The Mindbenders (film #1 on Mindbenders, Vol. 1 (Something Weird, 1996)). [Category: Public Service]

This FDA film from the 60s gives information on hallucinogenic drugs, particularly LSD. Although generally cautionary in tone, it’s a lot more intelligent than most anti-drug films, focusing on the results of research and admitting that not much is known yet about these drugs. There are lots of testimonies from people who have used hallucinogens, not all of them negative, though some have disturbing implications. Accounts of drug trips are shown visually with trippy psychedelic footage, making this one of the better “trip” films. The film also covers some of the controlled studies that have been done on LSD, including one in which alcoholics were given the drug as part of a treatment program, leading to breakthroughs for some (the scenes of men in their 50s downing glasses of water containing the drug lead you to wonder what they were like when they were tripping, imaginary images that blow the mind). The overall message was that much is not known about these drugs, but there is some evidence that they could cause long-term harm, so extreme caution is advised, a much more reasonable message than many other films of the period were promoting. An interesting example of a different kind of drug film from the 60s.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.

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