Joel M. Reed is best known for his 1976 film Bloodsucking Freaks; a film that seems to have as many fans as it does detractors. While Bloodsucking Freaks is presented with a tongue planted firmly in cheek it does involve the graphic torture of several women. One of the women has her brains sucked out through a straw! Fantastic nasty fun! And that ain’t nearly the worst of it. I guess Bloodsucking Freaks’ sleaze, gore and tongue planted in cheek sensibility isn’t for everyone. Reed did not start out making over-the-top gore flicks though. Reed’s first two films were sexplotiation titles; Sex By Advertisement (1968) and today’s subject review Career Bed (1969). They are available as a double feature through Something Weird Video. I have already seen several Something Weird titles that explore the sleaziness of the modelling, music and film industry. It was a popular topic for low-budget and independent filmmakers in the 1960s. Career Bed in my opinion is the ultimate trip into showbiz sleaze where the worst offender is the young starlet’s own whore of a mother!
Mrs. Potter, a recently widowed middle-aged woman is fed up with life in small town U.S.A. and moves herself and daughter Susan to New York. Mom is determined to get Susan into show business; Susan on the other hand is not remotely interested in going into show business. Susan stills holds a candle for her small town boyfriend Bob who is currently in transit to New York to pay her a visit much to her mother’s displeasure.
“I hate New York and I hate show Business.” -Susan Potter
“I’ve got enough ambition for the both of us.” -Mrs. Potter
When Bob shows up Susan is conveniently out of the house. Mom starts hitting on Bob the second he walks in the door. Mom tells Bob that Susan has begun seeing someone else which he believes despite knowing full well that Susan’s mom adamantly disapproves of their relationship. It was ridiculous how quickly he gave in and fucked Susan’s mom. Of course Susan walks in on the two of them and a flustered Bob ends up spouting out some crap about her not putting out which really added insult to injury. That is the last we see of Bob.
Mom takes her daughter to see Ms. Reynolds, an agent who likes to be “mother and confidante to the girls” she represents. She requests to see Susan naked and is apparently pleased with her assets. Dinner with Ms. Reynolds is arranged which apparently includes a sleepover. I don’t think Susan was prepared as she seems to have forgotten her pajamas.
Susan has a meeting with Mr. Landive; the only character in this story that isn’t a sleazebag. He suggests to Susan that she move out of her mother’s home. Reality check Susan! Your mother is a manipulative crazy bitch! He offers to find Susan an apartment she can share with another girl. He arranges to pick Susan up later that night. When Susan arrives home she confidently packs her bags and gets set to leave but mom pulls a huge heavy that I won’t divulge. Susan ends up going to an appointment with one of the creepy industry people her mom set up. When Mr. Landive shows up to collect Susan he is met by mom who attempts to seduce him but he throws his drink at her naked breasts and leaves. “If you live in a sewer you should bathe once in a while.” Mr. Landive disappears from Susan’s life.
Next up in the line of scum is David Smith who is promising Susan a television contract. Mom barks at Susan to give Mr. Smith a kiss…with her mouth open. Smith than puts his hand between Susan’s legs and mom compliments Susan on being a good girl. It also turns mom on. Ewwwww.
Photographer Jerry Raymore aka King Raymore is as awkward as he is creepy. What a sad sad sad man this one was. Before Susan and her mother arrive at his studio he was conversing with an inflatable rabbit. I am not sure how Susan and mom stumbled upon this loser as he seems to be utterly unsuccessful. He has to beg for money to avoid getting kicked out of his studio. Mom refuses to allow Raymore to take pictures of Susan naked. Raymore promises to get Susan connected with producer Ross Miller. Mrs. Potter agrees to let Susan pose naked if Raymore can produce a letter from Miller’s office. He does in fact have a connection with Ross Miller. Ross Miller hates Raymore with a seething passion but just the same entertains the idea that Susan Potter may be of interest to him. The pictures are taken and the deal is made.
Ross Miller is completely smitten with Susan and takes her on as a client. Of course that is not all he takes.
Susan is well on her way to becoming the star her whore of a mother intended her to be. All you need to do is sleep your way to the top and talent be damned. Career Bed indeed!
Career Bed is definitely cynical, it is also cheeky, funny and sleazy. Everyone poor Susan meets is a complete piece of shit with the exception of Mr. Landive. No one however is a bigger piece of shit than dear old mom. This mother takes the cake! Susan would have been better off getting beaten by mom than the head trip she is taken on. Mom literally turns her daughter into a prostitute. I will give mom this; she doesn’t ask Susan to do anything she wouldn’t do herself. The first conversation they have in the film mom says “You’ll be a star even if I have to pull every dirty trick in the book.” And she follows through on that promise! She herself screws several of the men to get Susan’s foot in the door. She is not the most appealing woman and has zero class but the dirt she is dealing with actually find her willingness to sell her daughter to the highest bidder appealing. Susan Potter played by Doe-eyed Jennifer Welles is beautiful, feisty and rebellious but is equal parts subservient, mousey and naive. She if forced to grow up quickly and by the end of it begins to mimic her heinous mother. Mrs. Potter is played by Honey Hunter who did a great job playing a grade A, first-rate bitch. During sex she would stare vacantly looking incessantly bored and smoke a cigarette. This was Ms. Hunter’s only film credit. I got a real kick out of this cynical and cheeky film about the seediness of show business. Career Bed is a well-written and very entertaining bit of sexploitation with a particularly rewarding finale and two memorable leads. Highly recommended!
“Love?! Stop inventing words.” -Mrs. Potter
For more images from Career Bed click here.
Dungeon Rating: 4/5
Directed By: Joel M. Reed
Starring: Jennifer Welles, John Cardoza, Honey Hunter, Stioge Glyspayne, John David, Lance Lombardo, Regina Goyla, Arlene Moskowitz, Enis Gsobs, Charles Carlton Buffum