Initial DVD releaseNovember 4, 2003 Duration CountryUnited States
CastDemene E. Hall (Diane), William Russ (Sharon's Brother (as Rusty Russ)), Julie Ritter (Suzan), Linda Bond (The Resurrected), Patrick Spence-Thomas (Voice of the Artist), Rosa Luxemburg (Sharon) Release dateOctober 26, 1977 Similar moviesThe Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, The Collector, The Case of the Scorpion's Tail, The Forest, Sliver, The Green Hornet
Death Bed: The Bed That Eats is a 1977 American surrealist horror film written, produced, and directed by George Barry; it was his only feature.
Long ago, a demon fell in love with a woman and conjured up a bed on which to make love to her. The woman died during the act, and, in his grief, the demon wept tears of blood which fell on the bed and caused it to come to life. While the demon rests, the bed's evil is contained, but once every ten years, the demon wakes, giving the bed the power to physically eat human beings. Only one man, an artist identified as Aubrey Beardsley, was spared, as the bed condemned him to immortality behind a painting, where he must forever witness the bed taking victims. The bed passed from owner to owner until the present day.
A young couple trespass into the building and discover the bed. They make love on the bed, and the bed devours them. The artist mocks the bed for its stupidity. Enraged, the bed telekinetically destroys most of the house except for the room it is in.
Three women discover the now-destroyed house. The bed eats one of the young women, but reacts to one of the other women by bleeding in agony. The artist realizes that the bed reacts with pain to the woman because she resembles its "mother" (the woman whose death caused the bed's creation). Elsewhere, the brother of one of the women goes out looking for her.
One of the two remaining women sleeps on the bed. She wakes before it can eat her, but as she tries to escape, the bed snares her in its sheets and drags her back to be eaten. The last woman unsuccessfully tries to save her. The brother locates the surviving woman, only to have the bed trap them both to eat later. Meanwhile, the bed tortures them both with nightmares.
The brother tries to distract the bed in order for the remaining woman to escape, but instead, it kills him too. At that moment, the demon that created the bed briefly falls asleep, which renders the bed powerless and allows the artist to communicate with the woman. The artist describes a ritual that will destroy the bed. The woman carries out the ritual, which teleports the bed out of the room and revives the bed's real "mother," but at the cost of killing the surviving woman. The bed's mother and the demon complete the ritual by having sex, causing the bed to burst into flames and allowing the artist to finally die.
Release and reception
The film was not officially released on DVD until April 27, 2004, and in the introduction to the edition, Barry claims to have essentially forgotten he had made it. It was largely ignored by mainstream theaters and reviewers, but has now achieved considerable cult film status for its atmosphere and surreal dream-like nature. "Scenes of actors and objects sucked into the digestive fluids of the bed’s interior are effectively dreamlike for low budget effects," comments Harvard dream researcher Deirdre Barrett. "The dream of the woman in the main couple achieves a nightmarish effect by substituting a giant Madagascar hissing cockroach for the standard US variety. However, mostly the film consists of leaden acting and children’s Halloween props."
In popular culture
Comedian Patton Oswalt discusses the film extensively on his album Werewolves and Lollipops and in his short closing set at the end of The Comedians of Comedy: Live at the El Rey, referring to it as "Death Bed: The Bed That Eats People" and joking that it has inspired him to write Rape Stove: The Stove That Rapes People.
Big Dawg Productions in Wilmington, NC has announced a live stage adaptation (October 2014) of the film to be scripted by Gwenyfar. Barry is consulting on the project.