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Released on video in the UK on the obscure Portland Films label circa 1982, George Barry's mysterious, enigmatic 'Death Bed' is one of the most perverse, obtuse and difficult to rationalize features I've ever seen. Is it somebody's attempt at art? Is it cheesy exploitation? Is it a bad trip? Is it some kind of celluloid mutation that was never intended to be? It's all these things and more. It's nigh on impossible to describe this film in a linear manner, but if you can imagine a silent melodrama from the early 20th century gene-spliced with over-ripe seventies teen horror (with dashes of extreme surrealism, grand guignol, bargain-basement Dario Argento, Monty Python, EC comics and just about anything else that takes your fancy added to taste) and brought to the boil under the loose command of some rank amateurs who obviously thought the film could - and would - make itself, then...no, sorry, you're still not even close. If this film didn't exist, you'd have to invent it. Hopefully at three in the morning whilst extremely drunk and coming down off a very bad trip. After six solid days without sleep.
None of this means it's any good. Quite the opposite - it's a chore to sit through, and the (mercifully brief) plotless duration gives the film an interminable quality that adds to the sense of escalating weirdness. But if you are tempted to watch it, take comfort in the knowledge that you are about to see something that literally defies belief. If some films come "out of left field", then Death Bed came out of an undiscovered galaxy, landed in the middle of the Mojave desert, went insane in the extreme temperatures and hobbled into town with a dodo and a couple of stegosauruses in tow.
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