only do we have to cope with Men and Monsters, now they invent new entities to plague us).

Obviously there is a lot of political context to the "women as breeding platforms" plot that often comes out in horror films, notably in the series starting with Alien (1979) where in Aliens (1986) and Alien 3 (1992) the patriarchal Damned Company is going make Ripley bear a monster child she doesn't want. Her survival efforts become a sustained abortion metaphor.

Adapted from an early Dean Koontz novel, it already shows some of his customary themes: arrogant scientists playing God, amoral government and corporate forces, the danger of universal machines (in his later work nanomachines, but here a fantastical shape-shifting pile of polyhedrons that can do just about anything).

Jerry Fielding score.

Available on Blu-ray from Warner Archive.