The thing is, though, in this case the title and tagline for the movie are almost enough...at 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.
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.
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 because...umm...it'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.