Impulse Pictures // 1971 // 77 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Daryl Loomis // April 29th, 2011
Marijuana's mind expanding power has been known about for two thousand years. The secret of its sexual power has only been whispered about...until now.
Are you tired of the anti-drug faction holding a monopoly on specious claims and poorly researched propaganda? Do you watch Assassin of Youth and ask yourself, "Why can't my side put together garbage like this?" If so, then Impulse Pictures has made your day with their release of the little seen Aphrodisiac! The Sexual Secret of Marijuana, complete and uncut for the first time on video.
This rarely seen 1971 look at the benefits of marijuana is little more than a 42nd Street grinder veiled under the thinnest veneer of documentary. Mixed in with bad science and even worse history, director Dennis van Zak utilizes man-on-the-street interviews and, most importantly, dramatizations of the points made by the narrator. Seeming to come from the High Times version of Penthouse Forum, our scenarios include the performance enhancements of marijuana over alcohol, a stressed businessman who gets turned on (in more ways than one) by his young secretary, and in a creepy finale, a husband curing his wife of her frigidity by slipping her some drugs in a tasty cookie. I don't know if that somehow seemed less slimy in 1971, then I truly don't understand that time.
Aphrodisiac! tries to be the anti-Reefer Madness, accepting everything that the earlier film condemned as true, but claiming that all those effects are good. I suppose that if you smoke a joint and embrace the hysterical, sex-crazed maniac you become, you'll unlock your inner Ki...or something.
Unlike those films of yore, Aphrodisiac! really isn't serious about its subject for a second. The documentary angle is clearly just a gimmick to get to the steamy stuff and anything else is strictly for comedy. These sorts of films can make for a sleazy good time, but this one fails pretty miserably. Not at the first part; the film is plenty sleazy, but the second part. Of interest, however, is John Holmes in a very early role and Billy Curtis (The Wizard of Oz) in a tiny appearance. Otherwise, this whole thing is pretty lame.
The disc from Impulse Pictures is exactly what I expected, which was very little. The image is understandably poor given the age and nature of the material. The sex scenes, most of which had been truncated for previous releases, look noticeably worse than the rest. The sound is bad all around, with a solid hiss nearly the entire film and some muddled dialog. No extras.
Even if you're high as James Franco at the Oscars, you still won't find Aphrodisiac! The Sexual Secret of Marijuana very interesting.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Impulse Pictures
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 77 Minutes
Release Year: 1971
MPAA Rating: Not Rated