Friday, October 21, 2011

HALLOWEENAGE #15: DEATH BED: THE BED THAT EATS (1977)



I would bet that most people who have heard of this oddity were first informed via the Patton Oswalt bit above. His description of DEATH BED's plot is accurate, but not complete.  What really happens is this. A demon who lives in a tree falls in "love" with a woman, turns into a breeze, then turns into a man and makes a bed so he can seduce her.  He seduces her, but she is a human and can't handle demon sex and dies.  The demon is so upset that his demon eyes that are full of blood crack and he cries blood onto the bed.  Then he goes back to the tree.  The bed absorbs power from the demon blood-tears and uses that power to eat any people who happen to lay upon it.  Also, the bed kills a guy ill with consumption, but resurrects him/spits him out and keeps his behind a painting.  The guy can only communicate with people on the other side of the painting once the demon sleeps every ten years.


I know that this sounds like fun, but you should keep in mind that we only learn about all this after a long, long stretch of very little happening.  It's obvious that DEATH BED knows what kind of movie it is (look at the screenshots), but admitting that you are making something awful doesn't get you off the hook for making something awful.  A lot of this bad movie is bad in the boring way, not the inept-and-entertaining way.  Lots of shots of people walking, shots of the bed not eating, etc.


The effects reflect the limitations of the budget.  People devoured by the bed float around in this bubbly orange soda, like Slice.  There are some mutilation effects, but mostly of the Halloween-store variety.  The dialogue is generally delivered via voiceovers and interior monologues, probably to save on sound equipment while filming.  Granted, it's likely that no one would make a killer-bed movie if they had lots of money for better monsters, but budgetary limitations are REALLY apparent here.


So a bed is probably the worst monster conceivable.  It can't move or stalk people and basically has to wait for people to lie on it in order to eat them.  So DEATH BED comes up with all kinds of extravagant strategies to make this happen, my favorite being the use of the bed as an outdoor platform for orgies for people suffering from impotence.


There is some middling attempt at plotting and character here, but, despite the whole bizarre premise and execution, this feels a lot like other grindhouse/zero-budget films: crazy scenario and alluring title, but very few thrills delivered.  Good for director George Barry for laboring on it for decades, I guess, but I can't really recommend going out of your way to see it.

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