Celebrating Reefer Madness Tomorrow: Screenings and DVD Release Party
Tomorrow is April 20 so prepare yourself for the onslaught of pot jokes and references. If we had to pick one event from all the bud-related festivities, we'll go with a screening of Reefer Madness tomorrow at the Vine Theater to commemorate the film's upcoming 75th anniversary.The now-cult classic was released in 1936 (which confuses us why they're celebrating the film's 75th anniversary) but whatever. The film is still a lot of fun--especially on the big screen.
Reefer Madness has been known by a number of titles--Tell Your Children, Doped Youth, Dope Addict, Love Madness and The Burning Question--originally financed by a church group to educate (i.e., scare the living daylights out of) parents on the dangers of a single toke of marijuana.
It's got the artistic merit of an industrial/educational, with the soul of an after-school special morality tale. The story focuses on drug dealers Mae and Jack who sell marijuana to local high school kids. Two of the kids Bill and Mary are tennis-playing, tea-drinking, Shakespeare-reading clean-cut sweethearts who make the mistake--an ultimately fatal mistake--of getting involved with Mary Jane. The film's plot has everything: dancing, drinking, drugs, parties, lewd behavior, a hit and run accident, suicide, rape and brain-addled teenagers.
But what gives Reefer Madness its staying power is the earnestness with which the writers and actors approach the over-the-top plot twists, dialogue and story lines. Check out this no-so-subtle text from the film's introductory crawl (italics are our emphasis):