Reefer Madness/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Reefer Madness

A black and white propaganda film made in 1936, Reefer Madness or better known as "Tell Your Kids" was first used either as a teaching tool for parents to help them learn the effects of marijuana or to scare the kids into not smoking the "evil Marijuana". No one is really sure which was first. A director by the name of Dwain Esper who is known for making some of the worst films ever made, recut the movie and retitled it: Reefer Madness.


The film starts out with a principal talking at a school meeting to parents, telling them how dangerous this drug is and how the government should stop it. Then he goes on telling them a story that you could have read in the newspaper. The story is about two young high school students (Bill and Jimmy) who are invited to a party by Jack and Mae (who happen to be drug dealers). Soon after arriving to the party, Bill smokes some "mary jane" which he thinks is just a regular cigarette. Jack then runs out of reefer, so he gets Jimmy to drive him, since Jack doesn't have a car. He gives Jimmy something to smoke on while he is with his "boss". When they leave, Jimmy accidentally runs over a pedestrian, but Jack promises not to rat on him. After having sex with Blanche, Bill attacks Ralph because he thinks that Mary had secretly stripped for Ralph. Jack stops the fight by hitting Bill with the butt of his gun, but the gun goes off and kills Mary. They then frame Bill for Mary's death and he is sentenced to prison. After smoking a joint, Ralph thinks Jack is trying to kill HIM so when Jack shows up, he beats HIM to death. The police then arrest Ralph, Blanche and Mae. Blanche explains that Bill is really innocent and he is soon released. Instead of waiting to testify against Ralph, Blanche jumps out the window and kills herself. We rejoin The Principal as he talks to the parents then he points to the camera and says "Dont let this happen to you!"

Even after the film was recut by Dwain Esper it was still kind of unknown but in the 70's it became a big hit when it was discovered by Keith Stroup the founder of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws). He bought the print for $297 dollars and since then it has been a big cult hit for pot smokers and college students around the world. Reefer Madness was meant to be shocking and to scare you but now its not even scary, its hilarious!

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