Reefer Madness (1936)

Our review of the mid-30s drugsploitation “masterpiece” that became a cult classic in the ’70s and a musical in the 2000s…which we’ll get to, someday.


14 responses to “Reefer Madness (1936)”

  1. Black Mamba Avatar
    Black Mamba

    Yeah, this is a classic for laughing at the absurdity of the time, great recap.

    I always got a kick out of the fact that this was meant to be a serious movie! It’s such a parody of itself and their facts are laughable at best (hence cult status). When I first watched this movie and heard the stoically-delivered line “a sad tale of a man who under the influence of marihuana killed his family with an ax” and the listener just nodding with a look that says “Yup, that’s a normal reaction to the drug, violent psychosis.” I literally peed myself laughing. I think this movie did more damage to their cause with the obvious lies than had they just stuck to an actual headline or something! Add to that it’s obvious these people have never even known anyone who toked let alone tried it themselves…never in my life have I EVER seen a stoned person get MORE hyper on weed like these “actors” all seemed to do. Hell the very definition of stoned is “relaxed, mellow and a little giddy”, these people seemed to be smoking crack or something instead!

    Funny though, you mentioned the guy who got off scott free after running over the pedestrian. I watched this movie several times, and never even picked up on that fact! Good eyes, I guess I’d just assumed I must have missed a punishment through tears of laughing, but you’re right, he’s AOK by the end! Sheesh…drugs are bad, but murder and rape is ok, go figure.

    Anyway, great post as always!

    1. David DeMoss Avatar
      David DeMoss

      Worse yet, drugs are bad…unless they’re legal and not defined as “drugs” by present society. (Notice all the “teenage” cigarette smokers.) And vehicular manslaughter is just fine, so long as you use your sister’s car.

  2. monoceros4 Avatar

    Another hilarious aspect of this movie ought to be pointed out: never, not even once, do the drug dealers in Reefer Madness ask for money. Not one penny is seen to be exchanged and the dealers all give away free joints at parties or even on the street.

    Also nobody can tell the difference between an ordinary cigarette and a joint, as though years of casual smoking has destroyed all these kids’ taste buds.

    Finally, Jack’s attempt to murder Ralph has got to be one of the least convincing murder attempts ever put to film. That’s right, Jack, walk verrry sloowly and reach for your gun verrry obviously when confronted with a paranoid maniac gripping a fireplace poker and who is already convinced you’re there to whack him.

    1. David DeMoss Avatar
      David DeMoss

      As if dressing like a gangster stereotype weren’t threatening enough on it’s own, no Reefer-induced Madness required.

      1. Ryan Avatar

        I love superjails spoof of that kind of crap.

        1. David DeMoss Avatar
          David DeMoss

          And I love the musical version of this far, far more than the original. It’s Little Shop of Horrors all over again. It’s crazy. Anything could happen.

  3. Mike Reese Avatar
    Mike Reese

    I never saw weed until I went to high school (when I tell people where I grew up in Chicago, they don’t believe it) and the first time I saw this film, I just could not believe that anyone could be so gullible as to accept this nonsense as fact.

    1. David DeMoss Avatar
      David DeMoss

      Yeah, that’s the 1930s for ya. Don’t let anybody ever tell you we haven’t advanced as a species.

      1. Ricardo Cantoral Avatar
        Ricardo Cantoral

        Hey the 1930’s was a great decade ! Well, as long as you were white and protestant.

  4. Daniel Knepp Avatar
    Daniel Knepp

    Hey David. I’m curious. How big is your movie collection? Do you own every movie you do a review for?

    1. David DeMoss Avatar
      David DeMoss

      Counting all formats and including everything back at my ancestral home of Stately DeMoss Manor, we’re somewhere north of 800 titles at the moment. So the answer to your second question is a resounding, “Yes, apart from the first-run theatrical releases, I own (or used to own) every movie in the Review Vaults.” That’s part of the reason I don’t review very many new releases, since I have more than enough to talk about readily at hand. At this point, I only really have to go out and hunt up subjects I’ve been specifically requested to review. Even then, some dark and twisted soul will occasionally send me discs along with their requests. Hence the reviews of Michael Bay’s oeuvre.

  5. Daniel Knepp Avatar
    Daniel Knepp

    Do you have any interest in older horror films? Early Universal and RKO films? I just bought a few dozen of them (I buy movies in clusters) and am looking forward to a black and white summer.

    1. David DeMoss Avatar
      David DeMoss

      I was eight in 1991, during Universal’s sixtieth anniversary celebration of its classic monster titles, so I fast became that kid in the Wal-Mart electronics store, desperately begging his parents for each and every one of those gorgeously decked out VHS tapes at a time when they cost north of $20 a pop. God knows where those old tapes are now, but most were…not “replaced” so much as “augmented”…by DVDs purchased during the seventieth anniversary celebrations of the early 2000s. Does that answer your question? The piece of the collection I can readily access thins out once you hit the mid-40s, but rest assured we’ll be chewing over each of Univeral’s seminal Horror titles at some point very soon.

  6. Daniel Knepp Avatar
    Daniel Knepp

    Cool. I look forward to them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *