Lock-Down Review: The Demon Seed (1977)


If a movie where an A.I. enhanced computer (with the voice of Robert Vaughn) forcibly impregnates Julie Christie appeals to you, then Donald Cammell’s sci-fi horror picture The Demon Seed will really hit the spot and you’ll be in for a treat.




Trailer | Demon Seed | Warner Archive


In all seriousness, I’ve always found The Demon Seed quite repellent – there’s something about the movie that has an underlying sense of evil, with the computer Proteus IV’s gynaecological explorations of Susan (Christie) particularly unsettling.


Especially to female viewers, I’d imagine.


Maybe Cammell was seeking to update the premise of Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, but unfortunately without the artistry. The director had connections with Aleister Crowley through his father the poet Charles Richard Cammell -which explains a lot. Cammell starred as Osiris in Crowley devotee Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising (1972), another not-so-veiled hint at the director’s interests:


Still, if you’re in the mood, it’s worth a look – and it does have a decent pay-off at the end. This unpleasant image and clip of the birth of Christie and Proteus IV’s offspring is NOT the spoiler….

Demon Seed - The Birth

Donald Cammell of course also co-directed 1970’s classic Performance with Nic Roeg. His only other picture of note is 1987’s White of the Eye, a serial killer thriller starring David Keith (Daredevil/The Two Jakes).

White of The Eye 1987 Trailer HD

Sadly, Cammell went on to kill himself with a shotgun in 1996.


FUN FACT: The Marvel comic book villain Proteus debuted in 1979. This body-swapping, reality warping mutant would be a fitting adversary for the X-Men in a new MCU movie.


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Stephen Arnell

Culture Comment Content Provider. Portrait courtesy of artist Darren Coffield. 'Non satis me tempo'