Thirty-four years ago there was a man with a dream. A man who just wanted to tell a story about a bed, a bed that eats people. Tragically director George Barry simply flew too close to the sun for the film Death Bed the Bed That Eats was lost for many years. Eventually the film was rediscovered in the early 2000s and released on dvd in 2003. Since then it has achieved cult status thanks to word of mouth from fans and from a classic bit by comedian Patton Oswalt, this is some serious shit.
What can one really imagine after hearing a title like “Death Bed”? First of all you’ll probably think, “There’s no way in hell that’s actually a movie.” Once this barrier has been broken down you’d probably assume it’s just a really bad monster/slasher kind of movie, but then you’d only be half right. Death Bed is no more a movie than an avant garde experiment. It’s kind of like the ultimate bad student art film in that it tries to be deep with perhaps the worst premise ever conceived by man. Death Bed is closer to being a documentary than your typical b-horror movie which lets it inhabit this bizarre mid-ground between two genres.
The film details the narrated history of the death bed through the use of out of sequence events from different points in time. We see it kill people in the past and present while learning of it’s unspeakable evil from a man trapped behind a painting in the same room as the bed? Yes this man or ghost or whatever tells the story of the death bed and all it’s victims (including himself) in some sort of extra dimensional limbo but can also communicate to individuals when the bed sleeps… Yeah that’s right when the bed sleeps. What we learn from this man is that the death bed was once a demon, but wait the demon was also once a tree. So the tree demon became a wind demon and then fell in love with a woman he blew past. The demon then became a human demon and made a bed. The demon-man made love to the woman on the bed but she died which then made the demon-man’s eyes bleed onto the bed and it became possessed, did you get all that?
So being that a bed is an immobile antagonist all the scenes must depict events that have taken place near, around, or in the bed. I assume the heavy narration is due to the low budget as most of the actual dialogue is clearly dubbed but they needed something to make the film at least semi-comprehensible. So the only entertainment value in this film comes from the death bed’s kills. How does one get killed by a death bed? Well you see the death bed secretes a kind of stomach acid that sucks people down inside and then digests them. This has some great comic value as various people die and are injured in an overly comedic fashion, including a man who has his hand’s turned into skeleton hands.
This is another film that could of been a great comedy but instead took itself far too serious. If you want to see a good “bed death”, you should probably check out Nightmare on Elm Street because this one will really put you to sleep.
Skip ahead to about the 3:50 mark to see one of the death bed’s finest moments.