Plot: What’s it about?
Proteus IV is an advanced AI created by Alex Harris (Fritz Weaver), a master when it comes to all things computer related. His work on the project has consumed his life, demanding endless hours and forcing Alex to ignore other parts of his life. He might have made their home a fully automated one, but his estranged wife Susan (Julie Christie) is still alone there. The two have reached an impasse in their marriage, but Alex is close to having Proteus ready to be unleashed on the world. When Proteus makes an odd request to study certain subjects without being monitored, the AI is denied and Alex wonders what other surprises Proteus might have. He finds out when Proteus assumes control of the automated home Alex has, with Susan inside. With full access to locks, communication devices, and even able to create false videos of Susan, Proteus has a stranglehold on the house. But what could an AI want with a human woman, and can Alex find a way to break Proteus’ control over the home?
The 70s gave us some wild visions of the future in cinema, most of which come off as quite dated after a few decades. The Demon Seed was marketed as a horror movie or sci/fi thriller, as a sentient AI ran roughshod over a poor Julie Christie. But watched these days, it plays like over the top melodrama and unintentional humor. The interactions between Julie Christie and Proteus are nothing short of hilarious, as the two fight over breakfast, visitors, and the whole unwanted insemination scenario. Christie is solid here, seeming game for what the movie throws at her and she manages to play it straight, which of course only adds to the fun. The rest of the cast is small but fine, though the AI proves to be the driving force behind the entertainment. Besides feeling up Julie Christie and cooking her a wonderful breakfast, he decapitates a man and demands his lenses be cleaned. It is high camp at this point, but The Demon Seed still entertains and that is what counts. So no, you won’t be frightened by Proteus and his controlling ways, but if you like camp and genre films, you should enjoy this one.
Video: How’s it look?
The Demon Seed is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen. A new transfer is presented on this disc and it looks excellent. The image is natural and well detailed, clean but not DNR’ed to the point of no return, which is great news. The natural grain is present and while of course the image is on the dated side, this transfer looks terrific and adds much life to the visuals. No color issues or contrast concerns, just a rock solid new visual presentation.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The mono soundtrack is solid, with more presence than I expected. Now keep your expectations in check obviously, but this sounds quite good for a mono track. This is thanks in part to the film’s sound design, which is skilled and detailed. No issues with music overpowering the other elements or hard to hear dialogue at all. A clean, clear audio treatment. Also includes SDH subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Theatrical Trailer
The Bottom Line
The Demon Seed might be dated, but it is still a fun genre picture. You might laugh more than you’re scared, but the entertainment is still there. Warner Archive’s disc looks great, but is lean when it comes to supplements. Recommended to genre fans.