Throughout the course of the early 1940’s, a man named Richard Massingham set up a special agency that set out to create short educational films made for the public that eventually became what we know as PSA’s. Ranging from many different topics, PSA’s have been around to help influence people to either inform people or persuade them to believe what they are told. Films had become a quick way for such PSA’s to be seen to the world whether it be from Coronet Films or Young American Films. In the early 1930’s, most of these films and ideas were often classified as exploitation films and were mostly scare films. Today, I’m here to look at one such film from the early ’30s that has been forgotten over time called Sex Madness.
From what I could gather from it, the film is about an old man who is “concerned” with the alarming number of sexual diseased being reported in the news. The film then switches perspectives of one such case with a young woman who works as a dancerand deals with a sexual encounter that leads to her getting syphilis.
One of the biggest problems with the film is that it can’t keep track of its story. It constantly switches off between the old man and the woman in almost every other scene as if the director couldn’t decide who the real main character of the story should be. Even if he did pick one of them, neither one of the duo are really that interesting. They both just go through their daily lives, not really experiencing any grand or unexpected. Even the woman with her syphilis is extremely calm about it and treats it like it’s an everyday thing and it loses all suspense that the director was trying to go for in the film.
Much like Reefer Madness, the whole point of the film is to inform and warn the audience of the dangers of what is being portrayed. In this film’s case, they tried to warn us of syphilis. It’s mentioned often throughout the film and always involves the young woman and her soon to be husband. While being mentioned, the effects of it are largely ignored up until the very end were the couple have children as well as several scenes were she is often going to her doctor. Even when it’s mentioned, it comes off more like your having a dictionary being read to you while they try to be serious about it and give a performance that’s mostly over the top.
The characters in the film can be summed up in only one word: Boring. They don’t have much to them aside from a few minor traits and the fact that they’re somehow involved with syphilis and are all connected to each other in some way. They are basically as useful as cardboard cutouts of people.
The film also brings up some minor points that are supposedly causes to coming done with syphilis such as “wild” parties, being lesbians, and other ridiculous things that really make this come off as being completely impossible and very stupid. It comes off as being poorly researched and feeling likeÂ no real effort was made.
Final Thoughts: This was an incredibly boring movie. While Reefer Madness was funny at times, this had no likability to it at all. It was basically like watching Rifftrax doing a riff on an old Centron PSA from the ’50s but your just watching the film instead. I even stopped watching it twice because it was so boring. Basically if your looking for a good laugh at something similar to this, just pop on Reefer Madness.