Mind the Gap: A compendium of disturbing British public information films

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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

30

Get out and stay out

The Natural Born Smoker

He also had a baby.

Electricity substation

Unbelted car passenger turns into elephant during crash

"And to think, he'd only just come from the hospital"

Escalators

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.

Not all British PSAs are scary. Here's some scare fail. And someone should remix this already?

About Rob Beschizza

Follow Rob @beschizza on Twitter.
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