Newest Review: ... you'll know what I mean when it gets to that part. I also feel it's crazy that now in 2011, Reefer Madness is selling on DVD with.....wa... more
Propaganda at its most bonkers!
Reefer Madness (DVD)
Member Name: GentleGenius
Reefer Madness (DVD)
Date: 26/09/11, updated on 26/09/11 (81 review reads)
Advantages: Good for a laugh, entertaining
Disadvantages: Truly awful trash, terrible acting, factually incorrect, hysterical brainwashing
RELEASED: 1936, Cert.15
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 68 mins
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Jack and Mae have a neat little business going. They sell marijuana not merely to consenting adults....they also like to lure college students into their little net, ably assisted by their friends Ralph and Blanch.
The film opens with the head of a school issuing a dire message to the PTA meeting he is addressing and anyone who should happen to be watching the movie, about how deadly dangerous marijuana use is....worse, (apparently and according to him!!) than alcohol, heroin and opium!
As well as the prophet of doom head teacher talking utter drivel to his PTA meeting, the film's opening titles issue a printed piece of scaremongering about this terrible, evil drug known as marijuana. It warns that those who fall foul to its use will suffer dreadful disturbances...both physical and emotional, plus will become dangerous, violent and irreversibly insane!
When teen students Bill and Jimmy become embroiled in Jack and Mae's world of dope-peddling and smoking, things go badly wrong!
That sets the basic plot, and if you feel as though your constitution can stand it, then it's your call to watch it for yourself to see what happens.
Firstly, I must say that I haven't listed the actors above as they were largely unknown, being picked at random by the director to bleat their way through this utterly crazy low-budget piece of bizarre propaganda. The characters of Mae and Jack actually don't come across too badly in the acting stakes, but the remaining cast's efforts are truly laughable. From a visual point of view, Reefer Madness is quite difficult to watch, as the filming techniques are absolutely awful. The picture is grainy, hazy in some parts and too bright in others - bright to the point where it makes some of the scenery and actors' faces appear ghostlike. At intervals, the corners of the screen can start flashing, almost strobe-like in effect, even to the point where I'd guess it could thus be a no-no for somebody with epilepsy. This is entirely the fault of poor filming techniques. The sound quality is terrible too, and I don't put any of these faults down to the age of the film as I've seen many others from that era and earlier, where the audio-visual qualities are very good. The camera work and sound technology are so appalling on Reefer Madness, it almost looks as if it was one of the first 'talkies'
Everybody in the film, regardless of whether they are involved in the dope-smoking scene or not, comes over as utterly weird, yet I'm certain this wasn't intentional, it being entirely down to inadequate acting skills.
However bizarre and off the wall Reefer Madness is....and it definitely wasn't meant to be either of those things....it's still a very entertaining 68 or so minutes of ridiculous entertainment. Sometimes a film or a piece of music or whatever can be so desperately bad that it's good....and, this is one of those films which is.
The way the effects of being under the influence of 'wakky bakky' are portrayed in this film is absurd, ludicrous beyond all rational comprehension, and what makes it even more laughable is that the film was a sincere attempt to draw attention to something which was perceived as a problem in American society....a genuine piece of public awareness propaganda.
If you can manage to follow this movie, bearing in mind that the picture is grainy, unsteady, and with that almost strobic effect caused by poor camera techniques, plus the bizarre way in which people speak to one another together with the utterly inaccurate behaviour expressed by characters who are supposed to be 'under the influence', chances are high you could find it very entertaining and amusing.
The parts of Reefer Madness that almost had me rolling in the aisles with mirth are the way people were smoking their joints...I mean, they weren't even inhaling, yet within seconds were prancing around like demented idiots! Also, nobody inhaled, and personal experience has taught me that if you smoke a joint like an ordinary cigarette, then you definitely won't feel anything from it! The craziest, most loopy and hilarious part of the film for me was....at a point where somebody gets killed, Jack goes into a frenzied panic, then yells in this really hysterical voice, "She's dead....get me some water!!" I do appreciate that may not seem very funny to those reading this review, but if you see the film, you'll know what I mean when it gets to that part.
I also feel it's crazy that now in 2011, Reefer Madness is selling on DVD with.....wait for it.....a 15 certificate! That is almost as bonkers as the film itself!
Bearing in mind everything I've said above, I'm regardless going to award Reefer Madness four stars, because although it is probably the most preposterous piece of dire rubbish that I've ever seen (bar perhaps Titanic!), it is spectacularly entertaining, simply due to the sheer lunacy of the whole thing. I have no idea if any Americans took notice of the film's desperate and dire warnings at the time, but if so, I'd hazard what I feel to be an accurate guess that they were the same people who, twenty years later, believed there were under-cover Communists on every street corner and hiding in every closet.
For anybody who may wish to watch this piece of way over the top hysterical but delightfully hilarious nonsense, a DVD of the film can be purchased on Amazon as follows:-
New: from £1.58 to £10.50
Used: from 1p to £11.00
A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Summary: Worth watching for fun, but please don't take it seriously!