This film covers the early history of post World War II educational films, especially those involving traffic safety by the Highway Safety Foundation under direction of Richard Wayman. In the name of promoting safe driving in teenagers, these films became notorious for their gory depiction of accidents to shock their audiences to make their point. The film also covers the role of safety films of this era, their effect on North American teenage culture, the struggle between idealism and lurid exploitation and how they reflected the larger society concerns of the time that adults projected onto their youth. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hell's Highway: True Story of Highway Safety Films (2003)
** (out of 4)
Pretty disappointing documentary taking a look at the Highway Safety Films of the 60s and 70s. I was really looking forward to this thing but nothing really worked out too well. The interviews were rather boring, which is what really killed this. The film picks up in the final fifteen-minutes when we hear debates on whether these films did any good or not. I personally found the actual videos to be nothing more than offensive, tasteless scare tactics. Footage included one film where cops flips over a car to discover a dead baby that has been smashed to death. There are countless other bloody clips where people's heads are stuck through windshields and so on.
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