“This movie makes no sense,” said director/co-writer Jeff Maher about his new film Bed of the Dead. But as star Alysa King elaborated during the cast/crew Q&A, if you can accept a bed that judges people’s sins and dishes out harsh punishment, then you can accept anything. It’s true. You can’t nitpick with a movie like Bed of the Dead, man, it saps all the fun out of it. And Bed of the Dead is one helluva good time.
The film had its world premiere at the Fantasia Festival last night and boy howdy was it the perfect choice for a midnight movie. It’s loaded with dreamlike horror, buckets of blood, and a twisting plot that jumps back and forth through time with glee. It also happens to feature one of the gnarliest monsters I’ve seen in some time.
Ren (Dennis Andres) has a special request for his birthday. He wants to have a foursome with his girlfriend Sandy (King) and their friends Nancy (Gwenlyn Cumyn) and Fred (George Krissa). Sandy begrudgingly agrees and the group goes to a dodgy sex club to make Ren’s orgy dream come true. The rooms are all booked up, so the couples bribe their way into a room currently being “renovated.” This room is home to the “emperor size” titular bed, which was carved from a cursed tree a lot of men hung from centuries before.
The orgy is a bust and the couples soon realize there’s something very wrong with the bed. The big clue is that one of them is sucked beneath it and eviscerated. That’s always a dead giveaway right there. The bed begins to prey upon the group’s darkest secrets and fears – spawning nightmarish hallucinations and gruesome kills. The monster I mentioned earlier is a simple looking effect on the surface, but the result is wicked. The easiest way to explain it is that it’s a bed sheet monster, made up of blood, linen, and pure nightmare fuel. It had my jaw on the floor.
Sandy and her friends figure out that they can’t leave the bed. If they do, they die a horrible, custom-made death. But they can’t stay on it either, just ask the disemboweled corpse on the ceiling that rained blood down on the girls. As they try to figure out how to beat the bed’s curse, disturbed cop Virgil (Colin Price) is investigating the group’s death a couple hours in the future. That’s where Bed of the Dead plays with its own timeline. If Sandy and the group are all dead, how is he talking with Sandy on the phone? How is he able to communicate with this very, very dead girl?
Maher (cinematographer of Bite and Antisocial) and writer Cody Calahan (Antisocial, The Drownsman) throw a lot of solid little twists in their screenplay. I went in completely blind so I wasn’t expecting this, making every curveball a nice surprise. There’s also a sturdy police procedural element to the film that may not be as engaging as the bedridden carnage, but still adds a nice dimension to what could’ve just been a straightforward kill count movie. Virgil’s backstory gradually weaves into the story of Sandy in a way that doesn’t feel forced or tossed in for the hell of it. This all leads up to a finale that’s pretty damn shocking.
The monster under the bed will always be scary and here it’s the entire bed that’s the monster. What a simple, but oh so rad concept. My first knee-jerk reaction was that it would be a rip off the 1977 underground classic Death Bed: The Bed That Eats, but as Maher explained, their bed is a much different monster and he actually got the blessing of Death Bed’s director George Barry.
The crew announced during the Q&A last night that Bed of the Dead has found distribution in its home turf of Canada, so USA distribution probably isn’t far behind. Sweet dreams!
The film screened at the ongoing Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal.