Death Bed: The Bed That Eats
This article is missing information about the film's production, rediscovery, and legacy.July 2018)(
|Death Bed: The Bed That Eats|
|Directed by||George Barry|
|Produced by||George Barry|
|Written by||George Barry|
|Music by||Ossian Brown|
|Edited by||Ron Medico|
|Distributed by||Cult Epics (USA; DVD)|
|2003 (completed in 1977)|
Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (alternately titled The Death Bed) is a 1977 American surrealist horror film written, produced, and directed by George Barry in his only feature film. The plot centers on the title antagonist as it is passed on through generations, bringing tragedy upon those who come across it.
Long ago, a demon fell in love with a woman and conjured up a bed on which to make love to her. The woman died during the act, and, in his grief, the demon wept tears of blood which fell on the bed and caused it to come to life. While the demon rests, the bed's evil is contained, but once every ten years, the demon wakes, giving the bed the power to physically eat human beings. Only one man, an artist identified as Aubrey Beardsley, was spared, as the bed condemned him to immortality behind a painting, where he must forever witness the bed taking victims. The bed passed from owner to owner until the present day.
A young couple trespass into the building and discover the bed. They make love on the bed, and the bed devours them. The artist mocks the bed for its stupidity. Enraged, the bed telekinetically destroys most of the house except for the room it is in.
Three women discover the now-destroyed house. The bed eats one of the young women, but reacts to one of the other women by bleeding in agony. The artist realizes that the bed reacts with pain to the woman because she resembles its "mother" (the woman whose death caused the bed's creation). Elsewhere, the brother of one of the women goes out looking for her.
One of the two remaining women sleeps on the bed. She wakes as the bed begins eating her, but as she tries to escape, the bed snares her in its sheets and drags her back to be eaten. The last woman unsuccessfully tries to save her. The brother locates the surviving woman, only to have the bed trap them both. The brother attempts to rescue the previously eaten woman, only to have his hands eaten to the bone by the bed.
The demon that created the bed falls asleep, which renders the bed powerless and allows the artist to communicate with the woman. The artist describes a ritual that will destroy the bed. The woman carries out the ritual, which teleports the bed out of the room and revives the bed's real "mother," but at the cost of killing the surviving woman. The bed's mother completes the ritual by having sex with the brother, causing the bed to burst into flames and die, allowing the artist to finally pass on.
- Demene Hall as Diane
- William Russ as Sharon's Brother
- Julie Ritter as Suzan
- Linda Bond as The Resurrected
- Rosa Luxemburg as Sharon
- Dave Marsh as Artist
- Patrick Spence-Thomas as Voice of the Artist
Following the film's completion in 1977, Barry sought a theatrical release for Death Bed but failed to find a willing distributor. Later on, Barry received an offer from an LA distributor to release the film on VHS in the UK, after they had seen Barry's answer print of the film. The distributor offered to pay Barry $1000 for a VHS release if he could supply them with a print of the film, complete with credits. Barry, unable to afford the $3,000 that credits would have cost, declined, and the print was sent back to him. Despite this, Portland, an obscure British label, released a pirated VHS of the film in the UK, without Barry's knowledge, with the film eventually receiving further VHS releases in Australia, New Zealand and Spain. The Spanish release is dubbed into Spanish and is considered quite rare.
Despite its pirated VHS releases outside of the US, Barry remained unaware that the film had received any sort of release until 2001, when he discovered a forum post about the film by French film journalist Jean-Claude Michel on the website "Scarlet Street." This led to interviews with Barry by Daniel Craddock, who had written a review of the film, and, in turn, author Stephen Thrower, for his book Nightmare USA. As a result, the film received its first two official releases, with a theatrical premiere at the San Francisco Indiefest on February 15, 2003, and a DVD from Cult Epics the same year. For the DVD release, Barry added new music to the ending and opening credits, performed by Thrower's band Cyclobe, as he was never satisfied with the original music in the film, composed by Mike McCoy.
In 2013, Cult Epics released the film for the first time on Blu-ray, which included a new HD transfer of the film, as well as both the original mono and new 5.1 soundtracks. Also included was a new introduction by Stephen Thrower (in addition to the original one by Barry from the DVD release), an audio commentary with both Thrower and Barry, a conversation between the two, a behind-the-scenes featurette, and the original music used in the credits.
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Dennis Harvey from Variety wrote, "Death Bed is a horror flick destined for some small place in the hearts of psychotronic fans who already treasure such extreme oddities as Blood Freak, not to mention Andy Milligan’s entire ouevre." Barry Meyer from Film Monthly gave the film a slightly positive review, writing, "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." Brian J. Dillard from Allmovie called it "a major classic in the what-were-they-thinking school of horror". Joseph A. Ziemba from Bleeding Skull! gave the film a positive review, stating that the film "goes toe to toe with Doris Wishman’s A Night To Dismember as one of the most disconnected and impressive low budget horror films of all time." HorrorNews.net gave the film a negative review, calling it "curious but nothing more than the kind of film that you'd see lumped together on a budget 50-title film set". Adam Tyner from DVD Talk criticized the film's erratic pacing, and minimal characterization. Tyner also wrote, "On the other hand, Death Bed wields a strange and unique charm that kept entrancing me even when I was bored stiff. I'll always take an interesting failure over some uninspired, by-the-numbers horror flick." Ain't It Cool News liked the film, calling it "a nightmarish dream existence", and compared the film's oddness to Quentin Dupieux's Rubber.
- Thrower 2007, p.382
- Thrower 2007, p.376
- Callwood, Brett (5 January 2011), "The Sleeper", Detroit Metrotimes
- Thrower 2007, p.382
- Thrower 2007, p.384
- Thrower 2007, p.380
- DEATH BED: THE BED THAT EATS
- Harvey, Dennis. "Bed: The Bed That Eats – Variety". Variety.com. Dennis Harvey. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
- Meyer, Barry. "Film Monthly.com – Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (1997)". Film Monthly.com. Barry Meyer. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
- Dillard, Brian. "Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (1977) - George Barry". Allmovie.com. Brian J. Dillard. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
- Ziemba, Joseph. "Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (1977)". Bleeding Skull.com. Joseph A. Ziemba. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
- "Film Review: Death Bed -The Bed That Eats (1977)". HorrorNews.net. HorrorNews. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
- Tyner, Adam. "Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (Blu-ray) : DVD Talk Review of the Blu-ray". DVD Talk.com. Adam Tyner. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
- "1st wk of June 2014's PICKS & PEEKS: DEATH BED, NAZISPLOITATION, CANNIBALISM & JERRY LEWIS!!!". Ain't It Cool.com. Ain't It Cool News. Retrieved 17 July 2018.
- Thrower, Stephen (2007). Nightmare USA. FAB Press.