on May 3, 2004
The movie Reefer Madness seen by itself is really nothing to brag about, but this special addition for this best-selling cult classic is fantastic. It's a must buy, because for how cheap it is, you really get your money's worth. For the first time ever, I can say that the colorized version (complete with multicolor smoke and over saturated psychedelic color schemes) is better and looks better than the original black and white, and both versions are available to watch which is considerate of the DVD producers to give us both, and it looks as good as we can ever expect. Extra features are fantastic highlighted by a hysterical commentary by Mike Nelson, formerly of Mystery Science Theater 3000, which is the sole reason why I bought this edition. The commentary by the people who colorized the film is also worth a look. I highly recommend this new edition.
on August 28, 1999
In the 70s, NORML spread the myth that the government sponsored Reefer Madness. The truth, however, is that the film was made to play the Exploitation circuit... and was made with tongue firmly planted in cheek.
Thelma White (Mae) has said that the cast was specifically asked to "hoke it up." And the scene in which Ralph demands that the piano be played "Faster... Faster!" comes straight out of 42nd Street--a film in which actor Dave O'Brien (yes, Ralph himself) had played a chorus boy.
So, if the makers of this film weren't serious about their message, why did they make the movie? Well, why did anybody make an Exploitation film in the 30s? To show more skin than the Hays Code allowed, of course, and to capitalize on public fears. Simply put: they wanted to make money. And make money they did.
Unlike most Exploitation fare, Reefer Madness was shot over a period of three weeks, on a relatively large budget (by sub-Poverty Row standards). Using an experienced director and a couple of actors who would go on to do respectable work in Hollywood, this production is the creme-de-la-creme of 30's Exploitation cinema.
Reefer Madness is every bit as hyperbolic as it was intended to be. Just watch it knowing that its makers are laughing at you, and you'll realize that this film is perhaps one of the greatest jokes ever played on an audience in the history of cinema. It's certainly one of the most entertaining.
Bill and Mary were just two typical all-american 25 year old highschool students, playing tennis, drinking hot cocoa, and reciting Shakespeare. Then, Bill got mixed up with the "wrong crowd". He ended up at their house of evil, where He took a "hit" from a marijuana cigarette and "freaked out". Bill joined in with "satan's children" as they danced uncontrollably, played piano jazz, and had wanton abandon sessions! Meanwhile, Mary's brother borrowed her car, took a puff from a "hemp-joint" and drove uncontrollably, running over a pedestrian, laughing mercilessly. Ultimately, poor Mary ended up at the "drug den" herself, being introduced to the "killer weed" by Ralph, a crazed "pot fiend" given to uncontrollable fits of hysterical laughter. Ralph took advantage of Mary, causing Bill (who was having a wanton abandon session with a female "pot-head" in another room) to lose control and attack Ralph. Suddenly, the swinging "dope pad" was turned into a murder house, as the co-owner of the hangout drew a gun. Bill fought him and Mary was inadvertantly shot dead! Bill was framed for Mary's homicide and Ralph was committed to an insane asylum. And, remember the wicked girl Bill was having wanton abandon with? Well, she was called upon to testify in court, and wound up diving out a window! Let us learn the lessons here! Remember, smoke only good wholesome tobacco, or drink harmless, invigorating alcohol; and leave the "reefer" to the ne'er-do-wells and hepcats of the world...
on January 28, 2002
Just finished the three movies in a row, and there are no regrets! This DVD is fun, and more: there are nice extras including an almost finished crazed strip act, trailers, picture gallery and all, and three flicks well presented. The picture/sound quality is not at all as bad as I suspected, in fact some "quality" classics can be found released in much inferior quality. And the movies... they are great, and if you love the atmosphere of the thirties, these films, especially watched late night, give you the wonderful feeling of really attending a wild party, even without actual reefer involved. Whereas "Marihuana" is really stupid and "Reefer Madness" beautifully overblown, "Assassin of youth" is actually quite grasping. All films involve some pretty people, posh clothes and wild lindyhop. What more to be desired???
on November 4, 2005
OK folks, this is by far one of the best DVDs I've bought in quite awhile. You get so much for so little. First you get the original black and white movie. Reefer Madness is like the Three Stooges, black and white just adds to its charm. But to see it in color is quite a hoot. The smoke is purple and pink, the suits and dresses are LOUD, and the color scheme for Mae's apartment is just mind boggling. What more could you ask for? Well you get more anyway.
When I discovered that Mike Nelson from MST3000 fame actually had narrating duty, I just had to buy Reefer Madness again. He's hilarious. Sure it would have been great for his two robot buddies to join in, but who knows, maybe someday. Mike was right on the ball and I laughed out loud quite a few times. I never noticed before how much time the dope dealer spent making meals and eating.
Well if that wasn't enough, we also get a short 15 minute film starring Grandpa Ganja. He's a marijuana expert who's been smoking pot for over 30 years. He quotes weed from the Bible, convincingly explains how Moses was a major dopehead, and also the disciples. Not only do we get an indepth history on marijuana, he demonstrates how to roll a joint, smoke a bong, and other helpful hints on how to administer medical THC. The old man is hilarious on helpful hints as to buying and growing your marijuana. When they showed the real old dude throwing marijuana seeds over his fence and then harvesting pot in his neighbor's yard I lost it. Low brow pot humor true, but in any case I laughed my butt off.
If you already have a black and white copy of Reefer Madness, it's worth buying again to have this edition. It's well worth it.
on December 21, 2000
Kids, this has got to be one of the funniest titles available today, and it's SO old! Reefer Madness is an old Anti-Marijuana short film in which high school students who "toke hits of reefer ciragrettes" become "immoral, unjust and unforgivable" because, and I swear I'm not kidding, "Marijuana is more addictive and destructive then her sisters Heroin and Cocaine." This movie has it all, from slight truths to bold faced lies! It is a true testament to the American Marijuana War and just how hillarious our leaders can be at times. Buy a copy today! Do something for the cause.
on September 14, 2004
Thank God. This movie is interesting on its own, but I wouldn't even comment if it wasn't for the commentary. Mike Nelson of Mystery Science Theater 3k mocks this film in its entirety. I think this film may have been produced by the medical condition of Paranoia. Back then, people must have thought that everything but smoking cigarettes was bad for you...I'm sure there was a short about the dangers of regular excersize. I'm just glad that all drugs are now tested for their "soul-destroying effects". Thanks Mike.
on November 4, 2001
I can't honestly say that this movie was ever taken seriously or not,(at least I hope it wasn't) but it serves to demonstrate the level of scare tactics that have been used to villify anything that both the government or the moral right wing kooks that purport to be trying to save us all from ourselves will stoop to. According to the first ten minutes of this quasi-documentary, Marijuana is more insidious and addictive than heroin and cocaine. it causes hallucinations and violent behavior, and it eventually ends up driving a person insane with no hope of recovery. And here I always thought smoking pot led to chronic munchies followed with long naps and a decline in wanting to do anything more strenuous than watching "The Wall".
The rest of the movie demonstrates that by showing how these "drug dealers" lure high school kids up to their apartment (no not a club that they can skip out of if the cops move in but to their actual residence) to engage in marijuana induced orgies. Well, before you know it they're running people down and being framed for killing their girlfriends by the mobsters. Poor kid is too wigged out on weed to know that they planted the gun in his hands after shooting the girl. I guess they didn't check for powder burns back then.
There are some hysterical parts like when they show the pianist at a soda shop wigging out on the keyboard with a wild look in his eyes, and later you see him toking up in the back closet, or when the good kid is asked to go to the soda shop by a friend and he adamantly says "I don't drink that stuff!". The only problem with this movie is that it is extremely dated. Try to sit through it at least once with an open mind and you should enjoy it. And try to pity those lost souls to the dread drug marijuana.
on July 19, 2005
When you watch this film, your not going to see a bunch of long-haired, sublime listening, bad guitar playing kids sitting in some dank basement. This movie goes completely over the top in exhibiting the effects of marijuana.
First of all, marijuana apparently has the same symptoms as PCP, giving you the urge to attack people for no reason, and laugh hysterically at things not funny in the least.
Second of all, marijuana makes you a terrible dancer. However, if you smoke enough marijuana, according to this film, you'll become an excellent pianist.
The films a classic for good reason. It's hilarious in its over the top attempt to counter marijuana use, and will make any viewer wanna go and smoke a fatass joint right afterwords.
Their is also an extra film called "Grandpa Ganja's Marijuana Handbook," where this old stoner dude basically lays down the law on everything to do with pot. This old weedhead is hilarious, and well worth watching. Highly recommended.
on May 12, 2003
If anything, this movie demonstrates that the �War on Drugs� goes way back before Nancy Reagan�s �Just Say No� campaign. Watch 1930�s era police and federal agents make drug busts and incinerate thousands of dollars worth of drugs. But we all know that for every pound of weed seized by the U.S. Government, a thousand pounds is enjoyed by decent law abiding pot heads. Nothing has changed in seventy years.
The movie starts out with a scrolling written warning of the perils of the �demon-weed�. It could happen to you, you�.or YOU! Then a preachy, holier than thou high school principle is addressing parents of the student body. He begins to tell a story that happened �right here in our neighborhood�.
Our story unfolds and lo and behold, decent, clean-cut, American youth succumb to the evils of Mariuhana. Watch a decent youth smoke a joint in his car, then run down an old man in the street. He doesn�t even slow down after he clobbers the guy. Remember, this is the 30�s cars weigh half a ton and are made of steel. And watch the crazed piano player at the soda stand takes a �smoke break�. He looks like an insane derelict as he smokes a joint in the closet.
Anyway, May and her drug-dealer boyfriend lure young kids into their house and offer �cigarettes� to get them high and hooked. Of course the evil drug causes insanity, jealousy, rage, horniness, and nervousness. A girl gets shot, the drug dealer gets beaten to death, and his girlfriend launches herself out a window after she confesses.
Of course everybody�s favorite is the dude who needs to go to the loony bin for the criminally insane. He is so enslaved to demon weed that he no longer has a brain of his own.
This film is hilarious. How sad it is to think how much money and effort has gone into the losing battle of fighting drugs.