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File:Reefer Madness 3778.jpg

Originally called Tell Your Children, this anti-marihuana film from 1936, was directed by Louis Gasnier and originally financed by a church group and intended for parents, but was picked up by producer Dwain Esper who recut it as an Exploitation Film. Today, it's in the public domain and considered ~So Bad It's Good~, and has even inspired a 1998 musical satire which itself was adapted into a well received TV movie.

Witness the frightful toll of the new drug menace which is sweeping America online. Don't do drugs, kids!


Reefer Madness provides examples of:

 Mike Nelson: "These guys probably had sons the same age as their characters."

  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing
  • Driven to Suicide: Blanche
  • Drugs Are Bad: Well, duh. Or at least, that's what it tries to say.
  • ~Everything's Better On Drugs~: What it actually is saying.
  • Frame Up: They try to frame Bill for Mary's death.
  • Fridge Logic / Plot Hole: Related to Karma Houdini below. The entire film is told in flashback by the principal... but how did he know about Jimmy running the old man over if he was never charged?
    • Also the drug dealers don't actually "deal". Nobody seems to purchase the stuff. Do they just give it away?
  • Gag Dub: Reefie's Madhouse, which airs as a celebration to Four Twenty on G4
    • Hell, this had a gag colorization: Clown color pot smoke.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: "We educators can't do anything until the public is sufficiently aroused."
  • He's Dead Jim: Even though none of the characters are medically qualified, they all know that Mary is dead right away.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in The Face: Mary gets shot by accident.
  • Irony: It's a good stoner flick.
  • The Judge: Of the gruff older white man sort.
  • Karma Houdini: Jimmy runs a man over with his car and gets away clean. Odd for a 1930s movie (since the Hays Office had a rule about bad people not being able to get away with committing crimes) and especially odd for this movie.
  • Leave the Camera Running: There seem to be a lot of long, pointless shots in the movie, such as Bill dropping his book, picking it up, and dusting it off.
  • Marijuana Is LSD: Even less accurate, marihuana's shown as a violent narcotic.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: Bill is found guilty of Mary's murder even though he was framed, but it's averted at the last minute when Blanche admits that it was actually Jack's fault.
  • The Musical: The original film was later made into a highly popular stage musical in the late 90's, and then that was made into an award-winning Showtime movie in 2005.
  • Nerf Arm: seriously, someone was killed with a curtain rod?
  • No Indoor Voice: The District Attorney.
  • Poes Law: By today's standards, definitely.
  • Shout Out: The newspaper showing Bill's verdict also has a headline about Dick Tracy.
  • Sliding Scale of Shiny Versus Gritty: Very much on the shiny side, especially considering the producers' intent. The aforementioned nicest drug hangout in cinematic history and new car and all the young drug users are well- (and one would presume by 1936 standards fashionably-) dressed.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Averted. This was one of the first attempts (if not the first) at making smoking look uncool, and viewers might have a hard time believing they didn't set the studio on fire... Using "joints" which look exactly like factory-produced cigarettes is a contributing factor.
  • ~So Bad It's Good~: In the 70's, college kids would enjoy smoking "marihuana" and watching the film whenever it came on TV. They found it to be a blast.
  • The Stoner: Averted - No one in this movie behaves like a real-life stoner.
    • Whatever they're smoking is some kind of powerful stimulant. It certainly isn't pot.
    • The only realistic side effect was the bad guy's constant eating.
    • Which is funny considering that they list a fair number of accurate symptoms in the opening crawl.
    • They don't even get it right on the poster in the page image. Nobody in the film or real life takes Marihuana as a pill.
  • Stoner Flick: Ironically.
    • To the point where most people hear about it first from someone who's watched it stoned.
  • Think of the Children: Invoked by the DA
  • Worst News Judgment Ever: All stories pertaining to the plot are featured prominently in the local paper.

The Musical (and the movie based on it) contain examples of:

  I'm not addicted no, I just enjoy the glow

 I've taken a life,

Been stripped to my essence,

And to think all I wanted was swing dancing lessons!

  • I'm a Humanitarian: Ralph when he gets the 'munchies.'
    • The Chinese in the movie are also suggested to be this.
  • Jesus Was Way Cool: Even though he supports the anti-marijuana stance that the musical parodies, Jesus makes up for it with an awesome song, a Walking Shirtless Scene, and a troupe of sexy, angelic backup singers.
  • Leaning On the Fourth Wall: In the stage show, everyone from the Lecturer to Jesus will directly address the audience.

 Mary Lane, Oh, Mary Lane

Will help you sing a new refrain.

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