So what happens when you hook up hot genre newcomer (and SGM fave) Danny Draven and cult genre favourite Stuart Gordon? Well you get the simplistic but entertaining low budget shocker 'Death Bed'!
At its simplest, the plot (as you can imagine from the tell all title) is about a bed that contains the evil presence of a perverted kinky death that took place on it many years ago. The main scenario is in a converted warehouse rented by young lovers Karen (played by Full Moon regular Tanya Dempsey) and her boyfriend Jerry. They don't have much apart from their love for each other and their proud new abode but when Karen starts to notice a strange presence in the apartment, in particular from the sealed upstairs abode she sets out to find out what is hidden behind the locked door from where the strange sounds emanate. With the assistance of her friendly landlord (played by the ever-entertaining Joe Estevez who provides welcome comic relief) they get the door unlocked but all they find is an old (but desirable) brass framed bed. Beguiled by her find Karen brings the bed down for her own use…but as the films title would suggest this isn't going to be the bed of their dreams and a good nights sleep wont be on the cards for the hapless couple!
'Death Bed' is one of those low budget Full Moon films that could have easily failed but with the involvement of both the new and old blood in the form of Draven and Gordon it manages to deliver (albeit by no means a classic) an entertaining diversion for fans of low budget genre movies.
I've been an avid fan of director Draven's work to date and 'Death Bed' continues to show what flair he has behind the camera - of course this isn't yet the big breakthrough film that I'm keen to see Draven deliver (that wont come until the big bucks get behind him) but it's great to see the work continue to flow. Gordon's involvement is also evident as the film has a mean streak of subdued perversion that is particular to Gordon's track record of classic horror sleaze (in From Beyond, Re-Animator, Castle Freak) As lead Karen is growingly consumed by the lustful spirit of the bed she herself becomes more lustfully depraved in her sexual activities - a classic Gordon scenario that is only slightly restrained by Dempsey's delivery as even at her sleaziest she still looks a touch to pure (unlike the classic moments of sleaze from From Beyond). But that said her performance is still very worthy and only adds to her very credible growing CV.
'Death Bed' certainly wont change the face of horror and perhaps for some hard-edged fans with expectations from Gordon's involvement will be wanting for more. But if you take it for what it is (i.e. a low budget Full Moon release) then you should be pleased by what it has to offer…a simple but solid plot, some nice flowing direction by the very talented director Draven, some strong performances by the small ensemble cast and just the right amount of dark sexual deviancy (the ending especially is a cracker) to keep you on your toes.
As you would expect from a new production geared specifically towards the DVD release the image and sound on this disc looks perfect with a nice solid image and clear vibrant audio. So we'll move swiftly onto the extra features…first thing of note will be the audio commentary with Draven, Gordon and writer John Strysik chatting about not only the movie but how this welcome collaboration came about (which is fascinating if not worrying also…you'll know what I mean when you hear about the Castle Freak film masters location when Draven found it). Next up is the obligatory trailer which I always like to see included (don't ask me why but I do!), finally in relation to 'Death Bed' we get a nice 18 minute 'behind the scenes' featurette' on the set of the movie which whilst being a lot of fun misses out on being what could have been an excellent feature if aspects of the features conception had been discussed through interview with Draven, Gordon, Strysik and Band etc. Still well worth a watch though.
Now onto the last extra feature and perhaps the one that will have attracted many to the disc in the first place (well as a teaser it would no doubt work well)…Stuart Gordon's 'Castle Freak'. Yup, Gordon's underrated and insular shocker in its entirety as a bonus feature on this DVD! For those of you that haven't yet seen 'Castle Freak' (and why not?) the plot follows fan favourite Jeffrey Combs and his lovely wife Barbara Crampton (two Gordon stalwarts) and their child as they set up home in their newly inherited Italian castle (as you do!) Now this would be a lovely prospect if they didn't have to contend with the depraved creature who lives in the castles basement, so when the bodies start to pile up and poor Jeffrey is unwittingly put into the frame he has to try not only clear his name but take care of the beast that's causing the mayhem! 'Castle Freak' is a cracker of a movie and for some strange reason has been pretty much ignored by the bulk of the genre fan community - it has everything that makes a good Gordon movie, in fact pretty much all the key elements from his earlier movies are involved (Combs, Crampton, scripter Dennis Paoli and the ever plagiaristic but highly effective Band score) along with Gordon's faultless flowing directorial style. But it is probably the aforementioned insularity that put this film wrongly into the shadows of his more excessive delights, but 'Castle Freak' is a great movie and one that any genre fan should thoroughly enjoy. And before anyone asks, yes this looks to be uncut…the prostitute nipple gouging scene is there as is the bloody crotch munching also, but then these scenes were also present in the stand alone release that came from Full Moon a few years back also. So I could see no difference from the old Castle Freak release outside of the fact that the old Castle Freak DVD contained a lovely but short behind the scenes feature along with the movies trailer and neither are present on this Death Bed DVD which is a shame but on the other hand you're getting two features for the low price of this budget DVD, so no complaints there.
So if you haven't already got Castle Freak then there is no excuse not to now as you'll get the welcome opportunity to see what Gordon is up to nowadays and check out the talents of one of the hot new directors on the genre scene. As I said, 'Death Bed' isn't going to change the face of the genre scene but it makes for an entertaining genre diversion for those of you that want to see what's new in the low budget horror scene. The disc represents great value for money with not only two cool full-length movies but some fun extra features too. Check it out!
Review by Alan Simpson
'Death Bed' can be ordered direct from Tempe by clicking here.
|Released by Full Moon/Shadow|
|Region 1 - NTSC|
|Audio - English|
|Audio Commentary, bonus film 'Castle Freak', Behind the Scenes short, trailer.|