MovieChat Forums > Demon Seed (1977) Discussion > ok..this movie makes no sense

ok..this movie makes no sense


Now I'm a big fan of Mr. Koontz, and all of his stories I read were solid novels. I have not read "Demon Seed," but I really don't hope its as shoddy as the film, which I just saw last night. Ok, first, didn't Dr. Harris realize that creating an artificial brain, obviously capable of self-awareness, would like being "stuck in a box?" He gave Proteus the ability to think, so why he is so surprised when it refuses to do what is asked of him? Next, the Proteus-baby only took about a month to be born...where was Dr. Harris during that whole time? Sleeping at his lab? What did Proteus do with Walter's body? Why is Dr. Harris so calm and collected after learning his WIFE just gave birth to a baby...by a machine, but more importantly, not him? Proteus said the baby needed five days to incubate, yet it emerged fully grown just a few moments later. And the 64-million dollar question... why did the Proteus-baby have Proteus' voice?? It is, technically, 100% human (if I understood the story, which is not surprising if I didn't), so it would have human vocal chords, not the electronic speaker device that served as Proteus' voice.

Although the editing and acting was pretty dismal, the movie was trippy, and that's always a good thing in my book. And although dated, the effects were no doubt stunning in the year it came out. But I really think a remake would really be good. The plot is intriguing, creepy, and downright disturbing, but that's what makes it so great.

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It's not that the movie makes no sense, but that it raises questions in your mind that you have not had satisfactorily answered. There is a difference. I will try to answer them:

"Didn't Dr. Harris realize that creating an artificial brain, obviously capable of self-awareness, would like being "stuck in a box?" He gave Proteus the ability to think, so why he is so surprised when it refuses to do what is asked of him?"

This irony is intentional. Artificial intelligence in movies ALWAYS has unintended consequences. Of course, Harris tried to give Proteus a mind that was nearly 99 percent "real," but obviously thought he'd left out the 1 percent that would make it self-aware, thus resistant to its limitations.

"Next, the Proteus-baby only took about a month to be born...where was Dr. Harris during that whole time? Sleeping at his lab?"

The movie shows at the beginning that Harris and his wife were separating. When people separate, one partner finds another place to live, e.g. an apartment.

"What did Proteus do with Walter's body?"

He could have done any number of things with it: Incinerated it, maybe? He clearly had the hardware to do any number of things.

"Why is Dr. Harris so calm and collected after learning his WIFE just gave birth to a baby...by a machine, but more importantly, not him?"

On the contrary, Harris' response to what's happened shows that he is more emotionally interested in scientific marvels -- like what Proteus had managed to do -- than in his wife. Maybe this is an indication of one thing his wife found hard to live with.




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This was a very well thought out response. Your answers reflects the ideas of what Dean Koontz (my favorite author) writes

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Also to add the point regarding a week to mature. What defines maturity. It it the cabability of exixting without external support (Womb?), or the maturing into an adult's body that is cabable of protecting itself.

I guess Proteus's vision was that he'd (she??) emerge as a full adult with the expectations of being listened to. He's observations would have shown him that children were not taken seriously - even super intelligent ones.


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Dear MovieThinker:

It's a movie. You need to THINK about the difference between fiction and documentaries. BTW, please don't have kids.

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Dude, I know it's a movie. That's why I'm posting the questions, on a MOVIE FORUM. I am trying to understand the story's idiosyncrasies, what it represents, and what message(s) it is trying to convey, as any good film will do. Just because a film is not a documentary is no excuse for it to have plot holes. If you think asking questions about a movie brings doubt to one's mental capacity to differentiate between movies and documentaries, then you, my friend, should be the one not having kids.

If that is not what you intended to tell me, then please state what you were trying to say.

And thank you gnolti for your kind response. I didn't catch that bit of them having a divorce, so that clears that up. thank you.

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Just because a film is not a documentary is no excuse for it to have plot holes
Of course, but plot holes have f-all to do with discrepancies between the film and the actual world, making the comment to you about understanding the differences between fiction and documentaries apt.

You say "You're trying to understand . . . what it represents". That's a good approach to fiction. But under it, is it difficult to understand that the child having the Proteus voice at the end represents that it is Proteus in the flesh, in human form? That Proteus completed its goal successfully?

That it has Proteus' voice isn't at all a plot hole. What you're thinking about there is how human voices work in the actual world. But fiction films are not about that. They are NOT documentaries. They're fiction. As fiction, they take place in fictional worlds (even if it's a fictional New York City, etc.). They're artworks. Artworks do not do everything literally, transparently, non-abstractly, etc. So it's a mistake to "read" them that way.


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[deleted]

The child speaks with Proteus' voice for the same reason that NBC made Gene Roddenberry add a whooshing sound when the Enterprise flies by in the opening credits...the execs assume that the audience would not understand otherwise. To me, it would have been just as effective for the child to speak in a little girl's voice, but the studio execs don't think that way.

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didn't Dr. Harris realize that creating an artificial brain, obviously capable of self-awareness, would like being "stuck in a box?"
>>>Already answered

The Proteus-baby only took about a month to be born...where was Dr. Harris during that whole time?
>>>It's explained at the beginning.

What did Proteus do with Walter's body?
>>>Immaterial

Why is Dr. Harris so calm and collected after learning his WIFE just gave birth to a baby...by a machine, but more importantly, not him?
>>>This one I'll give you

Proteus said the baby needed five days to incubate, yet it emerged fully grown just a few moments later.
>>>Its growth and whatever required those five days' worth of incubation aren't necessarily tied. Who knows what it would have looked like in five days? Who knows what faculties were diminished by ending the incubation period early?

Why did the Proteus-baby have Proteus' voice?? It is, technically, 100% human (if I understood the story, which is not surprising if I didn't), so it would have human vocal chords, not the electronic speaker device that served as Proteus' voice.
>>>Its voice might have finished developing in those five days.

"My brain rebelled, and insisted on applying logic where it was not welcome."

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Re the voice -> As Proteus designed the form he was to inhabit it woulod be a simple genetic matter to increase the size of the vocal cords to deepen the voice.

The tone range of the voval cords is dependant on the area of vibrations hence children and smaller people often have higher voices.. but that is not a set rule.

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This is not an abstract art film. It is a straight forward adaptation of a very well written, but straight forward horror novel. I have watched "Demon Seed" 10 times or more and I have never discovered any question asked in the script that is not also satisfactorily answered in the script. The film does, as many films used to do, expect a certain level of intelligence from it's audience. Sadly, such is no longer the case. Perhaps you should avoid older films that do not spoon feed you every aspect of the basic plot, but expect you to think, if even just a bit, for yourself. Personally, I find "Demon Seed" to be an excellent adaptation of it's source novel, an excellent film in it's own right, and a continuously enjoyable viewing experience. I'm sorry that you are unable to find it the same.

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Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. If you like the film, so be it. It is not my fault if certain aspects of the film are not clear. I have shown this film to many people, all nerdy science-fiction fans, and they all had similar gripes and questions. If it takes 10 times of watching to understand a film , then it's probably not a well made film. Don't get me wrong, the movie wasn't terrible. But this is to the filmmakers, and not Koontz's source material, which I hear is much better.

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I don't think your questions were so unreasonable. They were human responses to issues in the movie. The movie however highlights how some people have willingly sacrificed their humanity to science and juxtapose's it against the idea of this artificial intelligence that would like nothing more than to experience our human existence.

What I find disturbing is the need of certain "intelligent" people who find it necessary to respond by insulting the person asking questions. Honestly, it was a horror movie people. And a slightly campy one at that. I can't remember the last horror movie where I sat with rapt attention and caught every nuance of conversation or attempt at plot development through innuendo. Don't get me wrong, I have thoroughly enjoyed this movie for years. But people need to get off of their high horses, it's not like moviethinker asked to steal your womenfolk.

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This film is far from the genius piece of work you make it out to be. And your post only proves that you are not worth conversing with.



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The film does, as many films used to do, expect a certain level of intelligence from it's audience. Sadly, such is no longer the case. Perhaps you should avoid older films that do not spoon feed you every aspect of the basic plot, but expect you to think, if even just a bit, for yourself.


Thank you, I find this to be the case with most modern horror "audiences". They want everything explained in great details. However I don't think OP questions are "too dumb". They are fairly reasonable questions.

This was a bit more intelligent then average 70s horror movie (which has lot of intelligent horror movies to begin with), and movie gives you exactly what you need to know to follow the plot and leaves the rest for your imagination.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.


Yes, but that doesn't mean everyone's opinions are correct.

If it takes 10 times of watching to understand a film , then it's probably not a well made film.


Yeah, riiiight. So "2001: A Space Odyssey" is also a bad movie? Because each time I see it, I find something new about it.

Also how big was the baby when it came out of her, and how did it get covered in foil? Wouldn't Julie have had to have a huge opening to let that big thing out without damaging her body and parts.


This is exactly what I mean by "spoon-feed". Proteus might have added those parts post-birth as a part of incubation? Ever thought of that? Use your imagination for a change, (any) movie doesn't need to explain every single detail when you have imagination. I know, it's shocking.

The 5 days waiting period might have been there to make the child fully grown, i.e. adult.


I was thinking the same, and since it's incubation period was disrupted, it got "stuck" in it's child form. I would like to know if it's gonna grow further at normal human aging. Probably. "The voice" at the end was kinda silly, but that's most likely studio interference, because they wanted to make sure audiences get it that child is Proteus reborn.

The only real problem I found was nobody noticing Walter's disappearence. Maybe Proteus called in for him, who knows.


Given what sort of equipment Proteus had at it's disposal, he could easily turn him into soup or milkshake. ;)

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Too true.. Like American humor.

Jokes are written on pieces of 2x4 and then liberally applied to the forhead of the audience with the hope it will sink in.

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OK--I read the book way back in 1977 (I was too young to get into an R rated movie). I caught the movie years later on TV. All the problems u have with the movie are explained easily in the book and make sense. Also the baby at the end of the book is a LOT different than what we see in the movie. Mr. Koontz did two adaptations of movies that I've seen (this one and "The Funhouse") and his books were vastly superior than what made it to the screen (although "The Funhouse" DID have its moments). Try to find the books. I don't know about "Demon Seed" but "Funhouse" was republished in the 1990s.

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Demon Seed was republished too. In 1997, however the republished version tells the story from Proteus' point of view.

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If the plot has some holes, it's because it is intended to have meaning beyond the surface narrative. The story is drenched with alchemical symbolism.

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Also how big was the baby when it came out of her, and how did it get covered in foil? Wouldn't Julie have had to have a huge opening to let that big thing out without damaging her body and parts.

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Ok..

Proteus genetically engineered/modified the egg. When the child emerged from the incubator it was alsready the size of a 10 year old. So it grew that fast in a week. Likewise from implantation into the womb it was ready to be moved in one month.

Hence it was growing very fast. So it could have easily been the size of a normal newborn when it was birthed.

The 'foil' was a protection and could have easily been 'grown' over the baby in the incubator. Likewise the trails of 'Wires' that came from the childs head connecting it to Proteus.

One idea here.... Muscles not stimulated begin to atrophy. It could well be part of a electro-stimulation system to build up strenght and muscle tone for when the child/adult was ready to come out of the incubator.

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