Triskaidekafiles is a love letter to cheesy cinema from the 80s and 90s, with the occasional dip into other eras.  if you're a fan of MST3K, Elvira, Joe Bob Briggs, or just bad horror movies in general, Trisk is the place for you.

Deathbed (2002)


WRITER: John Strysik

DIRECTOR: Danny Draven

STARRING: Tanya Dempsey as Karen
    Brave Matthews as Jerry
    Joe Estevez as Art
    Meagan Magnum as Female ghost
    Dukey Flyswatter as The Strangler ghost.

QUICK CUT: A couple move into a nice little apartment in LA, and slowly discover that their cozy new home has a rather dark past.


    Karen - Karen's a nice girl, with a hidden past, who spends her days working as a freelance artist.  In her spare time, she looks up mass murderers online.

    Jerry - Karen's boyfriend, who's an understandable sort, and while he knows she has her secrets, there's part of him that wants her to just open up.  Still, he doesn't pry too much and respects her privacy.

    Art - The kindly building super who takes a shine to Karen.  Possibly too much of one.

Deadtime stories.

THE GUTS: Happy Valentine's Day!  This year, Triskaidekafiles celebrates the occasion with a charming little story about a loving couple, their new apartment, the love they share, a little bondage, and murder.  Huh.  That escalated quickly.

If you're a viewer of The Cinema Snob, and quite frankly if you enjoy my reviews you should be, he's better, then the name Death Bed should seem familiar.  He reviewed a movie with that name awhile back.  This is not that movie.  Yes, there are two movies about evil beds.


After a brief cold open where we get to watch grainy footage of a man strangling a woman on the titular deathbed, we get to meet a new couple being ushered up to their new apartment by building super, Joe Estevez.  Hi, Joe!

Sorry, I have a soft spot for the guy after MST3K.  His character is actually named Art, but I so don't care.  He's Joe.  Get used to it.

But anyways, he rambles on about the state of the building being crap, except for the good stuff on the top floor, and the couple play the awkwardness of his oversharing very, very well.  Almost too well, I think they may genuinely be creeped out by Joe.

The most notable feature of the apartment is a staircase that goes nowhere.  Well, it goes to a door that goes nowhere.  Well, a door that's locked and no one has a key for.

So Karen and Jerry move in, and we find out Karen has issues with sex.  Boy, you should not be in a Full Moon movie if that's the case.  Did you see Killer Eye?!

Yeah, you're gonna need to weatherstrip that door.

During their first night, she also hears weird noises coming from the door to Narnia, but curls back up and ignores it as best she can.  However, the next day, she hears more noises, and goes to investigate.  Smart move, wait until daylight to see what's going on.

She follows what can only be described as a porn movie in process, based on the sounds of all the squeaky springs.  It leads her straight to the door, and they stop just as she reaches it.  She tries the knob, but it's still locked.  Unfortunately, something on the other side jiggles the doorknob back.

Karen hears someone calling for help, and calls over Joe who...  Uh, he has a pet cockatiel.  No reason,'s there.  Don't tell Mickey Rourke.  Anyways, he comes over to deal with the door.  He pries it open, and surprise!  There's no one inside, it's just an empty room with a bed!

You don't even have to imagine this looking like a crime scene.

While Jerry does his photography thing, Karen and Joe try and get the bed cleaned up, and things start to get creepy.  Karen's being a little too sexually overt, not her fault, and Joe is getting a bit too leery.

Joe gets the heck out of there, and soon Jerry comes home to find Karen all dressed up and seducing him.  He resumes taking photos of his sexy girlfriend, and yep.  We are definitely back in a Full Moon movie.

So much for her issues with sex.  But it looks like she's about to develop whole new issues when Jerry starts wanting to strangle her, just like the previous occupants of the bed.

Later, Karen gets an assignment for some book illustrations calling for an old, iron bed...hey!  How convenient.  Anyways, she starts doodling, and starts to see blood pouring off the bed.  Uhh, yeah.  Deathbed, the bed that bleeds.

After another night of sexual escapades where Karen almost strangles Jerry for a change, she grabs a shower to cleanse the ick off her.  She hears more voices, and finds a strange woman tied to the bed, next to Jerry.  Fortunately she disappears when Karen screams and wakes her boyfriend up.

Who's that sleeping in my bed? ...No, really. Who is that?!

Karen spends the rest of the night scribbling pictures of the mystery woman.  Jerry wakes up and goes to work, leaving her to her drawings, Joe turning up for a beer, and asking for some help to see if any murders happened there.

Once she's alone again, she does some research on her own, surfing to a Google wannabe and looking up 'unsolved murders street locations'.  Boy, that's vague, huh?  Well, anyways, the plot convenience fairy drops her down to a site where she can search murders by address, so it worked out okay.

But the search turns up nothing, so she sends an overly elaborate message to the site to try and find anything out that isn't outright posted there, I guess.

While she tries to finish up the art book thing though, the lack of sleep catches up with her, and Karen answers the call of the bed.  She suddenly has a weird nightmare vision flash...thing, that puts her back on the bed in the way it was back in the 20s, and dangling an umbilical cord out of her that's at least 20 feet long leading back to a mirror, and Karen's sleeping body.

Even Freud is lost with this one.

That night, Karen tries for more sleep, and there is a niiice scare where they slowly push in on her with the camera, and they swap out Jerry for the dead woman while the camera is so tightly focused.  Good job.

Her scream right in Jerry's ear wakes him up, and she shows him the strange, dark drawings she's been making.  She insists she doesn't want to be in the apartment anymore, and tries to convince him of the existence of ghosts.  Instead, he talks her into going to see a shrink first.

The shrink hypnotises Karen, and we get a random, overly dark and unnecessary backstory of her being sexually abused by her uncle as a kid.  Did we really need to tack that on in such a hamfisted way?  In this movie of all places?


But none of that really explains the mystery lady, but the shrink BSes her way out of it by saying she must be some projection, a way for Karen to feel safe.  And then she perscribes Valium.  Woo.

Now it's Jerry's turn to have a nightmare, as he encounters the mystery woman in the bed.  Projection my ass.  He starts making love to her, just in time for her to change into a rotting corpse, and make him scream for a change.

The next day, while Jerry tries to investigate a strange bright spot in his sexytime photos of Karen, she gets a reply to her inquiry about the murderhouse.  Nothing came up because the street name changed, but there have apparently been plenty of dead women, including one she recognises.  Projection, my ASS.

Karen takes her findings to go and tell Joe all about it, but when she gets there, all she finds is his poor dead body, strangled by a necktie, just like all the dead women.  What does that say about Joe?

Fifty Shades of Estevez

With Joe's dead body as incentive, Karen finally convinces Jerry to get the heck out of there.  They quickly pack up, but just as they're leaving, the door to nowhere opens back up drawing Jerry in to investigate.

He finds the bed in the room, the same bed that's downstairs, and a folder of his photos from earlier.  The mirror starts doing strange things, and when he has a look, a hand grabs him.  This is becoming a theme on this site.

Karen calls out to him, and he comes back downstairs, not acting suspicoous at all.  While she goes and cleans out the bathroom, he prepares a special mug of cocoa for his girl.  Jerry has replaced Karen's marshmallows with a bottle of pills.  Let's see if she notices!

It isn't long before she passes out, and comes to on the bed, in the room upstairs, with a tie wrapped around her neck.  The dead woman watches from the mirror, until Karen calls out for help, and she grabs Jerry's head from behind.  She peels off the face, revealing the original strangler underneath Jerry's skin.  Okay, points for the makeup team here.

You see, a serial killer is like an onion...

Karen tries to run and escape, but the strangler isn't far behind, with a neverending supply of ties.  He tries to drag her back up the stairs, but Karen grabs a hammer and hits him with it.

Who knew ghosts were vulnerable to hammers?  Well, besides the people who made Sledgehammer...

But I guess since Jerry was under there somewhere, that must be what she was really hitting.  Poor guy.  Not his fault he got possessed by a perverted murderer.

Okay, okay! I won't ask to do the kinky stuff anymore!

Jerry briefly takes back control and tries to figure out why his head is getting bashed in with a hammer, but it's not long before the strangler is back in the driver's seat.  And getting his head bashed, instead.

So, on the upside she stopped the strangler.  But on the downside, she killed her boyfriend to do it.  And on the even more downside, she backs away from the pulverised head and is grabbed by the still very much alive strangler, so she accomplished nothing.  Besides killing Jerry.

Which sends her straight to the loony bin, where she's strapped down to the bed, but still writhing like she's in heat.  Which draws one of the hospital's orderlies over to molest her further.  What the hell?  This girl cannot catch a break.

He unties her, they start to make love, and then she claws into the orderly's face, and her own face becomes that of the strangler's.  Well.

That was a downer.

I want to root for this movie.  I really, really do.  It starts out well with some good atmosphere, strong characters and themes, and a nice slow build of tension.  They give you this woman who was victimised as a child, and she actually gets to fight back! She finds her strength, she overcomes, she kills a person representative of her fears and traumas, but then they go and ruin it with that ending.  This movie could have been SUCH a major female empowerment story, even if it does end with Jerry's brutal demise.  But if they'd ended it there, it would have been a fine story.  But then they blindside you with NOPE!  Killer's ghost is still there!  Our heroine is crazy!  AND she gets raped AGAIN in the asylum!  AND HER BODY IS NO LONGER HER OWN AND POSSESSED BY THE KILLER!

How to complete undermine your movie and any positive message in thirty seconds.


Video: Looks pretty good for something made by Full Moon, and done as a direct to video.  It gets a bit dark at times, but that's by design.  It's still clearly cheaply made for home video, but there's way worse movies I've reviewed on this site.

Audio: Same as the video, really.  Better than I'd expect, but still direct to video levels.

Sound Bite: "That's the closet!  Nice place to hide your skeletons!"  Lines to not say in a horror movie, #1 

Body Count
1 - Two minutes in, a woman gets auto erotic asphyxiated.
2 - Art the building super, strangled to death by a tie.
3 - Jerry, skull crushed repeatedly with a hammer.
4 - Probably the orderly, at the hands of the possessed Karen.

Best Corpse: Oh, that sadly has to go to Jerry.  Karen gets out all her agression there, and after so much crap she's been through, it is quite cathartic.  Sad it was JERRY it happened to and not the ghost, but oh well.

Blood Type - C+: There's not a lot of blood, but when there is, they do a good job of it.  And the few effects they bother with work out well.

Sex Appeal: Well, it's a Full Moon movie.  Nakedness abounds on all fronts.  And backs.

Movie Review: For a low-budget movie I was not expecting much from, well, this is made all right.  You can tell it was made on the cheap.  It has a whopping one location for most of the film, a whole five actors, and runs mostly as a single room play.  And it works well with that format.  The story doesn't need to be bigger than that, and it doesn't try to be.  The plot is decent enough, UNTIL THE BULLSHIT ENDING, and the acting is surprisingly good at this level.  It's a prime example of the right way to do a direct to video movie, really.  Four out of five neckties.

Entertainment Value: Well hey, you get an Estevez walking through, so that's worth something.  The murders are kinda lame though, and few and far between.  Still, if you want something with a slower build, this isn't a bad choice.  But it doesn't have quite as much insanity as some other movies, and that ending just completely destroys an otherwise okay movie.  If they'd ended it after Jerry's death, with Karen in the crazyhouse at the very worst, then it would be higher rated, but with the final victimisation and undermining of what was building to a good redemption story, I can only give this one three out of five Joe Estevezes.