Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (1977)

I’ve seen some cinematic stinkers in my day. I’ve seen floating disembodied brains battle for world supremacy in The Brain from the Planet Arous. I’ve seen robots with human brains fight undead Mexicans in Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy. I’ve even seen something called Killer Condom. But I’ve never seen anything to prepare me for the surreal experience that is Death Bed: The Bed That Eats.

Yes, you read correctly. That’s the actual title to an actual film. It’s not just a Patton Oswalt comedy routine. Although I wish it was. Someone actually thought this was a worthwhile idea for a movie. That visionary man is George Barry.

Unfortunately, Barry’s horrific vision of a bed that eats people was lost for almost 30 years, having never secured theatrical distribution. It wasn’t until 2003 that the auteur’s lost “masterpiece” finally reached its bed-fearing audience to become the most long-unawaited DVD release of all time. On the DVD’s introduction Barry claims he’d completely forgotten about this film. A little hard to believe considering it’s the only credit on his IMDb page.

The man banked his entire film career on something called Death Bed: The Bed That Eats. And the film ate his career.

As you’ve already gleaned from its brilliantly explanatory title, Death Bed: The Bed That Eats is about a bed… that eats. But this ain’t no lovable talking bed à la Cherry, the lovable talking chair from “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.” This is an evil bed, the offspring of a tree demon and an innocent maiden who died the moment she laid eyes on him (moments before he laid her – ewww). The maiden’s family then placed the mysterious bed in their mansion to raise as their own. But the bed had other plans. Evil plans. People-eating plans. I swear I’m not making this up.

The film opens with the poorly recorded sound of someone loudly munching on an apple played against darkness. As the crunching gets louder we hear the additional “ominous” sounds of rhythmic thumping on hollow steel and cheesy sci-fi “laser” effects. This attempt at establishing a spooky mood is more confusing than scary. It lasts well over a minute, but feels like hours.

Right as I’m about to give up on this movie, we fade in on an old abandoned mansion. Cue a sound library thunderclap. The camera pans across an old bedroom. Cue sound library snoring noises. We pass an ominous old large bed. This is Death Bed! And it’s asleep! Death Bed: The Bed That Sleeps?

We’re then introduced to a young bland unnamed couple that, if you’ve seen any teen horror film, will unsurprisingly fall victim to the title killer within the next ten minutes. They’ve come across the mansion after hiking several miles in the woods. We know they’ve traveled a long distance because their dialogue keeps repeating this fact over and over again ad nauseum. The girl senses a great evil in this place and wants to turn back. The guy, being the true romantic that he is, pressures her into spending the night at the creepy house so he can fondle her boobs. The couple conveniently finds their way into the same room as Death Bed and start making out on it. Why the girl would be willing to make out on this icky musty bed is quite beyond me. But then again, who am I to expect believability in a movie titled Death Bed: The Bed That Eats?

The girl complains that she’s hungry. Fortunately, the guy brought along two apples, a bottle of wine and a bucket of generic fried chicken. They make out some more, completely unaware of the white soapy foam coming up from the bed and surrounding the apples.

We then get a shot of the apples dissolving INSIDE DEATH BED’S STOMACH, which looks like a cross between deep-frying oil and lemon Gatorade.

Accompanying this shot is the familiar sound effect of someone munching an apple. But how can Death Bed make munching sounds IF IT DOESN’T HAVE ANY TEETH? The half-eaten apples then return to the surface of the bed with the obvious signs of being eaten by someone with teeth.

Death Bed then gobbles down the entire bucket of chicken and chugs the whole bottle of wine in a similar fashion.

Get used to that yellow screen, you’ll be seeing a LOT more of it.

The bottle of wine and the bucket of chicken return to the surface of the bed completely unscathed, despite having been submerged in an acid-like substance.

Don’t worry kids. You’re safe. Pork away, the bed’s had its fill.

Or has it?

The couple soon discovers all their food eaten. Unconcerned, they start making out again. Then off goes the girl’s top. And on go the guy’s hands to her boobs. Then the bizarre white bubbling foam and confusing laser sounds reappear. But they’re too busy groping and being groped to notice. Then the giant old bed’s heavy curtains close in on them. Probably to represent that it’s CURTAINS FOR THEM! There’s no bad pun or sight gag that’s too taboo for a movie like Death Bed: The Bed That Eats.

And that’s when the screaming and bloodletting begins.

I may have seemed wholly dismissive of that opening sequence, but to be completely honest, it was AWESOME! It had blood. It had gratuitous nudity. It had a bed that eats people! It was exactly the kind of campy horror/humor and inept filmmaking I expect from a film with such a ludicrous title. Unfortunately, the movie then quickly veers in a completely wrong direction, from an idiotic twist on the slasher genre to a serious attempt at a supernatural thriller.

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