''Reefer Madness'' and ''She Demons'' are among the many unintentionally hilarious films

By Lawrence O'Toole
October 16, 1992 at 04:00 AM EDT

Reefer Madness (Movie - 1936)

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”It has been a long journey, Helen. Welcome to the moon,” says a cat woman to Marie Windsor, navigator of a spaceship to the moon, which is populated by women who “have no use for men.” Fascinating in the way that truly peculiar people are, Cat Women of the Moon is a ”found” comedy: one that doesn’t mean to be hilarious and is all the funnier for it.

The ’50s were especially rich in found comedy, much of it in the cheesy sci-fi flicks churned out for teens — from the boozed-up housewife wrecking everything in sight in Attack of the 50-Foot Woman to the evil Nazi disfiguring buxom island girls in the delectable She Demons.

But sci-fi doesn’t have the franchise on idiocy; it can be found in 1936’s Reefer Madness, a cautionary tale of how marijuana leads, with alarming speed, directly to lunacy. Bare-chests-and-big-breasts biblical epics such as Samson and Delilah, with lines like, ”Your tongue will dig your grave,” leave viewers helpless with mirth.

Modern times, too, have contributed to the unintentionally funny fund. In The Island, the only fertile woman left in a race of near-extinct pirates trapped in a time warp tells reporter Michael Caine he is needed for his ”thrust.” And in 1984 Bo Derek, the cornrows having clearly pressed too tightly into her brain, went looking for ”thrust” as a 1920s heiress trying to lose her maidenhead in Bolero, which has laughable pretensions to reality. Every time Bo opens her mouth, another of her thoughts drops its laundry to reveal only the barest of essentials.

Deliciously dumb and blissfully unaware, these found comedies may have come to theaters, but they rarely visited earth.

Reefer Madness (Movie - 1936)

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