10 terrifying public information films you can watch on YouTube
Building Sites public info film

We all like a bit of nostalgia don’t we? And YouTube is a perfect place to catch up old videos that make you feel warm and fuzzy for simpler times.

But what if you want to skirt around all that, and remind yourself of a time when the government thought we were all blithering idiots who needed hand holding through everyday life? And horrible tragedy…

YouTube is rich with old public information films (there are whole playlists devoted to them), and you could sit for literally hours scaring yourself into a state of constant paranoia.

Actually, there should probably be a public information film about being on YouTube for too long somewhere.

Here are ten terrifying ones: from the dangers of drink driving, to the perils of buying real fur.

AIDS – Don’t Die of Ignorance

Aids public infomration film

We’re not sure what’s scarier. The grave imagery, the weird way in which the narration seems to turn the onscreen chiseling into some kind of visual metaphor for bonking, or whatever is supposed to be being inferred by the phrase ” a certain group”.

Un-PC rhetoric aside, this is one of the most infamous public information films out there.

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Smoker of the Future


Of all the efforts to curb smoking rates (bans, plain packaging etc), this is the most drastic, in which a narrator posits that the smokers of the future will have evolved alien like features to cope with the intoxicating habit.

Like something from Blade Runner, this dystopian ad will certainly put you off your next pack of Marlboro Reds.

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Buckle Up In the Back Seat

It’s not just the sepia tinged horrors of the 70s and 80s still giving us the paranoid panics; the 90s was also a fertile ground for shocking safety ads, including this one in which manages to pack in a genuine plot twist and a shocking finale into a 30-second film.

You’ll be calling shotgun for the rest of your life.

Fire Kills

We’re not sure who in their right mind would opt for a candle over an inexpensive and totally safe plug-in nightlight, but show them this terrifying film in which an innocent dolly meets an untimely, melty death by tealight, and they’ll ‘go electric’ soon enough.

I’ll Skip The Pudding

Drink driving public info film

If Davey’s relationship with his girlfriend wasn’t dead enough already (he’s skipped Christmas dinner for a quick drink at his sisters, and they’re already onto pudding!), he’s only gone and drunk driven home.

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Hey, that’s a snazzy new throw you’ve got on there! Is it real fur? Yes, I could tell it was actually because of that huge swarm of flies following you around and the fact that you are practically dripping in maggots.

We’re not condoning the wearing of real fur, but I’m pretty sure there’s some sort of regulatory process that stops mink shawls becoming infested with insectoid pests?

TV Licence, TV Van

The antiquated technology in this ad looks like it couldn’t find St. Paul’s, let alone tell if a family is watching Columbo in their front room or not.

Not so much shocking or graphic as just kind of creepy, as a mustachioed voyeur tunes in to your clan’s viewing habits from the street outside.

We’ll never watch Columbo again!

Building Sites

Building Sites public info film

We can’t remember the last time we saw a building site bordered off by a flimsy wooden fence, but though you’d have a tough time actually getting into one in this health and safety conscious age, you wouldn’t really want to off the back of this film.

Little Jimmy (let’s call him that) getting squashed by a loose pile of bricks looks more authentic than most Hollywood blockbusters.

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Transport hog

Coming at you from the 1940s – a time when information was obviously best relayed in rhyme – this film shows the portly George taking the last seat on the bus at the rage of those behind him in the queue (who we’re told want to “rip him limb from limb”).

We’re sure being at the front of the queue puts you first in line for a bus seat (that’s how queues work, surely), but George realises his mistake and hallucinates himself as a literal transport hog over his lunchtime half.

Bizarre stuff.

Check for fuel leaks on boats

fuel leaks on boats public information film

Into weirdly specific territory here, but we guess fuel leaks on boats are just as dangerous as anywhere else.

Maybe you’re lulled into a safe sense of security by all the water, but once you see how much budget went into this ad’s explosive finale, you’ll think twice before a lazy summer’s day out on the lakes.

Watch now


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