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Bear Trap Bed

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Ah, the bed. A place of security, stability and relaxation where one can sleep your cares awa—

SNAP! The bed folds in half like a taco shell, trapping the occupant between the raised head and foot. If you're in a comedy, the only injury will be to your dignity, but if you're in a drama there are no such guarantees. And if it's a horror flick, it can get downright gruesome...

A Sub-Trope of Murphy's Bed. See also Bear Trap. A reclining sister trope to Shackle Seat Trap.


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Pure Comedy:

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Nordberg in The Naked Gun movies, with his hospital bed.
  • In another Leslie Nielsen movie, Spy Hard, Dick Steele (Agent WD40) traps a would-be assassin in his fold-out bed. Then he goes to play some golf. Whether he did it deliberately is hard to tell, considering the character is either Obfuscating Stupidity, Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, or a Bunny-Ears Lawyer.
  • In Jacques Tati's classic Mr. Hulot's Holiday, this is done with a rowboat. Hulot's attempts to extricate himself lead to terrified beachgoers mistaking said craft for a man-eating shark.
  • In the James Bond movies:
    • Q occasionally tests one of these in his lab, often hurting some poor peon.
    • In You Only Live Twice, Bond's death is faked in the opening by having him trapped in a fold-out bed in a hotel, which is then peppered with bullets by mooks.
  • In the film The Wrong Guys, Richard Lewis attempts to set up a cot in a tent which keeps doing this to him. Eventually he ties this "cot from hell" in place, and is finally able to lie down on it. However, then another character actually causes the entire tent to collapse, and we can see the shape of the cot folding up again underneath it, while Richard screams in agony.
  • In the Stanley Kubrick adaptation of Lolita, Humbert and Lolita arrive at a hotel and find There Is Only One Bed. This doesn't bother Humbert much, but to keep up appearances he asks for a cot to be sent up. This leads to a short comic sequence where Humbert and a hotel porter have to unfold the cot without waking up Lolita. The cot does little to cooperate — squeaking loudly, throwing Humbert onto the mattress and whacking the porter in the face. Finally they get it open without waking Lolita, only for her to wake up when Humbert tries to slip under the sheets with her. So Humbert has to use the cot, which promptly collapses on him.

    Comic Books 

  • Mightily Oates's camp bed in the Discworld novel Carpe Jugulum.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Crank Yankers featured this in a segment.
  • Granny from The Beverly Hillbillies gets trapped in at least two beds in one episode.
  • So did Marlo Thomas in That Girl.
  • In an episode of I Love Lucy, Cousin Ernie is given a fold-up rollaway bed to sleep on and doesn't realize that he was supposed to un-fold it first. Lucy finds him sleeping through the bed, sideways.
  • Happens to Ted during Season 9 of How I Met Your Mother
  • The Middle: While staying at a motel, Axl is forced to sleep like this because his cot won't open up. It opens up in the morning, right when they have to leave.

    Western Animation 
  • Often happens in cartoony hospitals, where someone in a full body cast will have the misfortune of having a bed that will painfully sandwich them. Showed up in Tom and Jerry, Looney Tunes, Popeye and Quack Pack, among others.
  • In one cartoon, Donald Duck is eaten by a folding camp cot like this.
  • Rugrats:
    • In the episode, "Stu-Maker's Elves", Butt-Monkey Chuckie gets trapped in one of these when he and Tommy descend into the Pickles' basement in search of a lost toy.
    • At the end of "The Mattress", Phil presses a button on the control panel to Lou's new Sleepmaster 2000 mattress, making it fold up between him, Tommy, Chuckie, and Lil. The latter three all glare angrily at him for doing so.
  • In The Wuzzles, Croc, seeking shelter from a tropical fruit storm (yes, as in a storm where it rains bizarre hybrids of tropical fruits, like coconut/bananas) by pretending to be injured on a "broken" step (which he himself broke) at Butterbear's, is tossed into bed by a Bumblelion who secretly witnessed his plan. The bed promptly folded up on him (Croc, not Bumblelion).
  • Parodied in The Simpsons: Homer refuses to get out of bed, so Marge folds it up. We hear a crunch and see red fluid drip out. Terrified, Marge quickly unfolds it, and out tumbles Homer, perfectly fine, but crying over his crushed and dripping juicebox.
  • Phineas and Ferb. "Flop Starz" Doofenshmirtz falls from the top of a giant robot, only to land into the safety of a nearby bed, which then folds up on him. Talk about insult to injury.
  • An early episode of The Jetsons showed George's bed folding up lengthwise to turn into a toaster, which then pops him out with all the vigor you expect of a six-foot-long toaster.
  • In The Fairly OddParents!, this is a feature of Mr. Sandman's magical Sleepmaster 9000 bed. This is only one of the bed's tricks, as it's designed to subdue people and fairies who are too cranky and violent to willingly accept sleep.

    Real Life 
  • One spring-loaded canvas-on-a-metal-frame folding thing is generally used as a sun lounger. If you don't set it at the perfect angle, or if you sit down too hard or someone throws a well-aimed pebble, you are instantly trapped in a canvas sandwich that can't be opened from the inside. Thankfully, the frame only runs around the outside edge, leaving the victim only in danger of an uncomfortable squishing rather than a broken back.
  • It's even worse when employed in combination with a hot water bottle.

Lethal Examples:

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Freddy vs. Jason, Jason knifes up a kid in a rollaway bed, then folds it up — with the kid inside being folded backward.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On My Name Is Earl, one of the guys on Earl's list, Josh, dies via Bear Trap Bed.
  • In the TV series St. Elsewhere, Mrs. Hufnagel [a recurring character as a patient] dies as a result of a folding hospital bed folding up on her. While it's overall treated seriously, there's some degree of comedy shown as well: the first person to discover her doesn't take it seriously until she doesn't respond to him, and when he tells some other doctors about the incident afterwards, two of them can't help but chuckle. It's also played with in that, while it certainly didn't help, that wasn't actually what killed her.
  • In the Doctor Who story "Terror of the Autons," the Master—having taken over a plastics factory—tests a prototype for an inflatable plastic armchair on a rather troublesome employee. The armchair traps him in its cold, clammy surface and suffocates him.

    Video Games 
  • Not done with a bed but still an example. In Bloody Good Time, you can kill someone sleeping in a deck-chair by doing this to them.

    Real Life 
  • A man in St. Petersburg, Russia was lounging on an unfolded sofabed after drinking. The next morning he and his wife got into an argument and she kicked the bed in a rage, then stormed out. Unbeknownst to her, the kick released its spring-loaded folding mechanism. It folded up with her husband in it and killed him instantly (strong springs + inertia + leverage + being extremely unlucky = broken spine). A few hours later she returned to continue and found him like this.