When I watch a movie, it’s like there are two of me in the same seat. There’s that regular movie-going guy who likes blood and boobs and things that explode, the kind of movies we call POPCORN MOVIES. But there’s another fellow who accompanies him. This guy likes some of the same things as his friend, but he is a seeker and connoisseur of SERIOUS CINEMA. This guy doesn’t just want to see a movie, he wants it to change his life. POPCORN: Dude, you’re still on the couch? CINEMA: Well, I did almost die in a tornado. The doctor said I should take it easy. POPCORN: Yeah, like a month ago. CINEMA: There was a rusty spear stuck in my chest, mere inches from my heart and lungs. Paramedics. Ambulance. Emergency surgery. Hospital stay. My entire pathetic, failed life passing before my all-too-soon-to-die eyes. It was kind of a big deal. POPCORN: Well, at least you’re not letting it get you down. CINEMA: Yeah. Anyway, I’ve been catching up on some movies I’ve always wanted to see. POPCORN: Like? CINEMA: Like DEATH BED: The Bed That Eats. POPCORN: Uh . . . dude. How rusty was that spear anyway? CINEMA: Aren’t you always telling me to get into the spirit of a thing? Lower your expectations, you say, and everything will seem that much better. POPCORN: Uh-huh. CINEMA: Ain’t nothin’ ever as good as it should be, you say. You’re one hard son-of-a-bitch to please. Everybody doesn’t take Art Appreciation classes, you say. Take another sip of your Coke and shrug that shit off. POPCORN: All true, dude. CINEMA: Well, here I am, lowering my standards, getting into the spirit of this movie – shrugging that shit off – and now you think you’re Roger Ebert. POPCORN: Were you on pain killers when you watched this movie? CINEMA: Quite a few, yes. POPCORN: Uh-huh. CINEMA: So, what do you know about DEATH BED anyway? POPCORN: Just that it’s supposed to be, like, one of the worst movies ever. CINEMA: How can this be the worst movie, when we live in a world that’s given us HOWARD THE DUCK – POPCORN: – GLITTER – CINEMA: – THE ROOM – POPCORN: – MAC AND ME – CINEMA: – FROM JUSTIN TO KELLY – POPCORN: – the last five movies from M. Night Sha-Na-Na – CINEMA: – anything with Jim Varney – POPCORN: – HIGHLANDER 2: The Vomiting – CINEMA: – SUPERMAN IV: The Quest For Plot – POPCORN: – BATMAN AND ROBIN – CINEMA: – or BATMAN V SUPERMAN, you see what I’m saying? POPCORN: Yeah, I’m pickin’ up what you’re layin’ down. So this flick isn’t that bad then? CINEMA: Oh no, it sucks big, sweaty donkey balls. But in a fun kinda way. POPCORN: Mmm, gotta love those donkey balls. Well, then tell me all about it, Wiki-man. CINEMA: There was this guy named George Barry. He grew up in the same Detroit suburbs as Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell. Like them, he was a huge fan of classic horror films and drive-in movies. He was also really into Eurotrash exploitation and artists like Aubrey Beardsley. You know, those black ink drawings, emphasizing the grotesque, the decadent, and the erotic. POPCORN: Oh yeah, totally into that Beardley dude. CINEMA: Uh-huh. So, anyway, it was the early 70s and Barry had just finished college. He gathered together a few friends, some amateur actors, and a somewhat professional cameraman. They started filming this thing in and around Detroit. It was supposedly from Barry’s own script, though that’s hard to believe – POPCORN: Cuz it’s some serious Leon Tolstoy kinda shit? CINEMA: No, because it’s hard to believe that someone actually had any of this shit formally written down. In commentary, Barry talks about the origin of the film, which came from his dreams. Dreams should not clarify things, he says. Apparently, neither should the plot. Okay, here, check this out. The screen is black. Still black. Still black thirty seconds later, but now there is sound. Remarkably similar to that of someone biting into an apple. As the crunching gets louder, it’s joined by an ominous rhythmic thumping and B-movie style laser sounds. A full minute has passed before anything shows up onscreen. POPCORN: What in the Corman is this? CINEMA: Oh, it gets even better. The word ‘Breakfast’ appears. A couple (who appear to be in their late-twenties) arrives at the abandoned estate in the middle of the forest. They have hiked for miles to find this place and are apparently here for an afternoon rendezvous. The bed telepathically locks all doors to the mansion, leaving only the stone outbuilding where it rests available to them. They think nothing of this and proceed inside. The man lights a votive candle beside the bed. A consummate romantic, he has brought both food and wine, which he places on the bed just before he and the woman start kissing. POPCORN: Aren’t they, like, a little old to be goin’ all Camp Crystal Lake out here? CINEMA: I know, right. It seems like, at their age, they might have a place of their own. POPCORN: It’s a sex picnic, dude. Nothin’ says romance like a couple apples, some Strawberry Ripple, and a ten-piece bucket of KFC. The girl complains that she’s hungry, but no one makes a move for the food. Then, as they continue to make out, a yellowish foam rises up around the apples. The fruit sinks into the bed, dissolving in what appears to be cooking oil. The sound of apple-munching is heard. A moment later, an apple core resurfaces on the bed covers, with obvious human bites taken out of it. But the evil bed is still hungry. POPCORN: No, man, not the chicken. CINEMA: Then the wine . . . which the bed somehow uncaps, then chugs down like a sixteen-year-old behind the school bleachers. Both the chicken bucket and the wine bottle reemerge on the bed, completely unscathed. Suddenly, as if from some silent cue, the man decides that this is the time to enjoy some poultry. But when he peels back the lid of the bucket, there’s nothing but chicken bones inside. He says that he must have made a mistake. POPCORN: Yeah, dude. When they ask if you want Regular, Extra Crispy, or Just Bones, you never order the Just Bones. CINEMA: So they just shrug off the mysteriously dissolved food and go back to making out. POPCORN: Yeah, but the dude dry-humps like a pro. Boom, there goes her shirt. Wow, fifteen minutes of boob fondling for a ten-second boink. At least they got that part right. CINEMA: Then it’s curtains for them. The curtains actually close around the bed, just before some gratuitous screaming. The woman’s arm drops over the side of the bed, blood trailing down to snuff out the candle flame. The audience is spared the undoubtedly horrific sight of the partially dissolved lovers. CINEMA: It’s like the camera’s way of saying that this is too terrible for human eyes. POPCORN: Or the director’s way of saying, I can’t afford twenty-seven bucks for another death scene. CINEMA: Critics and laymen both have bemoaned the wretchedness of this movie, and they’re not entirely wrong. I heard about it in Patton Oswalt’s act, when he mocked Barry by saying that he was going to make his own movie. He said he was going to call it RAPE STOVE: The Stove That Rapes. POPCORN: Coming soon to the SyFy Channel. CINEMA: What they’re all forgetting is that this wasn’t a studio-supported film. This was just a guy and some friends, with less than thirty grand and a movie camera, trying to create something. Filming took almost four years, and Barry still didn’t really consider it finished. I mean, no one rips apart some of the terrible videos you find on YouTube with as much gusto as they do this movie. Of course, even with that being said . . . POPCORN: We’re gonna rip on it pretty bad too. CINEMA: Without a doubt. But rest assured, you’ve gotta see this movie. Apparently enraged by the taste of the not-so-young lovers (or for some other reason not clearly defined onscreen), the bed begins to telepathically dismantle the mansion. From inside a painting in the outbuilding, overlooking the four-poster bed, a vaguely Byronic-looking man mocks and goads the bed on. When the strange tantrum comes to an end, the mansion is gone. All that remains is the building with the bed inside. CINEMA: I suspect that Barry only had a day to film the mansion location. POPCORN: Or he was high. Through the magic of stock footage, we spin back in time for a moment. Various headlines splash across the screen. ‘STRANGE MUNCHING SOUNDS HEARD IN NIGHT’ ‘THOUSANDS DISAPPEAR’ ‘MAYOR DEMANDS ACTION’ ‘MAYOR DISAPPEARS’ An old woman is laying in bed, reading a tabloid with the headline ‘ORAL LESBIANS’. POPCORN: Dude, what the hell. Is this another one of those jokes I don’t get? CINEMA: I honestly don’t know what the hell is happening. The word ‘Lunch’ appears onscreen. Back in the present, three women arrive at the grounds. POPCORN: It’s Foxy Brown and a couple hippie chicks. CINEMA: She’s some kind of attorney. I think. She says something about liquidating the property. We all know that she’s the one who’s going to get liquidated. But first . . . One of the girls decides to take a nap while her friends explore the grounds. Her name is Suzanne, but no one really cares. Not even her friends. The bed, however, is quite excited when Suzanne starts to remove her clothes as if she were in a slasher movie. As she stands beside it in her underwear, the sound of panting is heard. The sheets begin to move as if something invisible is masturbating beneath them. Presumably before the bed can finish, the girl slips into the pajamas she conveniently brought along. POPCORN: The bed has a boner. CINEMA: Then, as soon as she’s asleep – POPCORN: Did it just, like, eat her clothes? Whoa. Dude, this is the best movie ever. CINEMA: Approximately halfway through the movie, we get what passes for an explanation of how the Death Bed came to be. There was a demon who lived inside a tree, but the demon got bored with being a tree and turned into the wind. The wind went exploring. While blowing around the countryside, it found the one thing that would destroy its simple, happy existence – POPCORN: A woman. CINEMA: Exactly. It blew all around her, through her hair and under her clothes, but it just couldn’t get enough. So it took human form. Knowing that the most crucial element in getting laid is to have a bed to do it in, the demon conjured one up. But demonic lovemaking is strong, my friend. So strong that it kills most mortal women. POPCORN: Except your ex-wife. CINEMA: The girl died from the demon’s thrusting demonhood, and he wept tears of blood – POPCORN: – that fell on the bed – CINEMA: – which cursed it with a hunger for human flesh. I guess. The poor demon was so upset that he returned to the tree, and never left it again. But, as for that bed . . . POPCORN: Uh-huh. CINEMA: When I lived in Miami, I used to get really, really high and write what I thought were the most intricate, subtle, and groundbreaking stories you could ever imagine. Later, when I came down, I read these stories . . . and it was like an insane chimpanzee farting into a cup of brain pudding. If you’re not even sure what the hell that means, then you know what I’m talking about. It’s like I made this movie when I lived in Miami. POPCORN: That’s messed up. CINEMA: As far as somewhat obscure and strangely conceived horror films go, I would liken it to Donald Cammel’s WHITE OF THE EYE. But even less accessible. It feels like a movie made in Eastern Europe. There are all of these interior monologues that have nothing to do with what’s happening. Do me a favor: turn and look out the window in a really deep, meaningful way. POPCORN: Like this? CINEMA: Okay, sure. Now pretend that it’s raining. So here’s your thought, relayed in a very serious art-film voiceover: ‘Is toast still bread, or is it something else now?’ POPCORN: Dude, that’s amazing. Cuz that really was my thought. The word ‘Dinner’ appears onscreen. Undisturbed by her friend’s disappearance, Foxy Brown lays down on the bed for a moment. The bed starts to eat her legs. She is a bad-ass, however, pulling herself free before she is completely submerged. Legs streaked with blood (that looks very much like red paint, satin finish), she tumbles to the ground. Using her arms, she starts to drag herself across the floor toward the exit stairs. She crawls. And crawls. CINEMA: This scene goes on for a while. Let me tell you about how the film was rediscovered. And crawls. CINEMA: So George Barry finally completed his masterpiece in 1977. He and his editor, Ron Medico, cut it together and went looking for a distributor. But no one was interested in what he showed them. Most of the executives he spoke with said that DEATH BED was just too weird for them. Let’s think about that for a minute . . . too weird for the 70s. POPCORN: Disco. CINEMA: Streaking. POPCORN: The Groovie Ghoulies. CINEMA: Pet rocks and platform shoes. POPCORN: Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific. CINEMA: Joe Namath wearing Beauty Mist pantyhose. And an episode of FANTASY ISLAND called “Hooker’s Holiday”, about a prostitute looking for love. POPCORN: But this shit was too weird. And crawls. CINEMA: So he took his movie and went back home. But someone somewhere, maybe a lab tech where he got the master print, had made a copy of it. And crawls. CINEMA: Barry is back in Michigan, getting married and buying his own bookstore. He’s given up his dreams of being the next Scorsese. Or, more likely, the next Jean Rollin. Meanwhile, that copy of his movie is slowly making the rounds. And crawls. CINEMA: An unauthorized version started making the UK’s grindhouse circuit in 1983, turning up in Spain a few years later. About twenty years later, Barry is perusing a few movie forums online and finds a thread about this killer-bed movie. POPCORN: And there can only be, what, seven or eight-a those. CINEMA: Yeah, so he’s pretty sure they’re talking about the one that’s gathering dust, unseen, in his closet. Just imagine that for a moment. That’s like someone talking about the utter genius of POPCORN CINEMA sometime in 2041, and me reading it from my room in the retirement home. Where I’m eating cat food because I’ve toiled away in obscurity, broke, alone and unloved, for all these years. POPCORN: Dude, that ain’t true. You’re gonna be dead long before then. And crawls. (Seriously, she is crawling across the floor for a really, really long time.) CINEMA: Barry claimed that he’d completely forgotten about the movie until he read about it online. I find that unlikely. He might have wanted to forget about it, or was making a play at humility, but . . . POPCORN: Hey man, you remember that four years we spent makin’ that movie about the bed that eats people? CINEMA: Nope, doesn’t ring any bells. Did we do that? POPCORN: Do what, man? Hey, don’t bogart the stash. Foxy Brown has finally dragged herself across the floor. In real time. Using her arms to pull up the stairs, she reaches for the door. Freedom is almost hers. Then a whip-like stretch of bed sheets snaps across the room, grabbing hold of her legs. She is instantly snatched back into the bed and eaten. POPCORN: Oh, come on, man. CINEMA: There are still so many scenes like this that we haven’t even touched yet. Such as the girl who upsets the bed’s stomach, causing it to down a bottle of Pepto-Bismol. Or the reaction on a priest’s face as he realizes that he’s being dissolved. Or the gangsters having a Poker game on the bed, annoyed by being eaten and having to shoot the damn thing. I’ve got the remastered version on Blu-ray, because I don’t want to miss any of the film’s pithy nuances. POPCORN: So, like, what’s the difference between this kinda shitty movie and the BATMAN V SUPERMAN kinda shitty movie? CINEMA: About two hundred million dollars. Honestly, I’ll get much more continued entertainment value from this than I’ll ever get from Zack Snyder. There’s a thin line between genius and utter ridiculousness, my friend. Just look at ERASERHEAD, weird as hell and hard to figure out. But it’s a cult classic, while this is not. Let’s make this a cult classic. POPCORN: Amen, brother. CINEMA: You haven’t experienced the best scene yet. The parents of one of the girls have sent her brother to retrieve her. An eyeball rolls across the bed, stopping to gaze at the girl who sits on the floor. She gazes back at the eyeball. It rolls closer, and she watches it as if it almost interests her. A door slams. The girl puts her head down in her arms. The eyeball drops down into the amber juices inside the bed. The brother is there. ‘I don’t know what’s happening,’ he says. He is not alone. He fumbles around inside a large picnic basket, producing a knife. He’s talking about getting someone out of the bed. With both hands wrapped firmly around the handle, he raises the knife high in the air, then brings it down into the bed. But then he can’t pull his hands back out. He struggles visibly, but doesn’t make a sound. His sister is beside him, trying to help him remove his hands from the bed. She, too, is silent. There are laser sound effects and the bed is growling demonically. Or maybe not. From inside the bed we see the flesh dissolving from his hands. Still, he doesn’t make a sound. Finally, he’s able to pull free, thumping to the floor. With his wordless, blank-faced sister by his side, he raises a pair of bleached-white skeletal hands in front of his face. He does not scream. He does not cry. He does not even wince. The expression on his face says it all. Oh, wow. Skeletal hands. What a bummer. So he sits beside the fireplace, and his sister joins him. What else is there to do when you have skeletal hands? Finally he speaks, noting that there’s no flesh left, nor hardly any blood. It’s almost like a surgical operation, he says. But it doesn’t seem to trouble him much. Then one of his skeletal fingertips drops to the floor. Well, dammit. So his sister does the only thing that makes sense. Wordlessly, she reaches over and snaps his hands off at the wrist. First one, then the other. No one says a thing, because what could you possibly say? Without a word, she throws his hands into the fire. – j meredith See larger image Death Bed: The Bed That Eats [Blu-ray] Prepare yourselves… The strangest bedtime story ever told! Cult Epics brings you Death Bed, George Barry’s uniquely weird journey through a world of wind demons, carnivorous furnishings and the spirit of Aubrey Beardsley! At the edge of a grand estate, near a crumbling old mansion lies a strange stone building with just a single room. In the room there lies a bed. Born of demonic power, the bed seeks the flesh, blood and life essence of unwary travelers… Three pretty girls on vacation, searching for a place to spend the night. Instead, they tumble into nightmares and the cruel insatiable hunger of the Bed! Death Bed is one-of-a kind experience: comic, horrific and dreamlike, that truly has to be seen to be believed. Discover this neglected marvel of American horror for yourself! Special Features: New HD Transfer Introduction By Stephen Thrower, Author Of Nightmare USA (2013) Introduction By George Barry (2003) Audio Commentary By George Barry And Stephen Thrower Nightmare USA – A Conversation Between Stephen Thrower And George Barry On Horror Films Of The 1970 s And 1980 s Behind-The-Scenes Of Death Bed In Detroit (2013) Original Death Bed Credit Music Track (1977) New From: $16.82 USD In Stock Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.