The Greatest Horror Movie Moments!
by: Dr. Boogie

Demon Seed

Artificial Intelligence can be a scary thing. HAL 9000 shutting off the air supply to kill off a few pesky astronauts, Skynet sending killer robots back in time, the idea of a sophisticated AI working against humanity has been done before. Demon Seed, however, takes the evil computer angle and runs it in an entirely different direction, and it doesn't bury the lead with its title.

Rather than trying to control and exterminate mankind, deranged supercomputer Proteus has a different goal in mind: procreation. Lucky for him, his creator, Dr. Alex Harris, had a terminal installed in his house, so Proteus has access to his estranged wife, Susan. Not long into the film, Proteus overrides the AI controlling all the automated features in their house and makes a prisoner of Susan. Proteus explains to her that he wants a son so that he can experience the world outside the confines of his computer hardware. It's much less romantic than it sounds; probes and mechanical arms everywhere.

Anyway, the big conclusion comes a short time after Susan "agreed" to give Proteus a child and gave birth after an incredibly short gestation period. Proteus just needs a little more time to insert his consciousness into the kid, and then he'll be ready to experience the world with the joyous send of wonderment of a computer-brained newborn. By now, though, everyone is onto the fact that Proteus is up to no good, and Dr. Harris finally races home to check on his wife. After learning about the baby, he wants to see it for himself. Proteus says no can do:

Found in Pyramid Head's terrarium.

Earlier in the film, Proteus' only means of defending himself and subduing Susan was a surprisingly strong mechanical arm attached to a wheelchair. This lasted up until Dr. Harris' friend Walter tipped over said wheelchair, so the next revision was fairly obvious: a giant snake made of metallic pyramids. Sure, it's a large awkward thing, but how much do you need when your main adversaries are an overwrought housewife and her wimpy scientist husband?

Forget having a kid, just make more of these things!

Suffice to say, he has no trouble slapping Dr. Harris aside. Though neither one of them seem capable of stopping him, Dr. Harris' colleagues are about to shut down the computers that house Proteus' brain. Perhaps he could have intercepted them if he had taken his snake on the road instead of spending the better part of a month brainwashing Susan. Whatever the case, Proteus opts to take himself out, rather than waiting for the inevitable. He instructs Susan and Dr. Harris to leave the baby alone for five days, and then shuts himself down, along with the snake:

What happens when you microwave tin foil.

And really, who better to take care of your crazy cybernetic baby than the woman you tormented and probed?

Any vestiges of Stockholm Syndrome immediately wear off once Susan takes a peek in the baby's incubator. She immediately tries to kill the baby by pulling the incubator's plug. Dr. Harris, who is being a bit insensitive over his wife's imprisonment and forced impregnation, tries to stop her, but he's a weenie, so she pulls the plug. The incubator shuts down, and the child emerges.

Note the forehead butt.

Aw, isn't that cute? It's got its mother's eyes. And its father's plated skin. The only thing it's missing is an inner ear:

Rapunzel, no!

Granted, it was five days premature, but it's growing nine times faster than a normal baby, so it's really 45 days premature. Looks like that's it for Proteus then. Dr. Harris, weirdo that he is, decides to start picking at the baby's metallic scabs.

A baby with a hard candy shell!

Well look at that. I guess the baby just needed to molt first.

After an indeterminate amount of picking and scraping, the Harrises uncover the baby, and wouldn't you know it, it looks just like the daughter they lost to leukemia years ago. The only difference is that this one houses the malevolent intelligence of a crazed AI, as she is quick to reveal with her first words:

Listen, about the whole probe thing...
"I'm alive."

Good for you, Proteus. You gave up the ability to freely manipulate the ubiquitous technology of this futuristic era in favor of being a kid.

You know what; forget what I said about Proteus being an AI. He's just an A.

Have any questions or comments about this piece?


Reader Comments

Sep 20th, 2011, 04:49 AM
It's like a modern-day Pinocchio!
Cranberry Everything
Sep 21st, 2011, 07:22 PM
I figured this movie was just another Rosemary's Baby, The Godsend, etc. I'll be sure to check it out now.
Im one good looking Troll
Sep 21st, 2011, 11:35 PM
Forum Virgin
Oct 26th, 2011, 01:49 PM
one of my fav horror/sci-fi movies
great effects,great performance from julie christie
top movie

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