Demons, Fantasy, Horror

Death Bed – The Bed That Eats (1977)

0 Comments 06 July 2014


Studio: Cult Epics

Blu Ray Release: June 3, 2014

Director: George Barry

Not Rated

Review by James Klein

If you like strange films, if you like obscure films, if you like 70’s films, or if you like movies about killer bed’s…look no further. This indie film shot in Detroit, MI back in 1972 is one strange fucking movie. Although an answer print wasn’t struck until 1977, Death Bed – The Bed That Eats didn’t get any distribution back in the day and quickly became a lost and forgotten film. Until now. Cult Epics has brought Death Bed back to life along with a bunch of special features that are all worth checking out.

Death Bed is narrated by a doomed artist who has been living behind his own painting for 60 years. The artist is stuck inside his painting in an abandoned mansion in a room with a killer bed. The bed eats people and this artist was one of its victims. But instead of being devoured by the bed, the artist was already dying of a disease and was somehow transported into his own painting that he drew as he lay dying. The artist explains to us that the bed belonged to a demon whose blood soaked tears fell on the mattress of the bed when its lover died. Now the bed is cursed and eats whatever is laid upon. Confused? It’s ok, just go with it.

the bed that eats

Now set in present time (well, early 70’s) three young women come to the mansion for a vacation and want to spend the night in this abandoned house. The outcast of the group, a pretty young thing, gets taken right away as she is eaten by the bed. The other girl, a pretty black lady, manages to get out of the bed in time until her leg is caught by the sheet of the bed and slowly dragged to her doom. This scene provides maybe the only truly good scare and while the sequence drags, the moment is rather suspenseful and creepy. The other girl, a comatose gal with no emotion, sits in the room away from the bed until her brother (William Russ, best known from movies such as American History X and Pastime) comes looking for her. Her brother tries to pull out the girls but gets his hands ripped apart, with all the flesh eaten away until all he has left are skeleton hands.

death bed the bed that eats

I’m still kind of lost as to how the movie ends but the artist whose trapped behind the painting is able to tell the final girl how to destroy the bed and kill the demon once and for all. It’s a rather convoluted ending and one that will leave most of you scratching your head in confusion but then again you are watching a movie about a killer bed.

What makes the film work or at least tolerable and somewhat fun is the fact the film plays like a nightmare. The movie is surreal and strange, almost feverishly dreamlike. While the movie has plenty of humor, it doesn’t try to get too hammy or over the top. Director George Barry, who never went on to make another film, does a decent job in creating some good atmosphere and winds up with some creepy imagery. Death Bed reminds me of an early David Cronenberg film or something David Lynch would have watched before he went on to make Eraserhead.

death bed

Cult Epics new HD transfer may not be the best transfer in the world as there is plenty of print damage along with several scenes that are just too dark to make anything out. I’m sure this is the best the film will ever look so I can’t complain too much. The audio 5.1 track is especially good as I enjoyed hearing the bed crunch and chew up its victims in various channels. Death Bed also comes with a vast amount of special features. There are introductions by both Barry and Stephen Thrower, the British author of Nightmare USA discussing the history of the film. There is a re-visit to the location of Death Bed as well as a lengthy interview with Thrower as he sits at a cafe discussing his research on not just Death Bed but other regional horror films from the 70’s and 80’s. The ending of this interview is broken up by a drunk young woman who wants to take the camera and conduct her own interview! And for an even more in depth look at Death Bed, there is a commentary track by Barry and Thrower.

Death Bed is not for everyone. The movie doesn’t make much sense and is all together rather silly. I, for one, enjoyed this strange fantasy and appreciated what the director tried to do with the film. One things for sure, it’s an original concept, one that doesn’t happen too often nowadays. For that alone, I recommend Death Bed.

Movie Rating: ★★★☆☆

Blu Ray Rating: ★★★½☆

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