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RiffTrax: Reefer Madness - from the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000!

3.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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(Jun 16, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

For years, Hollywood has extolled the TV watching and excessive Funyun consumption that accompany heavy marijuana smoking as lighthearted fun. But in the 1930s, one film was brave enough to tell it like it is: Reefer Madness. Crime, deceit, murder, casual sex and ragtime piano are all shown as inevitable consequences of that first puff of Reefer. This story is told through the riveting medium of forty year old actors portraying high schoolers, interrupted every fifteen minutes for a stern lecture from a hideous, bespectacled man.

As with all things that took place before we were born, it is different, and therefore hilarious. Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett of RiffTrax.com and Mystery Science Theater 3000 are on hand to provide a intentionally hilarious commentary track to this masterpiece of unintentional comedy.


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett, Dorothy Short, Dave O'Brien
  • Directors: Louis Gasnier
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Legend Films
  • DVD Release Date: June 16, 2009
  • Run Time: 65 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001W72OLI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,638 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

REEFER MADNESS (1936) was rediscovered and became a cult film in the 1970s because of its unintentional humor, its over the top attempts at blatant propaganda and its general and inherent silliness, which makes it the perfect candidate for Rifftrax. Rifftrax (a spin-off featuring three of the writers and stars from the great movie-mocking TV show "Mystery Science Theater 3000") usually uses recent films as its sandbox, but for their DVD releases they've been going with the only films whose DVD rights they likely could get their hands on: cheap, old stinkers that have fallen into the public domain. Personally, I prefer making fun of the more obscure or the older films that haven't stood the test of time, so I'm more than happy with these direct-to-DVD releases.

The first time I watched this DVD, I was actually a little disappointed. This had less to do with the witty comments from Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett, and more to do with the film itself. REEFER MADNESS has had a certain reputation for a long time and you can't walk very far on a college campus without tripping over a copy of it. However, I had never seen the film before, and I probably had a mental image in my mind of a far far sillier, more outrageous film than this piece of celluloid could possibly be expecting to provide.

However, I gave it another chance, and that second viewing was a much more pleasant experience. The first time, the reefer and drug jokes seemed very repetitive. But the second time the jokes had a more rounded feel. (This sort of reaction is something I had a few times with the old "Mystery Science Theater 3000" show. Every so often, I would be indifferent to an episode before warming to it after a repeated viewing.)

Still, this isn't the strongest release I've seen from Rifftrax which is a pity given the film they had to work with. Of course, an average Rifftrax/MST3k is still worth a look for fans and the uninitiated alike.
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I guess when this film was made, it was intended to be some sort of cautionary tale or public service announcement. Looking at it today it just seems silly and hysterical. But as always, if you bought the Rifftrax version you knew this when you bought it. The guys do a great job with their comments, and you'll be laughing from start to finish. If you're an MST3K/Rifftrax fan, you won't be disappointed.
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Ah, good old Reefer Madness, an infamous film for a number of reasons. This is one of those films that is so bizarre and so knuckleheaded, that you start to wonder just who the creators thought the target audience would be.

This film is part warning of the dangers of smoking marijuana, part exploitation flick, all goofy! Witness a man refusing a soda but accepting a root beer! Gasp in horror at the goofy pratfall into a fountain. Curl up in the fetal position when the pusher's meal is interrupted. Run screaming from the room when the high school principle gets up to deliver a dry boring speech... for the fourth time!!!

Oh yeah and a bunch of forty year old actors play teenagers, get high, smooch on a couch, die, or become permanently insane. But that's just the typical stuff you'd expect.

As a whole the film is just a mess. Editing is laughable, with scenes going on way too long, some scenes just ending for no apparent reason and others existing for no reason either. The film opens with a scrolling prologue that lasts nearly four minutes. It is followed by the dry dull monologue from the high school principle character that also goes on for another four minutes. When the movie finally does start, you'll be excited to see actual actors.

It's a shame they are pretty much all horrible. With performances veering from the disinterested pusher, all the way to the completely insane piano player who looks like he's about ready to chew all the scenery in the small closet he's locked himself inside of (waiting for his Kramer stand in audition). The acting fused with the moronic story and silly dialogue doesn't so much convince that drugs are evil, but it does make you suspect that the creators were using drugs while making the film.
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This was a gift for Christmas so I cannot vouch for the quality of the dvd. I can say it arrived in excellent condition and considerably faster than I expected. The recipient was very happy upon opening his gift.
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Sure, MST3K is gone (but never forgotten), but this is the next best thing. A cheap DVD (thanks, MovieMars) of a BAD movie with some nice cutting-up by Mike, Kevin, and Bill is a great way to spend an evening. Although it's not exactly the same without Pearl, Bobo, Brain Guy, Dr. Forrester, and TV's Frank, the guys are riffing real well with the type of jabs you always loved. BUY THEM!
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