Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tell Your Children

Tell Your Children is a film directed by Louis Gasnier, a cautionary tale against evils of marihuana. The production was bankrolled by a church group to share with parents of young people, but soon after production it was purchased by producer Dwain Esper, and re-edited to highlight its more sensational aspects, to be released as an "exploitation" film.

The plot surrounds a den of dope-fiends who draw innocent young teenagers into their circle, and they all fall into a depraved spiral of non-consensual sex, hit-and-run accidents, murder, spastic boogie-woogie piano and insanity.

Tell Your Children
may have had its roots in good intentions, but the script and performances are so unintentionally over-the-top that it is just hilarious, whether you are stoned or not. By presenting it as an "educational film", Esper was able to skirt the Hayes Code.

The film fell into obscurity until the 1970s when it was discovered in the Library of Congress by NORML activists and, as a copyright-free entity, was widely distributed through college campuses to the enjoyment of all. Like a lot of people my age, I saw it first on Night Flight.

It should be mentioned that it did not have the title Tell Your Children any longer once Esper bought the rights for it. He re-named it Reefer Madness.

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