This Dean Koontz Sci-Fi Film Might’ve Been A Cult Classic If Not For MGM – SlashFilm


Although “Demon Seed” does not feel too outlandish by contemporary standards (purely due to the merit of resonant core ideas), the concept was a hard sell during the time of its release. Cammell had previously co-directed the then-controversial, now-highly regarded “Performance” with Nicolas Roeg, so his foray into experimental sci-fi felt promising, as he had little luck with a dozen unrealized projects before “Demon Seed” released in theaters. However, the film was not a career-booster for Cammell, as it was a “very unhappy experience” that was exacerbated by MGM:

“Well, it was a very unhappy experience. It was a pretty frustrating experience. My personality just does not gel with these studio people. And MGM was no different than Warner Bros.. was with ‘Performance.’ I was the reason they got Julie Christie, who was red hot at the time, and an Oscar winner to boot. The front office loved everything until they got their hands on my rough cut. It could have been a great film, but even though it got bloody respectable notices, it wasn’t my vision.”

Getting robbed of one’s directorial vision due to studio interference is a damn shame, and even though Cammell does not specify what happened, it is clear that the final cut did not make him happy. Koontz himself provides us with more insight into the marketing blunders that MGM committed, detailing the studio’s genre mishandling on his website:

“In the end, the studio released ‘Demon Seed’ with a stealth advertising budget. Before release, it changed the initially classy poster and the stylish newspaper ads into a sleazy minimalist campaign … The studio said they needed to keep the advertising budget low because this was a science-fiction movie, and late in the game they realized science-fiction movies never made money.”

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