Monday, June 2, 2014

Blu-ray Review: DEATH BED - THE BED THAT EATS (1977)


Label: Cult Epics
Region Code: 
Duration: 80 Minutes 
Rating: Unrated
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo
Video: Fullscreen 1.33:1
Director: George Barry

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! 

Death Bed - The Bed That Eats. That right there is about as truthful as any movie title ever to grace a film. A demon-possessed bed munches away on unsuspecting victims all the while accompanied by a Victorian ghost trapped inside a painting of the bed. Yup, this one's a weird slice of arthouse house horror that could only have happened in the early nineteen-seventies. 

As the title so eloquently describes the film is about a Victorian bed that eats the flesh of humans as well as the occasional apple, bucket of chicken wings, a little red wine and Pepto Bismol. The special effects are damn awful - even by standards of the time. The scenes of the bed digesting it's prey are silly and accompanied by the sounds of munching - the damn movie opens to the sounds of the bed munching away for what feels like five minutes... amd the bed snores!

To say the film has a deliberate pace would be too kind. It crawls along for the longest eighty-minutes you've ever sat through. This is not to say that the film is without it's schlocky charm from time to time. When a young woman temporarily escapes being digested by the bed her pants are clearly slathered in red paint. When a young man's hands are dissolved (with very little apparent discomfort) to the bones by the acid-secreting bed it is impossible not to laugh at. If you come into this with a few brews and a couch full of friends there's fun to be had but dropping $20 on this one should only be recommended to the more adventurous types. A few years ago stand-up comic Patton Oswallt did a tremendous bit about this film and his own struggles to pen a script - I would have loved a commentary from Oswalt on this release, anything to make it just a little more interesting.  

The Blu-ray from Cult Epics presents the film in it's original full frame 16mm  presentation and it looks like an obscure cheapie for sure with lots of grain and imperfection but I would assume this is the best it has ever appeared. Surprisingly there's a DTS-HD 5.1 soundtrack option, unsurprisingly it's hard to differentiate between it and the 2.0 stereo track. 

We have a load of extras for this release including two intros, an audio commentary with  director George Barry and author Stephen Thrower which is actually quite a good listen. We also get two featurettes with the director giving Thrower a guided tour of some of the locations used in the film and a conversation with the author and director which was pretty forgettable. Additionally there's an alternate music track for the end credits. 

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 1980s
- Behind-The-Scenes Of Death Bed In Detroit (2013)
- Original Death Bed Credit Music Track (1977)

Death Bed - The Bed That Eats (1977) is an awful and inept slice of seventies cinema but it definitely has a bizarre charm about it that's best enjoyed by groups of  friends in various states of inebriation - do not attempt to watch this alone - it will ruin what is already a damn awful movie. While watching this I couldn't help but think about the many films that have yet to see the light of day in 1080p and laugh, I love that we have specialty  labels such as Cult Epics preserving the trashiest of movies for future generations to enjoy and scorn. Keep in mind that Death Bed is a film so awful the director claims to have forgotten he made it at all. Not a must-see movie but if you simply must see it this one the Cult Epics Blu-ray is the one to watch. 
2 Outta 5