Thursday, November 17, 2016

"Doesn't Go with the Decor" - Demon Seed (1982) - Part 2 of 3

This is Part 2 of our discussion of the supernatural chamber drama variously known as Demon Seed, Demon Rage, Dark Eyes, Fury of the Succubus, and Satan's Mistress. You can read Part 1 here.

Previously, we watched as sexually frustrated Lisa was repeatedly ravaged by an invisible spirit. Strange things are occurring in the isolated beach house shared by Lisa, her inattentive husband Burt, and their teenage daughter Michelle.

The filmmakers next show the mysteriously black cat prowling around the beach house. They skillfully set up a feature of the house that we have not yet seen--like many remote beach houses, this one is equipped with a guillotine with a shiny steel blade in a dark room, probably the basement. No doubt we will see this piece of household equipment again.

In the night, the spirit, now a man with a physical body, enters Lisa's new room from the outside deck, somewhat like Count Dracula though appearing more like General Zod.

He moves to Lisa to ravish her, and now that he has achieved physical form, she feels satisfaction. Despite the fact that he never disrobes, their lovemaking lasts for several minutes, during which we see someone who might or might not be Ann-Marie walking along the beach and listening to Lisa's moaning.

The next morning, Burt, the picture of masculinity in his blue and yellow striped shirt, sips his coffee on the deck while Lisa paints in her room.

Burt knocks on her door, suggesting they do some sailing. There is no response. "Lisa, honey, are you still asleep?" he asks.

"Yes," she replies from inside the room.

"What?" he asks loudly. But she doesn't reply again, so he gives up and leaves.

In her room, we see that the spirit in human form has returned, and he and Lisa make love again.

All great films need to follow the rule of Chekhov's gun, so we move to the basement, where a  ghostly woman in Victorian garb has found the guillotine.

Possibly to find the sailboat and go sailing along, Burt goes down to the basement with a flashlight. He finds several portraits of himself ("Handsome devil," he comments), along with the guillotine, a halberd, and a suit of armor. "Doesn't go with the decor," he says to himself, explaining why these items are in the basement and not in the living area. Burt flashes his light around and sees shoes on the floor. He walks closer to the suit of armor, which falls onto him--and the halberd falls over, nearly slicing his head off.

Forgetting about his near death experience, Burt drives into town to have lunch with Ann-Marie.

The audience is led to suspect Burt and Ann-Marie are having an affair, but in fact Burt is asking their friend for help in getting Lisa back. She asks what Lisa has been painting, and he says evil faces. He tells Ann-Marie that he almost got killed in the basement. She has a hunch about what might be wrong, but she needs to do some checking before she shares it with him. She wouldn't be a proper professional psychic if she jumped to conclusions without solid evidence.

Burt returns to the house with some flowers, but he hears Lisa moaning in her room. He knocks on the door. She puts on a robe and opens the door, explaining that he wanted to spend some romantic time with her, but apparently someone else beat him to it.

Surprisingly open about her supernatural affair, Lisa tells him something close to the truth. She was having a fantasy dream about someone tall and dark.

Burt, self-centered as he is, assumes she is referring to him. The two of them make love, and now the bearded spirit is forced to watch them. He does not appear happy about it, which triggers images of the laughing Victorian ghost-woman and an eyeball hovering over the crashing waves. The ghost woman calls the bearded spirit a fool, then disappears.

Some time later, Michelle is walking along the beach when she sees the Victorian woman sitting in the shade. Michelle asks her if she's new. The woman says, "You might say I've been around a long time." Michelle does not pick up the hint. The woman says her name is Belline, explaining that Belline was one of the angels that left heaven to side with Lucifer.

The next morning, Lisa offers to fix Michelle a complete breakfast with eggs and toast.

Clearly, sex with her husband has made Lisa a better homemaker.

Burt enters and the once again happy family is reunited. However, Michelle starts cutting a banana and slices her hand where the cat clawed her. Blood flows from the wound. Michelle insists she didn't cut herself. Blood continues pouring out. Lisa notices a mysterious wind. Then the blood stops and Burt observes there is no cut.

Burt takes Michelle to school, primarily in order to get her out of the house.

Alone, Lisa calls Ann-Marie and then walks out of the room, spooked by the wind whispering through the curtains and by the wind chimes, which initially heralded the appearance of the spirit. After she leaves the living room, a photo falls off a table. A moment passes, then the glass of the frame shatters.

The viewer would be forgiven for thinking that this is a photo of Jim Nabors and Jo Anne Worley, but it can only be Burt and Lisa earlier in their marriage.

Lisa sits in the hot tub on the deck when Ann-Marie arrives. The two of them converse in the hot tub. Lisa explains her fantasies of a stranger. Ann-Marie asks her to describe the stranger. As a professional psychic, a description is important for her diagnosis.

Suddenly, the hot tub bubbles and steams--more so than usual--and Burt helps the women get out before they are scalded.

The black cat looks down from above, always watching. How will the cat play into the complex plot?

The answer is it will not [spoiler]. This is the last time we will see the cat.

And so we come to the end of Part 2 of our discussion. Stay tuned for Part 3, when secrets will be revealed and a beloved character will perish.