Last time I talked about Reefer Madness, AKA Tell Your Children, so me talking about the parody right after shouldn’t be a surprise. I mean, I flat out said it at the end, but anyway. Based on the 1998 stage musical, Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical was a Showtime original movie with a truly ridiculous cast. Mr. Alan Cumming (Nightcrawler in X2) as the narrator! And he was also FDR! Kristen Bell as Mary! Steven Weber as Jack, Anna Gasteyer as Mae, and John Kassir (AKA the Crypt Keeper from Tales from the Crypt, including Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight)! And… uh, Neve Campbell’s older brother as Jimmy. Wait, he’s a year older than her, but here plays a much younger character? Well that’s news to me…
The musical follows the plot of the original Reefer Madness relatively closely but with wide deviations at the end. Bill and Jimmy have been combined into one character who is Mary’s boyfriend. All their plot points are combined as well including the hit and run with little-to-no consequences. Blanche has been renamed Sally and has an actual role in the story, and Ralph didn’t know Mary before the scene where he tries to sexually assault her. But with the original still fresh in my short term memory this was fun to watch. A few lines were taken straight from the propaganda piece, adding to the pseudo-retro/parody of the 1930’s feel. The song about Shakespeare–an important enough moment that it has a reprise at the end of the second act–makes more sense remembering that there was indeed a short scene of Mary and Bill talking about Romeo & Juliet in Reefer Madness. Completely new parts include the addition of FDR, Jesus, cannibalism, the climax, and–of course–the music.
So the plot is roughly as follows: Jimmy and Mary are teens in love. Jimmy gets hooked on marijuana thanks to Jack, Mae, Ralph, and Sally, and the boy becomes a degenerate. Mary tries to win him back, only to be tricked by Ralph into smoking the Devil’s weed. In an ironic turn of events this turns Mary into a sexual deviant who then turns the tables on Ralph, making this one of the only “rape jokes” I find actually funny. Mary is killed, Jimmy is framed, and the marijuana and guilt cause Ralph to go insane, eating Sally. Jack kills Ralph and then Mae kills Jack, complete with her pulling his heart out. Kali ma! She rushes to a visiting FDR and asks him to stop Jimmy’s execution, and the closing song looks directly at the audience and reminds us this is all propaganda:
♫ When danger’s near / Exploit their fear / The end will justify the means ♫
This movie is great, and it’s even better watching it with friends while desperately trying to take a mental break from election news! Alan Cummings gives it his all, but what else would you expect from him? As the goat demon (who I think is named Moloch), he has a chain connecting his pierced nipples, and from what I understand only one of those was a prosthetic. What I do know for a fact is that he wore a cock ring to the X2 premiere. But you’ll have to trust me on that one; I can find some transcripts and references to the story he told on The Graham Norton Show, but I wasn’t able to find a still-uploaded video anywhere. Either way, the man’s a treat in this and everything else he’s in.
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