11/3/09

Death Bed: The Bed that Eats (1973): Your Sleep Number is 666

Like most people who come on contact with Death Bed: The Bed that Eats, I had to see it on the strength of the title alone. If the film was terrible, so be it. Why does it matter when the title says it all? I’ve heard about this film for quite some time, but my real inspiration was when I was listening to one of my Patton Oswalt CD’s. I had forgotten the bit on his album Werewolves and Lollipops about this film. It ends it saying it inspired him to write Rape Stove: The Stove that Rapes People. I thought it was high time to see this picture, (Death Bed not Rape Stove), and since I’d been talking about so many heady horror films in the end of October, I thought this would be a welcome change.

If you imagine a film made in the ‘70’s called Death Bed: The Bed that Eats, then you’re not too far off from what you get. It’s very important that the title gives no distinction about what it eats. As you would imagine, it eats people, but it will also drink your bottle of wine or eat your bucket of chicken (and return the bones and bucket). That’s not to say that people are not its snack of choice. Anyone who messes with the bed is generally covered in yellow bubbles and sucked down into the bed’s digestive juices. People have tried to stop the bed, but their attempts have been futile. It should have been obvious that you can’t shoot a bed, and the fool who tries to stab will get all the flesh eaten off his hands.

The Death Bed as you may expect, is possessed by a demon, and the story of the bed is told by one of its victims, an artist (Patrick Spence-Thomas) that was consumed and somehow his spirit kept behind a painting. We learn a bit about the demon and its origins, but more importantly we learn about the people that the bed had eaten over the years. In its history, it had devoured criminals, consumed old women, and even lunched on a child. The biggest meal it ever had was when an orgy was held on it, and it got to chow down on six people at once. After learning about the past, we are taken to present day where Diane (Demene Hall) travels to the bed’s house as a getaway provided by a friend of hers who is dissolving the estate. She brings a couple of friends with her, and the bed, which hadn’t eaten in 10 years, begins to get really hungry.

Death Bed director George Barry made this film as a labor of love, and as far as Barry knew, it never got released. In his introduction to the film on the DVD, Barry described how he stumbled across posts on the internet about his film and some grey market copies that were available. Seeing that his film had developed a cult fan base, he struck a deal to get the movie out officially for the first time in 2007. Barry’s film is laughable, let’s get that out of the way right off the bat. It’s about a bed that eats people after all. Now, I’ll give him some credit, it’s not a story that I’ve heard before. Perhaps because of all household furniture, the bed ranks pretty low on the threat level. That being said, there’s something about Barry’s film that I found, for lack of a better term, charming. With its gothic themes and setting, Death Bed had the same kind of feeling that one might get from a Hammer film. It’s actually pretty impressive how good the film looks. Barry didn’t really have a budget as much as he scraped together what he could, and the film looks far better than that.

Not everything about Death Bed was quite as charming as its conceit. The acting is just terrible, and I won’t waste anyone’s time detailing these performers. One after another, actors parade across the screen without a thought to line delivery. I will give a reprieve from my generalization for Dememe Hall who does perform fairly well, and she had a great look like reminded me of Teresa Graves. A few of the ladies do show some ‘70’s skin giving their screen time a boost, but there’s not enough to give the film a sleazy quality. Overall, the only real character is the Death Bed, and I enjoyed the anthropomorphic qualities given to the bed more than any of the actors. I've never seen bed that snored before, but somehow I was not surprised.

Death Bed is not a film that requires much discussion, and I think Barry knew what kind of film he was making or he would have taken out the scene where the bed drinks Pepto Bismol. So in a way you get exactly what you expect, but Death Bed remains an unclassifiable, singular film. I thoroughly recommend for maximum enjoyment of this film invite some friends over, crack open a few beers, and let the laughter begin. Just be careful what furniture you set your beer down on, or you might just find it empty when you pick it back up.

Bugg Rating


No trailer I'm afraid, but here's a fairly nice clip:



And here's Patton Oswalt's routine about the film:

3 comments:

  1. Ha, yeah - I've seen lots of DEATH BED coverage lately in the past two months or so, for some reason.

    Love the new banner, Bugg! Stylin'. ;p

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  2. I have always been curious about this one, for all the same morbid curiosity that piqued your interests in the title alone. I cant NOT be interested in a bed that eats, I mean Im not a monster.

    Will be sure to check this one out when it finds its way to me. Fate may have to intervene though..

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  3. Ah, Death Bed. I caught it a few months ago and yeah...it's about a bed that eats. My favorite badness aspect is that there is no character-on-character dialogue. All the actors narrate as if talking to themselves, but none communicate with each other. I guess the budget didn't allow good boom mikes.

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