Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical

Dir: Andy Fickman, 2005



A campy exploitation film that was begging for parody, Reefer Madness is an anti-marijuana scare movie filled with ludicrous scenarios and is now nothing a joke.

Beginning in black and white and shifting and bouncing to and fro to colour, a lecturer (Alan Cumming) leads a talk on the evils of marijuana.

Using the story of innocent and naive high schoolers Jimmy Harper (Christian Campbell) and Mary Lane (Kristen Bell), the lecturer recites how they both fell victim to the drug that is worse than heroin!

Becoming addicted to marijuana, the lecturer warns, results in premarital sex, orgies, death, insanity and murder.

Several of the tunes by Dan Studney are really catchy, while Kevin Murphy’s lyrics are intelligent and witty.

This could have gone really bad and ended up being dull and uninspired but, fortunately, it’s rather jolly and the music has a Little Shop of Horrors sound and feel to it.

For a TV movie, the output is surprisingly ambitious. The amount of choreography that went into the film is impressive.

The cast is extremely good in their roles, ably showing off a vast talent, hitherto unseen.

Campbell’s real-life sister, Neve (of Scream fame), makes a cameo as Mrs. Poppy, the owner of a five and dime.

Campbell deftly dances around with enthusiasm, looking beautiful and showing off some impressive skills.

Scottish actor Cumming as the lecturer is perfectly sinister, with a faux American accent filling his audience with lies and propaganda.

However, the real highlight is the song and dance routine with Jesus in Jimmy’s hallucinatory, marijuana caused stupor.

Robert Torti as the messiah is a comic masterpiece and reminiscent of a Monty Python sketch.

Oozing charm and charisma, Torti is a perfect Jesus for this type of characterisation. Even Ted Neeley couldn’t have done a better job.

As fun as a standalone musical as it is, it’s best to see the original version beforehand. This will help in getting more enjoyment out of the film as you can fully understand the parody.

A clever piece of entertainment.


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