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|Index||99 reviews in total|
"Reefer Madness" (originally "Tell Your Children") was created to teach
parents that it's never too early to scare the holy crap out of your
kids. Through this film we learn that the soul-destroying effects of
Marihuana (Mike Nelson explains in the commentary that this film was
made before the invention of the letter J) far surpass those of cocaine
or heroin. We see firsthand that even teens who can quote Shakespeare
like nobody's business cannot escape its evils.
Here are some of the symptoms of casual Marihuana use:
- laughing maniacally while running people down in the street
- playing the piano too fast
- having sexual relations with people you don't really like that much
- accidentally shooting people you do like pretty well
- having no recollection of being framed for murder
If your child has experienced any of these symptoms, he or she is a Marihuana addict. The solution is simple: force them to watch "Reefer Madness" because if we don't heed its warning, "Reefer Madness 2" will be coming to a theater near you or you... OR YOU!
Because of 70's NORML propaganda falsely claiming that the FBI sponsored
Reefer Madness, most viewers believe that this Exploitation classic was
meant to be taken seriously. Not so! Thelma White (Mae) has noted in
interviews that the producers and director Louis Gasnier asked the cast to
"hoke it up." The famous "Faster, Faster" scene is, in fact, a direct
parody of a similar scene in the classic musical 42nd Street (a scene in
which Dave O'Brien--Ralph in Reefer Madness--played a chorus boy).
So why make a cautionary tale, but do so tongue-in-cheek? Simple. To get around the Hays Code and show more skin than the Code allowed...but also to capitalize on the public's fear of drugs. Either way, the producers made a ton of money on the Exploitation circuit--more than covering their costs for this relatively expensive sub-Poverty Row production.
Made over the course of 3 weeks (most Exploitation films were shot in a few days), using an experienced director and a couple of talented actors who went on to have respectable careers in Hollywood, Reefer Madness is quite simply the finest Exploitation film to come out of the 30's.
The film's funny, is it? Well, the folks who made it thought so too. And they laughed all the way to the bank.
Believe the hype. This is one of the most hilariously over-the-top
pieces of propaganda ever committed to celluloid. It's constantly
unintentionally hilarious, especially Dave O'Brein's performance as
So, what happens when a bunch of clean-cut teenagers (who strangely look like they're in their thirties) take one of puff of the evil vile devil's weed? They become homicidal perverted rapist dope-head fiends! There is so much useful information to be obtained from this film. For instance, did you know that marijuana is worse than cocaine? Or did you know how to hide your joints in your high heel shoes? Or that marijuana causes lifetime insanity? It's all here in this underground cult classic. (5/10)
This movie is funny. Not just regular funny but inexplicably funny. I wish public schools all over the country would show this movie in classes. This cult classic gives what is supposed to be a serious warning of the dangers of marijuana. Instead the over exaggeration of the side effects of weed become un-intentionally and absurdly funny. I smoked grass in my day but I sure haven't killed anyone yet. This movie is legendary. Anyone who has ever smoked should view this. Just if only to see how this whole silly "war on drugs" thing got started. Is pot ever to be legalized? Probably not so long as there are people who take this movie seriously. As for the rest of us laugh yourself into hopeless and incurible insanity for 67 minutes.
My 10/10 rating is of course because "Reefer Madness" is so bad that it's good. And boy is it! Meant as an anti-marijuana propaganda film, the whole thing basically makes marijuana look fun. The plot has some wholesome teenagers getting duped into smoking marijuana and turning into lunatics (thereby idiotically implying "One puff and you're hooked!"). The first mistake that the movie makes is calling marijuana a narcotic; anyone should know that marijuana is a weed. Obviously, the law-and-order types have always used this type of propaganda to arrest anyone whom they don't like. But anyway, "Reefer Madness" is unintentionally hilarious. "That '70s Show" once did a spoof of it, portraying Red imagining Eric getting addicted. For the record, there's no such thing as marijuana addiction; people just like smoking it. And who wouldn't want to try some after watching this movie?!
Believe it or not, but I just bought this a couple of days ago on DVD for a little over six bucks! And trust me, Reefer Madness is worth the money, since it is one of the funnier propaganda films to come out of the 1930s. While the DVD doesn't contain a lot of extras, you do get a short biography on the star of the film, along with a look at the original poster for Reefer Madness and trivia questions! If you want to check this movie out some time, I would advise waiting until the Special Edition comes out in April. Why? Because MST3k host Mike Nelson will provide audio commentary for the film! I'll definitely have to get the new DVD if Nelson himself is involved. And really, this film is rife for commentary. Right from the start we got a pre-Star Wars crawl which basically states while the film's characters and plot are entirely fictional, they are based on a true story which could happen to you...or you...or YOU! It is here where I laughed the hardest, as later on things get pretty grim in a Days of Our Lives sort of way. I especially liked how the word "marijuana" was spelled "marihuana" in the film. I have no idea when or why the spelling of this word changed, but it was still amusing. Also, the DVD's scene index lists one of the scenes as "principle's office." They couldn't even spell the word "principal" right! I mean, you can't actually go to the office of a principle, can you? Darn right ya can't! Anyway, back to the movie. As I said, it's a very enthusiastic propaganda film which lies back and forth about the effects of "marihuana" so as to scare parents into discussing the drug with their children (hence the original title, Tell Your Children...think of them, please!!!). What are some of the effects of the deadly, demonic, and just plain EVIL marihuana? Well, first you laugh (gasp!), then hallucinate (double gasp!), and then you begin committing acts of random violence (triple gasp!). The teens are all portrayed by men and women with receding hairlines and wrinkles, making me quite confused. I literally sat there wondering, "Why would adults be hanging out with these younger kids? Oh...they're all supposed to be kids? Um, okay, sure. What the heck." The principal (principle?) in the movie is equally funny, as during the murder trial of a kid who smoked dope and supposedly shot his girlfriend he lists many instances when he thought the kid was high. His testimony: Bill started laughing during a very serious discussion on Shakespeare (blasphemy!), and also missed the ball by a good 3-4 feet during a tennis match (good holy gravy!). How would this kind of testimony hold up in court? Maybe the kid just remembered a good joke during class and isn't any good at tennis? Did anyone think of that, huh? Huh? As for the murder itself, it's also completely moronic and unbelievable. First off, the gun is aimed at the floor but somehow manages to shoot the girl in the back. Then when we see the wound it's about the size of a mosquito bite with no blood whatsoever. Ah, the wonders of 1930s Hollywood makeup! Much more awaits the viewer of Reefer Madness, including a crazed piano player who's "hot" on the "dope" and about to "crack" (these kids with their drug lingo!) and an odd scene where the main character's little brother pines about his model airplane for what seems like an eternity. Seeing as how this story is supposedly being related to us by the principal, why would he have bothered to include the aforementioned scene? And how did he know about it in the first place? Did he interrogate the little brother? Hoo boy, so many questions about continuity. Oh well, I guess I'll leave them to be answered by you good folks. Enjoy! 1/4 stars
Of the many scholastic films Ive seen in my time, this has to be the most hilarious piece of tripe ive ever seen. The setting is a small urban town, in the mid thirties. Everyones all happy, and everyone seems normal, that is, everyone BUT the shifty, shady, marijuana dealers who look just like *Gasp* you and me! They look so normal, lure your children into their home, and sell them exotic herbs from far away places! All whilst turning your children into sex maniacs, one puff hookers, and violent terrorists high on life (and that's not all!) Fun for the whole family (well...it all depends on your family...), this is a great flick, worth the watch! - "Two Green Thumbs Up!" Joe & Jay
You cannot judge this film on film making merits alone. It is a piece of history and shows how hysteria can brainwash people. This is still prevelent in today's society. Look how the media transform our thinking with lies and innuendos. Although it's a bit campy, look inside the story line.
I doubt that anyone still takes this movie seriously these days but it's
funny seeing how people went paranoid about pot in the 30's. There are lots
of wildly exaggerated or plain wrong comments and accusations in it. Best
among them are that pot is more dangerous than Heroin, it will make you
violent and eventually incurably insane.
The film details how smoking pot changes the lives of a couple of all-american teenagers. In fact, they're so clean cut, nice to their parents and just plain perfect that you're actually happy when their lives turn bad. On the way there we see some really funny overacting and the way that middle America thought people behaved after smoking pot. A single puff immediately has you in hysterics, after a couple of minutes it's down to pre-marital sex (hey, that's enough to get me hooked!), followed by a violent paranoia and finally of course, insanity.
The film is fairly standard propaganda stuff and follows the three important propaganda ingredients to a T. It's badly acted, exaggerated in hammering home a couple of points and frightening the uninformed about the fact that no one is safe from this great danger. It is however fairly lengthy for a propaganda movie and it's not as ridiculous as I expected. Although there are some really funny scenes that rightly make this a classic.
I make a hobby out of finding films whose underlying philosophy
contradicts the philosophy, moral or point of the story. This is a
The evil here is of course THCannibis. Regardless of whether you think confusing neurons is a good idea, you mind find it interesting to notice the narrative structure of this film. Now remember this is well before 'Citizen Kane' reinvented the narrative in film and slightly before 'Sullivan's Travels' started the trend.
The story is a story within a story within a dream within a vision, with multiple side stories dreams and visions along the way. Try to diagram this to see where you really are and you'll be shocked at how close it comes to the pathology of being stoned.
Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
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