Thursday, July 06, 2006

So, I'm sitting down to enjoy some television late last night, and what do I see coming out of the talking picture box?

I almost wet my pants.

If I was making a list of my favorite bad films, this could very well be #1. Reefer Madness was made in 1936, and started out as a cautionary tale entitled, " Tell Your Children", before it was purchased by exploitation genius Dwain Esper. It was then recut to give it a more naughty tone, and retitled, becoming one of the most famous pieces of film doody in history.
I'm too lazy to go into the plot, so I'm going to copy and paste it from one of the film's many fansites:

Dr Carroll (Josef Forte), a high-school principal, warns a group of parents against the dangers of marijuana. He illustrates his point by telling the story of Bill (Kenneth Craig) and Mary (Dorothy Short), two of his students whose lives were destroyed by the drug. A crime ring operated within their town, which hooked teenagers on marijuana by supplying free reefers at parties given at an apartment owned by Mae (Thelma White) and Jack (Carleton Young).These parties were attended by Ralph (Dave O'Brien), an older student attracted to Mary, and Blanche (Lillian Miles), one of the crime gang who was interested in Bill. One day Mary's younger brother, Jimmy (Warren McCullum), took Bill with him to Mae's apartment, where Blanche quickly hooked him on the drug. Jimmy went driving while high, and hit and killed a pedestrian. Bill began an affair with Blanche. Mary went to Mae's apartment looking for Jimmy, and accepted a reefer from Ralph, who then tried to seduce her. Bill came out of the bedroom, and hallucinated that Mary was stripping for Ralph. He attacked Ralph, and as the two were fighting, Jack tried to break it up by hitting Bill with the butt of his gun. The gun went off, and Mary was killed. Jack made Bill believe he had killed Mary. At Bill's trial, Dr Carroll testified that he knew all of Bill's behaviour was due to his use of marijuana. Jack and Mae kept Ralph at Mae's apartment so he wouldn't tell the police what really happened. Ralph went insane through his drug use and beat Jack to death. The police arrested Ralph, Mae and Blanche. Mae talked, and the criminal gang was rounded up. Blanche explained that Bill was innocent, and he was released. Ralph was put in an asylum. Blanche committed suicide.

Makes sense to me! This movie is SO over the top, so melodramatic, so horribly acted, that you cannot help but love it. The evil, unmarried couple who live in sin and foist the most demonic of weed on unsuspecting children....Sleep in twin beds? How do the BRILLIANT law enforcement officials dispose of the ganja after the big raid? By BURNING it, of course! I'm not a big druggie or anything, but I've taken a toke or 2 in my day (I now officially sound 100 years old), and I have never seen anyone smoke a joint(after joint, after joint) the way the people in this movie do,like this Zeppo Marxesque piano player:

Instead of "Puff, puff, pass" it's just "Puff, puff, puff, puff, puff, puff", and they smoke so fast too, you'd swear it was laced with speed or something. I've seen this quite a few times, and it still amazes the hell out of me, that before this became the film it is today, that the people making it were serious. I mean, come on, how many of you have known a stoner like Ralph here, aka "Faster, FASTER!"?

Dude's more like a tweaker than a 420 boy.

This was remade a few years ago, as a musical spoof with Steven Weber and Alan Cumming, and it was ok, but you can't improve on perfection. I could go on, but I'm tired and have a sudden urge to go smoke a bowl. Since I'm such a sweetie, I'm providing a link to Google Video, where you can watch the entire film in all it's public domain glory.

Watch it, and remember: