Ah, good old Reefer Madness, an infamous film for a number of reasons. This is one of those films that is so bizarre and so knuckleheaded, that you start to wonder just who the creators thought the target audience would be.
This film is part warning of the dangers of smoking marijuana, part exploitation flick, all goofy! Witness a man refusing a soda but accepting a root beer! Gasp in horror at the goofy pratfall into a fountain. Curl up in the fetal position when the pusher's meal is interrupted. Run screaming from the room when the high school principle gets up to deliver a dry boring speech... for the fourth time!!!
Oh yeah and a bunch of forty year old actors play teenagers, get high, smooch on a couch, die, or become permanently insane. But that's just the typical stuff you'd expect.
As a whole the film is just a mess. Editing is laughable, with scenes going on way too long, some scenes just ending for no apparent reason and others existing for no reason either. The film opens with a scrolling prologue that lasts nearly four minutes. It is followed by the dry dull monologue from the high school principle character that also goes on for another four minutes. When the movie finally does start, you'll be excited to see actual actors.
It's a shame they are pretty much all horrible. With performances veering from the disinterested pusher, all the way to the completely insane piano player who looks like he's about ready to chew all the scenery in the small closet he's locked himself inside of (waiting for his Kramer stand in audition). The acting fused with the moronic story and silly dialogue doesn't so much convince that drugs are evil, but it does make you suspect that the creators were using drugs while making the film.
All this is perfect fodder for Mike, Bill and Kevin to tackle. I owned Mike Nelson's solo commentary on this film and it did have its moments, and some of the best have made it onto this new commentary. But there is plenty of new material here, and lots of it appears to be written with Kevin, Bill and Mike in mind.
But for some reason the whole thing just never goes out of the park. It's funny, and the team delivers some hilarious lines, but as a whole the effort seems a bit slight. Part of it is the running time. The movie is short and lots of it is filled with those stupid monologue scenes or bad dialogue scenes that don't offer much for the guys. However when the smoking and wacky antics are full bore, then the guys deliver.
It's entertaining, but feels like it should have been a bit funnier. I'd say it's better than Mike's solo effort, but about average on a Rifftrax or MST3K scale. The black and white print is pretty good for a movie this old, but other than that, you don't get any other extras. Rifftrax fans should be fine with this. Fans of the movie should pick up Legend Films version with both the black and white and fully (and trippily) colorized version as well as numerous extras. Then download the Rifftrax commentary from the site for the complete experience.