Wednesday, July 20, 2016



review by AARON ALLEN

Directed by Jeff Maher

Written by Cody Calahan and Jeff Maher

Starring: Colin Price, Alysa King, Dennis Andres, Gwenlyn Cumyn, George Krissa

Black Fawn Films cannot be stopped. With their new film Bed of the Dead, which had its World Premiere at the 2016 Fantasia International Film Festival, Black Fawn continues their streak of elevating low budget concepts into high-level contenders for the most interesting, most exciting, and most genuine genre entertainment available. Bed of the Dead is a superb horror-thriller with a B-movie premise that's Grade-A fun.

I don't know who came up with the insane concept for Bed of the Dead, but I like to imagine that it could have had its origins in a late-night Chinese food dinner pitch session at Black Fawn headquarters.

Perhaps as the rice and noodles were running out, someone decided to break out the fortune cookies and read them aloud. You know that silly game where you add "... in bed" to every trite slip of paper that comes out of those disgustingly delicious yellow confections? Perhaps the conversation went something like this:

"What about a movie with an evil parasitic twin?" 

                    "A friend asks only for your time not your bed!"

"No, no. What about a movie about a woman who transforms into a disgusting bug?"

                   "New ideas could be bed!"

"Hey, I got one. What about a movie where four twentysomethings find themselves suffering frightening hallucinations before succumbing to gruesome deaths as they're picked off one by one...."

               ".... in bed!"

Eureka! BED OF THE DEAD, ladies and gentleman in a nutshell.

Okay, I'm 99% sure that's not how Bed of the Dead was conceived, but if it were, I wouldn't be all that surprised. It's exactly that unique blend of dedication to finding serious horror movie concepts with out-of-the-box imagination and a willingness to embrace unproven genre ideas that makes Bed of the Dead just so feverishly fun.

In Bed of the Dead, a group of sexually adventurous friends check themselves into a sex club to celebrate the birthday of their buddy Ren (Dennis Andres). His birthday wish: a foursome with his girl Sandy (Alysa King), his best friend Fred (George Krissa) and his partner Nancy (Gwenlyn Cumyn). What begins as night of awkwardly sexy group play soon becomes a nightmare holocaust when the four realize that they're trapped on the giant oak bed that dominates the room. Anyone who tries to leave meets a supernaturally gruesome demise. A powerful entity in, on, and under the bed is judging their sins. The last thing it wants to do is sleep.

Despite a cursory similarity to the crap-fest Death Bed: The Bed that Eats (as immortalized in comedian Patton Oswalt's legendary stand-up set), Bed of the Dead is a serious horror effort that shouldn't even be mentioned in the same breath as Death Bed. Bed of the Dead is packed with serious scares. Serious violence and gore. Serious sexiness. And yes, seriously wicked jabs of cheeky black comedy that only so slightly wink at the audience. As soon as you think you have the plot of Bed of the Dead pegged, the script by Maher and Calahan throws another titillating twist in your face. For example, the introduction of a cop with a rough past (Colin Price) who is investigating a crime in the same sex club ends up intersecting in surprising ways with the plight of our bedridden swingers and provides a third-act complication that's truly exciting.

Bed of the Dead is all about artistic economy. Get into the story, get things moving, and hit the audience with a series of shocking thrills and kills. Set'em up, knock 'em down, and change the stakes. There's literally never a dull moment as the lurid cinematography of Micha Dahan and the scintillating score by Steph Copeland act like sheets to draw you deeper and deeper into the horror of the bed. I cannot recommend this film enough.

Bed of the Dead puts a decidedly adult new spin on that age-old childhood fear of the monster under the bed. It's freaky, fun, and most importantly fresh. In a world of horror media plagued by sequels, reboots, and derivative ripoffs, Black Fawn Films continues to offer something unique and original that's well worth the price of admission.