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This is the one that started it all. The First drug movie ever and it's
great. Many crummy DVD versions of Reefer Madness are out there (bad
dirty prints, poor contrast). But thankfully 20th Century Fox released
(on 4/20 - get it?) a beautifully restored version of the movie. And
then they went one further and added a COLOR version on the same DVD.
But wait, there's more, they also added a great commentary by Mike
Nelson of Mystery Science Theater which really caps off this definitive
The movie itself is perfect for a Mike Nelson riff. It's definitely one of those "It's so bad it's good" movies. Originally made as a 1930's propaganda film, it was meant to scare America 's youth away from drugs, showing them that one puff of the 'demon weed' turns teens into raving reefer addicts. In this hilarious cautionary tale, those who do inhale find themselves plunged into a web of murder, sex, lunacy, and jazz music. Now, years later, this ham-fisted effort to warn you off weed has become the height of camp entertainment. A movie so beautifully bad, it's great.
If you want to take a TRIP back to the 1930's and see what your Grandfather's potheads were all about, this is the movie for you. Fire it up any time! And get the Fox version to enjoy it in psychadellic color - they even blow colored dope smoke!
Well last night my friend and I smoked some of the demon weed and
watched Reefer Madness. It was so obvious that it was made by people
who had not only never been stoned, but had never even seen someone who
was stoned. For a start the dancing in the apartment; Impossible! I
couldn't move my legs. My friend and I figured out that the only way
someone smoking dope could rob somewhere would be to go into a shop to
buy munchies, pick up a banana and absent mindedly hold it like it was
a gun, then get distracted by the sweets at the counter. When the
cashier asked if they wanted anything else they stared at the sweets
and said "Give me everything".
While I know from my own research that Cannabis has been linked, however tenuously, to certain mental problems so has sugar, coffee alcohol and television. But what I do know for certain is that while on dope you are incapable of hurting anybody else, even if they are hogging all the munchies.
Tell Your Children (1936)
BOMB (out of 4)
In this ground-breaking document of a major social issue, TELL YOUR CHILDREN tries to explain the dangers of marijuana and why parents need to confront their children about this insane drug. We meet a nice boy and girl who have everything going for them. That is until the boy gets involved with underground pot parties that turn him into a raving maniac.
Better known as REEFER MADNESS, this 1936 film might be one of the worst ever made but it's also one of the most entertaining thanks in large part to its way too serious look at marijuana. If you're watching this film it's almost hard to believe that there was a time when people took this film serious and thought it spoke the truth about the little green plant. I guess it's scary that people still think that one puff can turn you into a sex-craved maniac.
REEFER MADNESS, on a technical level, is quite awful as the performances, the direction, the editing and just about everything else is pretty bad. Where the entertainment level comes from is just how laughable its views on smoking marijuana is including some hilarious scenes where the actors take a couple hits and turn into Mr. Hyde in regards to their sinister behavior. The party scenes in the film are certainly the highlight because of how crazy and funny they are.
I'm sure there have been many "parties" thrown while watching this movie and it's rather funny to see a film like this remain so popular while many "classics" from 1936 are now forgotten. Say what you will but REEFER MADNESS is certainly a film that will never die off.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you have seen this movie, then you wonder about my 10. If not, then don't take it seriously. The ten is there for all the wrong reasons. To tell the truth, this movie is absolutely hilarious (weather or not your high). But I digress, I have a question to pose to my fellow viewers, why does this film not appear on the bottom 100 list? I mean come on! If we're not judging by plot, or acting, there's still plain bad camera action! ex. when Mae dives out of the window and the camera cuts so we see her crawling out of it! Now let us travel back to the other two above mentioned elements that make this a terrible movie. 1.Plot- I can say a lot about the plot of this movie, but to save your time, it's worse than all the high school/teen movies. 2.Acting- Oh my god the acting in this movie! my personal favorite example is when Ralph is brought into the trial raving mad. Look at his eyes! I seriously believe this should be present on the bottom 100, I'm putting in my vote.
This is historical humor. I rated it a 5 because it would appeal only to a certain type of person who likes cheesy, goofy cult classics. I can totally appreciate it for it's educational attempt at the time. I'm glad it's kinda short and it ends when the exaggeration of this 'powerful mind altering drug' starts to annoy. Overall, I would rate it a 100% classic, but 100% cheesy. Cheesy in its attempt to scare the audience, but funny that it probably did at the time. The cheesiness makes it the classic it is. Actually, it may scare children under 10 and therefore scare them a while, at least until they learn somehow that the movie is an outdated exaggeration. So, tell your children, with the influence of South Parks 'drugs are bad, if you do drugs your bad', it might hold them off from experimenting.....at least a few years.
Thus filmmakers began to make all sorts of films about the terrors of this drug. The first two were this and Marajuana. This features teens puffing on it and then becoming hospitalised. It had a big effect on the audiences of the thirties and also convinced me to say no. I'm glad I did, for I wouldn't be here right now at my computer, writing these reviews. Man am I glad about that!
Trying to find any logical, common sense in this propaganda film is
like trying to find some actual "words" in George W. Bush's speeches.
The film focuses on how teens who are clean cut become insane, killing freaks when taking just one puff of marijuana. I actually do recommend this movie- to potheads, and perhaps some that are not. So that they, like I, can laugh they're heads off at the idiotic and unsound attempts to try and thwart off teens from smoking pot. Kids (I mean like 8 and 9 year olds) should not watch this movie not because they might be scared from smoking pot (perhaps for all the silly reasons), but because whenever they see someone smoke it they will (knowing kids) think that person is Freddy Kruger. If people are serious about censoring content in movies, it should be in this one.
Still, the film is hilariously stupid, and as long as you don't take it in the very smallest amount of seriousness, it will be some fun. Reisenfeld and Roemheld's music is also amusing to the film.
2010: As an amendment to this, I should also note how the film rises to a whole other level if this is watched with Rifftrax (the MST3K guys), who have recorded a new commentary track with the movie, and color-tinted no less! You'll never look at crazed monkey-on-your-back pot smokers and their ilk ever again. Certainly not the lame nerdy character talking to the camera.
A lousy movie any way you look at it, but somewhat fun on a camp level
**SPOILERS AHEAD** A nauseatingly clean-cut pair of teenage lovers (Kenneth Craig, Dorothy Short) have their lives destroyed when he becomes addicted to marijuana. She is accidentally shot to death (by one bullet) while he was hallucinating and he is (unjustly) put on trial for her murder.
That whole part is ridiculous. For starters the bullet goes into her back--that is NOT going to automatically kill someone. Also, it was impossible for her to get shot--the gun isn't even pointing in her direction when it goes off! Also, according to this film, one puff of marijuana immediately leads to addiction. This starts by uncontrollable giggling, then hallucinations, then sex, then violence and finally insanity. Obviously, the filmmakers had no idea what they were talking about. No talent for making films either. Bad acting (although Lillian Miles was OK), teenagers who look like they're 30, lousy direction, stupid script...a textbook example of how NOT to do a film. Still, in has many unintentionally hilarious moments, especially Miles' piano solo and Ralph (Dave O'Brien) slowly going insane. Good for laughs only.
This comment is a rebuttal to the comment of dtucker86.
The "danger" of marijuana has never been shown to rival the dangers of
substances and activities that we take for granted. Every year more people
die from aspirin than have ever died from a marijuana overdose.
According to a 1994 US Justice Dept study, alcohol usage promotes violent
behavior while marijuana usage inhibits violent behavior.
Certainly intoxication has its costs, and I oppose the reckless use of any intoxicant. However, anybody who thinks that the "dangers" of marijuana justify the enormous cost (in both human suffering and money) of the war on drugs should read the 1988 finding by an administrative court of the US DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION (docket no.86-22, Sept. 6, 1988) from which I quote,
"Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man."
All the misery, agony, horror and unfairness in this world are simply caused by one hellish breed of weed: Marihuana! You better believe it, because they even made a truly realistic and petrifying (ahem ) documentary about it. To put it in the words of a genuine stoner: this stuff is awesome! "Reefer Madness" causes more laughs, hallucinations and unforeseen situations than any type of drug ever could. This basically abysmal excuse for a film opens with a university professor informing us about a supposedly factual and tragic series of evens that overcame a bunch of virulent American youngsters. They had everything to make it in life, but then the evil monster named Marihuana crossed their paths The fiendish weed causes adultery, hit-and-run car accidents, gunfights, cover-up conspiracies and even suicide. Mainly because the content of this "documentary" is so grotesque and exaggerated (and because to this date, it remains some sort of mystery who exactly ordered to make it), "Reefer Madness" is an eagerly wanted must-have item among cult collectors. The acting performances as well as the production values are downright amateurish and laughable, which only makes the seriousness of the narrator's tone of voice even funnier, and the script is filled with contradictions. For example, the boy who cased a nearly fatal hit-and-run accident is advised by his drug-supplier to keep a low profile and the whole thing simply isn't mentioned anymore! The government actually ought to instruct directors to make a documentary about the incompetence of their own law enforcers, as there were plenty of witnesses on the scene of the car accident, yet they're still unable to trace the driver and arrest him? Now, that's alarming! "Reefer Madness" is one of the most incomprehensibly amusing and stupid things ever captured on film and it's fabulous viewing pleasure for when you're together with a bunch of friends. You don't have to be high on drugs in order to laugh your heart out, but I suppose it helps.
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