TW: Graphic violence, gore.
If you love horror films, you’ll flip for British PIFs – Public Information Films. The UK equivalent of the Public Service Announcement has taken terrorising you into good behaviour to a whole new level. Forget the Saw franchise, those weird Korean horror films your friend made you watch, or anything else that’s come before: the truly terrifying filmmakers are all ad execs commissioned by different branches of the British government.
1. This Northern Irish road safety ad commissioned by the Department of Environment thinks that the best way to illustrate the statistic that approximately 28 children have been killed due to speeding cars since 2002 is to kill those children. On camera. Behold the PIF so intense they literally can’t play it on TV before 9 p.m. (traditional British watershed.) Another fun fact: it’s unlisted on YouTube so the prying eyes of children (like the ones they show getting slaughtered) can’t accidentally find it.
2. No one should have to hear Mungo Jerry right before they die. Sadly these young bucks took their words too literally and suffered the consequences: “Have a drink, have a drive/go and see what you can find.”
Death. Horribly, fiery, and bloody death is what they found. Are you happy now, Ray Dorset?
3. Our next selection from the 80s is a real treat. A booming and unsettling headmaster’s voiceover straight out of Pink Floyd’s The Wall plays over footage of a railway track: “It has been brought to my notice that some of you have been playing on the railway again…IT IS NOT THE GAMES FIELD.” “Ya, but if I were in charge of that shit, it would be the shit,” thinks an uneducated little boy aloud. Suddenly, the boy’s fantasies materialise before our eyes: concessions, marquees, spectators and judges! It’s like the Olympics of Peril!
We’re then privy to a proto-Hunger Games and swathes of children are brutally killed before a politely cheering crowd. This strange dystopian universe would surely have convinced Little Gabby to GTFO of the rail yard. (But I’m in my 30s now and I do what I want and I play in rail yards ALL the time.)
4. Dario Dargento and Nicholas Roeg are probably livid at the creators of this gem about drowning hazards from the Central Office for Information. How could the marketing world just go and upstage them without the help of a soundtrack by Goblin or hideous prosthetic noses? Donald Pleasance, whose name you may recognise from many great horror films of the 60s and 70s is both narrator and antagonist: The Spirit of the River! He openly mocks little boys showing off for the other lads and relishes in their deaths. Only the wary escape, and he hates those wangs. But beware… The Spirit of the River will be waiting for you, wary children. You’ll be feeding a duck one day and WHAMMO! Cause of death: being a little show-off, with your bread crumbs and avian friends.
Now that you’re watched these PIFs, you’re well-educated about the dangers of going on picnics, driving too fast, playing in the rail yard or mucking about by the river and should be fully prepared to lead a life of constant low-level fear and cautious optimism!
In closing, please enjoy this truly laughable Peter Sarofinowicz Show PIF parody about poison sockets. I mean, what kind of idiot would forget to turn off their poison sockets?