Reefer Madness -
Dorothy Short, Dave O'Brien Thelma White
Fox Home Entertainment
Date: April 20, 2004
Review posted: April 7, 2004
It's every parent's
worst nightmare. Clean cut teenagers take a hit of the demon weed,
Marihuana, and fall into a web of sex, murder, madness, and jazz
music. Oh, the horror.
Oh man, this movie
is bad. Not fun bad either. Not Plan 9 From Outer Space cheesy
bad. This film is BAD! It makes Batman & Robin look like
Citizen K... sorry, I can't finish that sentence without
making myself feel dirty. But I think you get the point. This is
the sort of film one could only enjoy if one was completely stoned
out of their mind. Kind of ironic, isn't it?
Reefer Madness is
a 1938 church funded propaganda film, originally titled Tell your
Children, that attempted to frighten parents into thinking their
children were hooked on drugs. It's a perfect example of how NOT to
make a film. The filmmakers apparently did no research whatsoever
(hell, I've never done pot and I know more about it than they do,) nor
have any concept as to how to put together a simple scene. They also
found some of the worst thirty year-old actors to play kids half their
age. These "actors" have the acting ability of third graders (most of
whom can't seem to get a full take, since most of the scenes contain
multiple jump cuts to other takes.) There is no logic in the story...
the list could go on. It all boils down to one thing; the filmmakers
were completely inept making the film.
I honestly wish this
film was good for a laugh, but it isn't. It's dreadful, something time
should have forgotten.
films! Every film that has been colorized looks bad. This film is
hard to watch in its colorized state. I also found the decision to
give each character their own unique color when they smoke the
ganja very annoying. Fortunately, the disc also comes with the
original black and white feature. The restoration looks descent,
but not great. The restorers wanted the film to still look dated,
which I appreciate.
Rating: Colorized 5/10
Rating: Black and White
The audio is
presented in 5.1 Dolby surround, 5.1 DTS, and (in the case of
the original black and white version) in the original mono. The
sound is okay, but sounds a little hollow at times. However, I'm
not sure if it's because of the transfer, the print used, or the
ineptitude of the filmmakers. Still, the sound fits the look of
the film, and does not detract from it in any way.
commentaries on the film are pretty good. The one I would
recommend listening to first would have to be by Mike Nelson of
Mystery Science Theater 3000. His comments make the hour waste
of time worthwhile. The other commentary, by the Legend films
staff is only somewhat informative. In it, they describe how
they colorized the film and comment on how bad the film really
is. However, aside from comments that point out the absurdity of
the film, they also try to make jokes about it. Sadly, all their
attempts fail completely.
The disc also comes with
a short called Grandpa Ganja's Marijuana Handbook. In it
"Grandpa Ganja" teaches senior citizens how to purchase, use, and take
care of marijuana. While not the short's intent, it does manage to
prove that marijuana has harmful consequences - take too much and you
end up like him. Sadly and ironically, this short is far more
entertaining than the feature.
Reefer Madness is
really quite bad, but Fox gives it a decent presentation. Rent it, get
some friends together, and tear it a new one.
VERDICT: RENT IT
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