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  Death Bed: The Bed That Eats Sheet Out Of Luck
Year: 1977
Director: George Barry
Stars: Demene Hall, William Russ, Julie Ritter, Linda Bond, Patrick Spence-Thomas, Rosa Luxemburg, Dave Marsh, Ed Oldani, Dessa Stone, Marshall Tate, Samir Eid, Fred Abdenour, Jock Brandis
Genre: Horror, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: There's a man in that painting over there, he's been trapped inside it ever since he was eaten by the four poster bed which stands in this room situated in a wing of this mansion house far out in the middle of nowhere. The house has been abandoned many years before, so the bed doesn't get much of a chance to consume any victims since so few will arrive and let their curiosity get the better of them, but every so often someone will come calling, and once they get between the sheets it spells their doom. Take this couple, hoping for a quiet liaison and ending up devoured...

The story goes that this largely forgotten little horror movie was never offered a proper release back in the seventies for whatever reason (mostly bankruptcy, apparently), but collectors began to get copies of it and a small cult was born, which encouraged the director George Barry to find a distributor, thinking there might be a market for his film after all. It received its biggest publicity push when stand up comedian Patton Oswalt delivered a routine about the movie in one of his acts to illustrate how difficult it was to get a film made, and how baffled he was that Death Bed actually jumped through the requisite hoops to completion.

What Oswalt didn't mention was that it took around thirty years for it to be unleashed on the world proper, so evidently this filmmaking lark was, as he suspected, not as easy as he would have liked. Nevertheless, the premise here was so bizarre that it was surely only a matter of time before someone would be intrigued enough to track it down, and if they did, would they be disappointed? Certainly it supplied the expected amount of people getting eaten by the bed, which it did by waiting for someone to sit or lie on it, then engulfing them with orange foam and, well, pulling them inside whereupon we would see them getting dissolved in what looked like acid accompanied by sounds of munching. It wasn't only people it ate, either.

In fact, the first thing we see it eat is an apple the first couple left there, then it glugs down a bottle of wine and helps itself to their fried chicken. If this seems pretty ridiculous, it is, yet it was presented as if this were deadly serious like you were watching some weird art movie with pretensions so obscure that only its creator would be able to fathom precisely what it was all supposed to mean. Or maybe it was what it appeared to be, a horror flick about a man-eating bed, but as the plummy voiced man in the painting supplies a doomladen voiceover, and we learn more from him about the origins of the furniture, a very strange atmosphere was fashioned. Yes, it would make you laugh, and no, it wasn't scary, but it was damned peculiar.

The couple from the start don't last long, but there are a group of three women who drive up through the countryside and settle at the mansion for a picnic, though what they are doing there otherwise is none too well explained. One woman, Suzan (Julie Ritter) is not happy there and decides to go to sleep, as if she suspects the other two don't want her around though there's no evidence of that, so you can imagine what happens to her: that's right, dissolved by the bed. The others try to search for her, but the man in the painting sees a chance to get his own back on his aggressor and be set free, leading to a convoluted plotline which sees one woman dragged into the monster with a flying sheet and the other working out some arcane ritual to exorcise the demon which possesses it. There are signs of a sense of humour here, with jokey asides, but for the most part Death Bed played it very straight, leaving a film not especially accomplished, but memorably nutty.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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