When I was a kid, everything terrified me. I was afraid of the dark, ghosts, strangers, pylons, swings, drills, shouting men and most oddly of all, the theme tune to the popular documentary series ‘James Burke’s Connections’. Every time the spooky choral theme tune seeped from the television speaker, I clutched my mother, expecting to be asailed by images of ghosts, strangers, pilons and the dark. However what usually followed was a quite interesting documentary about science.

Of course in our enlightened modern age, my parents would have sent me to a kiddy brain clinic, but this was the 1970s and such things had yet to be invented. Anyway my fears were completely justifiable, that’s how kids were supposed to feel, we were all terrified, we had to be, because the government were at war with our tiny minds. No, I’m not a crazy conspiracy theorist. I just lived through the golden age of the government information film.

Those of you lucky enough to have been born in the late 80s or the 90s will have been spared many of these short interludes of horror, which were designed to terrify children and adults safe. They were produced by the Central Office of Information (which sounds like the department of a dystopian government), between 1946 and 2012. In the early days their films were rather charming and dealt with things like rudness on the roads and how not to spread colds, but by the 1970s they sought to influence the populous with terrifying images of people flying through windscreens and burst children.

Here are a few of the most frightening:

Lonely Water

Broken Glass

Electricity Kills

Apaches (Full length terror film)

If they weren’t enough, we had to live in daily fear of being evaporated by the Russians or blown to bits by the IRA. Thank fuck for Doctor Who, those monsters were a joy after the menace of the public information film.

Shit! My Frisbee has flown into an electricity sub station. I’ll just reach in and…

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