What cinematic horrors compare to the schadenfreude of a British public service announcement? When it comes to illustrating our poor judgment and feeble bodies, knifecrime island has no peer. Imperious accents, marbled with black humor, dwell on the dangers that lurk everywhere. Foolish teens scream along to diskfuls of bone-crunching sound effects; tentacles assault the female ones with crude metaphors, and they never, ever forget. Life is an orgy of risk: escape it while you can!
Warning: disturbing British PSAs are disturbing.Let’s start with the all-time classic: The spirit of dark and lonely water
Julie knew her killer
Get out and stay out
The Natural Born Smoker
He also had a baby.
Unbelted car passenger turns into elephant during crash
“And to think, he’d only just come from the hospital”
Get out alive
Welcome to the Battery
Unlicensed cab drivers will rape you
The last place to leave a bottle
Do you know where your child is?
The second time this week
Behind the painted smile
Tentacle (Made in Britain for international use)
Want more? Maxie The Third uploaded a roundup that illustrates well the technique used in the olden days: establish the humanity of the subject with a story, then bring it down to earth suddenly in a blast of deadly bathos.
An adroit observer will note that even perfectly innocuous British advertisments aren’t an awful lot more uplifting. Perhaps you would like Hannibal Lecter to sell you a big bank account. Of course, no roundup of British folk panic is complete without some paedogeddon.
Some were just nasty and mean: we’ll destroy all the foxes if you let rabies in.
Bonus British horror of childhood: animated classic Watership Down.