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Reefer Madness (1938)

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Considered THE archetypal sensationalized anti-drug movie, but it's really an exploitation film made to capitalize on the hot taboo subject of marijuana use. Like many exploitation films of the time, "Reefer Madness" tried to make a quick buck off of a forbidden subject while skirting the Motion Picture Production Code of 1930. The Code forbade the portrayal of immoral acts like drug use. (The illegal drug traffic must not be portrayed in such a way as to stimulate curiosity concerning the use of, or traffic in, such drugs; nor shall scenes be approved which show the use of illegal drugs, or their effects, in detail.) The film toured around the country for many years - often being re-edited and re-titled ("Tell Your Children", "Dope Addict", "Doped Youth", "Love Madness", "The Burning Question"). It was re-discovered in the early 1970s by NORML and screened again as an example of the government's demonization of marijuana. The film begins with a high school lecture at a PTA meeting. The principal, Dr. Carroll, is attempting to warn parents about the dangers of marijuana. To illustrate his point, he tells the group the story of a group of innocent teenagers whose downfall was supposedly caused by cannabis, saying that he'll give his audience "the real facts" about the case. At an apartment owned by Mae Coleman, and Jack Perry, her lover (supposedly, the couple is "living in sin," yet they sleep in separate beds as do all married couples depicted in films of the era), the duo sells marijuana. Mae prefers to sell reefer to customers her own age, whereas Jack sells the drug to young teenagers. Ralph, a former college student turned fellow dealer (and "addict," according to the film), and Blanche help Jack sell cannabis to young students. Young students Bill and Jimmy are invited to Mae and Jack's apartment by Blanche and Ralph. Jimmy takes Bill to the party. There, Jack runs out of reefer. Jimmy, who has a car, drives him to pick up some more. Arriving at Jack's boss's "headquarters," he gets out and Jimmy asks him for a cigarette. Jack gives him a joint. Later, when Jack comes back down and gets into the car, Jimmy drives off dangerously, along the way running over a pedestrian with his car.....I changed the dopey 1930's music that was originally in the beginning and end of the film,other than that this is the film in it's entirety, modified with a slightly heavy metal twist.Reefer Madness is a Public Domain Film.


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