Death Bed: The Bed that Eats

Death Bed: The Bed that Eats – George Barry

Nationality: USA

Pros: Gloriously eccentric and gloriously amateur offering. Very unusual and unclassifyable.
Cons:  Wooden acting sometimes gets in the way, though could be seen as part of its charm as well.

Death Bed: The Bed that Eats
Death Bed: The Bed that Eats

While I am on the seemingly dubious films that have fallen by the wayside from American horror (see Ice from the Sun), I have to mention one real oddity, which has finally been released on DVD.  Anything named ‘Death Bed: The Bed that Eats’ doesn’t sound like something for your next intellectual gathering, but intellectual is where you find it, and this film is so strange and unique that it easily merits inclusion – though perhaps (and wonderfully) for all the wrong reasons. 

Death Bed: The Bed that Eats
Death Bed: The Bed that Eats

Picture if you will a bed – large and comfortable looking – that sits surreally in a lonely, stone cell.  A nice place for wanderers and travellers to stop for the night – or it would be if the bed wasn’t possessed and given to physically eating anything that lands on it.  Meanwhile, the ghost of artist Aubrey Beardsley stares bleakly down on the scene from a picture on the wall as the years pass, addressing the bed demon in acerbic and doleful monologues.  In the total absence of special effects, the bed eats using almost elegant and beautiful camerawork of pools of fluid, streaming with bubbles, in which the food tumbles lazily – from apple cores to human bones . . . .

Death Bed: The Bed that Eats
Death Bed: The Bed that Eats

On one level it is almost comic, partly because of its sub-B-movie plot and no budget construction, and partly because of a genuine tongue-in-cheek humor that pervades it.  But on the other, there is something dreamlike and haunting about it in a way that no tale of a possessed bed eating people has a right to be!  So what is this thing?  Crazy student project?  Long-forgotten B Movie that someone rediscovered?  Mind-warped outsider art?  The story of how this film was made, then almost lost and effectively only saved thanks to piracy adds another element to it.  A weird film like this was never going to be easy to sell, and director George Barry never had much luck striking a deal.  A fair deal anyway.  However, the film did get released in spite of that – a pirate release.  And it was in this form alone that the film was eventually seen – by a lucky few.  This impossibly rare oddity eventually began to attract more attention though when the British Lightsfade website published a review of it, which eventually lead to the director making the curious discovery that his old film had actually been out there being watched all along.  And finally it was time for the obscure and barely known legendary Death Bed to come out into the light for film students and lovers of the odd to watch and marvel over.  And now, Cult Epics (an excellent dvd house dedicated to curious and bizarre cinema) have finally given it a proper DVD release. 

Death Bed: The Bed that Eats
Death Bed: The Bed that Eats

“Death bed was not a film for gorehounds – viewers were required to tune their mental wireless to the spaces between the stations, where the shipping forecasts, foreign signals and dream-voices live . . . The lines crossed by Death Bed are an index of its quality.  Set in the twilight between genres – between comedy and horror, art and artless, mundane and insane – it draws on energies lost to more sensible films.”  Stephen Thrower – dvd sleeve notes.

Well said! 

Death Bed: The Bed that Eats
Death Bed: The Bed that Eats

 

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