The Monster in the Bed
In 1965 a Jewish Doctor, Gertrude Rosen, is called to a remote care home in North Wales to help identify and treat a dying patient who refuses to talk.
As Gertrude slowly wins the patient’s trust, she discovers the horrible truth of who he is, and faces an awful dilemma.
To help end his life peacefully, or let the monster suffer in pain like the millions of her people who died at his hands…
The Monster in the Bed
The Monster in the Bed is a short film set in a remote care home in the 1960’s.
An Austrian Jewish Doctor, Gertrude Rosen, is contacted by the home about a mysterious patient who refuses to communicate, but they’ve pieced together some of his murmurings and have identified the words as either Austrian or German.
Gertrude came to England during World War 2 on the Kindertransport and was raised in Brighton by a foster family. Sadly her Austrian family were all killed by the Nazi’s.
The mysterious patient is not expected to last the night, and Gertrude is asked if she can help identify him, and bring some comfort in his remaining hours.
Gertrude finds the patient in excruciating pain and does what she can to help the elderly man to find some peace and make a connection with him.
However, as the hours pass, and the two people find common ground in their language and their past, Gertrude begins to realise that the man she is caring for may not be all he seems.
As the intensity of the man’s pain increases, so does his true nature, and Gertrude’s blood runs cold at the realisation of who he might be.
In the final hours of the man’s life, Gertrude must make a heart wrenching decision. To give the man a peaceful dignified death with the aid of medication, or stand back and let him suffer in terrible pain like her family and the millions of her people who died at his hands.
Back in 2012 when my feature film The Man Inside was released I reflected on the films’ central concept of nature overcoming nurture. It's always been a concept that fascinated me as a storyteller.
Around this time I read a very weighty biography of Hitler by Ian Kershaw and begun the process of developing a new story that delved into the idea of humanity in the face of terrible atrocity. To me, Hitler always represented the very worst of humanity. The murder of over 6 million Jewish people is unfathomable and something that must never be forgotten or diminished in any way.
But equally, in my research, I found stories of courage and kindness that somehow held up a flame to that awful darkness, and thus begun my creation of Gertrude Rosen.
She was a composite of several stories I had read, and she stood for the kind of noble and gentle-souled Jewish person that I wanted to write about.
One of the first people I spoke to about this character was the actress Tracy Ann Oberman. Herself from a family of Holocaust survivors and a proud Jewish voice who is unafraid to publicly call out the disgusting anti-Semitism that still prevails to this day.
At the time I was unsure if the story would become a play, a feature film or even a book, but we talked a lot about it and I resolved that whatever form this story took I wanted her at the heart of it.
Fast forward to 2020, and several filmed projects in the meantime, I resolved to finally bring this story to life.
The first stage is a short film – The Monster in the Bed, which, if successful, will be followed by a feature film featuring a much larger story based on real events that took place in Austria during the Second World War.
The idea of our fellow human beings being herded into concentration camps may seem almost like some surreal nightmare now, but the reality in 2021 is still sickeningly relevant.
In America we have seen infant children torn from their parents and put in cages. In Europe we have seen immigrants fleeing war torn regions and being placed in poverty-ridden migrant camps.
And on the streets of London, Jewish people are still attacked on a regular basis, sometimes with fatal consequences.
Have we moved on at all?
I feel compelled to tell these stories, starting with The Monster in the Bed, to keep the conversation alive and to shine a light on the best of humanity.
Making the Film:
The film is set to shoot at a converted care home in North Wales in early October 2021.
The location itself is a beautiful and spooky one hundred year old building that is absolutely perfect to create some stunning but unsettling imagery.
Being a great fan of seventies cinema I take inspiration from the work of Stanley Kubrick and William Friedkin.
Shooting using vintage lenses, the film is looking to take audiences back in time on a haunting journey to the late 1960's with long lingering shots that creep with understated menace.
With a running time of 15 minutes, the film is highly ambitious in its scope. its a period piece of work, meaning all production design, props, costumes, and hair and make-up all have to reflect the period.
Ultimately the plan is to create the kind of provocative piece of work you'll be thinking about long after the end credits. The kind of moral and ethical dilemma that's not easily answered.
Writer/Director: Dan Turner
Dan has been writing and directing films for over twenty five years now.
Working in the independent sector, Dan is an uncompromising storyteller with four feature films under his belt and the battle scars to prove it.
Throughout his career Dan has been unafraid to showcase some, at times, quite personal work, and has now moved into a new phase of filmmaking looking at broader themes of humanity and the human condition.
A showreel of his work can be found at www.danturnerfilm.co.uk
Tracy Ann Oberman (Gertrude Moser)
Tracy's work encompasses stage and screen, as a writer, performer and activist.
Moving effortlessly from television drama like Doctor Who, to comedy in After Life, to writing and performing for the stage and the notorious radio play Bette and Joan and Baby Jane, with Catherine Tate.
Recent work includes the award winning Its a Sin, and the upcoming BBC drama Ridley Road.
If it at all possible I’d love to be able to raise £1000 towards travel, accommodation and food and drink for cast and crew.
I’ve managed to secure the location already, and am working towards securing the equipment needed, but it’s the logistics that are the big challenge for this project.
If you can help the project that would be amazing. Any amount, no matter how small will be a step towards making the film a reality.
Everyone who contributes will receive a private link to the finished film, an invite to a London screening and a copy of the film in the format of their choice.
If you can’t contribute yourself, then perhaps you can be a friend to the project and give us a mention on social media. Share this page and tell other people about it. Every mention is a big boost and reaches more and more people.
2020/21 has been a huge challenge for everyone, so I really appreciate you taking the time to read this crowdfunding page and give the project your consideration.
The bill of filming is now complete and now it’s setting up some additional filming to complete the film. I thought you may like to see an image from the film in the meantime.