By Adam Roche
Question: How do you get a drug exploitation film past the horrifically conservative Hays Code censors of the 1930’s?
Answer: You market it as “educational”
Yes, in 1938, at the height of film censorship, Reefer Madness appeared, promising a moral lesson in what “your kids should avoid”. By passing itself off as educational, Louis J Gasnier was able to somehow get the film past the censors, by stating that the movie would act as an informative lesson in abstinence for America’s youth.
What the film is, in fact, is a radically sensationalized account of what drugs could do to a young life.
Because let’s be real here, this is in no way educational.
Firstly, the effects on the kids that the evil weed has are so obliviously over the top that it’s hard to believe that anyone could have taken this film seriously, even the upright moral churchgoing brigade that the film was marketed towards.
Reefer Madness is so crazily over the top that it truly deserves to be seen at least once. You will in no way find yourself educated. You will, however, laugh your ass off, and it’s for this reason that it’s our fifth pick for the Electro Candy Film Club.
Indeed, this movie is so notorious that you may have seen it already, in which case send your friends over here to see it for themselves. I could quite easily go into the plot, of the poor fate of Mae and Jack (my God, you won’t believe how the film ends…) and their “evil” circle of friends, but I won’t spoil any of it for you.
Just have a beer or three, kick off your shoes, and rejoice in the fact that we now live in such an enlightened age.
Past Film Club Choices: