Death Bed: The Bed That Eats
Title: Death Bed: The Bed That Eats
Starring: Demene Hall, William Russ, Julie Ritter
Director: George Barry
Ah, the low budget schlock haven for horror that is the 70s USA; it might be the Japanese that hold the title for 'weird as fuck flicks' these days but it was once the proud Americans that tossed a few thousand dollars into a blender to see what weird shit floated to the surface, and this – along with “The Refrigerator,” – has to come up on top for some of the weirdest shit of the day. When a demon falls in love with a women, he gets all upset when she dies on a bed he made for her and runs away to become a tree. Sadly, his tears of blood fell on the four-poster and brought it to life with an insatiable appetite, eating anything that decided to nap on it's white fluffy sheets of doom. It doesn't have a siren or mating call, it doesn't release a pheromone to lure it's prey, it just just sits there waiting for someone to think, 'why, doesn't that look like a cosy place to sleep.' As a predator, given the inherent lack of teeth and mobility dwarfed by sloths, it must be said it's not particularly menacing, and that's the crux of the plot; people sleep in a bed then get eaten, relying on the fact that nobody in their right mind would suspect the reason their buddy is missing is because a freakin' bed ate it.
You'd think with a plot like this it'd end up like some sort of extended 'Monty Python' sketch, but it's oddly deadpan and serious in how it goes about it's business – well, save for one scene where a man calmly contemplates the fact he has no flesh on his hands any more – which is a little unexpected for a film with such a ridiculous premise. Whilst the effects themselves and how the bed consumes it's victims in a simple but effective manner, carefully letting the viewers mind do much of the work whilst using enough effects work to lead them to that conclusion, goes a long way in promoting this serious tone to the film, it is really the unusual inclusion of a haunted painting, delivering the narrative for the tale, that adds an artistic Shakespearean sense of elegance to the darkness. At times it seemed to have potential as a dark psychological study of the mind of this mysterious painting; a “Dorian Gray” archetype forced to watch in silence as the demonic entity devours victim after victim before his very eyes. Then you snap out of it and think, this is a film about a bed that fucking eats. Hell within the first five minutes we witness him devour some fried chicken.
It would have worked better had the director acknowledged just how bizarre his idea was but as it stands it's little more than one long joke that wasn't really that amusing the first time it was told; by the end it elicits that same response as when your friend tells you that only amusing anecdote he's got from a decade ago for the third time that month and you're able to recite his own story word for word knowing he probably made it up in the first place. It's a repeated sequence of person after person dying to a bed, and by the third or fourth victim you're wondering when something interesting is going to happen. Spoiler alert: it never does. It may well be unique but that in itself doesn't make a good film; if you're a fan of films that try to beat you to death with the same joke that none of the cast are aware of (fans of “the office” for example) there might be something in all this, but to my mind this was pretty disappointing.