BALLADEER LOOKS AT DEATH BED (1977)

DEATH BED (1977)  A bed that eats everyone who lies on it is the hilarious premise of this actual straight-faced attempt at a horror film. You know how water-beds have water in them? This living bed has digestive juices in it. Its victims are somehow sucked through the membraneous material of the mattress and are broken down and digested by those juices.

The viewer is treated to countless shots of human bodies (plus for variety an apple, a fly and a bucket o’ chicken) dissolving in the acid, looking like they’re being torn apart by millions of tiny piranha fish. If you’re wondering how a four-poster bed in an abandoned mansion became a living being with a taste for human flesh, we’re told a tree-demon (no relation to the tree-monster in From Hell It Came) temporarily incarnated as a human being to seduce a woman on the bed.

At one point the blood-colored tears of the demon fell on the bed, thus creating our hungry, hungry hero. If you want to know who tells us this, well, it’s one of the bed’s victims from decades earlier, kept alive in some kind of vague supernatural half-life and imprisoned behind a painting on the wall of the bedroom our title creature is in. No, not in the painting, literally behind it, in a little cubby hole with the painting over it as a kind of door.

Our narrator crouches in a scrunched-up position in his hidey-hole throughout the film. He’s obviously just in an air vent so you expect to see Bruce Willis in the original Die Hard movie come crawling by at any moment. This narrator speaks in a very stuffy, stilted way, as if he’s recounting a macabre tale worthy of Poe or Hoffmann but because of the ridiculous position he’s in and the even more ridiculous events in the film it just adds to the unintentional hilarity.

Other things to love in this wonderful lost bad movie epic include:

a) the effective Gothic feel of the creepy abandoned mansion juxtaposed with the monumentally absurd events unfolding on the screen …

b) the sheer number of victims the Death Bed feeds upon, making it seem like a pilot for a series in which each week a new group of victims would stumble across the abandoned house and fall prey to “The Evil Bed” (sorry). Seriously, across the decades that our monotoned narrator escorts us through we see dozens of people ending up as a meal for the bed …

 c) the turn of the century “orgy” scene, with our title monster devouring everyone oinking and boinking on it …

d) the woman who is heard talking in one scene even though her lips aren’t moving (shades of Doris Wishman!) …

e) the way the Death Bed wraps its blankets like a tentacle around the ankle of one victim, preventing them from fleeing and dragging them back to it …

f) the on-the-lam gangster who tries shooting the bed as it swallows him up, with the angle of the shot making it look like he’s shooting himself in the crotch …

g) the character who stabs the bed with a knife, accidentally immersing his hands and the blade in the digestive juices inside the mattress. When he is able to pull his hands back out they’ve been reduced to nothing but bones, prompting him to, well, just silently look at them with a bland “How do you like that?” look on his face.

And on and on until the cheerfully confusing ending with a ritual designed to kill the Death Bed. I have no idea how Michael Weldon missed this movie in his first two Psychotronic volumes.

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