Film & Video

Demon Seed (Film)

Beta

Release Date: 1985
Publisher: MGM/UA Home Video
MB600129

Laserdisc

Release Date: 1985
Publisher: MGM/UA Home Video
States: ML100126

VHS

Release Date: 1991
Publisher: MGM/UA Home Video
#M600129

DVD

Release Date: October 4, 2005
Publisher: Warner Brothers / Warner Archive

Blu-ray

Release Date: March 14, 2017
Publisher: Warner Brothers / Warner Archive

Soylent Green/Demon Seed

Release Date: Soundtrack CD
Format: May 2003
Publisher: Film Score Monthly / Turner Classic Movies Music
Original List Price: $19.95
FSM0608
“THIS PRESSING IS LIMITED TO 3,000 COPIES”
Liner notes mention that Dean is the author of the original novel.

Notes

RELEASE DATE: April 8, 1977
COLOR/BW: c 94 min.
COUNTRY: USA
MPAA RATING: R
DIRECTOR: Donald Cammell
PRODUCER: Jaffe, Herb; released by United Artists
SCREENPLAY BY: Robert Jaffe and Roger O. Hirson; based on the novel by Dean R. Koontz.
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Bill Butler
EDITOR: Francisco Mazzola
OTHER CREDITS: Music, Jerry Fielding. Set Decoration, Barbara Krieger. Production Design, Edward C. Carfagno. Costumes and wardrobe, Sandy Cole, Bucky Rous, and Joie Hutchinson…

CAST
Susan Harris __ Julie Christie
Alex Harris __ Fritz Weaver
Walter Gabler __ Gerrit Graham
Petrosian __ Berry Kroeger
Soon Yen __ Lisa Lu
Cameron __ Larry J. Blake
Amy __ Dana Laurita
Voice of Proteus IV __ Robert Vaughn

Trailers:

Books that mention/discuss Demon Seed:

  • John Stanley’s Creature Features Movie Guide by John Stanley, 1981
  • Science Fiction Films of the Seventies by Craig W. Anderson, 1985
  • Androids, Humanoids, and Other Science Fiction Monsters by Per Schelde, 1993
  • Replications: A Robotic History of the Science Fiction Film by J.P. Telotte, 1995
  • Aliens, Robots, and Spaceships by Jeff Rovin, 1995
  • Electronic Eros: Bodies and Desire in the Postindustrial Age by Claudia Springer, 1996
  • Julie Christie by Anthony Hayward, Robert Hale Ltd, 2001
  • Horror Movies of the 1970s vol. 2 by John Kenneth Muir, McFarland, 2002. (p466-470)
  • Donald Cammell: A Life on the Wild Side by Rebecca and Sam Umland, Fab Press, 2006
  • The Cinema of Donald Cammell by Jeremy Mark Robinson, 2015 (Mr. Robinson is most definitely not a fan of the film or the novel.)
  • 1973: Rock at the Crossroads by Andrew Grant Jackson, St. martin’s Press, 2019
    p174: “Author Dean Koontz riffed off the Rosemary’s Baby premise with his bestselling novel Demon Seed, about a computer that takes a woman hostage and impregnates her, creating a cyborg. But the Dead Heads who worked in Silicon Valley found benign uses for the technology, employing proto-messaging boards to arrange rides to concerts and compile lyrics to their songs, a resource the Dead themselves eventually used. Merry Prankster Stewart Brand, creator of the commune-oriented Whole Earth Catalogue, wrote in Rolling Stone, “Ready or not, computers are coming to the people. That’s good news, maybe the best since psychedelics. … Half or more of computer science is heads. … The rest of the counterculture is laid low and back these days, showing none of this kind of zeal.”
  • Midnight Movie Monographs: The Brood by Stephen R. Bissette, PC Publishing, 2020
    p171: “Closer still, in some ways, was the externalized womb-and-fetus biologically-engineered by the computer Proteus after its campaign-of-terror, rape, and impregnation of a wealthy woman named Susan living (imprisoned in the then-futuristic computerized 1995 home of Dean Koontz’s novel Demon Seed (1973).313”
    Footnote 313: “Dean Koontz rewrote Demon Seed for a completely new edition in 1997; the original 1977 novel was written with chapters alternating Susan’s and Proteus’s points of view. The 1997 rewrite did away with Susan’s chapters, streamlining the narrative into a seamless novel written entirely from Proteus’s perspective.”
    p171-2: “Ectogenesis-via-computer was dramatized by Fred Hoyle and John Elliot’s serialized 1961 BBC teleplay A for Andromeda, in which Julie Christie played the computer-created woman Andromeda, nurtured with inhuman rapidity and growth in an external sterile ‘womb’ per instructions broadcast from an unknown intelligence in outer space, for an unknown purpose. With Demon Seed, Koontz took the premise further: the computer Proteus seeks to gain its freedom by literally giving birth to itself, by embedding its A.I. consciousness into a fetal infant spawned by its artificial insemination of Susan-a process vividly delineated onscreen in Donald Cammell, Roger Hirson, and Robert Jaffe’s feature film adaptation DEMON SEED (1977), starring Julie Christie as Susan with Robert Vaughn providing the voice of Proteus. Thus, the premiere 1960s British actress whose breakthrough role was playing a computer-spawned woman later gave birth, via computer rape, to the first cinematic computer/ human hybrid; such uncanny associative links are disturbing and fascinating in and of themselves. Though the term ‘biomechanical was popularized soon afterwards (thanks to the international recognition of Swiss surrealist painter and designer H.R. Giger’s work, after designing the distinctive creatures and many of the sets and environments for ALIEN), DEMON SEED’s computer/human hybrid baby resulting from Proteus’ scheme was indeed one of 1970s cinema’s most striking biomechanoid beings. It emerges from the external womb looking like a perverse fusion of human and machine technology, until it sheds its metallic exoskeleton to reveal a normal-looking but unnaturally matured human child speaking with Proteus’ voice.”
    p172: “Even given these contemporary precursors, THE BROOD was unique, its premise quite unlike those of either The Manitou or Demon Seed…”
    p325-6: “In this context, Nola’s anger, her rage, is further justified. Her aggressive nature refutes being reduced to non-personhood, becoming “a thing”; she must assert her personhood, her individuality, her character, seize control of her fate; her uncanny parthenogenetic ability reasserts her power, her ownership, over the process of giving birth, and over those she gives birth to: her BROOD. In the context of its genre, Nola Carveth also counters those who preceded her in genre cinema. Unexpected, frightening ‘monster child’ birth happens to or is imposed upon her precursors, through the agency of malevolent patriarchal MARY’S BABY), Lenore Davis (IT’S ALIVE), Karen Tandy (THE MANITOU), Susan Harris (DEMON SEED), etc. – just as it did to most of those pregnant female characters who followed Nola (Yanka in BABY BLOOD, etc.). As Scahill puts it, the monster child in these scenarios – precisely like the fetus for those who oppose women’s reproductive rights – “is afforded a personhood unavailable to the maternal body”: the AntiChrist of ROSEMARY’S BABY, the unnamed Davis mutant child of IT’S ALIVE, the resurrected father is Proteus IV) in DEMON SEED. The mother is expendible. Scahill shaman Misquamacus of THE MANITOU, Proteus V (presumably, since its mother, who becomes incomplete in the battle to give the fetus coherence and acknowledges that the personhood of the fetus comes at the detriment of the a sacrificial conduit, or a polluted container… the Gynecological Gothic embodiment- in the Gothic cinematic imagination she becomes a holy vessel, witnesses this very act: chronicling the evacuation of the female from the site of her own pregnancy.”583”

Film Articles & Reviews:

  • The Old Dark House (‘Zine) No. 2, 1977, p34(4) -George LaVoo
  • Richard E. Geis reviews the film on page 20 of  Science Fiction Review #22 (August 1977) . It starts with a correction regarding his statement in issue #21 that claims the books is a novelization.
  • Pure Images: The Magazine of Film and Television, Spring 1977

Related Film:
Donald Cammell: The Ultimate Performance (IMDB)
October 1988, Directors: Kevin Macdonald & Chris Rodley
A 75 minute documentary on the life of director Donald Cammell. Demon Seed is disused from approximately minutes 57-62 of the film.

Other editions:

UK VHS
Japanese Laserdisc

Promotional Material:

Program one-sheet (front)
Program one-sheet (back)
Promotional posters sheet (side a)
Promotional posters sheet (side b)

Miscellaneous:

 

Demon Seed was given a shout-out on the HBO series The Deuce. (Contains adult language.)

And here’s a great episode of The Projection Booth podcast all about Demon Seed.

Related items:

Alternate film poster by Nikos Bogris (source)

 

Last updated on July 23rd, 2018