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DVD Review: RiffTrax – Reefer Madness

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The use of marijuana has recently been regarded as harmless, lighthearted fun leading to excessive TV watching and uncontrollable laughter. But Reefer Madness (AKA Tell Your Children) has a different view on the subject, clouding the minds of youngsters and leading them to believe that this time and space altering drug will lead to deadly crimes, malevolence, sexual lust, high-speed piano-playing and incurable insanity. It’s an unintentionally funny and overly serious look at the drug once dubbed in the 1930s as public enemy number one.

The film centers around Bill Harper, a baffled youngster who soon falls victim to the violent narcotic in a nearby piano crazed party. Once Bill becomes a victim to the drug, he and his new friends become unaware of their acts that lead to murder, hit-and-runs, sexual yearning and even suicide. Taken to court and subjected to the highest authority, William Harper is then sentence to be hung by the neck until dead for his acts of violence.

This tiresome, sometimes funny, over-exaggerated and misinterpreted view on the so-called lethal drug marijuana has become a cult classic and an instant favorite amongst left-handers (stoners). Its falsified take on the drug is regarded as threatening propaganda and led many back in the 1930s to believe that marijuana is in fact a deadly narcotic, more deadly than that of heroin and cocaine.

This is far from a good film: clueless acting, off-hand direction and below par production is some of its noticeable flaws. But it’s the ludicrous concept and audacity to take a negative hypothesis about marijuana to extreme levels that makes it a memorable feat. Never has a film been so hysterically alarming and blatantly dishonest as Reefer Madness.

RiffTrax presents a comical, full-length commentary track by Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett of Mystery Science Theater 3000. The routine is the same (make fun of and crack jokes at so-bad-they're-good films), but altered in appearance. Rather than seeing the two robot and human shadows, you are left with nothing but the movie itself to look at. The majority of the jokes don’t quite hit the mark as intended to (one can only take so many marijuana jokes). But when Mike Nelson and the stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000 crack a joke that works, you will laugh-out-loud.

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About Derek Fleek