Death Bed: The Bed That Eats

| June 24, 2004

Have you ever wondered what it’d be like if the Marquis de Sade were hired to write fables for Mother Goose? The end result of such a curious collaboration could very well have turned out to be something to the tune of Death Bed: The Bed That Eats.
The plot to this 70s acid freakout of a flick is very much a fairytale gone way wicked. An evil spirit falls hard for a lovely young girl, but she doesn’t return his favor, basically because he’s a non-being and she’s a human. After shape-shifting himself into everything from wind to wood, the spirit finally takes the form of a huge, four post Posturpedic bed in hopes to woo the girl. When his attempts fail, and the girl dies, the malevolent spirit is locked inside the bed, forever bitter and seeking revenge by swallowing up all the pretty young things that cross his satin sheets. In a bizarre twist (it can get any weirder?) the entire story is given voice by this prissy young man who has been forever cursed by the bed to spend the rest of his existence spellbound inside a painting on the wall of the bedroom. He sits, curled up, lamenting about his captivity, while chastising and mocking the death bed for its insatiable, self-destructive and lustful hunger. What a couple, eh?
This is one weird freaky flick! And what a title!! Death Bed has become a true cult classic, with many Internet boards fueling the devotion of a small but rabid fan base, with endless discussion and praise. As director George Barry explains, in his introduction to the movie, he “googled” the title of the only film he’d ever made, and was surprised to find it listed on the Internet. Not only that, but his one solitary movie had generated page after page of fevered fanaticism. He was flabbergasted, but quite pleased. And well he should be, since this interest helped him get this queer little movie re-released onto DVD by the folks at Cult Epic, who made the digital transfer from an original uncut 16mm print.
Death Bed is a little weird mix of fairytale fantasy and horror, all with an unapologetic jab of wisecrack humor (when the bed eats a damsel, it sounds like it’s munching on a bag of Doritos! Brilliant!!). It certainly is not a technically sound movie … there are loads of poorly placed edits, student film style photography, and mildly unsuccessful in-camera trickery… and the direction and performances are amateurish. But, you know what? Death Bed is such a true original that you have to overlook all its faults and just go with it and enjoy this whimsical drug induced nightmare. Bon appetite!

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