Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (1977)

          The truly strange horror flick Death Bed: The Bed That Eats was created by Midwestern no-budget filmmaker George Barry in 1977 and then more or less shelved until a DVD release in 2004. Was the shelf where this movie actually belonged? Yes and no. Psychotronic-cinema explorers will find much to enjoy, because Death Bed combines a gonzo storyline with trippy flourishes and the requisite grade-Z staples of bad acting and gratuitous nudity. However, those expecting something more edifying from their filmic experiences will not dig Death Bed, because it’s too dull, too silly, and too weird. Make your viewing choices accordingly. As the title suggests, Barry’s movie concerns a four-poster canopied bed with a nasty habit of consuming the people who attempt to rest on the bed. The act of eating is depicted with cheat angles and lo-fi practical effects. As a person lays on the bed, bubbles emerge from the sheets, and the victim is gradually lowered from view. Then Barry cuts to underwater shots tinted yellow, as if viewed through a haze of stomach acids, while pieces of the person being consumed disappear from one cut to the next. Shots of blood spewing from the side of the bed add to the carnage.
          Superficially, the story is standard stuff about unsuspecting young people stumbling across the remote house in which the bed is stored. Yet Barry’s ambition stretches beyond merely introducing homicidal furniture. Also in the room with the bed is a painting, behind which is trapped the spirit of an artist, and the artist provides explanatory narration throughout the movie. Eventually, the artist explains that the bed became enchanted because a demon wanted a place where it could mate with a mortal woman. Things didn’t go well, hence the hungry four-poster. Despite many boring stretches, Death Bed features a few scenes so off-the-wall they’re arresting. For instance, a young man tries to stab the bed, and the bed consumes his hands. When he pulls them free, all that’s left are the bones. So, naturally, his sister waits till he falls asleep, then cracks off the bones and burns them in a fireplace. Huh? Perhaps the most unusual aspect of Death Bed is that it’s neither deliberately campy nor overtly amateurish. The movie represents a questionable idea executed with more sincerity than skill. Seeing as how Barry didn’t make any other features—one and done for this Michigander—chances are he knew how widely he’d missed the mark. (Available from

Death Bed: The Bed That Eats: FREAKY

1 comment:

starofshonteff1 said...

Shot on 16mm over a 5 year period.
Upon completion, there was no cash for a 35mm print and therefore no willing distributor.
There was an UK pre-cert video release in 1983 from Portland Films struck illegally from a private answer print. The director knew nothing of this version for 20 years until the San Francisco theatrical premiere on 15/2/2003.