The Warner Archive Collection has released the 1977 Sci-Fi Horror film Demon Seed on Blu-ray. Does it belong on your shelf of films? Read on to find out!
Julie Christie carries the “Demon Seed“, which is based on a Dean Koontz novel and adapted for the screen by writer Robert Jaffe (Motel Hell) and director Donald Cammell (Performance, and select U2 videos).
Actress Julie Christie (Doctor Zhivago, Don’t Look Now) plays Susan Harris. She is a child psychologist who lost her daughter to leukemia. Her husband is Alex Harris, played by Fritz Weaver (Creepshow), who is a computer scientist. Dr Alex not only is looking for a cure for the world’s medical problems but he also wants to automate daily trivial activities. The doc’s latest experiment is Proteus – an organic super computer with artificial intelligence which becomes obsessed with human beings, and in particular the creators wife.
Automatically any time artificial intelligence comes up in a film the audience is reminded of HAL 9000. Obviously that is, for all intents and purposes, too high of a standard to reach. Proteus is a very interesting premise even if some of the weightier concepts are not realized. Demon Seed tends to lean more towards dime store thriller than heady hardcore science fiction. I can’t necessarily say it’s a “fun” movie. To explain in depth would be spoiling a bit too much but let’s just say that the title is a bit more literal than I realized it would be. In fact you might want to stay away from trailers and even the back of the box to completely miss spoiling what happens in the last quarter of the film.
Seeing “futuristic” computer technology as envisioned from the 1970’s is pretty laugh inducing these days. Plus with straight out horror films being very visually explicit, the slow burn pacing and implied violence might not thrill modern viewers. The characters are pretty thin, their motivations seem to swing wildly and the plot holes are so big you could drive a tractor trailer through them. And yet at the same time I found myself entertained, intrigued, and interested the entire run time. I wanted to see where the film went and I did reflect on it afterwards. Even though it may be a bit of an oddity and not at the upper tier of sci fi movies I still found plenty to like about it.
As usual for Warner Archive, the transfer is great. There is a nice 2K scan with natural colors and no noticeable digital tampering. There are fluctuations and distortions in aspect ratio to show when the computer brain/A.I. was looking at something, but I am confident that it was an artistic choice. The audio is presented with a DTS-HD MA 2.0 and English subtitles are included. This is a modestly budgeted film and so it is mostly dialogue heavy with a light background score with electronic sound effects and I felt like the audio was solid with that in mind.
No special features on this release, although the theatrical trailer is included.
Demon Seed Final Thoughts:
1977 was a huge year for science fiction films as both Star Wars and Close Encounters were released. Lost in the shuffle were smaller less visionary films like Demon Seed. Thankfully Warner Archive released what is clearly the definitive version as far as picture and sound quality goes. I enjoyed the mash up of a robot run “haunted” house. It feels almost like a lost episode of Outer Limits at times. If this type of film interests you or if you are a fan already I can recommend a purchase on Amazon or other fine retailers.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.