Synopsis by Cavett Binion
Adapted from a lesser-known novel from SF/Horror author Dean R. Koontz, this claustrophobic thriller presents a computerized nemesis incorporating the murderous elements of 2001's HAL with the world-domination goal of the title villain in Colossus: The Forbin Project. Brilliant cybernetics expert Dr. Alex Harris (Fritz Weaver) develops a revolutionary new supercomputer dubbed Proteus IV (voice of Robert Vaughn, uncredited) which is capable of almost human self-awareness and capacity for intellectual growth. Unfortunately for Alex and his wife Susan (Julie Christie), Proteus is also imbued with a very human desire to grow beyond the limitations of his own knowledge -- as well as to escape the isolation of the laboratory -- and taps into the home terminals of the Harris' high-tech dream house, in which he makes Susan a virtual prisoner. As she is put through a tortuous series of physical and mental tests, the Proteus mainframe takes severe steps to prevent any interference -- even resorting to the murder of Harris' assistant (Gerrit Graham). Susan's confusion eventually turns to dread when she begins to realize Proteus' true intentions... to evolve beyond mere circuitry and assume a human form by impregnating her with his "seed." Despite the lurid premise, this is probably the most conventional effort from controversial director Donald Cammell (Performance, Wild Side), and the film's theme of the computer's ominously pervasive role in human affairs -- in this case forcing its way into our bodies as well as our lives -- seems oddly prescient today. Christie's convincing performance makes the most of a role which has her shouting at the walls and ceiling for two-thirds of the movie.
science-runs-amok, computers, technology, artificial-intelligence, house, impregnation, scientist, machine, rampage, laboratory, man-vs-machine, rape, marital-problems