Reefer Madness

This event will take place at The Silent Movie Theater, located at 611 N. Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036.

“Because the dread Marihuana may be reaching forth next for your son or daughter…or yours…or YOURS!”

Heed this, curious cinephiles, or you too may join the ranks of pink-eyed, late-night loonies indoctrinated by this mythic midnite rite of passage! Over 80 years after its release, Reefer Madness remains one of cinema’s first and greatest unintentional gutbusters, and its most uproariously absurd example of anti-drug propaganda. Beginning its life as a righteously sincere morality play (theories accredit its funding to either a wealthy church group or, more juicily, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics), it soon wound up in the hands of proto-exploitation icon Dwain Esper, who played up its seedy sordidness to capitalize on a widespread Green Scare hysteria. It then seemed fated for obscurity, if not for NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) founder Keith Stroup. Recognizing it for the unwitting satire it was, Stroup purchased a print from the Library of Congress in the early 70s and toured it around smoky college auditoriums nationwide, using the ticket sales to support his crusade against similarly absurd drug laws. Thus a midnight mainstay was born, and it’s not hard to see why bleary boys and girls kept coming back to crack up between coughs. Join your fellow “undesirable people” (as the film’s Dr. Alfred Carroll calls us) and get hooked on the hilarious habit you’ll never kick!

Dir. Louis J. Gasnier, 1936, 35mm, 66 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!