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Reviews & Ratings for
Reefer Madness More at IMDbPro »Tell Your Children (original title)

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Pitiful, yet hilarious, anti-drug cult movie

Author: Leofwine_draca from United Kingdom
3 August 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

REEFER MADNESS is one of the infamous exploitation movies of the 1930s, an anti-marijuana "message" movie that also qualifies as a quasi-documentary movie as well as a sensation film. The complex structure sees a couple of straight-laced teenagers taking marijuana for the first time and becoming involved in a hedonistic world, while others succumb to the evils of the 'demon weed'. It's a low budget production for sure, one whose effect is to provoke outright laughter in viewers. Certainly the overacting and overdirection of the key sequences in the film can't be taken seriously by any right-minded viewer, thus awarding this film a 'cult' status.

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Funny at first glance

Author: zee from United States
24 July 2017

Yes, back in the 1970s I went to the midnight showing of this and smoked a bunch of dope first, nearly a requirement of people of my class and generation. But in seeing it again, I am less amused. This is nonsense propaganda, marijuana's effects are nothing like this, and worst of all, we have spent billions of dollars combating the voluntary use of recreational drugs . And we do it because of nonsense like this. At the same time, tobacco, alcohol, the grains that produce alcohol, big Pharma medicines (98% of which are not necessary) are actually subsidized. It is beyond insane. The only difference between this, the ludicrous public-service message of a generation ago that showed an egg frying and said "this is your brain on drugs. Any questions?" (Yes, several, beginning with WTF are you trying to say, you nitwits?) and the current hysteria about whatever drugs are the subject of the current hysteria is that the fear-mongering message has gotten more sophisticated. Here's an idea: let people take whatever drugs they want. Leave them alone. If they want to kill themselves with them, that really is their business, not the government's. If they prefer pot or MDA or cocaine to whatever big Pharma is pushing, let them choose whichever they wish to choose. Get your laws off our bodies. So I'm thinking this is less funny than I used to think it was. It angers me. I want my war on drugs tax money back.

And jeez, what a horrible movie. Acting, sound, everything: awful.

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Author: ( from Rotherham
19 July 2017

You MUST see the original "Reefer Madness" before watching this, otherwise the parody aspect would be difficult to understand. This Is an excellent movie, a brilliant parody, superb satire, and although musicals are certainly not my bag, I even enjoy the tunes & dances. Please make sure you watch the original first, otherwise you'll not be able to appreciate the excellence of this gem! Skilled actors, great dancers and laughs by the bucket-load...what more could you want? Have a drink and a smoke before watching(over 21's only of course).

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Author: gavin6942 from United States
20 June 2017

Cautionary tale features a fictionalized and highly exaggerated take on the use of marijuana. A trio of drug dealers lead innocent teenagers to become addicted to "reefer" cigarettes by holding wild parties with jazz music.

This is one of those films that has gone on to become a cult classic, though probably not for the reason the director would have expected. While allegedly an anti-marijuana film, there is nothing in here that makes you think marijuana is bad. A man on drugs plays the piano wildly and his hair poofs up. People dance. Nothing too shocking.

At one point a woman has some driving issues, but that only really says that people under the influence should not drive. The same is true for any substance. So it is not particularly convincing and comes across as rather humorous, which does not seem to be the intent.

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This movie was as bad as I expected.

Author: RedlabsRaul from New Zealand
30 April 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I didn't expect much, but I got what I wanted; this movie is rubbish. Obviously, you know this. It's 2017, so to even think that a anti-pot propaganda film would be anything other than rubbish, is just dumb.

I don't even know what to say, other than, why was this movie made? What is the plot really? People get baked and do bad things, this is hardly a revolutionary plot.

The whole "story" is horribly executed, the acting is terrible, and the music is lame. Just don't watch it.

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Quite the Hoot!

Author: Hitchcoc from United States
9 February 2017

I'm at a loss. I mean, this is a terrible movie, but it is also a barrel of laughs. What is endearing is that there was such fear in our country about any sort of drug. My mother used to talk about drug fiends. These were people hepped up on stuff who were murderous and dangerous, out of control. Of course, there are some people who become dangerous, but for other reasons, particularly when it comes to the actual drug trade. This film which couldn't have been researched a bit is so ridiculously off the mark. Of course, Jazz is a part of the culture. Those crazy jazz performers brought the stuff into mainstream America. And our poor high school kids. Murder, mayhem, destruction of our youth. This is as realistic as W. C. Fields' movie "The Fatal Glass of Beer." It's really worth a look.

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Stupid & Boring - Not Funny At All

Author: Rainey Dawn from United States
6 February 2017

Why do I have a feeling that even a 1930s audience would be bored to tears with this one? The crowd of folks that watched it back then... I just can't see many of them actually liking this film or even paying attention to it.

I watched "Cocaine Fiends" aka "Pace That Kills" (1935) right before this one. One is just as crappy as the other. Boring stories that drags on and drags on. I realize that in the 1930s they thought they were doing right by creating these films - but they are terrible for then and now.

I guess some people find humor in this movie, but I couldn't. I'll watch a Cheech and Chong movie for mowie-wowie humor instead.


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A THC documentary-bucket liner, It all started here...

Author: Sheriff from Universe
28 December 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Nothing can be as good enough to quantify a 10/10 but I gave this documentary a 10/10 as it reminds me about all of the culture surrounding this dear plant in the first instance. From the Social platforms that effect/affect almost every person around us today, through to the political arena where small groups of people decide the plant's fate and then on to the medical aspect of it's interaction with us. The original is black and white, but if you can get one hand around the colorized edition of Reefer Madness, and the other around a freshly rolled assistant then do so. Then humour yourself at the then social-political ideology engulfing minds at the time just, and for us now to realize how far we have come. Also sit back and watch the curiously purple smoke the folk extricated in this colorized edition...

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Good Intentions, Bad but Fun Form

Author: kindtxgal from United States
18 July 2016

This film, along with other anti-drug offerings of the time, such as "Marihuana", attempts to warn against a multiple of probable scenarios that result from its usage. The name of the film is a forewarning of content, with an over-dramatization (to the point of silliness) of marijuana effects on the youth of the day.

Similar to drinking and driving films of that time, this film focuses on the lives of a handful of high school students, shiny with possibility preyed upon by smartly dressed, sinister adults. Stealthily they are lured into all manner of deprivation and poor choices resulting in tragedy while the dealers cash in and skulk in their silken rat holes.

Over the top, and in light of modern knowledge of marijuana usage by even the medical field, this film borders on the side of hilarity due to excessiveness of the stupidity of the victims and iciness of the dealers while hapless parents & teachers scramble for a solution.

I recommend it for all to see, if anything as a time capsule view of the norms of the 1930s era of criminal, parent, educator, law enforcement and youth scramble around madly due to lowly reefer as the prime target of propaganda.

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Smoke them, if you got them, because Reefer Madness will make you laugh your head off!

Author: ironhorse_iv from United States
21 April 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Originally intended for parents as an educational video against the dangers of marijuana. 'Tell Your Children', AKA 'Reefer Madness', also sometimes titled as 'The Burning Question', 'Dope Addict', 'Doped Youth', and 'Love Madness', was so far-fetch in propaganda and false accusations against the drug that, even Afterschool Specials are pointing and laughing at them. It's a film everybody loves to mock! Directed by Louis Gasnier and produce by Dwain Esper, the exploitation educational film is so extreme with its anti-drug message, that it's hard to believe, that this film was once originally financed by a concerned church group. No really! For a 1930s movie, this movie is intense, due to the large amounts of over-the-top violence and sexuality! Scenes of hit and run accidents, manslaughter, suicide, attempted rape, hallucinations, and descent into madness are all fabricated here, due to marijuana addiction. They really went overboard with this! The side effects portray in this film are highly exaggerated to the point that it's laughable. It's so misinformed. The times has really changed since then. Information about the drug is much more positive than negative. While recreational pot usage is still a controversial topic, many people today agree more with America's new stance on the drug being legal for medical uses. After all, more and more people use it, today, than any other period and clearly, the side effects are not as bad, as they first thought. While, yes, it might cause some people dizziness, loss of time, paranoia, depression, anxiety, increased appetite, low sperm court, birth defects, breathing problems, and others, but also studies show that smoking or chewing pot, can help control cancer, epileptic seizures, eases the pain of multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease, and might slow down the progression of Alzheimer's disease and arthritis. It's even used for mental health for people suffering from PTSDs, suicide and dementia. It's seem by the amount of research, that I found, the pros outdo the cons. While, nobody should think that drugs are cool. It's just so fun to see just how extreme some people will go to convince us that even the most harmless of drugs are the worst things in the world. I really can't believe that some people still believe that marijuana is more harmful than alcohol or cigarettes. That message is so warped, out of its mind! A good example of that, is from this movie with ad for Pabst's Blue Ribbon Beer being shown during the car chase. Wow! I guess, this movie never heard of drunk-driving, before. It's also disturbing to see the two leads, Bill Harper (Kenneth Craig) and Mary Lane (Dorothy Short), being depicted as incredibly square even for 1930s standards yet they are shown to smoke regular cigarettes, even before they get introduced to pot by the drug pushers, Jack Perry (Carleton Young) and Mae Coleman (Thelma White). What the hell! If you didn't think that, was bad. There is actual cigarette ad in the background! It's a bit irony that both Dorothy Short & Kenneth Craig died years later from some form of cancer. Despite that, the acting is this film was alright, even if they were all acting a bit silly. One character was a bit annoying was Dr. Carroll (Josef Forte). He was such a scene hog. Nevertheless, the plot of the film is also a problem. It was a bit slow. There seem to be a lot of long, pointless shots in the movie, such as Bill dropping his book, picking it up, and dusting it off. Even the opening text takes forever to get through. If that wasn't bad enough, the movie failed so badly at its moral message that it's counterproductive. After all, it might not have been the best idea to start the film by giving detailed instructions on how to make and even smuggle joints. Then, there is the fact that some of the characters in the film, got away with crimes, which is unheard of, in Hays Code 1930s. I think the funniest part, is Jack loudly explaining to Mae, how to frame Billy, while he was in the same room. That was just strange and hokey. It's impossible to take the plot, seriously with all the plot-holes, this film has. If that wasn't bad enough for the film makers and producers. Soon after the film release, the movie lose its copyright claim and since then, belong in the public domain. This means that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a DVD copy of this. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely or badly edited. Since many of them, come from extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation copies. So don't count on the audio and film footage to be good. Not only that, but it had a lot of scratches, and grains in the film footage. So watch out for that. Even with the film, being over 70 years old. I still have to give some people, credit. The 20th Century Fox, in collaboration with Legend Films, 2004's colorized version was oddly fun to watch. The intentionally unrealistic color schemes add to the film's unintentionally campy humor. I also love how it inspires a 2005's musical satire with the same name. Now that was a blast to watch. Overall: The original black and white movie was alright watch, but it's not as funny as people make it out to be. It's more like an oddities. A freak show, that deserve one viewing and that's all. So check it out. If you like this movie, go ahead and check out, Esper's other works in the education-exploitation field: 1936's 'Marihuana' & 1937's 'Assassin of Youth'. They're also worth the watch. 'Highly' recommended.

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