Due to my rental history and artfully managed rating system, Netflix recommended Death Bed: The Bed That Eats to me sometime last year. A bed that eats, you say, Netflix? Yes please.
After bouncing around in my queue for several months, bumped by the Heartbreak of 2008 (Doctor Who, Series 4) and stuck behind The Riches (a series I think is absolutely fascinating but is so painful to watch, for me, that I haven’t been able to finish), the weekend in Ohio with friends over the holidays was the kick in the butt needed to finally get my hands on Death Bed: The Bed That Eats. With Kara’s animated description and enthusiastic review I was entirely sold on it. It would be a couple more weeks before I had time to get to the disc that was holding it up, and then Netflix bursts my bubble with a “not available from your local shipping center … on its way and should arrive within 3 to 5 days” message, and so this much anticipated viewing was put off again until this past weekend.
I’m saddened by all the hate this movie has gotten. Why is anyone knocking the effects on a low-budget indie film from the 70s? No seriously. Could you have done better with the same limits? And for a directorial debut, and first and only production? I’m even more saddened that it took the theft of George Barry’s work to get this released leaving him creditless for over two decades. Think of what he could’ve done in that time.
Forget all of your glossy effects snobbery and look at Death Bed: The Bed That Eats as a truly unique story, with a remarkable set up. The monster cannot hunt screaming girls through the woods. There’s no heartthrob hero. One of the strongest characters is a kick-ass black woman — the only one who actually fights back! Then, mid-”Yeah!” moment, your fleeting joy is brought down in a sloooowww and twisted way. Just when you’re asking “how did this bed even happen?” the narrator launches into the history. There’s a fantastic moment when the bed has a “pleasant” dream; character development for a bed. Barry is brilliant. We’re talking about a genre that is built entirely on crap no one was meant to pay attention to at drive-ins. I love crappy gross-outs with all their flaws and eye rolling dumbness, but this — I couldn’t take my eyes off it! This, I would watch again.
The reviews I’ve read have missed key points in their synopsizes while insisting that the backstory and plot makes little sense. I can think of a few minor holes, (namely how does it make munching sounds without teeth? Answer: I don’t really care! It’s a bed that eats. There’s digestive-fluid vision!) and they did little to mar my enjoyment of this fun, ridiculous, original flick. I wish the big budget horror Hollywood darlings could come up with something this creative and different on their own instead of churning out weak remakes of Asian films. I can’t think of one decent American horror movie made recently. Plot holes in Death Bed: The Bed that Eats? Have you seen M. Night Shyamalan’s stuff? Victor Salva’s? Rob Zombie’s? C’mon.