FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Jun 7, 2011

The Something That Somethings

If I had a nickel for every time I've been asked whether or not I've seen DeathBed (you know, the bed that eats), then I would have no fewer than two nickels. I mean, that title! People of a certain persuasion cannot resist a movie with such a title. Of course, by "people of a certain persuasion", I obviously mean "people with exquisite taste".

The thing is, though, in this case the title and tagline for the movie are almost least for me. Whenever I'm asked if I'm in The DeathBed Club, I have to respond with "No, I'm not...but do club members get jackets? Perhaps jackets meant for DeathBed Club members only?" In order to ensure that I'm perceived as a person with exquisite taste despite the fact that I've not yet seen DeathBed, I have to follow up my initial response with "B-but I have DeathBed! On my shelf! On a DVD with Castle Freak, which I love because, you know...who doesn't? I keep meaning to watch DeathBed, but there always seems to be something else to watch first."- and none of that is even a lie. Again, the title and tagline have always satisfied me. The film doesn't even have to exist, really, and there's always something I'd rather watch.

But I oh so desperately want to be "cool" and "with" "it"- not to mention I want to get my mitts on one of those jackets- so I finally decided to make my DeathBed and lie in it.

DeathBed opens with black and white footage of a couple getting up to some lite S&M shenanigans as Charleston-esque music plays. There's a shot of a Victrola so we know that director Danny Draven isn't simply attempting some artistic conceits- this S&M is happening in yon 1920s or 30s. The shenanigans quickly escalate to murdernanigans as the girl is strangled to death with a necktie.

black and white Victrola: not just art

In yon modern times, a young couple moves into a loft apartment and all seems well enough. However, anyone who's seen a horror movie knows that when characters move into a new house or apartment, bad things will happen. I mean, every time, right? Has anyone ever moved into a new place in a horror film and not had, you know, corpses pop up in the pool (because only the headstones were moved) or the house telling the new tenants to GET OUT or their child taken to some weird netherworld or they discover that a man's heart is stonier or whatever? NO. Something always happens, and it's always negative! So, as soon as landlord Joe Estevez (I love you Joe Estevez, you Kmart Martin Sheen, you) was all "Garsh, I don't know what's behind that locked door!", I knew what was behind it. It was the DeathBed, waiting. Patiently. Biding its time, as all evil beds do.

So our young couple- let's call them "the guy" and "the girl"- are enjoying a bit of fornication in their new apartment...or, should I say, the guy is enjoying it. The girl seems decidedly uncomfortable, complaining that it hurts. The guy is sympathetic and thinks she might enjoy it more if she would just get on top for once, as he's asked so many times. At this point, I feel that I know an awful lot about their sex lives.

When she hears squeaking bedsprings from beyond The Locked Door, the girl decides to find out what's what. Et cetera et cetera, it's the DeathBed.

it waits

She hauls it out, cleans it up, and promptly becomes the sort of girl who gets on top- if you know what I mean- much to the delight of her fella.

now she's one of THOSE girls

Blah blah blah, why hasn't the bed done any eating in this movie? This bed does not eat! "Man, they should have called this movie SexBed," I said to no one in particular. Then the light hit me: is this the wrong DeathBed? Can there actually be more than one? Have I had on my shelf all this time not DeathBed: The Bed That Eats, but instead DeathBed: The Bed That Bores? When it was all over and, you know, the girl learns all about the murderous history of the bed and goes crazy, it was apparently so. This bed is not a murderer. It's simply a soft, cushy place where murder happens! In the end, the only thing this bed ate was 80 minutes of my time.

My friends, disappointment does not even begin to describe what I was feeling. This was not the eating DeathBed of '77, no! This is The Bed That Lames (that doesn't make sense, but go with it) from 2002. This means I still haven't seen The Bed That Eats! STILL! And now when someone asks, I can't even claim to have a copy on my shelf waiting for me! At this rate, I'm never going to get one of those jackets.

don't ask

Castle Freak (1995) doesn't disappoint, though...but then, how could it? It's pure Stuart Gordon perverto magic, chock full of gore and sex (often combined) and Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton. A troubled American family inherits a castle in the Italian countryside...but little do they know that the castle comes complete with Giorgio, its very own freak chained up in the cellar. Like all good gorked out, chained up, and abused cellar dwellars, Giorgio goes completely nutso once he breaks free, chewing and screwing- or at least attempting to- his way through anyone around.

Giorgio: total yuck mouth

If it sounds like Hell Night, that's's reminiscent of Hell Night. Instead of Hell Night's horny teens, though, Castle Freak features a married couple dealing with guilt and alcoholism; instead of Linda Blair in a flouncy top, we get an Italian prostitute in a bikini top. Either way works for me, as I'm a sucker for weirdo locked away in the attic or cellar flicks. Maybe if DeathBed had featured such a weirdo relaxing on the DeathBed I would have enjoyed it more. Alas, it wasn't so.

"Castle Freak, please put on some clothes."

Say, does one get some sort of jacket or commemorative plate if one is a member of The Castle Freak Club? Because my dues for that shit are all paid up.


Unknown said...

Don't fret, I actually fell for the same dirty trick with that Full Moon Stuart Gordon set as well. Damn you Charles Band!

originalslugboy said...


matango said...

I was reading this, saw that it was some other Death Bed movie, and was screaming (in my head), "No! Don't watch that Stacy; it's a false Death Bed!"

The only thing good about "Death Bed: The Bed That Eats (People)" is its title. It is definitely not "so bad it's good." It is merely just really bad. I think you should just tell people you've seen it.

Weirdly, the one you reviewed was actually released (2002) before the 1977 Death Bed (2003).

I assume you've heard Patton Oswalt's bit on Death Bed:

Marc Edward Heuck said...

People want to see DEATH BED for two reasons - it's mention in Stephen Thrower's NIGHTMARE USA book, and Patton Oswalt's brilliant bit about how this film somehow got made.

Susie O said...

Man, I actually just picked up the "real" Death Bed at the local independent video store a few months ago. I had never even heard of it, but the cover grabbed me and the tag-line and case's back looked up my alley.

With no expectations or prior knowledge of the movie, I checked it out. I was a fan.

Patton Oswalt gets on my nerves.

Anonymous said...

I think I owe you a nickel, since I know that I asked you about Death Bed. Joe Esteves, man, I love when he shows up in movies, ever since I saw Sooooooooultaker and he was in it, dressed like Johnny Cash.
Is Castle Freak the movie where the freak is born from a pair of incestuous twins? Because that movie sounds mighty familiar.

Bill Walsh said...

But you told me the DeathBed Club is like the Mile-High Club—you're a member if you’ve had sex on the DeathBed!

In retrospect, it was a transparent ploy. The “DeathBed” magic-markered on the headboard shoulda tipped me off…

At least I got this collectable membership card…

Chris Hewson said...

Ever heard of a film Funny Man with Tim Curry and Christopher Lee? That has the same kind of plot as Castle Freak, i.e. some guy and his family are invited to a distant relative's country house, (which is itself probably a plot that's been used a million times over). Funny Man is a black comedy though.

Anonymous said...

This should help...IF YOU DARE!!

deadlydolls said...

I'm with Matango: I'm reading this and getting SO confused, thinking WAIT! STACIE! GO BACK! YOU'RE WATCHING THE WRONG MOVIE!

Glad you eventually figured it out. The shame is that Death Bed: The Bed That Eats is actually a horrible movie hat drags painfully, but I *think* you'll still find plenty more merit in it.

Miskatonic said...

It sounds like I have the same DVD as you. I was fooled when I first bought it but did some research before watching it and discovered the truth. Then, I watched (and thoroughly enjoyed) Castle Freak. I'm trying to get through all of the cheap shit I bought on DVD so I can get it out of my house so I ended up suffering through Death Bed: The bed that most definitely does NOT eat. All I can say is, "at least Joe Estavez (who would play a much better aged Emilio Estivez than Martin Sheen would) was in it.

One question: Does your DVD have DeathBed as the main feature with Castle Freak as the special feature? That's how mine is and it just boggles the mind how a minor Stuart Gordon classic starring Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton could be playing second fiddle to that horrendous bore. Worse yet, the film was cropped. I think I'm going to try and find the real DeathBed and see if it has an appetite for shitty DVDs.

Thomas Duke said...

People looking for a horror movie with DEATH BED 77 are probably going to be disappointed (or just bored). I might describe it as a skid row Grimm's fairy tale (VERY skid row) filtered through a dying Jean Cocteau stricken with dementia. Or you could just watch it, I guess. I really like it, and not because it's shitty.

"Perhaps jackets meant for DeathBed Club members only?"

Wait, a Members Only jacket with a Death Bed logo? That'll cause the fashion world to implode. That's a good thing, for the record.


These were several horror themed Bennigans restaurants (I mean horror on top of the food, like waiters dressed as Jason and such).

Anonymous said...

Funny... somehow I always assumed Jeffrey Combs played the Castle Freak.

Eddie Ho said...


The 1977 version is even more slow and boring than the one you viewed. Count yourself lucky that you got the newer version. Peace Eddie