Reefer Madness

Reefer Madness (1936)


Reefer Madness is the camp classic movie that documents the marijuana scare of the 1930’s. Billed as the “Assassin of Youth” Marijuana is vilified in hilarious and absurd ways. That the humor is unintended makes it all the more real.

At the time of its release, Reefer Madness was hailed, as a must see for all parents and their teenage kids. Now, almost 60 years later, it is still a must see for altogether different reasons.

~ DVD Case


I think I had seen this before through a cloudy haze of “reefer.” At the time, only half interested, the movie held no interest for me, as I had not “killed my entire family” yet.

This time, I watched this movie with a serious eye. I laughed at the spelling of Marijuana: Marihuana. Second, I laughed at the intense looks of the jazz playing pianist, and the uncontrollable burst of laughter from the marihuana smokers. Cause for more laughter was the method of indoctrinating new smokers, the ease with which they took up smoking, and their inability to distinguish the difference in smell between tobacco and marihuana. My wildest dream was a flop house where I could be queen; this movie fed that fantasy.

In the end, the tragedies that occur seem incongruous with the offense of smoking “reefer,” by my experiences. I did enjoy the movie, whether it was a serious public service announcement or a satire on the “dangers of reefer madness.”