Retro Review: ‘Death Bed: The Bed That Eats’

There are some movies which the title alone sells it, and this 1977 horror film is definitely one of those. Death Bed: The Bed That Eats is an incredibly surreal experimental flick from writer/director/producer George Barry. In a crumbling remains of an estate lies a bed which was used by a demon and a human to consummate their relationship, needless to say this left the bed cursed. Every ten years, demonic entity which built this piece of furniture awakens and uses the bed to devour any human unfortunate enough to be there. The film is divided into four parts: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Just Deserts. Each of these segments loosely tells the story three women who find the bed and one by one fall to its hunger. All the while a character known as “the Artist” who is trapped in a painting must watch and give his commentary on the grim events he has witnessed.

If the powers that be had their way this film would have never been seen by humans. George Barry failed to find a willing distributor and could not afford to do so himself. But Death Bed did end up on video and through trades and conventions the pirated video of this film spread. By the dawn of the twenty first century the cult of Death Bed: The Bed That Eats was established. To be fair this was never going to be the kind of film to garner mainstream success, this is the kind of film a select few would be attracted to. George Barry directs this film with a style which weird and dream-like. The visual language relies heavily on striking imagery which is bound to make the viewer go “…the hell?”. It truly borders on avant garde at time with how disconnected and strange many of the events unfolding are. That being said this is a movie called Death Bed: The Bed That Eats, and with a name like that it is bound to be a silly horror film. Each scene where the bed kicks into gear to eat someone it is unintentionally hilarious. It is made even better by the total lack of acting talent among the entire cast. The highlight being when a character has his hands eaten to the bone by the bed and his reaction was to be bored and grunt a bit. As you may have gathered, Barry was more concerned with style than plot which leads to some strange and very frankly funny plot holes and leaps in logic.

This is the sort of film that is not for everyone, but the people it is for are going to have a ton of fun. Considering the tiny budget, George Barry and the rest of the people responsible for making this movie legitimately put forth effort and for better or worse it works with what they were trying to do. They could have easily slapped together a silly B-grade flick, but instead there is an attempt at something else which is unexpected.