Can't believe I'm the first to write a review, as this Public Information Film has quite a following now on YouTube.
Anyway, travel back to a time in the UK, say the late 70's, when your class is gathered together with others to go down to the school hall. You sit down on the cold wooden floor in files facing the front, the curtains are drawn, a hush descends, the projector hums, and your teacher orders you to face the front and pay close attention.
You are about to be scarred for life.
From the beginning, with its badly animated, leering figures, through several terrifying scenes, to its still ominous ending, this is where the PIF hit its golden target: to terrorize and traumatize a generation.
Perhaps its because it was shown in packed school halls using a projector, perhaps its the faded, washed out blue tones or the chilling narration.
But it created an atmosphere of fear like no other, lingering long in the memory of many an adult.
Public Information Films always had the target of scaring you into sensibility but this one, like the 'Lonely Water' Ad, turned fear into an art form.
Two scenes stand out- one chilling moment shows a terrifying shadow engulfing a weeping girl. Still hard to watch, I actually remember a few girls at school having nightmares for days afterwards.
Second, and worst, is a man befriending a youngster at a fair, whose friends prevent him from going away with him.
As he walks away, the man says nothing, but suddenly, almost subliminally, his face transforms hideously as the screen throbs red.
I still remember the screams in the hall.
Interestingly, like a conditioned response, I still flinch at the scene today, as a man in my late 30's.
What would the CIA give for that level of programming?
All in all a product of its time, just before VHS hardened us to violent movies and when land lines were all we had for communication.
If you're an adult of a certain age, it will return you to a time of constant, yet less immediate, fears.
Just don't watch it immediately before bed. After all, these days there's no 'Late Call' before closedown to give small consolation through the dark night till the dawn.
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