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Sunday Cult Movie Corner: “Demon Seed (1977)”

13 Feb

On this quiet Sunday afternoon, I’m actually a little busier than usual. I’M making my annual Haggis dish and  at the same time trying to clean up the flat for some people who will be visiting tonight to partake in the delights of boiled minced offal and assorted spices. This means that I’m sort of posting this on the fly so i can concentrate on matter so matters of the flesh.

When you talk about cult movies, one thing to take into account is the role of the cult movie director. Sometimes they are known for their hellraising ways (Sam Peckinpah), their uber auteur singular vision (Kubrick, Kieslowski, Godard, et al) or the completely fucked subject matter of their movies (Jan Švankmajer). But if i were to give my nomination for the perfect cult movie director, i would probably have to plump for the director of this weeks Sunday cult movie, Donald Cammell.

Donald Cammell was born in Scotland but moved to london in the 60’s to experience the arts and music scene. Falling into film making by accident, he worked with Nicholas Roeg and his directorial debut PERFORMANCE, is seen by some as the ultimate cult movie of the 60’s. He then went on to direct only 4 more films before committing suicide in 1995 after the producer make numerous cuts to his last film against his wishes. His films have a very unique style, while being set in moderns times and settings, have a feeling of being out of sync with the rest of society. Most of Performance for example, is set in a London Mansion house where you feel closed off from the world outside. His

And then there is his second film DEMON SEED. Directed in 1977, it tells of a scientist who creates the worlds most powerful computer, Proteus 4. However when the computer goes online, it achieves sentience, whereupon it takes over the computer controlled house of his creator and imprisons his wife (played by Julie Christie). Its aim is to be reborn in new life, with Christie as the surrogate mother. will it succeed in its diabolical aims, or can Christie escape with her womb intact?

Like all of Cammell’s films, Demon Seed has an otherworldly air to it. Even though it is a modern setting, most of the film takes place in the modern house, which quickly becomes a prison. the idea of the amalgamation of artificial intelligence with human flesh was a very intriguing idea at the time, although you do keep wondering “How the hell is that computer going to impregnate her anyway?”

Yes we should be afraid of the machines. Make sure you unplug everything that is electrical before you go to bed this evening, because they make just do unspeakable things to you while you sleep….

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Posted by on February 13, 2011 in Film

 

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