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Dope Mania (1987)

A compilation of trailers for exploitation films from the '20s to the '60s focusing on the subject of drug use.
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A compilation of trailers for exploitation films from the '20s to the '60s focusing on the subject of drug use.

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drugs | cocaine | heroin | cannabis | See All (4) »

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Edited from Marihuana (1936) See more »

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"Based on a hallucination by Richard Foos"
15 July 2003 | by (Center of the Universe) – See all my reviews

That's one cheap title card included on this compilation released by Something Weird Video. DOPE MANIA is simply a collection of Just-Say-No propaganda shorts from long ago, the type whose rock-bottom production values and wan narrations rival those documentaries we were forced to watch in junior high science class.

You know what's included here. Footage of America's youth ripping their clothes off after a few tokes of reefer. (Funny how no orgies have broken out at any pot parties I've ever been to.) A heroin addict who still cares enough about herself to accessorize with a pearl choker. Newspaper headlines like "Murder by Marihuana." Dope addicts becoming bug-eyed knife wielders during bad trips. A disclaimer stating, "The following sequence features real-life dope fiends and their actual hallucinations as recreated by computer and colorized!" (I.E., rudimentary wipes of primary colors across the screen with high-pitched theremin sounds on the soundtrack.)

Some of the clips this video unearthed are so obscure, and so ridiculously bad, that I can't find them on IMDb. In addition to those listed here under "movie connections," titles given in DOPE MANIA include "Where Does Dope Come From," showing how opium is manufactured; "Chinese Justice," with stock footage of "real" executions of addicts; "Use Your Eyes," possibly a police training video for spotting evidence in a drug den; and "Weed of Death," a scratched, mud-tinted silent movie. These are interspersed with footage of a snake with a monotonic narrator dully pontificating why no intelligent person would want a shot of venom but would seek a narcotic high.

This sounds like it could provide a REEFER MADNESS-like camp experience, but it's so incredibly boring, the voice-overs never cease, and the video's visual quality is piss-poor. That marijuana movie narrated by Sonny Bono is infinitely more entertaining.


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