‘Death Bed: The Bed That Eats’ is as Bonkers as it Sounds

A demon-possessed sleeping receptacle nom-noms on people, apples, and chicken legs alike, while its companion, a haunted painting (Dave Marsh), watches and provides commentary and exposition.

Ooh, artsy!

I first became aware of this movie after hearing comic Patton Oswalt describe it in a stand-up routine. My husband and I sought it out, and it was just as ridiculous as Oswalt made it out to be.

It appears the bed is health-conscious enough to avoid eating plastic

The special effects are laughable. The audio frequently mismatches the visuals. The movie was made in the ’70s and not released until the 2000s, and it’s clear from the visible scratches that in the meantime the film reels were not taken care of (or possibly not taken care of in the first place). Most of the action seems like filler, for example the painting guy bringing the plot (such as it is) to a screeching halt to share flashbacks of random people being eaten by the bed. The performances are atrocious. Demene Hall (below) as Diane is the best of the bunch.

She got top billing, good for her!

Nothing makes a damn lick of sense. A lady dies and then turns into flowers. Characters do things that directly contradict themselves, like when Sharon’s Brother (William Russ, credited here as Rusty Russ) is told by their mother to go find Sharon (Rosa Luxemburg), he says he knows where she is, and then in his next scene he’s on the phone asking someone her whereabouts. Or when First Female Victim (Dessa Stone)–I’m not making these names up, by the way–asks for food and then says she’s not hungry. When the denizens of the film aren’t being ingested by what looks suspiciously like dish soap, they’re making baffling non-sequiturs like “That place looks clean for having been abandoned for so long. I hope there’s not a maniac around.” Yup, gotta watch out for them cleaning maniacs, they’re a real hazard.

Not to be confused with a cleaning monster

But my favorite thing is the characters’ tone-deaf reactions to what should be horrifying happenings. One guy tries calmly shooting the bed while being devoured. Sharon’s Brother stabs it–his hands are dissolved to the bone and replaced by plastic skeleton hands, which he just stares at bemusedly. Or when Sharon’s Brother serenely watches a severed eye jump around on the bed under its own power but whirls around, startled, when a door slams shut.

“It’s curtains for you, bed!”

I honestly can’t tell if the movie was meant to be funny. One might assume so given that the acts are broken up into segments called “Breakfast,” “Lunch,” “Dinner,” and “The Just Dessert.” I’m hoping that the bed’s sound effects like groaning, yawning, burping, chuckling, and crunching are meant to be humorous. I don’t want to think it’s possible that the filmmakers created something so stunningly bad with intentions of it being completely scary and earnest.

This is either a joke or product placement

According to IMDB, writer/director George Barry was inspired by a dream, which is why the movie is so batshit crazy, ahem surreal. There is one creepy scene. Diane is having a nightmare in which her friend Suzan (Julie Ritter) is telling her about a book of dead people: “I’m in it, and you are, too.” It’s the only part of the movie when the bizarreness is disconcerting rather than so over-the-top that it’s comical.

And then it catches fire, as books of dead people are wont to do

Interestingly, the movie is driven by women. The demon is motivated to create the bed due to its infatuation with a woman, and she’s its sole weakness. All of the main characters are female, besides Sharon’s Brother, who even in name is defined only by his relationship with her. It’s actually Sharon who takes over to fight the bed while her bro gives up.

“How many bones are in your hand?” “Sharon, no.” “About a handful.” “If I had the capacity to get upset, I totally would be right now.”

Sooooo, I didn’t hate it. It’s no masterpiece, but it’s endearingly wacky, original, and unpredictable. There are few movies I actively warn people away from, and this isn’t one of them. Actually, I recommend it. It has to be seen to be believed.

*Cleaning monster image courtesy of maidincalifornia.com.

Published by GhoulieJoe

I wuvs the horror movies and like to write snarky reviews about them. I also included some pretentious as hell microfiction (don't worry, it's at the bottom).

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