Originally released in 1936 as Tell Your Children, a straight-faced educational movie intended to warn parents and children about the evils and dangers of marijuana, the renamed Reefer Madness went on to become one of the most popular exploitation films of all time. Revered by midnight tokers and late-night moviegoers for its camp humor and absurd plot lines, the film has recently been refashioned into a well-received musical. In honor of Reefer Madness: the "Hit" Musical, which opens tonight at the Bug Theatre, we put together this list of the top five cautionary videos as ridiculous as Reefer Madness.
Taking its lead fromReefer Madness
, and other marijuana morality tales includingAssassin of Youth
andRoad to Ruin
, 1949'sShe Shoulda Said 'No'!
combined themes of marijuana psychosis and sexual promiscuity. After some initial harmless fun, cannabis use invariably causes the protagonist to lose her job, become a drug dealer and turn into a total slut. Clearly, she shoulda said "no."Sex Madness
What could possibly be better thanReefer Madness
? You guessed it:Sex Madness
! Supposedly intended to warn teens and young adults of the dangers of syphilis and other venereal diseases, the 1938 film mostly just showed a lot of skin, including lesbianism and wild sex parties, using its educational pretense to skirt contemporary obscenity codes.
Mom and Dad One of the most famous sex hygiene films, sadly almost impossible to find in video form on these vast internets, 1945's Mom and Dad also used its supposed educational value to avoid censorship. The Swedish film raises good questions about sex education -- and also features graphic images of female anatomy and footage of live births.The Big Cube
Warner Bros. put the full weight of a major studio behind this anti-counterculture movie, which debuted in 1969. Staring Lana Turner in one of her final roles,the Big Cube
aggressively depicted 1960s counterculture and its use of LSD as insidious evils. One can only guess how many hippies went to see it on acid.
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What's even more terrifying than LSD? Cradle-robbing hillbillies, that's what! This 1938 film portrayed toothless yokels from the Ozarks and their twelve-year-old brides. And it did so, of course, to draw attention to the lack of laws banning child marriage in backwoods states. It also featured a controversial skinny-dipping scene depicting twelve-year-old actress Shirley Mills.