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Reefer Madness - The Movie Musical

4.7 out of 5 stars 122 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Inspired by the cult 1936 aanti-marijuana propaganda film, Reefer Madness gets the joint jumping in this boisterously funny musical romp. Framed as a "documentary," a straight-laced high school principal seeks to impart his wisdom about the demon weed by telling a frightful tale about the fate of two innocent teens who fall under the spell of drugs.

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If the idea of making a musical out of Roger Corman's Z-movie quickie The Little Shop of Horrors sounded weird, stick around for the all-singing, all-dancing Reefer Madness. Deliriously based on the notorious 1936 anti-pot social-guidance film, this is an ultra-campy enterprise that lands somewhere between Rocky Horror and a John Waters comedy. Christian Campbell and the spritzy Kristen Bell play the innocent teens lured into a soul-sapping cloud of marijuana dependence by pencil-mustached pusher Steven Weber and his long-suffering dame, Ana Gasteyer. The cast includes femme fatale Amy Spanger and a cameo by Neve Campbell, who dances her way through one sequence. The musical was written and composed by Kevin Murphy and Dan Studney, who re-create some of the kookiest scenes from the original movie ("Faster! Faster!"). Their funniest idea is to frame the sordid saga with a black-and-white story of a government agent showing a public-service film to horrified small-town citizens; he's played by the reliably sinister Alan Cumming, who also pops up in a variety of guises in the film-within-the-film. The only problem with this made-for-Showtime version of the stage show is that camp tends to wear thin, especially at 109 minutes, despite the expert song parodies. Even the original hour-long Reefer Madness got old quick. --Robert Horton

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Kristen Bell, Christian Campbell, Neve Campbell, Alan Cumming, Ana Gasteyer
  • Directors: Andy Fickman
  • Writers: Dan Studney, Kevin Murphy
  • Producers: Andy Fickman, Dan Studney, James Veres, Jan Korbelin, Kevin Murphy
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Showtime Ent.
  • DVD Release Date: November 8, 2005
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000AYQOA6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,915 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Reefer Madness - The Movie Musical" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 12, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
"Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical" is a meta-musical, because unlike "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" it works best based upon your knowledge of the original cinematic text, anti-drug propaganda, and certain aspects of 20th century American history. In the 1936 film "Reefer Madness" a school principal tells a group of parents the cautionary tale of two high school kids, Bill Harper and Mary Lane, who attend a party at the apartment of shady adults Jack and Mae where joints are given away free to get the kids hooked. Mary's kid brother Jimmy runs somebody down high on weed and Jack ends up framing Bill for shooting Mary.

For "Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical" the story remains basically the same, although now the Bill and Jimmy are combined so the kid in trouble is now Jimmy "the Cannibis Killer" Harper (Christian Campbell), which is an economical change. But the more significant change is that instead of an academic figure the lecture is now given by a person (Alan Cumming) with obvious but unnamed connections to the forces of government who are overly concerned with the need for vigilance. Although much is made of William Randolph Heart's efforts to stomp our marijuana because hemp producers threatened his logging interests, the lecturer is decidedly a figure of the 1950s in terms of fear mongering, casting aspirations regarding patriotism, and emphasizing decency. One of the best elements in the film's satire has an audience member taking exception to some wild claim that the lecturer has made. But every time Mr. Kochinski (Stephen E. Miller) finds something far fetched, the lecturer hits back by quoting cold hard "facts" from Heart's newspaper.
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This is a movie that you want to share with friends. One great funny line follows another, the cast gets to show off their singing and dancing talents, which are considerable. The songs are memorable. The DVD case smells like a chocolate chip cookie. What more can you ask for?

The movie is structured as a film within a film. Parents of local high school students attend a special screening of an anti-marijuana propoganda movie (entitled "Tell Your Children") with a lecture from a representative of William Randolph Hearst, played by Alan Cumming. As "Tell Your Children" progresses and those who question the various holes in logic are threatened and humiliated by the lecturer, the parents slowly become xenophobic -- shooting accusing glances at an Asian woman attending the screening, for example.

A previous review stated that this movie is making fun of those "innocent" time when people knew dance steps. In point of fact this movie is making fun of those who would divide society by creating a culture of fear, even when there isn't much danger.

The last lines of the movie illustrate this:

{SPOILER ALERT! BUT THIS MOVIE IS GREAT EVEN IF YOU KNOW THE ENDING!}

"And when the reefer has been destroyed/ We'll go after Darwin and Sigmund Freud/ And sex depicted on celluloid/ And Communists and freaks!"

"When danger's near/exploit their fear!"

"The ends will justify the means!"
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Format: DVD
I've seen the movie in a special screening at my cinema and i have to say, i loved it, like most of the people, who have seen it with me, did. Well, it's a musical, so you expect music and dancing, but this one has so much more...

At first, the idea of transferring the original "Reefer Madness" from 1936, especially a anti-drug-campaign-movie, into a musical was thrilling enough for me to take a look in it. And i wasn't disappointed.

Secondly, the cast is great, i didn't see the "real" musical, so I cannot say how they are on stage, but they did a very good job on screen. And Neve Campbell, whose role was originally a male role, did a very nice and good dancing and singing job.

Well, at last, the songs... they are quite catchy. I cannot say how often I saw myself humming the mary lane song (after you've seen it, you'll know what I mean ;) ).

Well, i hope the DVD will show up with some specials, like a behind-the-scenes or Making-of.

Well, to put it in a nutshell, if you like Musical-Movies, if you like movies, which take themselves not too serious, if you like having fun while watching a movie... buy it!

I'm sure, I will! :)
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Format: DVD
Dang, this was a FUN film! Not to be taken seriously (it parodies the ultra-serious original 1936 film), Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical is a breezy, musical romp which delights in poking fun at Bible-belt paranoia, racism, McCarthyism, and govermental big brotherism.

In a good ol' little town somewhere in mid-America, a stern lecturer (Alan Cumming) warns the town parents of the dangers of marijuana, "the real public enemy number one." The small town denizens are, at first, doubtful as the lecturer narrates the cautionary tale of Jimmy Harper via a film. The movie within the movie then introduces fresh-faced 16 year old Jimmy (Christian Campbell) and his high school sweetheart, the innocent, goody two shoes Mary Lane (Kristen Bell of Veronica Mars and Pulse). Then in comes the villainous pot-dealer Jack (Steven Weber), who initially lures Jimmy away with promises of swing lessons but then succeeds in getting him hooked on the giggle sticks.

What follows is Jimmy's downward spiral into the world of addiction, sin, and jazz music. Interspersed throughout Jimmy's story are reactions of the parents watching his movie as they begin to buy what the lecturer is selling and become more and more frightened, thanks in part to the lecturer's insidious, witchhunting words. And, in the end, a thoroughly convinced and determined parental mob engages in bonfire frolics. Ahh, good times.

The deliberately hokey script and the tongue-in-cheek tone never let you take the film too seriously, while the cast's exuberant, campy, twinkle-in-the-eye performances are clear cut indications that they're having fun making this movie. To me, the breakaway star is Alan Cumming, who not only plays the cold, holier-than-thou lecturer, but also several transitional characters in Jimmy's film.
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