Nightmare Fuel / Public Service Announcement

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"CANADA, YOU'RE SICK! YOU'RE SICK, CANADA! WHAT THE HELL'S WRONG WITH YOU?!!!!"
The Nostalgia Critic reacting to the PSA pictured.

Attentive readers may notice that the Nightmare Fuel examples that come from Public Service Announcements and Public Information films vastly outnumber those that come from normal commercials.

This is no accident — the idea IS to drill into people's heads that one instant of carelessness/inattentiveness/failure to heed basic safety rules and regulations, one thoughtless comment or act of anger, one decision to smoke/drink/use drugs can (and often does) result in lifelong consequences, including severe injury or death and emotional scars that last a lifetime.

Talk about Well Intentioned Extremists - some people indeed believe that Scare 'em Straight tactics — graphically showing the consequences — are the only way to shock the target audience into following safety rules and regulations at every moment. Or, in the case of abuse of others, be they animals, women or children, to immediately report wrongdoing and ensure that the wrong-doers face justice stat.

The other side of the coin is that many of these are simply Brutal Honesty at its finest. When Reality Ensues, it frequently isn't pretty. However horrific these little morality tales may be, if they mean that someone doesn't get splattered across the pavement without the aid of Conspicuous CGI, they have done their job. Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped, after all.

The truly daring can watch one or more of these countdowns of some of the scariest PSAs and PIFs, which you can find in the folder below. Some of these countdowns have been compiled and uploaded by members of YouTube's community of PIF reviewers and connoisseurs. They know what they're talking about. Also, discretion is advised - there's some pretty nasty stuff in there.

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    Countdowns and Compilations 

A word of warning: As PSAs and PIFs are meant to warn you about things that happen in Real Life, browsing this page may cause paranoia. Be careful.

Cruelty / Violence

    Animal Cruelty 
Remember all those times as a kid you were told "owning a pet is a big responsibility"? Well, this is what they were talking about.
  • Hello, RSPCA PIFs!
    • This cinema ad from the late 80s (rated 18) starts off with a dark, slow zoom in on a dog with an instrumental "How Much is That Doggy in the Window?" song being played over it. After a while though, the dog looks to his right and sees a gun pointed at his face with a voice over telling us to give us (the RSPCA) a pound, or otherwise, they'll have to pull the trigger, either giving us the message that if they don't get enough funds, they might as well stop what they're doing or have to kill off animals they can no longer take care of (due to over breeding). It could possibly be sad as well, particularly due to the sad look in the dog's eyes...or it could come off as funny, if you live in the US and remember this strangely similar National Lampoon magazine cover.
      Narrator: Please give us a pound, or we'll have to pull the trigger.
    • Another RSPCA cinema ad from the early 90s entitled Sam involves a dog being placed in an oven whimpering as the announcer compares the heat in the oven to the heat in a locked car on a hot day. It ends not telling you of the dog's fate as you hear one last whimper...oh, and did we mention that the BBFC rated it 'U', meaning they found it suitable for 4-year-olds and above?
    • ''Kitten''. A longer spot than those named so far; close-up of an adorable ginger kitten's face, apparently sleeping peacefully, while a hand strokes its head and the narrator placidly wonders what "they" dream about. Cut to RSPCA officer Mike rushing to a scene while the dispatcher warns that she's "got a nasty one" for him. A tearful woman indicates some unnamed male in her household has thrown the kitten against the wall, and it is no longer moving. A moment later officer Mike leaves the house with a sober expression, carrying a small cloth bundle; fellow officer peers beneath and remarks "poor little mite". Cut back to the opening scene where the narrator observes that animals are not toys or punching bags and that in a better world "we'd be looking for a new home for you." Pull back to see the person stroking the kitten was the vet who could not save her. The kitten lies on a steel table, with a tiny RSPCA body-bag and zip-tie waiting nearby.
    • "My Little Puppy". Done in the style of a really saccharine toy commercial, it is actually a scathing commentary on people who buy pets with no thought that pet ownership comes with responsibility — training, housebreaking, regular feeding, actually paying attention to them. The anvilicious ending pulls no punches in condemning the attitude that pets are as disposable as an unwanted toy.
    • "Swim" was produced by the same company that brought us the anti-fox-hunting film with the shot of a real carcass (see the Wildlife folder). It is shot in a first-person view of two dogs following their owner who is supposedly taking them for a swim. However, the ad takes a turn for the worse midway through, where all of a sudden the dog says that he's "Never been down this way before...usually we go where there's more people." Things get even worse when the dog notes that it feels colder than he can take. Then, he notes that it's "so cold that our friend puts us in a sack to keep us warm!", just as he covers up the camera with said sack. And at that point, we know exactly what he's about to do. And if you couldn't figure it out by them, after the RSPCA hotline is shown, we see the dick tying up the bag before presumably throwing it out into the canal. Rated 15 for cinema release.
    • "Yard" works in much the same way as "Swim", except here it follows the POV of a dog locked in the titular yard, wondering what it was she did to deserve this punishment, and thinking about how tired and thirsty she is. Unlike "Swim", it's clear that something bad is happening from the start, and it ends with a third-person shot of the police arriving to take away the presumably deceased dog. Just... wow. Rated 15 for cinema release.
  • Australia's RSPCA often makes lighthearted PIFs in contrast to their UK cousins, but this ad stands out among theirs for being quite unsettling. It shows a man beating his wife when suddenly the woman's cries of pain are replaced by the sounds of a dog getting beaten. A caption then appears coldly telling the audience that 37% of violent criminals abused animals in their childhood, and the RSPCA's runs programs to teach kids to respect animals.
  • A somewhat unsettling cinema PIF from the National Canine Defense League (currently known as Dogs Trust) that's apparently rated U shows a simple shot of a tired and sad dalmatian lying on a red blanket. The camera slowly zooms out to reveal that the dog is locked in a cage, presumably in a shelter while a haunting instrumental of Silent Night plays. The ad closes with the dog curling up dejectedly and the tagline "A dog is for life. Not just for Christmas." Not to mention that the ad was sponsored by Disney, and has a link for kids to play a "cyber-puppy" game.
  • An organization called Compassion in World Farming created an 18-rated PIF for theatres called "Welcome to the Battery" encouraging people to buy free range eggs by giving audiences a glimpse into the lives of battery farm chickens. It starts with a bespectacled David Graham informing the audience that they will soon be confined to cages "for your protection", and that their teeth and nails will be surgically removed ("This greatly reduces incidents of cannibalism."). Why? Because they are about to become part of "one of the world's most cost-effective production systems." "You have nothing to worry about." Cue real footage of chickens in rows of cramped cages in a battery farm. "This system has been tested on 45 million specimens. With, I might add, your approval." We close on one sickly looking chicken which seems to be having trouble breathing as CIWF implores you to buy free range eggs. ("They don't cost this much.")
    • A Canadian PSA with the same theme explores this as well but in a less scary way. We are treated to a shot of an oven, while a narrator tells us that the average oven can fit one chicken inside it. The door then opens, and there's a live chicken inside (which is clearly not a battery hen). As the PSA goes on, more chickens look up from around the first chicken, until eventually, you can make out five other chickens inside a space that can only fit one.
  • These ASPCA print ads are certainly short and not at all sweet. They show an animal and two other objects and claim that the things ASPCA have seen are worse than any scenario your imagination can put together with them.
  • This Animal Aid PIF takes this trope one step further by depicting an electronic toy puppy being euthanized.
  • Animals Australia made an ad to denounce the Australian pork industry's inhumane conditions for their livestock. They do this by animating a pig in a slaughterhouse confined to a tight cage to talk and voiced over by a little girl, who complains about her condition. A narrator afterwards tells you that it is commonly accepted that pigs have the intelligence of a 3-year-old child. What makes this deeply unnerving is that the background noises throughout the ad are made up of children crying, meant to represent other pigs in the slaughterhouse. There's also the fact that the pig in the video continually stares directly at the camera through most of the ad, venturing forth on all sorts of Uncanny Valley.

    Bullying, Racism & Discrimination 
Consider this a smarting reminder that picking on, or targeting anyone for mistreatment, is not harmless.
  • "Broken Toy", an anti-bullying video. The shots of the children are grainy in a documentary style, with mumbled, very real-sounding dialogue. It features a young boy who was constantly being bullied; at one point he manages to make a friend with another boy, who later shown having to move away. Eventually, the boy is taunted so badly that he's pushed out into a street, gets hit by a car and nearly dies. One of the really scary things about this video isn't so much the video itself as the fact that schoolyard bullies can really be this bad. Kids? Innocent? Fuck that! note 
    • There was also this one extended PSA called "Tears on the Highway" which had a similar message, probably made by the same producers which is shown at local elementary schools. It features again a young boy being bullied on a school bus full of children. As the situation worsens from the bullies verbally abusing the kid to a fist fight, the bus driver gets distracted and gets in a full on collision with a semi-truck, killing nearly every child on the bus including the young boy (there is no Gory Discretion Shot either, you watch as these kids die horrible deaths). As the video ends a camera zooms into the boy's smiling face as the scene fades to red.
  • A 1980s-era anti-hate PSA, in which we see a cartoon man walk towards the viewer with an increasingly red and angry face that gets bigger and bigger until said face fills up the entire screen and then explodes. In the background, we can hear a song: "When you hate/who do you hurt the most?/Hate hurts YOU!" In this case, the angry cartoon man's face exploding is timed to go along with the "YOU!" part of the song. Here's the ad in question on RetroJunk.
    • Fun fact: The full version of the ad began with said cartoon man walking from a distance before heading towards the viewer, and the narrator did not sing but had an echoing, ominous voice. That version scared children, and they had to tone it down.
  • An anti-bullying PSA showed a kid being bullied, and each day the bullies get more aggressive, and on the final day you see the kid standing on a chair — he kicks the chair away and his legs stay suspended, and immediately, you can tell that he's been Driven to Suicide.
  • This Israeli anti-racism ad. If the heavy metal rendition of Israel's national anthem isn't scary, wait until you learn Hebrew. Then things get worse. MUCH Worse.
  • This PSA about racial acceptance, which features claymation animated shoes from the darkest areas of the Uncanny Valley.
  • A chilling 1998 anti-sectarianism PIF from the British government's Northern Ireland Office begins with showing a group of toddlers happily playing with toys in a nursery, accompanied by Diana Ross's "Do You Know Where You're Going To" playing in the background. All seems well... until a radio begins delivering harrowing news stories about crimes delivered by sects (including a teenager who had been crucified to a wooden fence with metal spikes through his knees and elbows). As the radio continues, the room goes dark, and the toddlers begin crying as the toys in the nursery suddenly become ominous and threatening. The PIF ends with the tagline "Heal the hate. Fight the future." on a white background.
  • This PSA from Japan discusses "ljime" (Japanese for bullying or intimidation). It shows a group of schoolchildren wearing eerie white masks, complete with narrow slits for their eyes and mouth. Luckily, the ad begins to take a lighter tone when the schoolchildren then remove their masks, revealing their smiling faces underneath. Also helping is the cheery music in the background and the image of a white mask clattering to the ground concluding the PSA.
  • Ad Council ran this terrifying anti-hate advert way back, showing actual photos of Nazi and Ku Klux Klan rallies, and civil rights protests while an electronic screaming noise is played over and over again. This was shown on daytime television where kids were most likely watching and later broadcasts of this advert don't show the middle part possibly due to complaints.
  • This parody of Celebrities Read Mean Tweets starts off lighthearted enough and even has Laugh Track playing in the background. But the Laugh Track becomes quieter and quieter as the Tweets become increasingly more mean spirited. Until even the music completely grinds to a stop as a girl reads the final Tweet: "No one likes you. Do everyone a favour. Just kill yourself." She then walks away and the tagline appears on screen "Cyberbullying is no joke".

    Child Abuse 
Abusive Parents can be played many ways in fiction, but in Real Life? Not so much.
  • A 2007 child sex abuse awareness PSA called Monsters plays upon the common childhood theme of monsters hiding under the bed and in the closet. As said situations play out — red eyes from under the bed and tentacles from the closet — and those monsters are proven to be imaginary, the voice-over narrator explains, "It's very easy to hide from monsters under the bed ... and in the closet." But the boy lies wide awake, panting nervously and fearfully as the narrator continues about the real monsters. Cue the door opening and a young man, ominously covered in shadows — his exact relationship with the boy is not explained — enters the room. The scene cuts to the window as text explains to viewers that in most cases, child sex abuse victims know their abusers (and hence, are the real "monsters") before the tagline "It's time to stop hiding."
  • The Irish equivalent of the NSPCC, the IPCC, produced this PSA that quickly becomes very graphic. In it, a young boy bravely recites his intentions to become an activist when he grows up, all the while suffering increasingly brutal abuse at the hands of his parent, culminating in the parent attempting to crush the boy's ribcage beneath his foot.
    I can't wait until I grow up, until I have the right to be happy, to be kept safe, to be kept warm. To feel loved. To be listened to, to be heard. To never ever ever ever cower, or tremble, or shake, or to have my innocence punched or kicked or screamed away. I'll fight for the rights of children like me, who don't have a childhood. I can't wait until I grow up.
  • A French ad for Enfance et partage is very unsettling. It starts out normal, with two adult men and a woman eating lunch. Then, all of a sudden, the woman slaps one of the man, and the other man drags him away and starts brutally beating him up with a belt. The worst part is the end where it ends with the tagline "This is a reconstruction. In reality, the victim was 6 years old
  • The anti-child-abuse organization NSPCC is responsible for a lot of these.
    • An advertisement for the NSPCC from 1999, titled Can't Look. It shows teddy bears in the sort of wallpaper you'd see in a baby's bedroom, a mug with Rupert Bear and an Action Man-like action figure and posters of footballers and pop stars all covering their eyes, over the sound of off-screen child abuse (there's a man molesting a girl, a father yelling at his son, a boy in a closet wailing, and a woman yelling a Big "SHUT UP!" at her crying baby), the message being that covering our eyes doesn't stop bad things happening.
    • Another NSPCC advert, "Cartoon Boy", shows an animated cartoon boy being abused by his live-action father, with cartoonish results that are out of keeping with the seriousness with which his father attacks him, culminating in the boy being knocked down the stairs...only to finally be shown as a real child, no longer cartoonishly affected but lying either unconscious or dead at the foot of the stairs. "Real children don't bounce back" indeed.
    • One disturbing NSPCC campaign from 2006 was run in the style of a mock Fairy Tale about a 13 year old girl who, just like Cinderella, was left alone at home while her family went out on the town. The advert ended with a fire starting and the girl being trapped with no way to escape. All while "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M. plays in the background.
    • Another one began with a man creeping into a girl's bedroom, only to be trampled by fun runners before he can do anything, with the message that you can raise money for the NSPCC through fundraising events. The scary part in all this is when the runners' arrival is heralded by a man in a rabbit mask looming ominously out of the darkness.
    • This ad, also from the NSPCC, about victims of abuse being unable to speak out against their abusers is horrific. The puppet girl is especially creepy.
    • These three ads by the NSPCC are so horrifying, they will make you hug the nearest baby you see. One shows a man snapping a pencil in anger as his child cries, and the tells us that a baby's arm isn't much stronger. Another one is worse, it shows a child in the hospital and either dead or unconscious, with the doctors explaining its horrific injuries including brain bleeding, however the child's okay - its eyes are open at the end. The final ad is the worst one of all, and shows us a woman slowly growing annoyed with her wailing infant and then spinning around to hit the child. To make matters worse, the ad ends before we see what happens.
    • Yet another NSPCC campaign. Unsurprisingly, the ad was pulled due to the masks (used to represent how children cover up abuse) being deemed too realistic and distressing for children. (The TV one, at least; there were also magazine ads.)
    • "The $#*! Kids Say" starts out cute, with kids saying strange things. However, as it progresses, the things they say hint at abuse. This includes a little girl shouting at another, and a girl saying "I'm a mistake, it's always my fault". It's an excellent use of Fridge Horror to get the point across.
    • Another one shows a young girl (named Ellie) placing a doll on her bed, who then says: "My name's Mandy. I can sing and play games. You can hug me!" and giggles. Ellie then leaves the room upon hearing her presumably abusive mother sternly calling her name downstairs. The doll continues: "You can tell me all your secrets. My best friend Ellie tells me hers. Her mummy comes into her room and punches her..." and continues to repeat "and punches her" over and over until the end of the ad.
      • The one they made for boys is arguably even worse because the abuse actually happens. In it, an toy robot lies on the floor of a boy's dingy bedroom, saying "Astrobot to base!" and making zapping sounds. Then, still in its robot voice, it says "My mission is to protect Thomas from his daddy. He locks him in the dark place." A faint knocking sound comes from behind a door as the toy exclaims "Astrobot to the rescue!" There's a horrible irony in that the robot is just a toy and can't actually help.
    • This terrifying one against child pornography begins with showing a man on a laptop, with his back facing the camera. He walks away from the laptop upon hearing the doorbell. As the camera zooms in on the laptop, a child suddenly appears in it, pressing his or her hands against the screen as a Scare Chord plays.
    • One ad opens with a little girl magically changing her surroundings by saying "Click!" as she heads home from school. It's fun, up until she actually makes it home. At which point, she gets more tense as she sits on her bed, helplessly and uselessly repeating "Click" as someone approaches her room. That's how it ends.
  • Many years ago, there was a PSA about child abuse that showed a jack-in-the-box playing a lullaby tune, before the payload sprang forth - an archaic baby doll with a porcelain head - to the sound of a baby crying. Then, out of nowhere, a baseball bat swings around and smashes the doll's head. The best part? This little horror played in the middle of a block of daytime cartoons.
  • The US organization Ad Council released this PSA,entitled Word Pictures. The advert shows various insults written in crayon on a white background, while various adult voiceovers shouted the abuses(including "I Hate You!"). At the end, drawings of crying children(also in crayon) appear along with the Ad Council logo.
  • There was a Public Service Announcement in Hong Kong that showed a red liquid dripping onto the floor from a table. The camera then panned up to show that it was coming from an overturned glass, with a caption about a toddler whose abusive parents beat him to death for spilling his juice.
  • From the NCPCA, Children believe what they hear... One of the earliest promos for verbal child abuse.
  • Barnardo's, a British charity that works with vulnerable children, is well known for these. Its greatest hits include:
    • A TV and poster campaign showing underage prostitutes with digitally aged faces to show that sexual abuse has stolen their childhood. The NSPCC later did its own version with adults speaking in children's voices about living with molestation.
    • A series of posters featuring distance shots of people who have died horribly (through murder, suicide, drug overdose, etc.) with text explaining that they really "died" as children because of abuse or neglect.
    • Images of babies snuggled up with rats and cockroaches because they are trapped in substandard housing.
    • Print adverts (eventually banned for causing "widespread offense") featuring newborn babies with harmful objects in their mouths, with the the slogan, "There are no silver spoons for children born into poverty." A TV advert of this campaign also exists, showing a live cockroach crawling out of a newborn infant's mouth. Yikes.
    • An advert that began with a group of men going out to hunt "parasites" and "scum" that "destroy lives", stating that "something must be done". We're led to believe that they are hunting verminous wildlife, but they instead begin shooting at a group of teenagers, culminating in them screaming- "TO HELL WITH THEIR HUMAN RIGHTS!". The advert states that every line of dialogue in the film was a quote about children, made by members of the public on the website of a national newspaper.
    • Children talking about their dreams for the future (becoming a policeman, running a candy store, being an athlete or Hollywood star) juxtaposed with a caption stating what really happened to them, such as O.D. on heroin before 20, becoming a prostitute, commits robbery and murder and so on.
    • A young man (early 20s or so) talks to the camera about how his life is going well - he's a new father, he likes his job, and so forth. As the camera moves, however, every time an object covers him, he's a little younger... and his story gets a little worse. Eventually he's a very young boy, covered in bruises, whimpering about how he's hurt. The message is a good one (a bad beginning does not have to lead to a bad ending), but the delivery stings.
  • There was a radio PSA about Internet paedophiles where we hear a young girl talking about a guy that she and her friend met on the internet. He's 17 with his own car and wanted to meet them, but the girl didn't want to go. She wonders whether her friend went alone, and reflects that she hasn't heard from her since ...
  • Another PSA on Internet and chat room safety was made for TV ... with a bright-looking and attractive 16-year-old communicating with someone she believes is her age, and that he can't wait to meet her. Reveal the other side of the conversation, and it's actually a middle-aged man ... and the viewer is left to draw his own conclusions about whether the meeting took place.
  • There's a brief ad currently being shown before movies in the United States that features a little girl treating her doll the way her mother treats her. Sadly, the mother hasn't set a good example...
  • Fragile Childhood asks "How do our children see us when we've been drinking?" Apparently, they see us as a monstrous anthropomorphic rabbit, a shady man in a hood, a zombie, a Monster Clown, a sketchy, half-dressed Santa Claus, and a criminal in a stocking mask. As if the costumes weren't bad enough, the last one is buckling his son into a car seat...and remember, he's been drinking...
  • The fact that many abusers can appear to be loving parents is the horror in this one. Look at the little girl's face. The long version has her looking back through the window.
  • A radio PSA about sexual exploitation had a man describing how he uses child prostitutes. The ad becomes creepier and creepier as he says he likes very young girls and doesn't have to bother using condoms with them. We're led to believe that he goes abroad to find them, but at the end he says there's no need for him to travel, when he can get child prostitutes in his own home town.
  • By all rights, this ad should be complete and utter narm. While the subject matter is appropriately horrific - that children who are sexually abused have to live with their trauma for the rest of their lives - the visual metaphor used to represent said trauma can really only be described as a giant penis snake. On paper, that sounds simply too vulgar to be taken seriously. In practice, however, it's one of the most revolting things you will ever see.
  • An Indian PSA for the Prayas Foundation is very simple and unsettling. A mouse cursor slowly moves over a still image of a smiling girl. This goes on for a while before it fades to black with the tagline "Thankfully, she did not feel a thing. But millions of children are not as fortunate."
    • Germany made their own version which is even more horrifying. In this one when the cursor moves over the picture of the kid, the sound of a man getting off to it is heard in the background. It's bound to push all the wrong buttons.
  • A PSA from the Ad Council and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children features a grown man talking about chatting with teenage girls online and how easy it is to gain their trust (by playing on their insecurities and acting more mature than boys their age), while a young girl talks about how she enjoys the attention she gets from older guys on the Internet. As the two finish each other's sentences, it quickly becomes clear that the man does not have the girl's best interest at heart. And then there's the ending.
    Girl: I know what I'm doing. If you really care about each other, there's nothing wrong with-
    Man: Meeting is the goal. Once I get them out of their house, well...that's when things get really interesting.
    Narrator: Online predators know what they're doing. Do you?
  • The Nobody’s Children Foundation in Poland made these two macabre print ads. Claiming that “you can lose more than your patience", they depict physically abused children with parts of their faces and limbs broken off as if they were porcelain dolls. Body Horror at its finest.
  • This creepy print ad from Casa de Menor in Spain features a young girl standing alone in a room naked, with several disembodied hands covering her body in a way that resembles a dress.
  • A recent advert from the Scottish Government has the voice of a paedophile speaking through the character on a girl's phone case.
  • One PSA for Unicef has a young boy working on what appears to be an innocent art project. Upon finishing, he attaches each piece of cardboard to his body and crouches down to form a realistic-looking dresser drawer that he uses to hide from his abusive father. Upon the father coming into his son's room, he ogles it for a long time then leaves, giving us the implication that just because it worked that time, doesn't mean that it'll work the next...
  • A horrifying radio ad for the German child-abuse charity Hansel and Gretel Foundation begins with the apparently wholesome sound of a little girl laughing hysterically, before the narrator tells the listener that if you can recognize that the girl is actually having an orgasm, the charity will find you and put you in jail, and if you can't, you should donate money. There's a link here, but you'll probably feel like you'll end up on a list just for having heard it.
  • This horrifying South African PSA by Women and Men Against Child Abuse has a man, implied to be HIV-positive, raping a child off-screen while a woman listens via a baby monitor. The fact that she can only sit there and listen in horror make the whole thing ten times worse.

    Domestic Violence 
Domestic Abuse comes in many ways for many reasons, though the physical kind is easily the hardest to look at. No points for guessing what you'll be seeing a lot of in these ads.
  • Children See, Children Do: The commercial starts off cute enough, with a kid mimicking her parent in their daily commute...up until you see she's smoking a cigarette just like her mum. Then it starts getting weird: some of it is unintentionally fun, such as a kid mimicking her mom while she's screaming at another driver and giving the bird, or the aforementioned payphone users start getting frustrated at the payphones, but most of it is pretty jarring, especially near the end when a kid is ready to punch his mom out alongside his abusive father...
  • There was a domestic violence PSA shown in the 1990s by Futures Without Violence (formerly known as the Family Violence Prevention Fund). It featured a little boy sitting on some stairs while the viewer can hear the father berating the mother very nastily about her not having dinner ready in the background. There's an audible smack and the mother screams and cries as her husband beats her all while the little boy listens on. The fact that you could only hear it and not see it made it all the worse.
  • In the early 21st century, Canadian broadcasters began running a PSA (from the Calgary-based domestic abuse action group Homefront) aptly titled "She Spilled My Coffee!" in which a family is sitting in a restaurant. The father is served coffee by a young waitress, but she accidentally spills a little bit of it on the plate. She apologizes before the father curses at her, grabs her by the neck, slams her against another table and sadistically spills the coffee pot on her body as she screams in agony and he slaps her, leaving her to slip off the table onto the floor and cry (or possibly fall unconscious). Worse, nobody stops this from happening. Finally, as the father sits back down in his chair and the family continues to enjoy their time as if nothing happened, an announcer says "You wouldn't get away with it here, you shouldn't get away with it at home." note  The horrible display is made even worse by just before the man attacks the waitress, the reactions of his children show when even they, despite both being under the age of 10, just knew the signals of when he was about to go off and had previously witnessed his abuse happening to someone else, suffered from it themselves or both. This PSA was one of many made by Homefront in Calgary and, unsurprisingly enough, was considered controversial for TV. (Never mind the fact that the man calls the waitress a "fuckin' bitch" before he beats her.)
    • On the other hand, the dad's over(re)acting could lead to Narm.
    • Another ad in the series that was also banned features a female employee accidentally speaking over the manager during a board meeting, and being sadistically beaten in front of everyone. Like the "Spilled the Coffee" short, the co-workers sit in stunned silence rather than try to stop it (although they do go to help her, and the presenter leaves the office, presumably to get the manager's supervisor). note 
  • Neighbors. Made worse by the fact you can hear the woman blatantly screaming "I can't get up!" and the husband keeps taunting her. We don't ''see'' what happens upstairs. And then there's the fact the neighbors in the title just shrug it off and go to bed. Way to pack a punch there.
  • This cinema ad for Samaritans from 1989 (rated 15) features a woman (supposedly named Saira) in a dark room who is talking to the camera about...something, but the only noise that comes out of her mouth is some sort of horrifying, distorted electric-guitar noise. At the beginning, she seems perfectly content and fine, but by the end of the ad she's reduced to screaming through her tears as the camera backs out to reveal that she's stuck in a dark corner. Some text pops up in the bottom right that says: "THE SAMARITANS UNDERSTAND." The fact that the audience can get the gist of what she is talking about but are only hearing the electronic noise is pretty horrifying, because it feels like a massive guilt trip. She is opening up but nobody is listening or there to help her.
    • Another distressing 1992 cinema ad from The Samaritans features the sounds of people speaking, talking about things like divorce, job loss, repossession, fines, etc. accompanied by wavy white lines swimming across the screen - which eventually form a telephone with teeth that emits a harrowing scream, showing that the man on the receiving end of all this misfortune just can't take it any more and has decided to call the Samaritans. And worst of all, it received a U certificate from the BBFC.
  • A cinema ad for a British rape crisis charity (rated 15) showed a woman in bed having nightmares, while a soundtrack plays of her being raped by a neighbour and then people saying various offensive, unhelpful or Victim Blaming things to her (such as asking what she was wearing and whether she was having an affair with the rapist.) Eventually she wakes up and screams.
  • Housing charity Shelter ran an ad showing a family forced to live at a "bed and breakfast" (cheap hostel accommodation offered to the homeless) in a room the size of a solitary confinement cell in jail. Tempers begin to fray with the baby screaming, mother nagging and father shouting. Eventually he lunges for his daughter because her out-of-tune music practice is irritating him; his wife gets in the way, and the ad ends on a freeze-frame of the guy about to violently beat her. You can see it here.
  • An ad for a domestic violence hotline has a cover of Peter Gabriel's "Mercy Street" by Emy Reynolds playing while a woman stands in front of a bathroom mirror. Bruises continually form on her face and fade away, but become progressively worse. Text gives the ad's message that abuse doesn't stop on its own, further emphasized by the ending in which the woman quickly turns around as the screen cuts to black, suggesting whoever did this to her is about to do it again. The bruises on her neck also imply that just because she survived the abuse this time doesn't mean that she will survive next time making this ad heartbreaking as well as horrifying.
  • One PSA from the early 2000s features a black and white image of a baby sleeping peacefully as an instrumental of "Brahms' Lullaby" plays in the background. It is also in the background that we hear a man and woman, the child's parents, yelling and arguing with each other. The images of their angry faces, yelling mouths and of the escalating violence (of dishes smashing and the man striking the woman in the face) are projected onto the baby itself. The last image is of the boy, now a young teenager, pointing the gun at someone off camera as the screen then goes black and a single shot is heard. It then goes back to the sleeping baby and a woman's voice then says "What a child learns about violence, a child learns for life." There are three versions of the commercial: the full length one of 30 seconds that ends with the gunshot, a 15 second one with the gunshot and another 30 second one that instead of the shot being fired, we hear a ghostly, unsettling silence.
  • There are some British adverts against domestic violence. One of them features a teenage boy verbally and physically abusing his girlfriend. The camera then cuts to his bedroom window, where he is outside, looking in on himself and his girlfriend, banging on the window and screaming at himself to leave her alone. The idea is a very good one, that if you could see yourself, you might think twice about domestic violence, but it's still creepy. There was also a matching set done for the girl of the relationship, encouraging her to speak out about being abused. They are just as horrible. And now they've done one for rape, it's just as saddening.
  • This PSA about both textual harassment and dating abuse, which was made by Futures Without Violence as part of a campaign called "That's Not Cool". It depicts a girl being creepily followed around by her presumed boyfriend in a cell phone costume (including when she wakes up, goes to school, and spends time with her friends), who’s constantly telling her to “text [him]” and eventually asks for her to send him nude pictures by the end of the ad.
    • The radio version is even more unnerving: likening textual harassment to having an "angry robot" send texts for you, an off-putting robotic, monotone voice reads out the texts sent from the abuser. As the ad progresses, the texts become increasingly impatient and aggressive. The real kicker is the final text read before the female announcer speaks: "I’m waiting outside your house."
  • From Mexico's National Human Right's Commission comes this horror. It shows a happy couple talking about how their significant other is a wonderful and beautiful person. It then shows them spinning around in a field as the music slowly turns ominous, while the girl's face becomes worried and the guy's face becomes creepy. She asks him, "Why do you hurt me?", to which he replies, "Because you are worth a lot.... of money", as he lets go and the girl falls into a dark room occupied with other girls as she cowers in fear.

    Victims of War / International Concerns 
Let's take things to a higher scale. If you thought that War Is Hell for the soldiers, imagine how hard it must be to live in these wartorn lands...
  • The 1943 Wartime Cartoon Education for Death. In particular, the ending sequence- "Manhood binds him still, heiling and marching. But the grim years of regimentation have done their work. He is now a good Nazi. He sees no more than what the party wants him to, he says nothing but what the party wants him to say, and he does nothing but what the party wants him to do". The final shot shows an army of of marching Nazi soldiers fading away into rows and rows of identical swastika and helmet-topped crosses as the music descends to silence, with the narration "And so, he marches on with his millions of comrades, trampling on the rights of others. For now, his education is complete. His education... for death". You know what makes this truly scary? The fact that this actually happened. Demons, monsters and witches are make-believe. Nazis and the Holocaust are very real. Disney effectively exposed children to a real-life tragedy.
    • Ironically, in an era when most animation studios zealously supported the war effort and made great strides in dehumanizing and caricaturing the Axis Powers, this cartoon reminds the audience that the Germans are human too, having been conscripted into a war where millions of them shall die.
  • The Unicef PSA where The Smurfs' village gets bombed. Talk about a childhood killer, especially when one learns Peyo's family approved it.
  • This Pro-Palestine PSA, "Imagine if London was Occupied by Israel" The blood on the girl and the fact that the man can't get her to an ambulance is extremely terrifying.
  • This pro-Israel PSA, "15 Seconds", is horrifyingly effective at conveying the fear of living under constant threat of rocket attacks. Imagine hearing that siren going off out of nowhere and knowing you only have fifteen seconds to get yourself and your loved ones to safety. And then there's the poor little girl whose mother couldn't save her in time...
  • "Most Shocking Second a Day" from Save the Children imagines what it would be like if a crisis like one in the Middle East (namely, Syria) happened in Britain. It piles on the Adult Fear by showing everything from the perspective of a young girl with the events occurring within the course of one year. Also Fridge Horror is in full effect here when at the beginning of and in the former part of the ad, she is surrounded by loved ones and at the end it's only her and her mother...
    • A sequel was made two years later when the conflict worsened. Still The Most Shocking Second A Day follows the same girl and her mother as they try and flee the country, turning into refugees in the process. The situations they get into are even worse and manages to be a Tear Jerker in the process. Specially in the end when the girl loses her mother and the young boy she was taking care of gets taken away, leaving her all alone.
  • This 2000 PIF for Save the Children is nothing short of horrific. We see a goldfish happily swimming in a fishbowl...until, all of a sudden, a hand violently grabs it and leaves it on the countertop, where we get to watch it suffocate fully. All of this is overdubbed with audio of a child screaming against gunshots, ending with her hyperventilating.
  • This PSA is meant to raise awareness of the problem of landmines. It's mostly just disturbing. It features some kids celebrating a soccer/football win. As one of the team players approaches the other, a landmine suddenly goes off. Children scream and run away as horrified parents look on.
  • This one concerns aid for people on holiday who have gotten themselves locked up abroad. The narration tells us that this organization helps those people, who often are left in unclean jails "to rot". As it says this, we see what clearly looks like a woman's corpse, mouth agape... before a cockroach falls into her mouth and she wakes up, spitting it out in disgust. The worst part? A note at the end tells us that this was a true story and it really happened to someone.
  • Quite a few from "Reporters Sans Frontieres" (Reporters Without Borders).
    • One PSA features a seemingly real homemade video in which a couple witness a shooting on video. The message? "In the last 15 years, access to information has cost 850 journalists' lives." Unnerving.
    • Another 2013 ad shows pictures of dictators and authoritarian leaders, such as Bashar Al-Assad, Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin, Ilham Aliyev, Robert Mugabe, etc. having fun with their families, having celebrations, embracing a dog, kissing a baby, among other things to make them look good. The message it sends is very clear. You know exactly where it is going. "Without independent journalists, this would be the news." This implies that without a free press, all you would see are kind gentle leaders, and you would hear nothing about corruption, war crimes, or abysmal states that people live in. The music also becomes distorted at the end, as if the haunting piano playing "Go to sleep" wasn't bad enough...
    • In a 2010 ad, there is a picture of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, former President of Iran, being torn from a magazine and being crumbled up while archive audio of him speaking is being heard, slowly becoming distorted. "Only a free press can hurt them."
    • There is an ad featuring military parades from countries such as Russia, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Zimbabwe, among other oppressive nations (even the US and UK are depicted as well), set to bouncy energetic music. Then the text reads, "Without independent reporters, war would just be a nice show." This is followed by a fade to black and a B&W slideshow depicting graphic photos in quick succession of unearthed mass graves, people grieving over tombstones, a burned down house with a couple looking at the ruins, an African man with a physically scarred face, a mass of dead bodies in a cargo truck, a middle eastern man who is writhing on the floor from being shot, people in hospital beds in hysterics, among other images of war, famine, bloodshed, ending on a picture of a reporter taking photos from some sort of civil war with the text reading, "Support those that risk their lives to bring us the truth." One of the most harrowing PIFs from the RSF, due to the very graphic photos.
    • Another harrowing ad shows a shipping container in the middle of a desert, the narrator says that there is no cargo, yet it is not empty. The narrator then says a reporter has been locked up for 12 years. Yeesh.
    • An extremely creepy PIF at first seems like a commercial for an action figure, known as "reporter man". The toy is then gagged, lit on fire, electrocuted, dragged, dismembered, and tortured, while the narrator still pitches this action figure. A black background with white text then reads, "Today for more than 200 journalists, torture prison, or death are a reality".
    • One PIF features a beautiful beach with nice Havana music playing, surrounded by an all black background. All of a sudden a face pops out as if one was in a prison. Then the message hits, "Welcome to Cuba. One of the world's biggest jails for journalists."
  • In 1995, a charity organization called Africare released a television ad asking for donations in the aftermath of the 1994 Rwandan genocide (in which almost a million of the country's Tutsi ethnic minority were slaughtered in just 4 months before the government authorizing the killings was overthrown by a rival faction). The images of suffering children are bad enough, but what really makes this ad stand out is the eerie music and rather blunt text encouraging those who do not want to send money to send their unused shoeboxes instead. Why shoeboxes, you may ask? "We're running out of coffins," reads the text appearing over a child who is either sleeping or dead on the ground.
  • Around when the Patriot Act got passed, the Ad Council hired NYC firm De Vito/Verdi to produce three quietly horrifying ad-spots with the common theme "What if America wasn't America?" They featured speculative portrayals of what life might be like without some of the freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights...
  • This terrifying 1986 Sport Aid PIF has extremely terrifying visuals and audio as the announcer explains that Africa, in the last 12 months, has paid four times as much in debt repayments than they get in aid, while many African women drop corpses into a giant piggy bank. If that doesn't scar you for life, the freeze frame of a woman screaming at the end combined with a horrifying synthesized scream will.
    • "Sallymatu", by the same people, is just as disturbing even without the awful visuals of the above. It starts out innocently enough, with us entering an African hut to find a baby lying on some blankets. The Narrator introduces the child as Sallymatu, a perfectly healthy baby who will get her vaccines to prevent certain illnesses. The Narrator goes on to explain that there's one illness they can't inoculate her against, however - "Famine". Which is said in the most disturbed, hushed, frightening whisper you can imagine as two vultures suddenly swoop down from the sky and enter the hut, closing in on the suddenly very upset looking-baby. It sounds overwrought on paper, but it's not, dear God, it's not. Doubly disturbing if you've seen the famous image of the starving child being stalked by a vulture who is waiting for the kid to die.
  • This PIF features Emma Thompson as two separate women: the innocent, hopeful Elena and the hardened, broken Maria. As we soon learn, the two women are one and the same: Elena was a young aspiring nurse who was kidnapped, renamed Maria and sold into the brutal world of sexual slavery. Both women explain, from both their viewpoints, what life was like before and after her enslavement. The PIF ends with this chilling line:
    "I was Elena. I am Maria."
  • Amnesty International is fond of making such adverts to help raise concern about international concerns.
    • An ad from 1986 is just a straight one minute build up to someone about to be tortured through electrocution. The prisoner's blood curdling screams near the end are bound to keep you up for the rest of the night.
    • A while back they ran a campaign called "Unsubscribe to Torture" which had a series of videos showing prisoners from the Middle East being tortured in various ways. One memorable ad involved artistic slow motion clips of water pouring at a black background. The water is later played in regular speed as it reveals the pouring water was being used to waterboard a prisoner, which then cuts to actual footage of people being waterboarded.
    • This ad criticizes the Russian government's human rights violations and their cover-ups of such things from the public by comparing it to someone assembling Russian dolls. All of this is juxtaposed with distorted sound effects and creepy lighting to create a truly disturbing advert.
    • This ad shows a variety of unpleasant things such as polluted waters, a journalist's dead body, someone being brutally tortured, child soldiers, and someone being beheaded. All of which is covered with what appears to be dollar bills. The ad then tells you that Amnesty International refuses donations from governments and international corporations, as such money can be used to cover up all the things shown in the video.
  • This Iraqi anti-terrorism PSA involves a man being kidnapped and tortured by terrorists, in graphic detail to the viewer, as they ask him what confession he belongs to—"Sunni or Shia?!?"—until he responds, "Iraqi", followed by a shot to the head and an on-screen text in Arabic that reads, "Terror has no religion." The terrorists' sheer fanaticism alone is patently horrifying.
  • This Portuguese PSA urging people to boycott Indonesia by not going on tourism there, while asking people who watched the ad to warn foreign tourists in Portugal to not do the same, this at the time they were occupying EastTimor. It compares the latter territory to a half of an orange which is to be (very violently) juiced (with one's bare hands in a manual juice maker), in the end becoming highly spent. This, at the same time that the narrator tells us about the atrocities the Indonesian government was commiting in Timor. In the end, we see the juice ready to be drunk, next to the spent orange, with the narrator sarcastically requesting the audience to at least make a toast to the dead and maimed if they still plan going to Indonesia. The ad has a dreary, ominous music from end to end.
  • This Northern Irish PIF produced at the height of The Troubles depicts a young man being forced to reconsider his previous apathetic outlook on life after he realizes that it has only served to prolong the conflict and ruin people's lives. What pushes it into Nightmare Fuel territory is a brief but rather graphic shot of a Vigilante Execution carried out by some IRA members. As easportsbig899 points out in his Top 10 Graphic PIFs video, seeing someone getting shot isn't exactly something you see very often in a PIF, even one of this nature.
  • This PSA has audio clips of people telling very sick jokes about landmines over images of people, mostly children, who have been injured by real landmines. The ad ends with a plea to donate in order to help the group that made the ad afford to keep clearing undiscovered landmines.
  • This PSA discusses the plight of starving children in third world countries, and juxtaposes footage of dead and dying children with real footage from The Holocaust of German Death Camps, bodies being dumped into pits, being buried in mass graves by bulldozers, and even more horrific images. The message is that starvation kills as many children abroad as the Death Camps killed Jewish PO Ws. It's absolutely grotesque and harrowing, and the juxtaposition is so sick it prompted the uploader to title the video, "What The Hell is Wrong With You?!"

Environmental Concerns

    Environment 
If you're looking for a more... intense Green Aesop, look no further. After all, we only have one Earth, and its ecosystem is a lot more fragile than we thought it was...
  • Greenpeace is responsible for several nightmarish and shocking entries.
    • "Half-Life- Living With Nuclear Waste" was a 2002 website created by Greenpeace about the Russian Kyshtym disaster, one of the worst nuclear accidents in history. You first get treated to an Adobe Flash intro featuring ominous thunder and an unnerving Heartbeat Soundtrack, all while monochromatic images are shown with translated spoken testimonies from disaster victims. More said testimonies — which are pretty unsettling in their own right — can be viewed within the website itself, but for some reason Greenpeace decided to adorn the website banner with the disturbingly-lit image of a deformed baby in a jar. Chances are, it gave more people nightmares than incentive to learn about the disaster. Fortunately (or unfortunately, take your pick) Wayback Machine has preserved those nightmares long after the site's closure in 2012.
    • Also by Greenpeace: Here's their response to Dove's famous "Onslaught" campaign for girls' self-esteem. Just for comparison, here's the original Dove campaign, the imagery in which is scary in and of itself... and is even scarier when you know that the Dove soap company is owned by Unilever, which also owns Axe Body Spray. note  Hypocrisy at its worst, ladies and gentlemen. Especially nasty are the very disturbing and utterly gratuitous images of actual dead orangutans, often obviously decomposing or mouths fixed in unsettling grins. Which, naturally, ended up being paused on because it's not immediately obvious what the relevance is. Protip: don't do that.
    • Greenpeace ran a 15-rated cinema ad protesting the Nestlé company, known for using palm oil, which contributes to deforestation and the loss of orangutan habitats. In the ad a man unwraps a Kit Kat bar (they're manufactured by Nestlé in the United Kingdom but Hershey's in America note ), which turns out to contain severed orangutan fingers, and he bites into them with blood dripping from his mouth. The Sickening "Crunch!" as he bites through the bone will make you cringe. It's so unsettling that YouTube pulled the official upload of the ad and Greenpeace had to host it on Vimeo instead. It did make it back to YouTube, however.
    • A former member of Greenpeace did a commercial purporting to be home-video footage shot on a handheld camcorder, of a family playing by the seaside. A plane then comes in to land above them and as they scream and panic, the camera shows that the plane is crashing into a nuclear power station next to the beach. There is then an end line asking, "Do we really want more nuclear power stations?" Watch it in all of its horror here. Greenpeace distanced itself from the video and the former member because (1) he is an hysterical sensationalist and (2) the "commercial" is such blatant, ill-informed scaremongering. A passenger jet crashing into a nuclear power station will not cause a meltdown. Given the thickness that the dome on that power station has, a crashing jet would barely crack it—these things are made from concrete, lead, more concrete and more lead. The woefully poor, chroma-keyed CGI plane also lessens the intended impact enormously.
    • Another anti-nuclear Greenpeace ad shown in cinemas set right after Chernobyl. The music from Vangelis makes the nuclear cemetery look even more creepy. Plus, it was rated 'U' by the BBFC. Geesh.
    • In 1991, Greenpeace made a 3-minute cinema PIF entitled Antarctica about Antarctica's freedom from violation...seems like it could be played innocently if done right, right? NOPE! It not only contains graphic images of seals getting clubbed, but it also contains a pile of dead and dying dolphins in which their blood flows into the ocean. All real. Did we mention that it's another PIF rated 'U' by the BBFC as well (see the entry for Sam for the meaning)?
    • Okay, so you're Greenpeace, and you want people to get LEGO to break its contract with Shell. How do you do that? By drowning various Lego minifigs and characters from The Lego Movie in oil. The piano version of Everything Is Awesome only makes it creepier.
    • Greenpeace made this advert against deep sea oil fracking by showcasing several pictures of what seem to be inkblot drawings that look like birds only to show a dead bird covered in oil afterwards with someone picking the bird's carcass up, leaving behind a black imprint. A message then says that up to 20000 birds were killed from the Rena oil spill while it zooms out to show all the prints that were made.
  • "No pressure!" A failed attempt at Black Comedy, this short advertisement film for reducing carbon is just... unsettling. It has people getting blown up for refusing to reduce carbon, including children. And not in a cartoon-y sort of way either, but in a realistically bloody and graphic manner, complete with visible organ pieces. The campaign got massive critical backlash for its realistic violence, not least from other campaign groups. Pretty strong meat there from Richard Curtis. Yes, the Richard Curtis. Would you have thought that he of all people would be capable of making something as horrifying as this?
  • There used to be a Green Aesop ad that aired on Cartoon Network in the US very early in the morning, usually not long after the channel had changed from [adult swim] into the kids block. It featured a little girl lying in various places around her room while images of various environmental problems flashed across the room, things like destroyed forests, toxic waste, and polluted rivers. All of this happened while creepy children's music played in the background. At the end she sits up and asks you how the world is going to be when she grows up.
  • More mild than most examples here, but the EnergyLife.com commercial 'Wasted Kilowatts' has creepy men in black body suits crawling around your basement, your attic, your fridge...
  • Those web PSAs by the Environmental Protection Agency depicting a whitewash paint, apparently with lead, being poured in cereal, a glass milk bottle, or a baby's juice bottle.
  • Though not contracted nor paid for by the organization itself, some advertising agency wound up sending the World Wildlife Fund into issuing public apologies for this ad idea. It pushes all the wrong buttons by comparing the death toll of the September 11th terrorist attack to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, complete with a terrifying image of several airliners flying right into the New York skyline.
  • There was a disturbing anti-pollution PSA that aired in the USA in the early 1990s. A typical family is sitting around their living room while the kids watch cartoons on television. Without warning, a hazmat team enters and dumps oil everywhere: in the fish tank, on the TV, on the family... and the family just sits there, zombielike, and lets it happen. Then an ominous-sounding narrator asks the viewer if he or she would willingly let something like that happen in their home.
  • Planestupid.com showcased how an average European flight produces the weight of an adult polar bear in greenhouse gases for every passenger by depicting actual polar bears falling form the sky to their deaths, with nary a Gory Discretion Shot in sight. That fact that they're falling into a seemingly abandoned city doesn't help matters.
    • It was so gory that it was only shown before films with at least a 15 rating in UK cinemas.
  • Sometime in the early 21st century, the Ad Council released an ad for a website about global warming. It features a man standing on some train tracks as a train approaches in the distance. He talks about how experts say the long term effects of climate change could become irreversible in the next 30 years. "30 years?", he scoffs. "That won't affect me." He steps off the tracks, revealing a little girl standing behind him as the train closes in...
    • A similarly jarring ad shows two parents taking their children for a drive while mournful music plays. It ends with the parents dumping their crying children in a wasteland of ash and smoke, then driving off. We even get to watch from the backseat of the car as the parents drive away.
  • "Tick". Ominous warnings are even more potent when delivered by 8-year-olds. Or as insanely annoying as a certain Metallica song. Take your pick.
  • This vintage Smokey The Bear commercial from 1973, for a split-second near the end, is the. Most. Frightening. Thing. Ever...for those who'd rather not watch, we slowly move in on Joanna Cassidy's face as she's talking about forest fire prevention with a seductive look on her face...then she peels off her skin disguise to reveal a poorly made Smokey underneath, explaining that he thought this was the best way to get our attention. Well, the ghastly appearance of fake-Joanna's empty face as it slides back is pretty damn unforgettable, and so is Smokey. In fact, good luck doing so when you go to sleep tonight. Some have called this PSA the scariest one ever.
    Smokey Bear: If you knew it was me, would you have listened?
  • And here's a 1984 PSA from the USDA Forest Service, featuring a paper doll chain of a family igniting, illustrating how wildfires can easily spread from forests to nearby communities. The music doesn't help wonders.
  • There's a Keep Britain Tidy (formerly known as Tidy Britain Group) PIF that has a massive Cruel Twist Ending. The camera pans through the streets of London as we witness various people littering—throwing unfinished chip bags on the ground, leaving glass bottles on concrete, etc. We rewind as the sequence plays again with the people dishing out excuses for what they do. The payoff doesn't come at the end, where we see a little girl dragging a stick against some wires connected to the concrete and accidentally tipping the glass bottle over as she falls and cuts herself!
    Narrator: Everyone has their excuses. What's yours?
  • This Friends of the Earth advert. It's just a slow shot of the Earth appearing and then suddenly disappearing, but either way, you'll never hear "All Things Bright and Beautiful" in the same way again.
    • Friends of the Earth also made this lovely PIF with a toilet overflowing with blood.
      Jonathan Pryce: Mahogany is murder. Don't buy it.
    • Also from Friends of the Earth is this cinematic ad. Fauré's "Requiem" (a haunting orchestral piece with choir accompaniment, originally written as a funeral mass) can be heard as a narrator talks about the indigenous people being forced from their homes by the destruction of the rainforests, illustrated via a newly sharpened ax swinging at human legs (replaced by trees at the last second). The narrator warns that even if you the viewer don't care for the plight of these tribes, you should be concerned because deforestation contributes to climate change, which threatens everyone. At this point the ax swings towards the viewer, which must have been disturbing to see on a movie screen.
  • This PSA from We Care About New York has shots of people littering between scenes of rats crawling in the sewers, set to some creepy music. At the end, the city's skyline is filled with rats. Oh, and did we mention this was made by David Lynch ?
    • Another nightmarish ad from Keep Britain Tidy is in the same vein as the one above. It depicts rats crawling around, and explains that the more litter people drop, the more rats breed. It ends with a grotesque shot of rats on a family's bed. Oh, and the ominous music and Scare Chord at the end don't help.
    "How close do we have to get before you stop dropping litter?"
  • Thames Television has two ads about not littering - one concerning how litter can kill wildlife, and one about the nasty things rats eat. Both are equally harrowing.
  • This 1990 PSA from the Environmental Defense Fund and the Ad Council features images of the planet and people and animals doing happy-looking things and is set to Willie Nelson’s rendition of "What a Wonderful World". The commercial ends with a lovely shot of the Earth from space, only for a pair of giant hands to crumble it up like a piece of paper as the music abruptly stops and then throws it on the ground, with the tagline, "If You’re Not Recycling, You’re Throwing It All Away". There are two shorter versions of the ad which only features the shot of the Earth and the giant hands crumbling it up, which makes the ad even scarier.
  • This Brazilian PSA for saving the rainforest features a Tribe member having his hair buzzed off.

    Wildlife 
You thought domestic animals were the only victims of mankind's bastardry? Think again.
  • This anti-fox hunting film (NSFW) from Britain was produced by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). It is shot from the perspective of a fox being chased. We see what it sees as it makes its way through the countryside, almost getting hit by a car while dashing across a road. We never see the hunters or their dogs, but their distorted sounds can be heard in the background. Eventually the exhausted fox tries to hide, only to be forced into the open by its unseen pursuers, leading to a terrifying cacophony of barks and whimpers as the camera shakes violently, followed by an eerie silence. The clear implication is the fox was torn apart by the hunting dogs viciously. The ad ends with a short rapid-fire montage of very gruesome photos taken from hunts (the last being a lovely shot of a real, shredded fox carcass) before ending with text urging viewers to contact their MP in support of the fox hunting ban.
    • IFAW also made this very sickly humorous ad against seal clubbing that parodied a tourism commercial for Canada. It starts out alright and maybe even a bit cheesy, showing images associated with Canada... until you get to the footage of people clubbing baby seals.
  • The PETA has proven time and time again that it won't pull its punches with its ads, that's for sure.
    • This PSA, called "The Silent Scream". It actually compares preparing fish for cooking to domestic violence, school bullying and mugging in a serious tone, and all are played straight in a gruesome way. If those don't scare you, the silently screaming CGI fish might.
      • On the other hand, such a ridiculous comparison could be a source of Narm.
    • PETA 2 has a PIF (NSFW) titled Fur is Dead which is just a collage of animals dying with text backgrounds reading things like "foxes are dead", "dogs are dead", "rabbits are dead", etc. Sweet dreams!
    • PETA 2 also did an ad starring Noah Cyrus, the sister of Miley Cyrus, which targets animal dissection. It features Noah on a dissection table with her chest vivisected, exposing her internal organs. Check it out here, if you dare.
    • The entirety of the PIF "If Slaughterhouses Had Glass Walls, Everyone Would Be Vegetarian" (NSFW), narrated by Paul McCartney. For a staggering 13 minutes, we are treated to extremely graphic and nightmarish footage of the poor, nauseating conditions of slaughterhouses, live-animal transport, fisheries and factory farms that many animals are subject to, all of which makes slaughterhouses look like concentration camps for animals. It most definitely shouldn't be watched before eating or sleeping.
    • On a similar note and much like the "Boiled Bear" PIF below, there's this lovely gem of a PSA also done by PETA. It's literally just a half-minute of a pig screaming in agony and fear without any shown footage, with the message "This is what hell sounds like. This is happening right now. These are recordings from a real slaughterhouse. Go vegan." But then again, it is PETA, so whether or not these really are sounds taken from a real slaughterhouse is up for debate.
      • They did a similar PSA with audio of an elephant in a circus-training facility.
  • A British theatrical PIF called "Smile" produced by the British Union Against Vivisection starts off looking like an ordinary commercial for cosmetics, featuring a woman singing the song "Smile" by Charlie Chaplin. However, that proves not to be the case as it soon starts showing the face of model Angie Hill becoming scarred as she applies makeup (mirroring the injuries experienced by animals used for cosmetics testing). At the end, she lets out a horrifying, electronic scream with her head close up and the screen fading to black. It will scar you for life. Narrated by Dame Judi Dench.
  • There exists an 18-certificate PIF from the UK's Respect for Animals (formerly Lynx) called Catwalk in which a group of supermodels walk down the catwalk in their fancy new dresses, while the audience is cheering and taking photos, when the dresses suddenly seem to explode in animal blood, as the women continue to walk down the catwalk as if nothing is happening while the audience is screaming and covered in blood, complete with some quite creepy music in the background. The PIF ends with the slogan: It takes 40 dumb animals to make a fur coat. But only one to wear it.
    • Fun fact: according to uploader easportsbig899 on his "Top 10 Controversial PIFs", this PIF originally intended to be used by Greenpeace, but they disowned it due to the graphic content. Think about that: Greenpeace, creators of many disturbing PIFs (see also the "Environment" section), didn't want to use this ad. Also, originally the ending slogan said "It takes 40 dumb bitches to make a fur coat. But only one to wear it," but it was changed to "dumb animals" instead (since it can come across as derogatory towards women).
    • This horrifying PIF, also from Lynx, compares the sale and wearing of fur to flies and maggots swarming around a dead animal's corpse. Pure, unadulterated Squick. And if that doesn't freak you out, the echoing synthesized screams at the end will.
    • Lynx also commissioned the short film Skinned, which was eventually shortened to a normal format (the official version lasts 3 minutes long). A woman is shown heading to a fancy restaurant while garnishing herself in a fur suit, but while on her journey it seems to be a bit tight on here. But when she arrives and is about to eat, it gets really tight on her as the music (a trip-hop beat with an operatic woman singing, which grows more and more dramatic) intensifies, and eventually an entire group of people have to help get it off her. We fade out...and then fade back onto the woman's disgusted face...and then zoom in on the skinless dog wrapped around her.
    • This 1998 PIF directed by Tony Kaye shows a woman buying a fur coat. Except interrupting the shots of her are shots of a man skinning an animal, and we get to see it all in graphic detail. It ends with the tagline "Fur looks great...until you open your eyes."
  • A 1980s PIF by the League Against Cruel Sports starts with a man mounting his horse for a fox hunt, as a child sings the old song "A Hunting We Will Go". As the man rides, the child's voice is drowned out by an ominous choir singing something resembling "O Fortuna" from Carmina Burana. The sky turns dark and the hunter's face changes to a crazed expression as text refutes the notion that fox hunting controls the fox population, but rather encourages them to breed for the purpose of being hunted. These foxes, says the ad, are chased to exhaustion and then torn apart by dogs bred specifically to move slower and prolong the chase. As the ad ends, we see the hunter has become a Psychopathic Manchild riding an adult-sized rocking horse in an eerily lit room. The children's song plays again, not sounding nearly as cute.
    • Could be considered Narm if you're used to hearing "O Fortuna" or similar songs used in an overly dramatically humorous context or if you find the man in the commercial to be overacting.
    • In December 2014, League Against Cruel Sports created this horrific cinema PIF. It begins with a woman holding her baby. At first, you're like "Oh, that's cute, but how does this relate to fox hunting?" Then, she looks out her door, and she and the baby have horrified reactions. The woman proceeds to put her crying baby into his crib, locks the house, then runs for her life out in the woods. And at this point, you realize that she is meant to represent the fox. The music proceeds to tense more and more as she tries to hide, only for her to be attacked, crying and panicking. The camera cuts to her mildy-beaten, horrified face, then fades out, thus preventing the viewers from seeing her agonizing death. And then, it proceeds to fade back to the baby in his crib, who is silently crying, now realizing his mother will probably never come back. "What if it was you", indeed.
  • The charity Tusk Force ran a nightmarish PIF for cinemas featuring the sound of a bear being beaten and then boiled alive, accompanied by a recipe instructing viewers on how to do it at home. We're not shown any footage, all we see is the recipe, but the sound of the bear suffering an unimaginably agonizing death will stay with you for a while.
    • The impact is slightly deadened when you search for "boiled bear"... and this PIF is the only result, raising the question of whether it's even a real thing.
  • Another harrowing ad concerning bears shows and discusses what happens to real bears captured and made to dance or perform for entertainment, but on a child's teddy bear. Not only is it sick to see a beloved toy get ripped apart so brutally, have its paws chopped off, and have a hook driven through its nose, the teddy even sheds a single tear!
  • One PIF by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), shown in cinemas in the early '90s, urged viewers to boycott Taiwanese goods. It opens with footage of white rhinos on a television screen. As the television rotates, a gunshot is heard and blood begins pouring out of the back of the television. The voice-over then explains, over the sound of rhinos being slaughtered, that Taiwan is the only country that still trades in poached rhino parts. Watch it here, if you have the stomach for it.
    "Tell Taiwan...you don't want the rhino to die."
    • The EIA also did a similar PIF about tigers, in which a tiger is shut in a box which then has swords pushed into it, like some sort of magic trick. Blood seeps out of the holes and the voice-over tells us how tigers in India are under threat from industry and habitat loss. The box is then opened, but the tiger is gone and the inside is painted with its blood. The uploader, PIF connoisseur easportsbig899, summed it up pretty well: "Rated 15, because this is some messed up shit."
    "Tell the Indian government today...you don't want the tiger to disappear tomorrow."
    • Then again... Tigers normally don't make Jaguar yowling noises either, making this pretty Narm for big cat fans.
  • Anthony Hopkins narrated a charity film for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, showing exactly what happens during the annual pilot whale hunt in the Faroe Islands, tone all too cheery compared to the eerie animated visuals of whales being harpooned and shrieking in agony. The film is very graphic but got re-rated from a PG to a U certificate in the United Kingdom (equivalent to a G stateside) because it is a cartoon. (Also, the makers wanted to show it in front of the obscure family film Where the Whales Came.) Here's the video.

Health

    Alcohol 
Considering that it's of the most widely-used recreational drugs in the world, contains a large amount of the drug ethanol, and offers numerous health risks (such as heart disease, stroke and early death), it's no surprise that alcohol has been the subject of several PSAS.
  • This anti-alcohol PSA from Argentina's SITEA. A man is shown wearing a very unsettling Monster Clown mask, whilst drinking alcohol and laughing as creepy music plays in the background. Eventually, the man stops laughing and turns around, revealing an equally creepy "unhappy" clown mask on the back of his head. At the end of the ad, both masks are shown as the narrator says "These are the two faces of the same problem." If you're afraid of clowns, then this ad is especially not for you. And if you aren't scared of clowns, this will make you scared of clowns.
  • The last ever PIF made by the British Central Office of Information; a group of girls are leaving a party; one of them is holding a bunch of balloons; she accidentally releases the balloons, they fly up and catch on the scaffolding of a construction site across the street; then a dramatic voice says "Stand Back!"; they turn and see...Daredevil! (Well, sort of — the ad was released to coincide with the release of the film Daredevil); DD proceeds to climb the scaffolding in a series of leaps, but as he reaches the top he slips and falls; when he hits the ground he's just an ordinary teenager; the voiceover says "Alcohol makes you think you are more capable than you are."
  • An Australian PSA shows a huge party with plenty of its occupants drinking. A man drunkenly dances about, before accidentally bumping into a pregnant woman, who hits her belly into the corner of a kitchen countertop and falls to the ground in pain. People rush to her aid, and then the ad cuts to a doctor performing an ultrasound on her, who grimly says, "Karen, I'm really very sorry." We can tell ''exactly'' what happened, as the woman breaks down in tears and is consoled by her friend.
  • This advert from the Queensland Government opens up with showing a girl being assaulted in the middle of a dark alleyway. The creepy-sounding female narrator says, "63% of teenagers have been abused or assaulted ask under the influence of alcohol". The scene then plays out in reverse, showing all of the events in descending order that led up to the girl's fate, including drinking heavily at the party. The last scene shows the girl's father handing her a box of beer, and the camera focuses in on the beer's brand logo, which reads, "Don't Kid Yourself". The narrator ends the ad by saying, "Don't kid yourself. Buy your children alcohol, and they could pay the price."
  • The Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand, an anti-alcohol action group, issued at least three commercials in 2008 about the consequences of excessive binge drinking. All of them follow a general pattern: An individual shows up at a social gathering of some kind, and the action follows them from sober to progressively very drunk, and what started out as good times turns bad with severe consequences resulting. "It's not the drinking, it's how we're drinking," the final frame of each commercial grimly states; indeed, the moral of the campaign was social drinking is OK as long as it is done responsibly, and there is a tipping point wherein its long since time for some people to have gone home and instead bad things begin to happen. The commercials were as follows:
    • "Mark", who is a guest at a backyard party. After drinking all day and becoming very drunk (his drinking is left unchecked throughout the party), he staggers into the house, where he is greeted by a young boy (presumably his nephew), who comes up for a hug and asks to have him swing him around. The man awkwardly flings him around but drops him, the boy crashing into the side of an armoire and falling unconscious as a result. The party's hosts finally kick Mark out and he collapses in the yard in a Heel Realization Moment.
    • "Danny", where a simple, lighthearted discussion turns into, as he passes the point of intoxication, an argument. Rather than go home and let the argument go, he continues to drink and eventually gets into a big fight, shoving down the bouncer, who is carrying a tray full of beer, and elbowing the female manager before taking a wild swing at the original waiter but missing completely and falling to the ground. The scene then dissolves into the bathroom at his home, where his daughter finds him waking up, badly bruised and suffering a hangover.
    • "Lisa" (video starts at 3:07) who is celebrating a night on the town with friends. As she becomes completely drunk, she goes out onto the dance floor, where she dances with a seemingly nice guy. It isn't until later, when she is staggering out of the bar, that the young man is revealed to be a predator, who is guiding her away down a dark alley. The commercial ends there, with the girl still squealing and laughing, blissfully unaware of what (presumably) is to come.
  • Drink Aware, an Australian alcohol use awareness group, also issued a series of commercials with a message similar to the Alcohol Advisory Council's PSAs: Social drinking is OK, but know when it is time to stop and go home. One commercial seen here, shows — in order — a group of drunken college-aged revelers hooting and hollering and even trying to make a pass at an attractive young woman; a man witnessing (possibly the same) group of revelers tip over trash bins and walk over parked vehicles, a taxi cab driver bringing home a young woman who begins to vomit in the back seat, an ER nurse who witnesses the results of binge drinking in the waiting room (two couples arguing, a woman passed out on one of the chairs and another woman being carried in by two others, all of them highly intoxicated (and one still drinking!)) and a store owner cleaning up vomit from the sidewalk (where someone had thrown up during the overnight hours). "Haven't we all had enough?" suggests the tagline.

    Cigarettes & Tobacco 
This drug gets its own section for a reason. Nicotine is one of the most addictive and physically destructive drugs out there, and the most readily available. Ad campaigns need very little exaggeration to make it clear just what kind of toxins smokers invite in themselves and how they ravage the human body.
  • Most television anti-smoking PSAs in the 21st century are surprisingly graphic, airing inside footage of brains, lungs, etc. affected by cancers created by smoking. These appear on various channels, even before the watershed.
  • In the early 1990s, Charles "Mac" McLaren, brother of the late Wayne McLaren (one of many Marlboro men employed during the cigarette brand's "Marlboro Country" ad campaign), appeared in a PSA imploring children not to smoke. The commercial opened with video and photos of a young, vibrant Wayne McLaren in one of the Marlboro magazine ads, after which video footage of him appears, showing him suffering from the final stages of lung cancer, presumably hours before his death. See the commercial here.
  • A 1994 anti-smoking ad from the Ontario Ministry of Health features a young woman named Joanne as she walks into a bathroom. She then unpacks a pack of cigarettes and then smokes one. As she looks at herself into the mirror, she coughs as she starts aging quickly. Her hand drops to a table as the text "SMOKING - IT'LL SUCK THE LIFE RIGHT OUT OF YOU" fades in while ominous music plays.
  • A nightmarish anti-smoking PSA from the National Council Against Smoking shows a beautiful woman standing in a forest while heavenly music plays. As she starts to smoke a cigarette, the camera pans behind a tree to reveal that her face is plastered with black tar and empty eyes while the music turns dark and ominous. The ad then changes to a text asking the viewer if they would continue to smoke if what happened on the inside of your body happened outside of your body. After this, we get one final shot of her face as she sucks in smoke.
    • One with the same tagline shows her smoking in a club bathroom, while her flesh blackens and leaks tar and grows tumors.
  • An anti-smoking PSA from the late 1960s from the American Cancer Society showed a smiling cartoon guy smoking in a bright pastel landscape by a pond, where a cheerful fish kept easily dodging the paw of an equally happy cat. A soft-spoken, sing-song narrator explained that everything was safe here because it was all make-believe, and in the real world, the smiling guy would be risking lung cancer or emphysema. The voice took on an unbelievably chilling tone for the closing lines: "Do you know why we talk to you like this? Simple. When we talk to you like adults, you don't listen, listen, listen." Guaranteed to keep you from ever touching a cig, ever. A similar newspaper ad was also made.
    • Feared by his friends and enemies alike. Feared by all who come to know the name of...JOHNNY SMOKE!
    • This early '90s PSA by ACS to promote its Great American Smokeout campaign is similar to the National Council Against Smoking one. It shows a shows a woman smoking and little by little, she is covered in tar and nicotine until she is completely covered and screaming. The tag line is simple and effective: “If what happened on your Inside, happened on your outside, would you still smoke?” Sadly though, the PSA was so effective and frightening, it was pulled from TV.
    • The poster version of the ad, however, outlived the ad and still appears in public places. See it at your own risk.
    • An exceedingly disturbing 1984 PSA, also produced by the American Cancer Society and directed by David Fincher, shows a fetus smoking a cigarette inside its mother's womb. The already-creepy music becoming more unsettling as the ad continues, along with the sound of the mother's heart in the background, doesn't help much.
      • The ad was so controversial that several TV networks decided against showing the PSA, and was even the subject of a news story.
  • This anti-drug PIF (NSFW) begins with a naked woman smoking a cig. The camera then pans down to reveal that she is pregnant, and she then sticks the cigarette into her navel, where her belly proceeds to inhale and exhale—revealing that her unborn child is smoking the cigarette. Sure, if you watch closely the picture noticeably distorts as her belly inhales, but the concept and execution are very, very unnerving. easportsbig899 has said in his "Top 10 Unintentionally Hilarious PIFs" that "it's like the baby needs a smoke after spending a long and hard day in the womb".
  • There were a series of anti-smoking PS As from the USA featuring an animated crocodile (representing tobacco companies). Normally there is no nightmare fuel in these ads, but one ad, "Crocodile Tears" the crocodile says he is turning a new leaf, and asks the man to ask him any questions. The cameraman asks him, "Are you going to keep selling cigarettes?" prompting the crocodile to...well...see for yourself.
  • The Truth organization is famous for its anti-smoking ads.
    • One notable ad featured hundreds of mechanical babies scattered across the city streets. It is arguably the creepiest thing ever aired before 6 P.M. on a family network, especially toward the end.
    • There's another ad that plays before some movies in US theaters with a bunch of people on a colorful parade float going through Hollywood, singing an upbeat sounding song about different flavors. Cue the shocked reactions of pedestrians when they realize the people on the float are all cancer victims singing about the flavors tobacco companies use in their products. Some of them have tracheotomy scars, some don't have tongues, and some are missing the entire lower half of their face...it's freakier than most R-rated films, but they show it before PG-13 movies. Gosh darn it, guys!
    • The Truth organization also made a short series of ads depicting the statistic that a third of tobacco users ultimately die from it. They accomplish this by posing as ads for seemingly harmless products...that happen to make every third person who uses them explode. Examples include teenagers using acne medication, bungee jumpers drinking soda, Businessmen trying out a car rental service, and basketball players showing off new sneakers. The sneakers ad is particularly cringe-worthy as it takes place in a stadium, with lots of innocent bystanders around when the third player explodes.
    • One of their more recognizable ads is one where a guy dressed like a cowboy sings a song called "You Don't Always Die from Tobacco" at what looks like a tailgate party...in a Creepy Monotone. Not only that, he's actually singing with his stoma (the hole you get in your throat after needing tracheal surgery due to excessive smoking) with the mic pressed to it. It got the point across, alright. See it here.
    • One of the earliest Truth ads depicted a guy teasing a dog, which suddenly leaps up at him and bites his tongue right out of his mouth then spits it out and leaves it lying on the ground! The message was that you may have to have your tongue amputated if you contract oral cancer from chewing tobacco.
    • In this ad from 2003, 1200 people with numbered shirts all stand outside a major tobacco company and feign death to represent how 1200 people die every day from tobacco. There's some unsettling shots on their still faces on the ground as a man holds up a sign to the company that displays that statistic, before flipping it over to show another message: "Ever think about taking a day off?"
    • Another ad shows a smoked cigarette labeled with a person's lifespan burning, starting from the end of the tobacco rod (marked as "80") and eventually reaches its filtration zone, marked as "Present"— the message being that smoking greatly shortens our lives.
    • Some of their "hashtag" ads are pretty creepy. “#voteGIANT” features a Slender Man-like tobacco businessman animated in stop motion. He enters a dark room and turns on a light. We then see that he’s holding a copy of a magazine article revealing that radioactive Polonium-210 is in cigarette smoke. Several eyes glare at the businessman in the darkness until the whole room lights up to reveal that behind him is a blobby wall of eyes, staring at him. Chilling whispers accompany the text at the end. The point was that if the article had gotten published, it would’ve been like “waking a sleeping giant”.
    • “#voteDOOMSDAY” begins with the text claiming how a tobacco company in 1989 described the threat of an acute deficiency of young adult smokers as the “doomsday scenario”. Then the ad suddenly shifts to a creepy cartoon woman screaming with explosions, flying bats, floating dead angels and dinosaur claws grabbing humans in the background while zombies and demonic hands attack her, splattering blood on the screen. This YouTube comment summed it all up: “#voteHOLYSHITYOUSCAREDTHEFUCKOUTOFME”.
    • There's also #voteWHATTHEFUCKISTHISSHITIAMOUTOFHERE
  • The UK anti-smoking PIF titled 'Mutations' shows tumors caused by smoking appearing on the lit cigarette.
  • This anti smoking ad about a man called Anthony who is suffering from cancer and had to have his voice box removed. He talks about how his daughter is coming to visit. The ad ends with a caption informing the audience that he died ten days after filming... and he never got to see his daughter.
  • The Australia Quitline possibly has some of the scariest anti-smoking ads in the world. Amongst the ads are: cameras zooming down people's throats to show cancer forming; cutting brains in half; and a gangrenous leg about to get sawed off. ALWAYS EXPECT A BRAIN CUTTING OFF! Thailand and Hong Kong are the same way.
    • What is perhaps their most iconic ad features a beautiful woman with mouth cancer, complete with rotting lips.
      • In Singapore, they did a remake of this commercial, and it is arguably even more gruesome.
  • A few years back there was this anti-smoking advert in the United Kingdom. It had a bunch of people smoking, and the smoke makes a skull shape. It was really creepy at the time.
  • This anti-smoking PSA which seems to imply that smoking is a one-way ticket to hell, with demonic skeleton creatures ready to drag you down should you choose to light up a cigarette.
  • This depressing anti-smoking PSA is also part Body Horror, showing Terrie Hall, a former chain-smoker turned anti-tobacco advocate going through the extra steps she takes in her morning routine due to having throat cancer and a laryngectomy. The saddest part of this commercial is knowing that Terrie died in 2013 at merely 53 years old.
    • This PSA is part of a 2012 series of anti-smoking PSAs from the CDC called "Tips from Former Smokers" that show various people with stomas explaining how their lives have been affected by smoking. Some of them were shown individually, but the most commonly aired one showed several people speaking through their voice boxes giving tips on living life with a stoma. See it here.
    • For some, the ads might qualify as jump scares; one moment a normal advertisement might play, only to be followed by — without warning — the very unsettling sound of the smokers' voice boxes speaking right as the PSA begins. And if you happen to be watching it at night? Well, you can then kiss your sleep goodbye.
  • Similar to Terrie Hall's story, there is the story of Debi Austin. She appeared in this 1996 commercial talking about her struggles with tobacco addiction that continued even after being diagnosed and treated for throat cancer. The ad is infamous for depicting Debi smoking a cigarette through her stoma at the end.
    • She later appeared in a 2010 PSA that was even more haunting—she appears against a black background, the scenery being lit only by a single candle. What makes it so harrowing is that we see her struggling even more to breathe, imploring you to quit before the same thing that happened to her happens to you. She then breathes and coughs loudly, making the candle in the center of her go out.
      • A later variant of the ad upon her passing is even worse, ending with a saddening "In Memory of Debi Austin: 1950-2013" message when the candle is extinguished.
  • This anti-smoking commercial shows a man stomping a lump under the rug he believes is a pack of cigarettes... it was actually his daughter's runaway hamster.
    • It's worth mentioning that the aforementioned plot twist is taken from an urban legend.
  • In the early 2000s, an anti-smoking ad featured a cigarette on trial, all done in claymation. The cigarette would say about how he killed aunts, uncles and parents while the jury would gasp and reaction in shock. And if that wasn't scary enough, the camera would cut to a close up of the cigarette's face, looking at the viewer, saying "And if you light me up, I'll kill you, too." Brr. It also didn't helped that it aired late night.
  • The FDA is launching its first nightmare-tastic national public education campaign, called, "The Real Cost" designed to prevent young people from using tobacco and to reduce the number of kids ages 12 to 17 who become regular smokers. One of the ads in the campaign is just horrifying. The employee's face just says it all.
    • And if that wasn't enough, they made one where instead of skin peeling off, it's teeth being pulled out.
      • Another version for both ads also air on TV, but unfortunately only replaces menthol with cigarettes.
    • Another one in the campaign features a teacher dissecting a creature straight out of John Carpenter's The Thing (1982) in front of his class. As he turns around and explains the lesson, listing off all the things cigarettes are made of and what they do to the body, the creature begins twitching. As one of his students tries to warn him, it breaks loose from its restraints and attacks the class, everyone running for their lives. When backed into a corner, the creature crawls into a pack of cigarettes. The narrator explains that if cigarettes looked as dangerous as they are, you'd run like hell too. See it here.
      • There exists a sequel to this one, in which a group of kids find the creature in an eerie place that resembles a greenhouse, only of it to attack one of them in the mouth, which causes all of them to scream and run. Just like the school one, it crawls back into a box of cigs. The fact that it takes place in what looks like a night time setting doesn't help it all.
      • If those two weren't enough, the creature got its own spot and it's ready to attack! Run like hell indeed. The dark setting along with the Jump Scare doesn't help either.
      • Banner ads pop up for The Real Cost on DeviantArt. Several include the creature in them. Age limit notwithstanding, that website is frequented by people as young as 11 years old.
    • And it just wont stop. the 7000 Chemicals ad has terrifying creatures coming towards a young teen smoking at night. They all end up jumping inside his mouth as the harmful chemicals that comes from smoking.
    • This one has a teen signing a contract letting someone (or something) have control over her life. Then, she let's go of the paper, and it rolls back into a cigarette. The very idea of doing this is unnerving.
    • The creature comes back yet again to attack a young teen while at the movies to depict the dangers of "dip". For those who don't know, dip is a smokeless form of tobacco. Oh yeah! Did I mention that the creature is scarier now?
      • Another ad has a football player by attacked by the now massive sized creature, including being slammed against the bleachers.
    • The Real Cost has also recently produced a magazine ad that has surfaced video game magazines. This is done in a small similarity of video games where we see the inside of a smoker's mouth, with your gun being a pack of cigarettes. The teeth are rotting, the gums are diseased and the outside looks kinda grimy. Here is the ad
      • And if that was not enough for you, they actually made a fully interactive version of this ad on their website.
    • Worse yet? These anti-smoking are now circulating ON YOUTUBE. This means that a mere child could be exposed to this horror.
    • They sponsored The Intruder II, so maybe that'll lead to...
    • The Face Of Dip begins with a teen suffering from mouth cancer looking at himself in the mirror. It then reverses back until he is a normal teen trying out dip for the first time, in which he closes the mirror's door and we get to see another glimpse of his zombie-like face.
    • "Jeans" begins with a panning shot of a room that's filled with medals and pictures of a kid playing baseball. We then pan to a shot of a jean with a outline of a dip can, before we cut of a shot of a young disfigured man in bed, shaking his head to himself. The saddest part (and the most shocking) is the ending, where the man is revealed to be Gruen Von Behrens, a hopeful baseball player turned motivational speaker who started using dip at age 13, before being getting cancer at age 17. The last line reveals that he died at age 38 as we hear him breathe one last time.
    • This ad has multiple people with their mouths replaced with USB ports, making it a perfect example of Uncanny Valley. When one inserts a USB (representing a cigarette) into their mouth, their eyes glitch out, all while a voice explains that nicotine can basically "reprogram," your brain into only thinking about your next cigarette.
    • Their latest set of ads, "Little Lungs in a Great Big World", is a series of animated shorts in a world populated by lungs, starring the titular Little Lungs. If the Uncanny Valley of the lungs' designs doesn't scare you, then there's the fact the Little Lungs goes through all sorts of life-threatening situations due to his below-average size, and the other characters barely bat an eye at this or try to help him.
    • "Delivery" has a teen lighting up a cigarette in a park when a UPS-like van and deliveryman comes to hand him a box. He opens it to find a rotten living mouth inside. He looks back at the deliveryman, but he has disappeared. He looks back at the box only to find it empty. It ends with the teen opening his mouth to reveal that his mouth has been replaced by the rotten mouth. It seems to have given the message of don't smoke alone on a park in the middle of the night or a creepy deliveryman will make your teeth rotten.
  • The famous British '80s campaign "Natural Born Smoker", depicting a horrifying humanoid who smokes constantly and has all sorts of abilities that prevent him from dying. If you don't plan on sleeping tonight, here it is. And if you'd like to stay awake even longer, you can watch the followup ad featuring his beautiful parenting skills.
  • During the late 1980s and early 1990s, a series of radio PSAs from the Ad Council featured young children whose fathers had died of lung cancer, brought on by heavy smoking ... all of them at a young age. The children all somberly relate their experiences, with a little girl's voice intoning repeatedly, "It's like going to sleep forever" (a common explanation children get when they go to their viewings and see the deceased body in the casket). At the end, a little boy's voice cries out, "Daddy, don't!" (As in, don't smoke.)
  • A few days before he died, Yul Brynner made an anti-smoking PSA. Unlike most of the ones listed above, it doesn't try to gross you out or scare you—it's just a man who is very clearly dying, talking about himself in the past tense because he knows he won't live to see the ad air, imploring you not to make the same mistake he did. For that very reason, it might be the most haunting of all the anti-smoking PS As listed here, and also one of the more effective examples of The Dead Rise to Advertise.
  • This anti-smoking ad from Poland titled "Have a smoke". A cigarette is lit by a person offscreen, only for it to turn into a burning candle wick. The camera reveals that the candle is placed on a gravestone in a cemetery. The fact that it takes place at night and that you can hear the unsettling noise of crows in the background does not help at all.
  • "Devil", a Norwegian cinema PIF, has the Devil himself asking the audience if anyone smokes, before flipping a coin to determine which half of the smokers will eventually die from it.
  • Tobacco Free New York State is currently (as of summer 2016) running an ad campaign that claims kids have seen too much tobacco, specifically cigarettes. Case in point, there are two ads up as of June 11. They are weird and scary. What's worse is that at the end of the latter video a kid takes out a cigarette.
  • The California Department of Public Health has made a series of disturbing PSAs:
    • "Trapped": We see the disturbing scenes of people trapped on burning cigarettes, with screams constantly heard during the PSA. At the end, one person manages to break free, as we get the phone number to quit.
    • "Day of the Dead": This ad, targeting Latino smokers with the theme being the Day of the Dead, begins with the date of "Dia de Los Muertos", with a shot of a sugar skull. But then, it shows us other days of the year, calling them the Day of the Dead, as we get more shots of sugar skulls. Then it tells us that every day is Day of the Dead for the tobacco industry. Right after this, we get a shot of a real skull staring at us. It ends with the phone number again. (The linked video cuts after the phone number, but the last shot is the real skull staring at us.)
  • These distressing print ads by the Chilean Corporation Against Cancer warn against secondhand smoke, portraying crying, frightened children with smoke clouds shaped like plastic bags over their heads. The tagline's the best part: "Smoking isn't just suicide. It's murder."
  • A print advert from the National Health Services (NHS) in the UK, featuring the sinister expression of a toy Monster Clown (though might drift into Narm territory for some, due to how much it feels like they threw in a creepy clown in the ad for the sake of having a creepy clown).
  • This PSA from The Breathe Free Foundation brings you straight to the bottom of the Uncanny Valley. It actually encourages suicide, claiming that there's cheaper ways of killing oneself than smoking cigarettes.

    Drugs 
As the Baby Boomer generation came to a close and pop-culture bloomed in a big way, so did the need to warn our youth about the dangers of drugs. And by "warn", we mean "make it clear they were wrought by the hands of demons".
  • The "Partnership for a Drug-Free America", currently known as "Partnership for a Drug-Free Kids", has proven itself time and time again to be a constant manufacturer of nightmare fuel with their PSAs.
    • Snake is perhaps one of their most notorious ones, which famously scared both The Nostalgia Critic (in his "Top 11 Anti-Drug PSAs" video) and JonTron (in his "Anti Drug Games" video). A drug-dealer named Snake, half-hidden in shadow, introduces himself and spoke of how much you'd be willing to go to get more drugs from him. His voice becomes more and more distorted as he moved in a fluid manner, saying how we would "lie to your parents, steal, cheat on your homeboys." He finished up by saying, "Some folks will tell you I'm dealin' in poison. But hey, do I look like the kind of guy who'd do that to a kid like you?" He then appeared in the light, revealing he is a human snake and hissed in a distorted voice, "Yessss!" The ad ends with a freeze-frame of Snake hissing at the camera with his snake tongue flailing about. Brrr!
    The Nostalgia Critic (hiding under the camera at the end of the commercial and raising a finger pointing right): "Go to the next one!"
    • Diving Board: Another terrifying PSA shows a woman standing on a diving board, ready to jump off into a pool. The narrator talks about the popularity of drugs and it's effects. In the background, echoing voices can be heard encouraging the woman to jump. ("Come on"..."It'll be fun"..."Try it"...) Near the end of the ad, the narrator tells you to "know what you're jumping into" before you try something new as the woman jumps off the diving board. The scary part? The pool is empty! The fact that we hear a thud near the end doesn't help. Much like the "Snake" above, this PSA also freaked out Nostalgia Critic when he featured it in his top drug PSAs video:
    NC: OH MY GOD! THERE'S NO WATER! THERE'S NO WATER IN THE POOL! OH MY GOD! THERE'S NO WATER IN THE POOL! OH MY GOD! WHAT A TWIST!
    • Tracks shows a woman standing in the middle of train tracks at night. Near the tracks, another woman talks about how her friend has been taking a lot of drugs lately, and it's catching up to her. We notice a train on the tracks headed towards the first girl, who seems completely unaware of it. The woman off the tracks says she wants to talk to her friend about her problem, but worries if she does "she'll think I'm not cool." Just as the train is about to run over her, the scene freeze frames as the narrator says "If you have a friend who's in trouble with drugs, don't just stand there, do something".
    • Drowning: This PSA about the effects of huffing (meaning inhaling poisonous household chemicals to get high) shows a girl trapped in her room as it becomes flooded, as an allegory for how huffing deprives the brain of oxygen and is, thus, similar to drowning. The girl's dead corpse floats by the camera at the end (right before the "Partnership for a Drug Free America" text fades in)!
    • Final Lesson: This somewhat saddening PSA features a narrator telling the story of a girl named Susie and the different things her parents taught her through her childhood. As he speaks, the camera passes by related objects in her bedroom (a telescope, tennis trophies, etc.). As the camera moves down the hall, the narrator says that the girl's parents never taught her that drugs can kill. At this point the camera enters the bathroom, where a broken crack pipe can be seen on the floor as he says "So Susie learned one final lesson on her own." The ad ends with a shot out of a window of an ambulance speeding away from the house, sirens going off, as the narrator warns parents to talk their children about how dangerous drugs can be. It's tamer than the other ads, but it is still disturbing and pulls no punches in its message.
    "When you don't say 'no' to your kids about drugs, it's the same as saying 'yes'."
    • Everybody's Doing It: pretends to be a commercial for heroin. However, this is not the case as it shows an unattractive shot of a heroin-addicted man twitching and about to puke in a dirty public toilet. All while a catchy upbeat song plays "advertising" heroin.
    • Grave Words: We see a close-up shot of a man who appears to be talking to someone about drugs. Everything seems normal... until the camera zooms out to reveal that he is in a cemetery, and he is talking to his son's tombstone, meaning he regretted not talking to his son about drugs before he died.
    • Lab Rat: shows a rat inside a cage taking a gram of cocaine while scary music plays as the announcer says that one gram of cocaine can be addictive. As the music becomes more tense, we can see the rat wildly shaking. A loud roar plays, and we see that the rat is dead. The announcer concludes "It's called cocaine, and it can do the same thing to you." as the screen fades to black, with the tagline "Face the facts: drugs are a dead end".
    • This is your Brain on Drugs: This legendary PSA can qualify in a certain way. While the actual imagery, narration and overall idea of the PSA is pretty non-frightening, the music sting at the beginning as well as the sound of the eggs being cooked on the pan is very unsettling, giving off a rather ominous kind of feeling.
    • Grow Up: This series of ads is meant to drive home the point that you can't do the things you dream of doing if you do drugs. As the voices of children talk about what they want to be when they grow up, we see a man running from a cop ("a track star"), a woman dancing until she suddenly collapses ("a ballerina"), a woman pounding hysterically on her unconscious (or dead) boyfriend's chest ("a nurse"), and a homeless guy in the street begging for change ("a millionaire"). These aired as individual spots, but there was also an ad (linked above) that combines the first three, all set to an ominous background music that gradually builds up throughout, culminating into something of a Last Note Nightmare at the very end. Just... Brr.
    "No one ever says 'I want to be a junkie when I grow up'. Don't let drugs get in the way of your dreams."
    Jon: You know what, I think you've got a point there, it would be bad if my surgeon was smoking pot while operating on me. Here's a list of other things I wouldn't want him doing: ANYTHING ELSE BUT MY FUCKING SURGERY. Hahaha, you're really a piece of shit, aren't you?
    • Faces: What is arguably the most terrifying of all the spots made by the company starts with a young woman staring straight at the camera while "Happy Birthday to You" plays faintly in the background. Then some spooky voices sing "How ooollld arrre youuu nowww, la dee dee dee deeee." And her face begins to morph and disintegrate until she becomes a lifeless corpse with empty blue eyes. And it ends with someone throwing a sheet over her face.
      • There was another version made that was just as frightening, if not more since the person doesn't throw a sheet over her face so her lifeless corpse is on the screen for a few seconds longer.
    • Circles: "I do coke, so I can work longer, so I can earn more, so I can do more coke... so I can work longer, so I can earn more..." Followed by "The End" as the the man disappears. Unsettling vagueness at its finest. It was also featured in The Nostalgia Critic's "Top 11 Drug PSAs" video.
    • An anti-drug ad that showed a montage of people partying, dancing, etc. while a voice narrates how "he's your friend", "I make everything better"; but all the while the voice grows more menacing and the people in the montage change from happy partygoers to frightened/injured victims; at the end the voice growls, "You want to know who I really am?"
    • One from 1989 starts with someone putting on a suit and tie as an upbeat party-type song plays ("Life is Like" by The Suburbs, to be specific). "When Juan turned 16, he smoked crack to celebrate", a narrator tells us. "He wanted to start a new life." Judging by the eerie music that drowns out the song, and the reveal that the clothes are being put on a young man by a mortician preparing for his funeral, it didn't go as he planned.
    • This 1998 PSA was allegedly done in response to claims that the fashion industry at the time was promoting heroin use in young people. It features an attractive model sitting down in front of a mirror, letting her hair down and removing her fake eyelashes, makeup, etc. Finally, she removes a set of false teeth from her upper mouth that she uses to cover up the teeth she lost due to heroin abuse.
    • The Nightmare Fuel in this one is more subtle than most. It features Sasha Mitchell (known for his roles on Dallas and Step by Step) sitting in a hospital room and talking about how two years ago, his brother and his best friend, Rick, used crack to celebrate his birthday. The commercial is vague, but it seems that they both overdosed. "You know, sometimes I think Rick was the lucky one. He died." He looks over to the bed and wishes a happy birthday to his brother, who is in a vegetative state.
    • Puppet Boy: This particularly creepy one features a kid (with strings attached to his limbs like a puppet, and is controlled as such) lighting a blunt (while the kid narrator explains that people telling you that doing pot is okay are "pulling your strings"), while carnival music plays in the background... which cuts out after the kid takes a puff, which causes his body to seize up. The commercial ends with the body now limp and one of the arms now waving goodbye.
    • Brainwaves: This anti-drug PSA from 1989 against marijuana. Needles are placed on paper (like the tools people use to measure EEG, or a seismometer) and are moved up and down rapidly. The narrator explains that this is the brain of an active 14-year-old. It then takes a dark turn—the music gets more ominous, the picture fades to black, and when it fades in, we see the needles barely moving, the lines nearly flatline. The narrator says that "so is this—after using marijuana." It then fades to black again with the text (and voiceover) "If you use pot, you're not using your brain." Doesn't help that this was played during most children's shows. It's not so much the visuals as it is the music that makes this PSA scary.
    • Rodney On Heroin: This 1998 PSA features actor Rodney Harvey. At the beginning of the ad, in a vein similar to the "This is your brain on drugs" ads, we hear a man's voiceover say, "This is my friend, Rodney" featuring a very handsome, black and white headshot of him, then the VO says "This is my friend Rodney on heroin", which then switches to a mugshot of him badly scratched about the face and chest. He then switches back to the good-looking headshot and says again, "This is my friend, Rodney." Then he switches to another unattractive mugshot of him and repeats "This is my friend Rodney on heroin." The scene then keeps switching between the black-and-white headshot of him and another horrible mugshot of him and some other pictures of him strung out on drugs as the VO goes between saying "Rodney" and "on heroin" to compliment his status before the final picture is revealed him to be passed-out (and presumably dead) as the male voiceover finishes with, "That was my friend, Rodney" before the picture fades with white lettering on a black screen saying "Rodney Harvey, July 31, 1967-April 11, 1998".
    • "Crackhead Bob" features Bob Harvey (real name: George Harvey) in a school classroom struggling to recite the alphabet. Some text reveals that people call him Crackhead Bob, and that cocaine use has left him with permanent brain damage. The sudden introduction of context is what makes this PSA so shocking, and the close up of his face at the end doesn't help either.
    • Jamie: One PSA showed the inside of a meth lab, with a voiceover talking about "Jamie", a habitual meth user whose lungs are slowly being destroyed because of her drug use. After the VO goes into excruciating detail about all the damage done to her body, the camera shows that Jamie is actually a little girl living on the floor above, whose mother is apparently unaware that they are close to a meth lab.
    • PDFA made a series of ads which involve scenarios of what happens when people get high on drugs that range from Adult Fear to Fridge Horror. Perhaps the most horrifying and saddest one of all depicts an unsupervised toddler dropping her float toy into a pool, and then presumably drowning while attempting to retrieve it. The sarcastic and condescending narrator then says, "Just tell her parents you weren't watching her because you were getting stoned. They'll understand."
      • Another one shows a little boy waiting past dark and alone for his big brother to pick him up from Little League practice. The narrator says "Just tell your little brother you forgot to pick him up because you were getting stoned. He'll understand."
      • The third entry in the series shows an elderly woman sitting at her kitchen table with an anxious and sad look on her face, as the narrator says, "Just tell your grandma you blew off the dinner plans you made with her because you were stoned. She'll understand."
      • Another features a little girl at a carnival standing alone in a crowd, with a balloon, waiting for her older sister to meet up with her there.
    • There's one PSA from the late 90s which features someone from first-person perspective on top of a frozen pond, only for it to crack and they fall through. We then are subjected to the person, revealed to be a teenaged boy, desperately fighting in vain to break through as he's now trapped underneath the ice and slowly drowns/freezes to death. It ends with a man's low, ominous-sounding voiceover saying, "Welcome to heroin. Enjoy your stay."
    • As hilarious as the one meth cleaner girl ad is ("Ahh, meth! Mmm, meth!"), there's a rare, alternate version which has the same imagery, but with a slower, disembodied-sounding female voice singing the song instead, which makes the ad anything but funny. Also, the "METH" she cleans up at the end is more scrubbed out than usual and the words "The Partnership for a Drug-Free America" appears in a different-looking text.
    • Needle: This delight produced by Partnership is downright morbid. We see a young man in a dark, dilapidated bathroom looking at himself in the mirror as an unsettling, almost serene-toned narrator says, "These days, most people who get addicted to heroin start by snorting it." The man does just that, and we watch him fall to the floor on his back. Upon impact, however, the floor shatters like glass, and the man continues to plummet down into a dark abyss. The narrator chimes in, "They think it's not as dangerous as using the needle. But the fact is... that's right where you'll end up." Cue the man gasping and widening his eyes before getting impaled on a gigantic needle, accompanied by a horrible Scare Chord. The text "No matter how you do it, it's still heroin" in a creepy font is displayed at the end.
  • A PSA from Enterhealth compares a melting ice cube to a human brain with drug abuse. The music is quite ominous. However, the rest of the PSA is lighthearted, ruining the suspense.
  • The Partnership for a Drug-Free Singapore is also known for making very terrifying PS As that will scar you for life.
    • Guinea Pig: An eerie-sounding narrator explains about how nobody knows the effects ecstasy can cause on the brain, with creepy visuals of a man trapped in a chair while he is being force fed ecstasy. The narrator says in a sinister voice "Try ecstasy and you're the guinea pig" as an old record plays in the background.
    • Blender: This short but effective PSA shows a person putting a brain into a blender. The narrator says "Ecstasy... Ever wondered what it does to your brain?" Right after he finishes, the person turns the blender on, but the picture cuts to black right after... but you can hear the blender smashing the brain into little pieces.
    • Rats: "In the Middle Ages, death by torture was an art form," begins the narration for this ad. In the ad, we see a prisoner being slowly eaten alive by hungry rats. The narrator points out that the victim's body would begin to decay while they were still alive. After the prisoner is stripped to the bone, we cut to a junkie writhing in pain as the narration states "Now, people just take heroin."
    • Faces: Another PSA shows eerie close ups of people's faces sweating. The sound effects are already scary enough, but the shocking part is when the text explains that feces and urine are released in the sweat of people addicted to heroin.
  • The Australian National Drugs Campaign did a remake of the above "When I Grow Up" PSA, called Lost Dreams. This version depicts several alternate scenarios, such as a woman having to prostitute herself for drugs, another woman having a fight with her mother, and a man with a lifeless stare being zipped up in a body bag.
  • This anti-drug ad features a rather creepy young boy "burning" every time his older sister smokes marijuana.
  • Anti-steroid PSAs have featured: things fading away into nothingness (in the last one, it's actually a person disappearing); a statue's limbs crumbling away (as a metaphor for what will happen to those who use), and in a supreme example of a scary metaphor, a deflating football, basketball and volleyball and a baseball being crushed like a soda can They're not allowed to say it on TV, but we all know exactly what they're saying. Talk about "scared straight".
  • This surprisingly well-animated PSA by Hanna-Barbera, where a dude wanders through a psychedelic landscape of pills and spliffs...then walks into a closet full of zombies, which grab him and age him 50 years in two seconds while a Scare Chord plays.
  • This anti-drug PSA from Canadian's Concerned Children's Advertiser (currently known as Companies Committed to Kids) features two extremely creepy puppets being offered drugs by a third. The commercial gets scary near the end when the kids refuse the drug dealer's wares. Defeated, he removes his sunglasses, revealing the horrific toll his puppet narcotics have taken on him. A less-creepy alternate edit had to be used for later airings.
    • Another variant manages to be more terrifying than the original version. It plays out as the previous two, but at the part where the puppet drug dealer removes his shades, the image lingers on his eyes, and then the camera zooms in closer to them!
  • Another PSA from Concerned Children's Advertisers/Companies Committed to Kids explaining talk of disgusting chemicals being added to drugs shows quick-cut, slow-motion shots of a needle being tossed into the air before smashing onto the dark, filthy road in a nighttime setting. Wow. Exactly what a kid needs to see while innocently sitting in front of the TV watching ReBoot on YTV when the commercial break comes.
  • This New Zealand anti-drug PSA show a man snorting a piece of his own brain!
  • A terrifying PSA in the 1970s was very much the first example of a Screamer Prank. It showed a wind-up monkey while a young girl's voice intoned, "They say, that people addicted to heroin have a monkey on their back. Isn't that cute?" Right as she finishes, the camera zoomed in on the monkey, which transformed into a freeze-frame image of a real monkey screaming at the camera, with the text "Why do you think they call it DOPE?". Pleasant dreams.
    • Another 70’s anti heroin PSA by the same ones that did the screaming monkey above (National Clearinghouse for Alchohol and Drug Information) It shows a young man, eyes closed, stretch out on a table with a sheet over his waist. The camera slowly does a side pans over the body from the head downward as one heard the voice over saying that heroin gives the person a calm, relax feeling, like you’re floating, etc. Suddenly, the table moves forward with the sounds of wheels as the body slab rolls into the morgue drawer, followed by the slamming of the metal door(with echoes). National Clearinghouse for Alchohol and Drug Information shows up at the bottom of the screen. Short and brutally effective.
  • The PSAs for the Montana Meth Project (see the page for descriptions of each of the ads).
  • An over-the-top drugs-prevention ad from the UK's "Talk to Frank" campaign: Pablo the drug mule dog, featuring the voice of comedian David Mitchell. You need to see it for yourself. It's typical of the darkly humorous tone that the Frank ads aim for, but it's still creepy. The advert delves into the horror of drugs through the misadventures of Pablo, a drug mule who recently had his cargo cut out of his abdomen. The humour coupled with the straight-talking nature of the ads meant that the campaign became extremely popular and surprisingly effective too.
    • Another of Frank's greatest hits is the deeply disturbing Brain Warehouse. It's not the products as such (nor the fact that they can be freely handled by all the customers) that's scariest. It's the salesman's smile.
      • The massive scar on the back of his head doesn't help either, as it suggests he's either had one of his own brain transplants or has been lobotomised.
  • From the same people who brought you Broken Toy comes The Boy Who Was Swallowed By the Drug Monster. The hand-drawn illustrations throughout are pretty unsettling, but the real kicker is when the main character Vince starts tripping out on crack. He first experiences a peaceful euphoria... but then suddenly —accompanied by some really creepy background music— has a terrifying hallucination in which he helplessly floats above himself getting devoured by the titular Drug Monster in his dark bedroom, all while desperately calling for himself to wake up and run away. And then we see his sister silently watching it all, to which the narrator reminds us that she didn't tell anyone about his drug problem.
  • This anti-coke ad by British West Indian Airways (BWIA). A man sitting in his car while a decaying zombie dances around him. If that's not bad enough, we also get a closeup of his rotting teeth.
  • This delightful little film from the Russian Ministry of Health plays on a slang phrase for delerium tremens; featuring a downright ugly CG animated squirrel that through his mannerisms proves himself to be outright Axe-Crazy. Horrifying enough as it is if you don't understand Russian, but the advert becomes really disturbing you select the captions and read the translated text, as the squirrel rants about spiders crawling everywhere and the need to kill someone's wife.
  • One campaign showed stoned teens getting up to various antics, with "replays" of the scene each time to show different outcomes, the final one always tragic or fatal (running over a child, raping one's girlfriend at a party, playing around with a gun that goes off, being busted by the cops, and walking out of a babysitting job leaving the screaming baby alone in the house.) The "drive-thru" one was parodied by Dave Chappelle. While nothing visually graphic happened, the Mood Whiplash and Adult Fear were more than disturbing enough. What's your babysitter doing while you're not there?
  • One poster advert from Crimestoppers (which focused on drug dealers rather than the drugs themselves) featured the bleak image of a very young girl in an empty field reaching down to pick up a syringe, with the caption reading, "Drug dealers don't care where dirty needles end up. Do you?". It is the epitome of Adult Fear.
  • There is an ad from Scotland Against Drugs that shows a normal-looking photograph of a raver. Then, as the ad progresses, the man's face in the photo gradually turns uglier and angrier until it becomes a horrifying devil spawn straight out of the Uncanny Valley, before melting away. Watch it here.
    • Another Scotland Against Drugs ad that was scary for a different reason featured a couple coming home after a night out. Both have apparently taken drugs and the guy becomes more and more aggressive towards his girlfriend (who seems too intoxicated to fight back), eventually dragging her inside their bedroom and ominously closing the door.
    • A less successful, Narm-filled ad by Scotland Against Drugs was widely mocked in the press - so they then made a much scarier follow-up, which re-plays the first few seconds of the first commercial, but then zooms out to show an old lady watching it on the TV at home. As a voiceover reminds us that there's a good reason why they campaign against drugs, we see that a drug addict has broken into the old lady's house to steal for his next fix. He then heads towards the room she's sitting in ...
  • There was a series of Italian anti drug PSA's made in the early 90's which featured a closeup of a person's head spinning around while a voiceover talked about drug use. At the end, the head stops spinning to reveal the person with Blank White Eyes similar to the "Faces" PSA mentioned above. It's quite terrifying. You can watch one of them here. Can you believe that this not only had billboards around the country, but that it was shown during Mickey Mouse. It's slightly Nightmare Retardant when you see the comment that says that they're going into Avatar Mode.
  • Australia has been going through an epidemic of the drug ice lately. But it's the ads where a man is being escorted into a clinic by police, before going on a psychotic rampage that are the true terrifying aspect.
    • Aussies being who they are, many find some Nightmare Retardant or (at least some dark comedy) in the man's narmy, spontaneous actions (He randomly headbutts a doctor) and the fact that a receptionist appears to be screaming horrifically before the main hurls a chair into the window. But it's still disturbing.
  • Several law enforcement agencies in the Rolla, Missouri area collaborated to produce this freaky billboard. The text "Drugs Ruin Lives" is accompanied by the haunting image of an eerie, grief-stricken blue facenote . The fact that one of these billboards is located right next to a hotel and lights up at night doesn't help much either.
  • An unpleasant series of PIF's show text on a black screen saying what is happening while audio of a child overdosing on solvents, and one of someone with whooping cough., following the aftermath.
  • A horrifying PSA from the Foundation for Help Against Drug Addiction (FAD). It was produced by Spanish film director Álex de la Iglesia, who was known for his very dark and grotesque horror films. The PSA rightly demonstrates this, playing out as a trailer for a fictional horror movie called "Bad Night". It depicts a woman hanging out with her friend at a bar. One of them accidentally knocks over the drinks with her elbow, and a man stares at them from the crowd. Next thing we know, they're both pursued by a shadowy, slender creature, who then finally catches one of the women on a bed... and her fate is left unknown. The tagline is worse: "Tonight, it could be your turn."
    • The tagline also translates to Tonight it will touch you. which is even more horrifying.

    Diseases & Illnesses 
Just because you know to steer clear of drugs doesn't mean you're out of the woods yet.
  • "Watch Your Own Heart Attack" was a short TV film run by the British Heart Foundation, a charity that funds research into heart disease and promotes prevention. Rather graphically showed you in first person the symptoms of a heart attack and what to do if someone is having one, and all presented by a ghoulishly-cheery Steven Berkoff, capitalising on his psycho bad guy screen image to great effect.
  • There is an ad from the ALS Society of Canada featuring a man giving hugs to his family, a horse, a tree, and even complete strangers. The message is clear, especially as the text reads, "Most people with ALS lose the use of their arms in the first two years of the disease". The ad then goes on to ask, "What would you do while you still could?" Absolutely heartbreaking. The music doesn't help either.
  • This scary 1980s PIF from One Small Step about awareness of cerebral palsy shows a shot of a staircase at night. Text appears saying that a child with cerebral palsy would have great difficulty climbing a staircase. The camerawork makes it uncomfortable and rather ominous. At least it ends on a happy note.
  • An Australian charity ran a PSA that started as a cartoon showing Alice in Wonderland riding through a field of flowers on the White Rabbit's back. Unfortunately, the rabbit's fur causes her to have an asthma attack, and the scene changes to show a real child struggling for breath (implied to be fatal by the caption on screen) and unable to reach her beloved toy rabbit which is only a few inches away from her. The whole thing ends with a caption: "ASTHMA CAN KILL. END OF STORY."
  • Two particularly nightmarish ads concerning Motor Neuron Disease, both from the same association:
    • The first one is simply the face of a man with MND fading away into a white screen, with the aural accompaniment of said man talking in a painful tone about how there is no cure for his disease, and no hope for him. To quote easportsbig899, "...there's absolutely no way a kid wouldn't be shaken up by this." It simply shows that minimalism can sometimes be scarier than anything else.
    • The second one, "Sarah's Story", is equally scary, and far more dramatic. It concerns a woman in an empty room being assaulted, her body contorted and warped by some invisible force, ending with her confined to a wheelchair. The ad is inspired by the real life story of Sarah Ezekiel, a woman who became an advocate for MND research after being diagnosed with it in her mid 30s. Though an actress is used in the ad, her face is superimposed on the real Sarah's body near the end to illustrate the effects of the disease. What have we learned today, kids? MOTOR NEURON DISEASE WILL FUCK. YOU. UP.
      • Motor Neuron Disease is an Eldritch Abomination that simply manifests itself as a nervous disease. Pure and simple.
  • The American Stroke Association's "Time Lost is Brain Lost" campaign series features various celebrities in a darkly lit room threatening to cripple and/or kill you in the most menacing, downright disturbing way possible. These aren't incredibly fun at 3:00 A.M.:
    Patrick Dempsey: There's something you should know about me. I'm not easy to live with. In fact, I have a really ugly side. I don't always let you speak when you want. I can leave you feeling shaken, and confused, and if you ignore me, I might lash out, leaving you... dead. I am a stroke.
    Michael Clarke Duncan: I don't care if you're rich or poor, young or old. I will come after you. I will hit you so hard, you won't know what day it is. You'll want to scream for help but you won't be able to. I'll cripple an arm or a leg, or maybe, just maybe, I will kill you. I am a stroke.
    Don Rickles: Nobody likes me, nobody. Maybe it's because I like to attack people. Men, women, kids, I can reduce them to weak, stammering, confused, scared imitations of their former selves. If they don't stop me, I just might leave 'em that way for life. I am a stroke.
    Sharon Stone: There's something you should know about me. I'm cold, I'm calculating, I get what I want. If you get in my way, I'll wreak havok upon you. I can leave you weak, limp, twisted, confused... If you want to live to see tomorrow, you answer to me, and you answer quickly. I am a stroke.
  • This German tanning bed PSA about skin cancer, made popular as a screamer video called "Hot Blonde in Tanning Bed", is a strange mix of horror, Bloodless Carnage and Narm. It depicts a girl sitting on a tanning bed. The camera lingers on her for a few seconds before it suddenly shuts on her.
  • Anti-AIDS adverts understandably generate plenty of Nightmare Fuel:
    • The defining anti-AIDS campaign for the UK featured these apocalyptic nightmares narrated by John Hurt that effectively declared the world was being eaten alive by a monster you couldn't see. Recent studies have shown that this campaign was so scary it actually increased STDs among its target audience because people became complacent when the world didn't actually end.
    If you ignore AIDS, it could be the death of you. So don't die of ignorance.
    • These AIDS PIF's from Health Educational Authority around 1988 are very terrifying, showing footage of a disco/house dinner which frequently cuts to a black screen with text warning about the dangers of AIDS with screeching noises. Near the end of the ads, a closeup of a man or a woman appears saying "will you stay/you're coming home with me." After that, music right out of a horror movie plays as we get a closeup of a woman/man as the screen fades to black with the tagline "Aids. You know the risks. The decision is yours." Pleasant dreams.
    • The Australian NACAIDS had a landmark 1987 AIDS education ad which portrayed The Grim Reaper going bowling...with people as pins. The reaper once even used to be the Image Source. This ad, written by Simon Reynolds, shouldn't be watched before bed.
    • The "Don't Inject AIDS" PIF shows off the perspective of an HIV infected man in an incredibly nightmarishly surreal way, as well as showing a flashback to when he first discovered that he was infected. The ad managed to show all too effectively how bleak the lives of infected people were in the 80's, and if you're in the mood for cringing, the PIF also has a shot of the man injecting drugs into his arm with an infected needle all in its glory. It's not surprising that many people complained about this PIF due to the graphic imagery and the questionable message, which seems to say "If you inject heroin, don't share needles because HIV spreads that way". As the result, the maker decided to make a sequel of this PIF one year after with a more clear anti-heroin message.
    • This AIDS awareness ad from Medecines sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) begins with a man suddenly falling to the floor and starting to roll, gathering other people as the growing ball moves through a village. Eventually, a giant rolling ball of infected people sweeps through the countryside, eventually making it to the city, where we see it crush a mother and destroy buildings as she sings to her child. Sadly, however, it becomes Nightmare Retardant if you remember one thing: NAAA! NA NA NA NA NA! NA! NA NA KATAMARI DAMASHII!
    • This German PIF (NSFW) starts out as essentially softcore porn, where a man and a woman go to the bathroom in a club and essentially get it on to the tune of some eerie music. The horror (or humor) doesn't come until the very end, where we see the man banging this woman is in fact HITLER. That's right, HITLER. The message: "AIDS is a mass murderer."
    • There was a pro-abstinence sex education PSA series called Sex Can Wait back in the late nineties and early 2000's, and most were pretty alright, however one in particular was pure horror. This PSA concerned not just the threat of AIDS but many other STIs (then called STDs) like Hepatitis that one might catch if they have unprotected sex. The ad starts with seductive but ominous music in the background as we enter into a bedroom. A dead serious narrator tells us that when we don't use protection during sex, we're "one step closer" to getting infected with a life-changing and devastating disease. The ad ends by telling us, as we climb into the bed and the sheet flies up that having unprotected sex puts us one step closer to catching AIDS, and the next thing we see is the sheet coming down to cover a corpse in the morgue. They did change the narrator's voice to make it more sultry and less ominous later, and even changed their logo at the end to be a little more bouncy-looking, but the horror remains.
    "So think before you jump into the sack. Sex Can Wait."
    • This PSA features a man with Stage 9 AIDS.
    • These PSAs from Teen Aids.org (NSFW) feature naked 18 year olds killing themselves in stupid ways. The girl stabs herself while running with scissors, and the boy sticks a knife in a toaster.
  • There's a radio ad in the US about childhood pertussis that frequently cuts between the celebrity spokesman, and the very sudden (and very loud) sounds of what is clearly an infant coughing its lungs out and struggling to breathe, all while ominous music plays in the background. Here's the video version of the ad in question.
  • A Hemophilia Foundation PSA from the '70s: eerie, distorted visuals of a hand-held camera traveling around a house, with sudden extreme close-ups on ordinary objects that would be very dangerous to a hemophiliac like knives, the corners of a table or a cat scratching at the camera. All the time there is the sound of a Creepy Child laughing in the background.
  • There was a PSA about early detection of pancreatic cancer. A man is in a car behind a similar looking man and goes, "That's Jim and I'm Jim's pancreatic tumor." He goes on to talk about the onset of the man's pancreatic cancer. It's creepy to imagine your health problems, personified and discussing their onset.
  • "Schizophrenia: A National Emergency". Quite possibly the most ominous mental health awareness PIF you are ever likely to see.
  • A PIF from 1992 about the Toxocara parasite, in which a children's nursery rhyme takes a sinister twist. The simplistic visuals don't help either.
  • The Fat Files was a series of animated PSAs that aired on the British version of Nickelodeon during the early 2000s, whose purpose was to teach children about unhealthy habits and the effects they have on the body. One in particular discusses heart attacks, and depicts an obese person over-eating, with their arteries being clogged up, followed by said person ending up in a hospital. That's right, they just showed a heart attack on Nick-el-fucking-odeon. Granted, it's far tamer than most of the examples on this list, but still.
  • This one about Childhood Asthma has a kid talking about how an asthma attack feels like, along with clips of a fish who has been taken away from it's fishbowl and is trying to get air. Sure, at the end the fish is placed back in it's fishbowl, but the concept of the ad is very disturbing.
  • This Canadian PSA for Asbestos has a pale man in the hospital remembering his previous experiences with asbestos in which he lacked safety gear need to protect himself, with Scare Chord along the way. It ends with someone putting a breathing mask in his face.
  • "Taming the Crippler, portraying polio as the Grim Reaper, was shown in movie theaters beginning in 1948, especially during Saturday matinees when it could induce pants-shitting terror in the audience, encouraging them to put the money they'd saved for snacks into the March Of Dimes can being passed around instead.
    • Autism Speaks' 2009 ripoff of this classic, "I Am Autism", included such cheery lines as:
    "If you are Happily Married, I'll make sure that your marriage fails."
    "I will bankrupt you for my own self gain."
    "You will cry, wondering 'who will take care of my child after I die'."
    • This went over like a lead fart even with some cure-autism types. It's still notorious among autistic people, who create parodies showing that the real horror is not autism, but Autism Speaks, which has no autistic people on its board of directors. The PSA was pulled but you can still see a transcript.
  • This PSA starts out subtle and normally with a pretty woman who has a fashion/personal video blog where she talks out various items of clothing she bought and just how happy she is with her life. Throughout the video, however, she mentions how tired she is and after taking a blood test, it's discovered that she has breast cancer. Afterwards, she continues with her blog, only this time it's focused on her illness and her continued physical deterioration. After it is discovered that her condition is apparently now terminal (complete with an occasionally heard "vacuum suction" soundtrack heard throughout), she turns off the camera.
  • Kylee's Story begins with a cheerful 7th grader telling you about her school, telling you where she keeps her books, where she goes to math class, etc. Then she stops in the middle of a hallway, turns to the viewer, and in a serious face, tells you, "This is where I died." The video then cuts to show actual footage of the girl having a cardiac arrest at the same place, while the narrator talks about how, with the help of her friends and teacher, she survived.
  • This terrifying Rabies Awareness PIF. We see a woman at an airport, carrying a bag and about to board a plane as she notices an already creepy poster about the dangers of smuggling animals into Great Britain. We see her look down at her bag nervously. In today's culture, with the fear of terrorism in the air on everyone's minds, that's bad enough. What's even worse is the real life footage of a young boy in a hospital, spasming violently with painful-looking breathing due to the effects of a late-stage Rabies infection. This footage is intercut with the woman's story as she makes her way through the line, only to reveal a cute little kitten inside her bag, which does absolutely nothing to alleviate the absolute horror of seeing a little boy spasming and slowly dying from Rabies. Oh, and did I mention there's a horrific, distorted screaming noise over the clips of the rabid little kid?
  • The horror of this PSA begins with a teenage girl, from first-person perspective, being told by a concerned friend how she is gradually showing signs of an anaphylactic allergic reaction, as evidenced by the large, red rashes on her arms and her increasingly ragged breathing. She unknowingly ate brownies that were made with peanut butter and even asked another friend who made the snack if there were any inside before eating them, only for the friend not to know the difference between peanut butter and peanuts. As her worried friends call 911, the only time we do see the girl is when she looks in the mirror and we see her swollen, rash-covered face. Now struggling to breathe, she faints as her friends try to console her and her vision grows more and more hazy, and her fate is left unknown at the end of the PSA.
  • The National Multiple Sclerosis Society came up with two lovely ads back in 1994, depicting the effects of the disease on a woman as rusty chains, rope, peeling of her skin like paper, and barbed wire wrapping around various places on her body, complete with Scare Chord each time and solemn/ominous narration. They were aired during the daytime on several family-oriented networks and most certainly scared many children in the process.
  • A creepily-animated PSA encouraging abstinence from Campaign For Our Children Inc. depicts a young couple about to have sex, when suddenly the camera zooms into the girl's eye and through her brain. The girl now being represented as a talking heart, she is informed by her brain cells about the various risks of underage sexual intercourse (including STIs and pregnancy). All with Deranged Animation running throughout. The ad ends with the girl telling her boyfriend "I wanna wait."
  • This PSA from India to raise awareness for breast cancer shows nothing but two oranges beside each other, obviously meant to represent someone's breasts. The horror comes in when someone peels one of the oranges as a horrifically Sickening "Crunch!" is heard, showing the orange's insides are completely rotten and dried out. A caption appears telling viewers that breast cancer can be gotten by anyone. The uploader's description for this video really says it all; "In its silence this ad speaks tonnes".
  • This PSA from Canada from the Heart & Stroke Foundation shows the two perspectives of an elderly man, one of him enjoying his life at home and the other of him languishing in a hospital with everyday activities mirroring one another from different viewpoints. The end shot of both scenes has his wife lying her head on his shoulder; while the former has her savoring the tender moment with their family and the latter has her weeping over his state.
  • Another PSA from the Heart and Stroke Foundation has a man, from first-person perspective, sitting at home with his family as he then suffers a stroke. We see his wife and daughter’s terrified reactions as they summon help for him but he is eventually seen in a hospital, on his way to recovery. There’s another ad that is possibly even scarier than the first one, because this time it’s from the first-person perspective of his wife, allowing us to witness the man’s physical effects from the stroke.
  • This PSA dealing with obesity has a man being wheeled into a hospital room, diagnosed with a heart attack. The camera then shifts to a first-person perspective showing all the unhealthy habits he has made in his life that contributed to his fate: guzzling sodas, chowing down on fast food, and playing video games. The dramatic piano music and amplified breathing make it all the more disturbing. Although this PSA was aimed primarily at parents, it can make anyone think twice before opening that bag of chips.

    Medical Awareness and Donations 
With all that, it sure is a good thing we have doctors and hospitals to keep us from dying, right? Well, that's as long as they have the necessary supplies...
  • This UK ad from the NHS about the importance of using the right medical advice service is one of the most horrifying things ever. We are shown different people looking guilty as voice-overs talk about how they should have dialed 111 to find the right service instead of going to A&E (Accident and Emergency- a medical service intended for potentially life-threatening incidents that require immediate care only). One is a mother with a mildly sick infant. Another is a young man who admits to calling an ambulance because he had a sprained wrist. At the end, we hear a flatline as a little girl is shown lying on a bed motionless, wondering why the others thought they were more important than her as a doctor covers her with a sheet. The implication being that since all these people misused emergency medical services, they inadvertently caused the death of someone who urgently needed care.
  • This UK ad from 2001 about blood donation shows a man talking about how blood donation is not just used for emergencies; there are many people who need it whether they are giving birth, cancer patients etc. but there are not enough people giving it. Except that while he's talking, he's slowly being drained of blood, and the ad ends with him staring straight at the camera with deathly pale skin and lifeless eyes with black circles underneath them.
  • A scary animated 1984 PIF by Blood Transfusion Service shows a drawing of blood donor bags hanging on a wire as they gradually fall one by one. A child sings a tune about blood donation...which is then drowned out by a screeching siren at the end just when the last bag falls.
  • This Scottish ad for organ donation is chilling to say the least. A young girl named Jill stares at the camera smiling. A woman's voiceover asks the audience if they would like to use their organs to save someone's life and that they have thirty seconds to decide. The girl's stare gradually becomes more unnerving as her face slowly sinks into the shadows while the voiceover asks if Jill should die, then waits for five seconds before deciding for the audience.
  • In comparison, this advert from 1998 by Spanish organ donation organisation, ALCER, starts off with a surgeon delicately placing a liver in an organ dish. As time progresses, the liver becomes a swarming mess of maggots, which is what happens when you do not donate your organs. Adding to its creep factor, a speech plays... "...and if you don't make it to tomorrow, will you have enjoyed today?"
  • This Public Information Film from 1989 features Rowan Atkinson literally tries to get blood from a stone by talking to it about blood donation and how helpful it would be and how it would assist people of all ages. After his spiel, the stone begins to bleed, which causes him to mercifully thank it.
  • This harrowing PIF from Help the Sick Kids Edinburgh just shows footage of a baby crying, all while the narrator explains that there’s so little space in the Sick Children’s Hospital that doctors have to cram “twice as many” babies into the intensive care unit. He then urges the audience to donate money toward the creation of a new hospital wing to provide more room for future infant patients entering the hospital. As the donation hotline is shown, we can still hear the baby, only its cries have turned to coughs. To put a cherry on top of it: the PIF cuts back to the baby, who suddenly goes still and quiet...
  • This 1984 PSA, featuring creepy puppets straight out of the Uncanny Valley discussing organ donation.
  • This public information film starts with a teenage girl staring blankly at the camera as text on the screen telling us that she wants to have a conversation. The problem is that while the girl’s lips are slowly moving, no sound comes out of her mouth. Eventually, the text returns asking if we’ve already grown impatient waiting and then says that the girl had been involved in an accident eight months prior, but that a dedicated nurse named Nurse Robinson has been working with the girl, named Rachel, and knows that it could take up to nine months before it’s a two-way conversation. Also, as a last nod to the story someday getting a happy ending, Rachel even slightly blinks in recognition to the nurse’s voice.
  • This other PIF from the NHS Careers features a man walking at night as we hear a voiceover of various people and the labels of medical occupations flashed on the screen. As the words and voices continue, we then see the man fall down a flight of stairs in slow-motion and we soon learn that he has epilepsy and the voices heard were from the people helping him get through his diagnosis and their respective medical professions.
  • This Cinema PIF from London Lighthouse has an announcer giving AIDS symptoms and people saying nasty things about AIDS victims. The scariest part is that this received a U rating from the BBFC.

    Dental Care 
  • The American Dental Association created the public service film, The Haunted Mouth. Who knew that a haunted house would be the perfect way to scare you into brushing and flossing more often?

Safety

    Child Safety 
Just because we've made it past abusers and drugs doesn't mean the wee ones are safe. Children are naive, curious, and fragile, so these ads make sure to pile on the Adult Fear by showing just what will happen if we don't keep them from getting into dangerous things.
  • A scary flex safety PIF shows a baby standing near an ironing tool left on a table. As the baby pulls on the ironing cord, the ironing tool falls on the baby. The mother is shocked as we see a plastic baby doll with a massive dent in it's forehead while the tagline "KEEP FLEXES OUT OF CHILDREN'S REACH" appears. It's very scary that you can only see the baby doll and not the actual baby itself.
    • The 40-second version is more scary as we actually get to see what happens to the baby. Sure, it's tamer since the baby turns out to be OK, and the narrator sounds more friendly, but the music at the end does not help.
  • A 1979 home safety PIF shows a baby walking around a house, touching nearby objects. An ominous-sounding narrator tells you to watch what your baby is touching, as near the end, the baby touches the fireplace. The music doesn't help either.
  • So you're writing a Government Information Advert to prevent little towheaded British children from drowning. Why not get the late great Pleasance to wear a hood and stalk them? Thus spells the origins of "The Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water" from 1973, one of the most famous PIFs of all time. The horror comes from how the Spirit subtly shows great pride and amusement in watching children drown and fall into lakes. It's slightly reduced by him collapsing on the ground and being thrown in the water by self-described "sensible children", but the horror comes back with him stating in an echoing voice, "I'll be BACK!"
  • Ever wondered how you, if you own an electric substation, could use a way of keeping children away from them without necessarily shouting "Stay out of here! This is not a playground!"? Here's a good way!
    • Allegedly, the PIF above is a reworking of "Jimmy Gets Electrocuted". The creepy electronic music makes it unnerving.
    • A similar ad was aired on Dutch TV in the early nineties; there was a PSA advising kids not to try and climb the fences surrounding the giant electrical transformers that power the countries. How did they do this? By showing a distressingly realistic and graphic portrayal of a young teenager electrocuting himself followed by his distraught brother kneeling down next to him and putting a hand on the transformer as the screen goes to black with a hideous zapping noise and the warning 'don't risk your life, don't climb the fences'.
    • In the early eighties US there was a series of PSA's about electrocution that all featured eerie narration over the sound of ECG "blips". A series of advancing photo stills would show someone being Too Dumb to Live around power lines or similar electrical equipment: a guy on a ladder fixing his TV antenna, curious kids breaking into a transformer box, and here a careless crane operator. The most frequently-run spot was of a kid trespassing into a sub-station to retrieve his entangled kite (very reminiscent of the UK's infamous "Jimmy" PIF), but may be arguably worse because while we are more or less treated to a Gory Discretion Shot of cutting away to avoid the aftermath, this one actually allowed us to see the kid's dead body flying towards the camera only to be freeze-framed at the last second. The others ended with a loud BZZZT! as the screen cut to black and the ECG would Flatline, as the narrator admonished, "Don't Put Your Life On The Line." They all ran during time-slots when kids were likely to be watching.
  • This UK ad about the dangers of keeping your medicines in reach of young children shows a group of little children upstairs eating medicine that wasn't kept locked away unable to tell the difference between the medicine and sweets while their mothers are talking downstairs. One comments how it is quiet up there and the ending shot has the medicines still on the table but the children are nowhere to be seen.
  • This 1973 UK ad, a combination of anti-littering and general safety, is no more comfortable to watch as an adult. It depicts a boy running all across the beach, happy and carefree, but at the end the camera pans down to broken glass as a scary voiceover says "The last place in the world to leave a bottle...is a beach." And just as the kid is almost about to step on the glass, the video freezes, but you can feel the sheer pain he'll most likely gain.
  • "Varokaa heikkoa jäätä", which loosely translates to "Beware of weak ice". Released in 1986, this Finnish PSA features weird animation, spooky music and a scary grumbling bear in the end - traumatizing Finnish children for a few decades now.
  • This 1979 animated UK ad warns of the dangers of...tying bags to the handles of prams and pushchairs (or strollers, if you're American). Sound a tad ridiculous of a subject for a PIF? Try laughing after you've seen a baby topple several feet face-first into glass shattering on the pavement, and heard its mother's horrific, electronically-distorted scream- which is played at the beginning and at the end, and the volume of which is cranked up to levels of Sensory Abuse.
  • "What are your kids learning?" It's a PSA from The Learning Channel, where a boy watches a video online. It's never shown what's in the video, but there's a panting man and a bleating goat, and it's pretty obvious he's watching something...off-color. The kid runs off...and then comes back into the room with his pet poodle before shutting the door. The image then cuts out...but you can hear the poodle whimpering.
  • John Mackenzie's notorious Apaches from 1977, a 26 minute long public information film made to show the dangers of playing on farms, showed children dying in various horrible ways while playing on a farm. One boy drowns slowly in a slurry pit, a young girl is run over by a tractor, another boy gets crushed under a metal gate...
    • But none of these scenes can compare with what is possibly the movie's scariest and most disturbing scene; Sharon unintentionally drinks some weed killer (probably loaded with ultra-deadly paraquat) and goes home not feeling well. A few hours later, she wakes up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain, horrifically screaming and crying for her mother, while she slowly dies from poisoning. What really makes this scene especially disturbing are not just Sharon's increasingly hysterical agonized shrieks, but also the fact that we never actually get to see what's happening to the poor girl, as all we see during that scene is a shot of the outside of her house as the lights turn on.
    • It gets even worse when you consider that while the other kids died quickly and relatively painlessly, Sharon had to suffer for several hours in the most intense pain one can imagine before she finally died, probably of multiple organ failure.
    • Danny's (the narrator) death is quite horrifying as well, as he helplessly plunges to his death in an out-of-control tractor. His death scream is absolutely bone-chilling.
    • As is the final scene, where instead of cast and production credits, in plain writing over the near-silence of the funeral, it says:
    In the year before this film was made, Alan aged 15 years, was electrocuted on a farm. Anthony aged 10 years, suffocated in a grain pit. Brian aged 3 years, Mary aged 2 years, Philip aged 6 years, were killed by falling gates. Keith aged 15 years was killed in an explosion on a farm. Stephen aged 15 years was burned to death in a rick fire. Alan aged 15 years, Charlotte aged 4 years, Clive aged 5 years, David aged 13 years, John aged 5 years, Louise aged 9 years, Mark aged 4 years, Michael aged 8 years, Patrick aged 4 years, Paul aged 13 years, Penny aged 3 years, Peter aged 4 years, Richard aged 15 years, Sarah aged 2 years were all crushed to death by farm machinery.
  • After two children choked to death on Burger King's Pokéball toys, this ad ran announcing a recall. It ran on stations that children would likely be watching, including reruns of Leave It to Beaver on TV Land. It's pretty chilling due to the minimalist tone and Creepy Monotone narrator talking about suffocations.
  • There was a missing children's PSA from the mid-2000s that also would qualify as Adult Fear. In the beginning of the commercial, we see a little girl explaining to us that "A stranger once offered me a ride home...", then the camera pans back quickly and the color fades as she is then talking from her "Missing" poster and says, "...and I haven't been seen in two years." We then see a little boy explaining to us, "A man once offered me money to help him look for his dog...and I said no." It is then that the picture of the little boy is freeze-framed into a photo in his family living room as he himself is walking outside to play catch with his father.
  • This advert, about Internet safety, features one of the most terrifying examples of Vocal Dissonance. It starts with the camera looking up at a ceiling, and a young boy's voice speaking. The camera slowly pans down to reveal a grown man speaking in a child's voice, looking right at you. The message is that people on the internet may not necessarily be who they say they are.
  • During the Super Bowl XLIX in 2015, Nationwide Insurance aired this ad. It starts off rather cute, with a child lamenting that he'll never do certain things, until the kid says that he will never grow up because he died in a accident. Then it shows an overflowed bathtub, some spilled cleaning supplies, and even more horrific a flatscreen that's fallen on the floor with broken glass, implying a child had been crushed by it. Remember that this aired during the Super Bowl, where the ads were expected to be funny, or at the very least uplifting. People were upset, and made "Nationwide Insurance" a trending topic on Twitter, with many talking about how tasteless and horrible the ad was.
  • Watersafe Auckland did an advert that shows three women in bikinis getting ready to sunbathe on the beach. What does this have to do with anything, you ask? If you're too distracted, you probably won't notice what's happening in the dinghy out on the water until it's too late.
  • An anti-violence PIF for German network SWR Fernsehen is either horrific or, as easportsbig899 calls it, a horror movie fan's wet dream. It depicts a bunch of graphic clips from horror movies and the like (such as The Shining and It), overdubbed with voices singing Brahms' Lullaby.
    • Another ad from the same network depicts a father taking his young son on a trip into a big city, showing him some lovely sights: a car accident, a man being assaulted, another shooting up in a public bathroom, a dead body wrapped in plastic, etc. The message at the end is that if you wouldn't show your kids this in real life, don't let them see it on TV.
  • In one advert, a man and a woman are in their kitchen cooking breakfast when they get into a playful Food Fight. She throws an egg at him and he dodges, causing the egg to smash against the sliding glass door. Mood Whiplash sets in when the wife suddenly freezes, staring in horror at the yolk running down the glass. A voiceover intones; "Child restraints. Forget them once, and remember it forever" as the couple turn to look at an empty highchair in the corner.
  • This Public Information Film shows a woman what the world looks like from the perspective of her young son. What may resemble a puzzle, a jump rope or a roller coaster to a child is in reality an electrical outlet, the hanging cord of a hot iron and a flight of stairs, respectively. Not helping in easing the fear is the creepy Soundtrack Dissonance which sounds like a warped lullaby/calliope music.
  • A 1993 UK PIF about child bath safety shows a mother placing her son Michael in a bathtub, before leaving to answer a phone call. While she's gone, Michael turns the handles of the faucet, filling up the bathtub to the point that he begins drowning. The mother notices the eerie silence in the bathroom and realizes what is happening, rushing in to save Michael in the nick of time.
  • "Know Before You Mow", an ad campaign targeting lawn mower safety around children. On the official website (linked here), you can view the campaign's four television adverts. They each depict children doing everyday things — including coloring, playing video games, swinging on a swing set and sitting in a sandbox — as a lawn mower audibly plays in the background. Then, the children suddenly run off-screen, and you can hear the sound of the mower blades hitting something other than grass, before the ad cuts to black with the text "Every year almost 10,000 children are injured in mowing accidents. Always know where your kids are." The website also has disturbing stories told in the perspective of both children and parents about horrific lawn mower accidents.
  • This public service announcement from a foundation named Abbey's Hope features a young girl speaking to the audience and explaining how she's about to drown in a swimming pool surrounded by family and friends because no one is watching her and each of her parents think the other one is accountable for her. As she then tries to explain further, she's eventually overcome by her struggling and sinks underneath mid-sentence.
  • The television series, Missing, assists in locating missing persons of all ages. The series also has child safety tips to keep them safe in many different situations, with escalating danger involved in each one:
    • "Amusement park" involves a family out for a day of fun. While initially the mother just gives her two sons vague instructions on what to do, in a redo of what to do, she then tells them to synchronize their watches, meet up with the parents at the food court at lunchtime and always stay together.
    • "Department store" has a woman with her young son take her eyes off of him for a few seconds only for him to vanish. She then asks a store employee for help, who radios a coworker and they lock the store down until he is found, which he is, just innocently wandering off.
    • "Directions" has a little girl being dropped off at home after school when a man pulls up asking for directions. After initially heading towards the car to assist, she then declines in helping the man, who drives off, in a situation that could have easily gone either way.
    • "Lost dog" has a man approaching two young boys ostensibly looking for his dog. After offering $20 to help in the search, the one boy agrees while his friend decides not to. The redo of the situation has both boys refusing and then saying that they’ll get their fathers to help him, which scares the man off.
    • "Field trip" has a group of children on a field trip to a museum when a woman gets one of the young girl’s attention by calling her by her name and walking off with her. The redone scenario has the young girl asking her teacher if she has to go away with the woman, which gets her and a security guard’s attention and causes the woman to run off.
    • The last one, "Plane ticket", is probably the scariest scenario. It has a teenaged girl angry with her mother for not letting her use a plane ticket that an online friend mailed her for her birthday. After getting in contact with the friend’s father, who assures the mother about the situation, the girl gets back in contact with her friend saying that her mother let her go...who’s really the man himself posing as her. Even worse, there’s no indication that she ever realized who she was talking to and didn’t meet up with him.

    Fire Safety 
Once you seen these, you'll definitely remember to take every precaution to prevent a fire from breaking out, and make sure that everyone's prepared in case one does, lest everything you hold dear goes up in smoke.
  • Fire safety adverts seem to be creepy in general. These, are good examples.
  • A terrifying PIF reminding people to shut their doors when there is a fire is even more unsettling. It shows a little girl going to bed, walking toward her door, while being chased by a giant tank that spits fire. A burst of ignited napalm from the tank's flamethrower almost hits the girl, but she closes the door, blocking it. The announcer concludes that if you close the door, "it will give you ten precious minutes to get out", before the flamethrower tank moves closer and the burning door falls down to reveal the terrified girl, as he continues- "leave it open, and it'll give you no time at all". The tagline Fire. Shut it out. fades in as another door slams shut.
    • A variant of this ad has a slight difference in the script. Instead of the announcer saying "ten precious minutes", he says "valuable minutes".
  • There's a US variant, too, produced by the New York City Fire Department. It lives up to the general creepiness level that's apparently required of its type.
  • A haunting PIF on smoke alarms shows a girl tucking a doll in a dollhouse at night. An eerie-sounding narrator tells that they rely on you to wake them up when there's a fire as the dollhouse sets on fire. The music doesn't help.
  • A chilling 1979 PIF titled "Don't Leave Your Children Alone". A girl narrates about how she lost her brother Steve in a fire last Christmas while their parents were out at a party. She explains how she woke up and smelled smoke, hearing Steve crying (and we hear him do so as she narrates the story). She concludes by saying that Steve stopped crying. During the narration, the camera shows the Christmas tree, then the picture of the brother and sister together. Then, it moves through the hallway, up the staircase and into the girl's bedroom, revealing her to be sleeping alone in the dark. The narrator concludes "Fire can break out at any time. This Christmas, don't leave your children alone in the house" as the tagline "DON'T LEAVE YOUR CHILDREN ALONE" appears.
  • What the US Partnership for a Drug-Free America/Kids is to drugs, UK Fire Kills is to fire safety.
    • There was a fire safety PIF in the UK a few years ago. The ad starts with a close-up on a man's face, emotionless and apparently dead. He then suddenly breaks down in tears as the camera zooms out to reveal him standing in a house that's been completely destroyed by fire, to the accompaniment of a disembodied voice (a small child saying "Goodnight, daddy.") and as his sobs echo, a voiceover says "A fire doesn't have to kill you to take your life". The implication is that his family died in the fire. See it here.
    • An even scarier film urged the public to plan how they would escape the house if a fire started, and anticipate potential dangers. It showed children trapped in a burning house screaming for their parents (because no one had taught them what to do in an emergency); an old woman screaming for help and banging on her door because she can't find her keys, with a shot of the empty street outside that makes it clear no one will save her in time; and a man who fails to escape from a fire when he trips over a bicycle lying in the hall. It was eventually removed from the air after complaints that it terrified children. view it here
    • This 2012 example features a coroner narrating the (out-of-frame) autopsy of a child who died in a fire, intercut with home videos of the dead child. As if the dispassionate description of the effects of smoke inhalation weren't grim enough, the final line is "Parents survived everything."
    • This PIF about chip pan safety. A woman's voice over provides information on what to do and what not to do in the events of a chip pan fire, such as turning off the stove and not moving the pan, however the ad ends with a bit of a shock factor. For those who would rather not watch: after the audience is informed that they must not throw water over the fire (with a shot of someone doing exactly that, followed by the fire practically leaping for the ceiling in an instant) the camera pans to the right revealing the woman narrating the video watching the footage on a screen. She ends the video with a short reminder that "the effects can be devastating" with a close up on her deformed face, showing that either due to ignorance or just a plain mistake, she hadn't followed those instructions.
    • This one, which like the anti-drug PSA about monkeys mentioned earlier, is a screamer. It's a home video-styled ad that opens on a man sleeping in a chair, with a cigarette between his fingers, all the while an (off-screen) television is on. Throughout the duration of the video, the camera focuses on the still-burning end of the cigarette in the man's hand, which slowly starts to sag, threatening to fall off. Just when it does, the video cuts to a giant skull surrounded in flames that lunges towards the screen and screams at you! Who thought this would be a good idea to play on television, especially at times when people are sleeping in couches much like the man in the ad?!
    • This eerie smoke alarm PIF, which compares smoke inhalation to drowning.
    • Another creepy Fire Kills PIF depicted shots of funeral services and tombstones, featuring quotes from people who made excuses for not having a smoke alarm, all set to a very creepy rendition of "Down by the River to Pray". The ad ends with a close-up of a tombstone featuring a quote from a woman who said "My husband should've done it", then a quote from her husband who said "My landlord should've done it"....and a shot of the name of their 3-month-old baby. They were briefly pulled due to the unfortunate timing of premiering in September 2001.
    • Another one about smoke alarms shows a clock on a mantelpiece slowly melting from the heat, as the rumble of the fire can be heard in the background. And that's all there is to it.
    • Some of their radio ads aren't much better. The scariest of the bunch is perhaps "Silent Night". While a rather peaceful rendition of the titular Christmas song plays in the background, we hear the voice of a woman frantically calling 999 to report a fire in her home. A siren plays as firefighters are heard noting the smoke billowing out of the front door of the home, and that there are four people trapped inside. A paramedic is also heard taking in one of the victims for severe smoke inhalation and possible brain damage. The ad ends with the now-hysteric woman screaming that her children are still inside the burning home (her daughter can even be heard weakly crying for her "Mama"). A horrific roar suddenly drowns her out, suggesting that the house collapsed and subsequently killed her children.
    • Another paranoia-inducing radio ad had a little girl narrating how she woke up in the middle of a house fire. She got separated from her mother and baby brother when the fire prevented them from escaping down the stairs. The girl's dad eventually saved her by taking her out of a window onto the roof, and she reflects that she wishes they'd planned for this before the fire "then maybe we would all be alive."
  • This UK ad from The '70s called Searching, showing someone looking around in their fire-destroyed house while a disembodied voice over of the family screaming for each other can be heard. There is no mercy with this one.
  • George and Betty, a 90's PIF about the dangers of old electric blankets, is pretty terrifying. It features an elderly couple whose romantic night in doesn't quite go as planned, complete with a harrowing shot of their burnt-out bed at the end. It's made worse because the visuals and music are upbeat and light-hearted before the Wham Shot at the end, with no indication of what the spot is about, and the juxtaposition of the burned bed and the narrator's obvious amusement is very unsettling.
    Narrator: On George and Betty's night of romance, things got a bit...too hot to handle.
  • This New Zealand one advocating fire alarms. It's tame in content compared to many others on this site, but the narrator's voice alone is more than unsettling.
  • Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service ran a campaign with several ads filmed from the perspective of a firefighter in a burnt-out house, complete with the sound of heavy breathing from inside their mask. Each one would end with a chilling message scrawled on the wall in soot: "YOU FORGOT THE BATTERY, DADDY" or "YOU SAID YOUD BE TWO MINUTES." The worst of the bunch depicted a child's handprints in soot where they had tried to reach the door; ending in a jumble of prints and the words "I COULDN'T FIND THE WAY OUT."
    • An even scarier version of the commercials was based around dangers in the summer (crop fires, barbecues, etc) and would show the scene of an accident with a message left nearby. In one, a child's football is sinking in a bog while his mother frantically screams for him out of shot, and the words "MOMMY THOUGHT I WAS SAFE HERE" appear in the mire.
  • The late 1970s brought a PSA depicting the dangers of using space heaters too close to flammable items, including curtains. In it, an elderly couple is sitting in the living room, watching TV, when the woman notices that the curtains are being blown about by the space heater's fan and are getting past the safety guard and too close to the heated coils ... and that a fire is likely to happen if he doesn't move the heater now. The man gets up to move the heater, but the action stops a split second before he reaches it. No conclusion is given, leaving the viewer to come to his own conclusions.
  • The Scottish Office brought us this beautiful PIF showing a nightmare scenario in which an entire family burns to death. All we see is flames engulfing a family photograph. The man then wakes up from the horrible nightmare, having to live with the guilt of losing his family in a fire as he clutches the photograph.
  • The Netherlands has a series of fire safety ads in which an invisible narrator visits random people, asking them to participate in a test to see how quickly they could get out of their house in a fire. They inevitably screw up:
    • This woman manages to get out of the house, but forgets to rescue her child.
    • This man goes back to get his photo albums and runs out of time.
    • This family fails to get down the stairs in time.
    • Most unsettlingly of all, this woman doesn't even get a chance to try escaping because she doesn't have a working smoke alarm.
  • This ad about smoke alarms features an adorable little boy playing in the burned-out remains of a house and then making the people and especially parents watching the ad to swear to promise on their child's life to test their smoke alarms, only for him to then ask a few seconds later, "You did promise, didn't you?" We then see him holding an alarm clock and looking at it sadly as we then see dried blood has now form underneath his nose and he then says that "'Cause you can't turn back time." only for him to last be seen in what was once his bedroom and walk off as a ghost…
  • This ad, courtesy of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue, has a creepy-looking man with a head that looks to be charred black and glowing orange with flames sprouting up at random. He looks at the camera and addresses the viewer in a soft, yet creepy, voice.
    "I love people. I love to be around them, see them smile, see the laughing faces of their young. And children in turn are drawn to this flickering hypnosis, to reach out as I do in fateful embrace. My name is fire. Be careful when you're near me... I can't help myself."
  • This ad begins with a home video from Christmastime of a little girl receiving a gift from her mother and them embracing, and the video is rewound again and again as we then see a close-up of the mother’s saddened and tear-streaked face. Soon the father comes in the room and takes the remote from her to turn the television off as she breaks down in his arms over their daughter, who died from smoke inhalation. The announcer says that smoke inhalation can kill a child in less than a minute, letting us know that it can happen that fast and to be sure to have a working smoke alarm/detector.

    Firework Safety 
As fun to watch as fireworks are, keep in mind they're essentially colored explosions. Things are fine when they're set off high in the sky away from people, so let's make sure to follow proper guidelines to keep it that way. If not...well, you won't have to imagine what could happen.
  • One PIF takes us down darkened hospital corridors as ominous music plays and the agonised screams of injured children can be heard. We see doctors, nurses and surgeons going about their work. We're also given statistics about how many people were injured by fireworks in the previous year, including the wince-inducing fact that "295 suffered damage to the eyes". It ends with doctors rushing into an operating theatre, but we're not shown what grisly sight awaits them behind the doors. We're told, "Visit a casualty department on November 5th and you'll wish you'd been blinded too." It's little wonder that PIF reviewer Peachy considers this to be the scariest PIF she has ever reviewed.
    • An alternate version of this PIF has slightly different text throughout it, with the final message being "Visit a casualty department on November 5th. It's not a pretty sight." This version is arguably worse since we actually get to see what's happening at the operating theatre before one of the surgeons blocks the camera with his hand.
  • Another PIF tried to drive home the message of the damage that fireworks can do by showing us the gruesome image of a child's horrifically scarred hand with two fingers missing. Watch it at your peril. Oh, and this one apparently got a U rating.
  • The Netherlands aired a number of firework safety campaigns which show someone lighting fireworks and listing everything the person did right, but they've made a fatal "mistake": "You have X seconds before this firework goes off. But what have you done wrong?" The outcome is always terrifying: one has a firework land in the back of a guy's hoodie and explode (because he was too close); another involves a bottle rocket tipping over and flying straight towards a girl; and the last one (and possibly the worst), which involves a child getting his fingers blown off because he tried to re-light a firework, meaning he didn't have as long as the voiceover said he did. Compared to the other two which fade to black before we get to see what happens to the victims, this one actually shows the gruesome aftermath of the accident in all its horrific glory.
  • Also from the Dutch: the "Je bent een rund als je met vuurwerk stunt" campaign (which roughly translates in English to "You're a jackass (literally, an "ox") when you play with fireworks").
    • One ad, released in 1995, shows a pair of hands in front of a red background counting down to the new year from ten. With each number, the hands become increasingly mangled (with fingers severed or completely blown off). The real kicker is when the countdown reaches one— an explosion takes place, and we see that the victim's hands have been blasted down to knuckle. The jovial soundtrack of people cheering and shouting "Happy New Year!" in the background doesn't help much, either.
    • The hands on the red background appear in another ad, this time using sign language to recount the story of a fireworks incident. It becomes all the more horrifying if you do understand sign language.
    • In another ad, a pair of hands display shadow puppets of various animals (including a dog, bird and swan) as whimsical, happy music plays in the background. But when the last animal shown is a "rund" (ox in Dutch), the music suddenly takes a sinister twist as it's revealed that one of the puppeteer's hands is completely blown off.
    • This entry in the series employs such disturbing imagery like repeated shots of a man's face and monstrous-looking silhouette, along with extreme close-ups of his eye before showing the victim's disfigured hand at the end of the ad. Oh, and did we mention that a scream can be heard at one point of the ad?
    • Another presents us with victims of fireworks accidents in the hospital — one with a blown-out eyes and another with a mangled hand — with the accompaniment of tense music, ominous shots of surgical equipment and a horrifying distorted scream. As the tagline is displayed at the end, the unsettling sound of a heart rate monitor plays over the image of an empty operating table...with the surgical tools at the ready on a table nearby.
    • One ad begins normally, showing a person dressed as a chicken advertising a chicken shop. while being harassed. After failing to successfully advertise the shop, he heads towards a dark alley. He takes out his chicken head to reveal that he was disfigured in the face, implying that he was involved in a fireworks accident and that the chicken job was probably the only job he could get.
  • Another terrifying Dutch fireworks PIF showed a house party where the CD player suddenly breaks down, so the host goes to fix it - causing a huge explosion that blows him across the room in graphic slo-mo, and destroys the house, apparently killing everyone at the party. The message was that you shouldn't try to "repair" a faulty firework once it's been lit.
  • The infamous rare 1976 Parents PIF, with its sudden shots of a burnt kid screaming in agony, and later his bandaged face as he's being taken to an ambulance, was considered so graphic that it was pulled off air and remained lost for decades.

    Gun Safety 
It goes without saying that guns can easily kill, hence why there's protocol for Gun Safety. If one is not kept in responsible hands, they could very well end up killing the wrong person.
  • A campaign about firearm responsibility, produced by the Ad Council and the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) in 2000, featured the narration of a child recounting how he or she discovered a gun and accidentally killed their sibling. Each story was accompanied by crude, childish drawings displaying what happened, and ended with the text "An unlocked gun could be the death of your family. Please lock up your gun." Billboard and radio versions were also made for each of the ads in the series.
    • The first ad (only the screenshots are linked currently) involves two siblings jumping on their mother's bed, when her gun fell on the floor. The boy pretends that he's a cowboy (complete with a hat and badge), and goes "Bang bang bang bang", shooting his sister, who collapses on the ground covered in blood. The boy says "Jenny, wake up. Wake up. It's just pretend." The ad pauses as the boy stares down at his sister. Then he says "But she wouldn't wake up."
    • The second ad has a boy talk about how he played with his father's gun that he found in the garage, which accidentally discharged and shot his brother Omar ("There was a hole in his tummy.") who then died from the resulting gunshot wound. "I didn't mean to shoot Daddy's gun! I didn't mean to shoot Daddy's gun!" he weeps at the end.
    • The third ad is a girl talking about how her little sister Kalie loved the color pink, but she found a gun in a drawer and shot Kalie while they were playing with her dolls. At the end, a drawing of the narrator is shown to be scribbled out as she sadly says "I made Kalie go away. I hate me." What's worse is the implications that — even aside from the parents having to deal with one child's accidental death at the hands of the other — the surviving daughter now knows the kind of damage guns can do, hates herself, and may still have access to the weapon...
  • There was a PSA in the early/mid-nineties about keeping your guns away from children. It showed a young boy and his two friends, playing some sort of cops-and-robbers game with squirtguns. The boy runs through the kitchen and hides upstairs as his mom tells him and his friends to play quieter...he hides under a bed in his mother's room, and his friends go into his mother's bathroom to find him. Then the kid pulls out a real gun that was hidden under the bed, aims at his friends, and we cut to his mother and baby sister in the kitchen, startled (and in Mom's case, horrified) by a sudden gunshot. And then as the narrator speaks, we realize it's a little too quiet in the house now.
    "You think your kids can't get to your guns? Think again."
  • This 2014 firearm-safety PSA, aimed at parents, does a really good job, literally subverting Chekhov's Gun by showing it at the end when we never even suspected it was there, then having the kid play with the gun for a little while before the horrible inevitable happens while his oblivious father keeps mowing the front lawn outside.
  • In Houston there's RUN. HIDE. FIGHT. The fact that the situation is all unpredictable from the very beginning like it was just a normal work day alone is Fridge Horror.
  • There was once a grisly Scottish PIF about airgun safety, with the message that "an airgun is not a toy." It features shots of a doll being shot by an airgun, and a horrible lingering shot of the resulting mess. Oh, and the whole thing is accompanied by a tinkly music box tune.
  • This anti firearms ad involving Alice in Wonderland has Alice chasing after the White Rabbit and ending up in the room with the drink me potion. Instead of drinking the potion just like she did in the story, she instead walks over to a cupboard where she finds a gun and ends up accidentally killing herself.
  • This Sandy Hook Promise PSA is hugely effective. The main story of the PSA appears to be the story of a young boy at high school who, after scribbling how bored he is on a desk at a library, forms a friendship with an unknown person who replies to his messages. The two eventually meet at the very end of the year while signing yearbooks. And then, a person walks into the building and cocks his gun, causing everyone to flee in panic. It is then revealed that this person was showing signs of planning a shooting while we were watching our main character. We are then shown past scenes replayed with him marked more visibly, while a creepy version of the background music from the PSA plays, and it is carefully shot so the average person doesn't even notice him among the other kids. It is very shocking to see.

    Transport Safety (Drunk Driving, Speeding, Public Transport etc.) 
It really is no wonder why this is the largest section on this page. Vehicles, be they cars, buses or trains, are many times faster than the average human being, and several times more massive, so it stands to reason that there are a lot of ways people could get maimed, killed, or worse should they misuse these things. These ads have been made to urge people to take great care whether you're the driver, a passenger, or a pedestrian. As you'll find out, the rules of the road are in place for a good reason.
  • Anything from the British road safety education charity Safe Drive Stay Alive is eligible for being nightmare fuel. There are so many examples that the charity's numerous 30-minute long films deserve a page all to themselves.
  • This highly unsettling 1984 PIF about pedestrian crossing features unsettling rotoscoped animation.
  • There was a short film often shown in driving/health classes entitled Jacqui's Story, starring Jacqueline Saburido. It's a brutal case, not the least because the girl was quite beautiful before, and had aspirations of being a singer. What puts it into overdrive are some of the details: she was trapped in a car hit by a drunk driver, and was heard screaming (i.e., she was conscious), for 45 seconds while it burned. Just watch a second hand go round a clock sometime and see how long that really is. The Snopes page describes her injuries and links to several pages with images of her. She not only has virtually no face anymore, but she got gangrene and lost all her fingers — she can't even feed herself, or do anything else for herself in a personal capacity.
    • Even the fate of the drunk driver in the other car — an 18 year old kid — is Nightmare Fuel in a way: one night he's at his first big-kid party and the next morning he's in prison for negligent murder (other passengers in the Jacqui's car didn't make it) with no bail money and only a public defender to represent him.
    • Jacqueline has since had extensive surgery to reconstruct her body and been the topic of several surgery-themed documentaries. She forgives the young driver in the other car, and has gone on to campaign against drink-driving, becoming famous for the "Not everyone who gets hit by a drunk driver dies" ad campaign, which included a poster showing pre- and post-crash photographs her. There was also a TV commercial in which she held up a "before" a picture of herself and introduced herself before lowering the picture and revealing what she now looks like. Her progress and determination is nothing short of inspirational.
  • This PIF from the Pedestrian Council of Australia called Scarhead shows a man with a scar on his head that is slowly growing until it's completely across his head (the message being "speed kills, slow down"). It is absolutely nauseating.
  • A PIF for car safety shown in movie theaters in England involved showing actual footage of children being hit by cars as they played in the street. There's another one with just a toy and a splash of blood lying in the street.
  • This PSA from the Czech Republic's Ministry of Transport is called "Grotesque", though it may initially seem an unfitting title. It shows a group of people after a day of fun at the lake getting ready to go home after it rains. At least five people try to cram themselves and a comical amount of inflatable toys into a fairly small car while whimsical piano music plays, reminiscent of a silent comedy from the early days of film. Then, the driver starts the car. Suddenly, the last three notes of the background music play on loop, becoming more and more distorted, with the rear passengers dead and covered in blood. A voiceover informs the audience that one of the most common causes of road accidents in the ad's country of origin is having too many passengers to a vehicle, obscuring the view of the driver. This results in two to three deaths and hundreds of injuries every day. And in a country the size of the Czech Republic (population about 10 million according to The Other Wiki), that's no laughing matter.
  • This Irish speeding PIF (contrary to the video, it was in fact broadcast on Irish television). Holy crap. That creepy version of "I Can't Take My Eyes Off You" contributes to a lot of the horror.
    • It should probably be noted that Irish speed PIFs tend towards Mood Whiplash and aren't afraid to show gore: ads in the same series include children getting crushed, old men getting struck down and a motorbiker falling with a shattered visor revealing glassy eyes.
  • There was an old British anti-speed PIF in the nineties from the very to the point campaign 'Kill your speed' with the narration of a young girl informing the audience that she will be killed because of a speeding driver, while looking straight at the camera every time she changes location. There is no gore but it is still disturbing. The scariest part was probably the soundtrack: "Mysteries of Love" performed by Julee Cruise. Almost certainly chosen for her immensely creepy vocals rather than the relevance of the song.
  • This British drink-driving public information film from the 1970's. Why did British television have to be so scary in those days?
  • The Safety on the Move Drinking and Driving Wrecks Lives campaign has brought us several spectacularly depressing and nightmarish PIFs, which can be seen in a collection here, if you desire. Some of their more scarier efforts among the series include:
    • One of their more well-known ads, entitled "Eyes", is horrifying to say the least. For those who would rather not watch, the ad begins with a close up of the face of a young woman, while paramedics attempt to revive her and the driver of the vehicle is being questioned about the accident. The woman is eventually declared to be in an asystolic state (meaning that her heart has stopped), and the driver is taken away. It was considered to be too graphic to be shown before the 9:00pm watershed. This PIF later reused by THINK! 22 years later as a part of 50 years campaign against drink driving, alongside with "Kathy Can't Sleep".
    • "In the Summertime" has the eponymous song by Mungo Jerry playing in the background as a group of friends are depicted drinking at a pub's beer garden. A car is then seen departing the garden, and one of the pub-goer react in shock; the music then slows to a crawl and fades away as it's shown that the car had run off the road and crashed into a tree, killing the driver and his wife.
    • "Christmas Pudding". A woman is eating dinner with her family on Christmas when she is interrupted by a telephone call. She is informed that her boyfriend — who was drinking at another party — had just died in a crash. The camera cuts to the burning pudding on the dinner table, which fades into the wreckage of the boyfriend's burning car.
    • "One More, Dave" begins with showing a woman blending up Christmas dinner as we hear a group of friends pressuring their friend Dave into drinking. It's then revealed that the woman was liquidating food for Dave, who has now become a quadriplegic from a drunk driving accident and can't feed himself.
    • "Mark" presents us with the absolutely bone-chilling visuals of a man's ghostly, rotoscoped face amongst a pitch-black background, who talks about his friend Mark, referring to him as a "a great bloke". Then, accompanied by increasingly creepy and distressing animation, he explains how Mark caused a drunk driving accident on Christmas, which killed two parents and left their children as orphans. The ad ends with the man's face saying "Oh yeah... a great bloke", before vanishing in a cloud of vapor. Sweet dreams!
  • Some Australian drinking and driving ads are horrifying. Here's one. When you compare TAC ads to other countries, they get the point across in the most horrifying ways. No wonder there are some which can't be played until 9:00 on prime time TV.
  • The Queensland Transport ads are very to the point, but this is one of the worst. A father and son crash into a woman, pushing her pram, killing her instantly and wounding her infant daughter. The horror and heartbreak begins when the father lifts up the infant crying and hearing his traumatized son crying "Da-daddddyyyy!"
    • And then there's the Slow Down Stupid campaign. The music doesn't help wonders.
    • In a very similar vein to the above, and using the same narrator, is the ever so chilling Negatives. It's shot in a creepy photo-negative style which is bad enough, but then there's the shown effects of speeding. The message is that there's only downsides to speeding. "No positives. Just nightmares. Forever.'"
    • Also from the Queensland Transport were a series of PIFs dubbed "Fatal 4" that were shot POV-style, through the eyes of victims just after a car wreck. The noises the victims make while in a state of pure agony is just flat out horrific. The chilling ending tagline in each one certainly doesn't help things either. "Speeding" shows a man all alone lying on the ground, completely unable to get up. "Tired" depicts someone waking up inside the crashed wreck of their car as they attempt to move. "Unbuckled" shows a father outside the wreckage of his car, being able to only crawl through the grass to reach his crying infant. The last one, "Drink Driving" is by far the most horrifying, depicting a young woman practically convulsing in pain as people around her desperately try to get her to stay still.
  • There is one Australian road safety ad from New South Wales state by RTA (Roads and Traffic Authority, now known as Roads and Maritime Services). It aired in the early 2000s and started out with a shot of a teenage boy, handheld camera style. He says "this is my Summer holiday". Next we see a shot from inside a driving car. Cliff Richard's "Summer Holiday" begins playing, as the car continues travelling. Suddenly, the music stops as the car collides with something, sending the camera flying all over the place. It eventually falls just inches from the boy's bloodied-but-alive face, blood trickling from his nose. Here it is, view at your own discretion.
    • A similar campaign in the UK showed teenagers filming themselves on a cameraphone as they walk home together, until one of them tries to cross the road without looking both ways and is hit by a car. For authenticity, only the crash scene was staged; they used a real group of teen friends (not actors) and had them film it on a cameraphone.
  • This 1997 anti-speeding PSA, titled "Stop" from the Land Transport Safety Authority from New Zealand is horrifying. A family of four is traveling along a narrow, unshouldered rural New Zealand highway, the driver speeding at well above the 100-km/h speed limit when - while going around a sharp curve, he comes upon a disabled vehicle on the side of the road ... and there's an oncoming car in the other lane. The action freezes on the panicked looks on everyone's faces as the voice-over announcer explains in graphic detail that if the driver had been driving at the speed limit he would have been able to stop his car ... and the fatal and critical injuries the driver and passengers suffered would not have happened. The commercial ends with action resuming and the car skidding and crashing into a light pole, and the mother and one of the daughters being killed instantly and the father and the younger daughter surviving suffering major injuries ... and hauntingly — after a shot of the young, beautiful mother's bloody corpse inside the car is shown — the surviving daughter crying for help.
  • A UK drinking and driving ad began as the "Light and Cheerful" kind, with a man sitting down at a bar next to a beautiful woman, picking up a beer, and setting down his keys. The woman frowns and a voice over says "Before you drink and drive, think of the choices you'd be forcing onto others." It then showed clips of blood soaked people in wrecked cars, a woman trying to walk and screaming in agony, a man in a semi-vegetative state, an attractive looking woman turning around to reveal a horribly disfigured face, and a police officer delivering the bad news to an elderly woman, all while everyone stoically considers the choices forced upon them. The scene then cuts back to the happy bar as the man sets down his beer, and the woman smiles.
  • A truncated version of the 30-minute British public service film Only Stwpd Cowz Txt N Drive shows the car accident scene and the moments before and after. Specifically, it shows three teenage girls in a car — with the driver, named Cassie, texting a friend and later trying to get his number — getting involved with a head-on collision (complete with showing them graphically experiencing whiplash, accompanied by the lovely sounds of snapping necks and body parts being thrown around). After both of the cars come to a stop on the side of the road, Cassie is then shown painfully looking over at her friend in the passenger seat, and two look out to window upon noticing another car barreling straight towards them. Another horrific crash later, Cassie regains consciousness and begins screaming and crying hysterically upon realizing both of her friends are dead. She is then rescued from her car by paramedics as it is revealed that a mother and father involved in the crash were either incapacitated or killed (with their young daughter desperately trying to get them to "wake up"), and a baby is also shown motionless. Cassie is then placed on a stretcher and taken away in an air ambulance helicopter, and the PSA ends with a harrowing, final shot on her bloodied face as she shuts her eyes tight. It definitely doesn't pull any punches whatsoever with delivering its intended message on the dangers of texting and driving.
  • Wisconsin has these DOT radio PSAs that are just a mother and son talking after they've been in a horrible car accident, slowly coming to grips with their situation and ending with them realizing that nobody is coming to help them.
  • In New Zealand, there's an ad where a strange old man sits by a Wheel of Misfortune and he watches the road, accompanied by haunting music and freaky noises. As a car enters the intersection, he spins the wheel. Where the wheel stops on decides the car's (and their occupant's) fate. There are three versions of this ad.
    • In one ad, the wheel stops on "Miracle". The car in question almost comes into contact with two cars. They all spin and, after all that, they remain unharmed.
    • In the much more frequent ad,note  the wheel stops on "Death". The car in question is hit by a speeding car. Everything stops in slow motion as the horrific scene is showered upon by a rain of broken glass.
    • Both ads were also shown in a longer version, where the wheel initially lands on "Near Miss". The car in question almost hits another car. After the miss, a police car is in pursuit.
    • In a follow-up advert, a driver is careful at every intersection, so the man doesn't spin the wheel. (This version is arguably the scariest, because it shows the man and his wheel at every street corner, intersection and road bridge!) When the driver is tempted to rush the intersection after abuse from another road user, the man goes to spin the wheel; but stops when the driver resists and does it properly. However, the next car behind him drives out without looking, and gets a spin of the wheel.
    • They actually had the man go to intersections all over New Zealand and had him sitting and spinning the wheel. Now that's Paranoia Fuel.
  • Another ad from New Zealand shows a driver speeding towards another driver at a turning. Just as the speeding driver applies the brakes, time freezes. The driver at the turning and the speeding driver get out and have a conversation. The driver at the turning apologises and says he thought he had time, and the speeding driver accuses the driver at the turning of just pulling out, giving him no time to react. The driver at the turning says, "Come on mate, it was a simple mistake." The driver at the turning begs the speeding driver to slow down because his boy is in the back of the car. The speeding driver apologises, saying there's nothing he can do now. Time unfreezes and the driver at the turning is shown looking back at his boy, and then his car is destroyed.
    • The French Government remade this PSA from the perspective of the speeding driver, who is in the car with his wife and young daughter. As the child sobs in terror, the mother tries to reassure her: "Daddy's going to brake very, very hard and it will be OK", but it's evident from the parents' expressions that they know this isn't true. Then time unfreezes and they smash into the side of the other car, presumably killing all three of them and the other driver.
    • There's also a Thai version in which a couple on a motorcycle try to speed past a slow-moving truck on a two-lane road, only to find themselves right in the path of a truck. They argue about their options when time freezes, but then it unfreezes again and they get pulverized. The tone is a little more comic than the original version and the French remake, but the last shot is pretty brutal.
  • A similar ad exists in Denmark, except it doesn't actually show the person crashing, there's just a middle aged man telling you in detail exactly what happens if you drive a little too fast and loses control over your car. He ends the whole thing with, "Have fun."
  • In Ireland, there is a series of car-related PSA's that are absolutely horrifying. One of them starts with a loving couple cuddling on a bench, with the words "Today (boy's name) will hit his girlfriend so hard, she'll end up with permanent brain damage." They get in a car with two other people, and everyone wears a seatbelt except the boyfriend. They get in an accident, and the camera graphically shows him bouncing around the cab, striking other people with his head, before cutting to the crippled girlfriend at the funeral for the other three passengers.
    • The second, WAY more horrifying drunk driving PSA involves a man happily playing with his toddler in his own back yard, when an SUV suddenly crashes through the fence. The bloodied driver exits his car to view the man clutching his son's dead body and silently wailing while the narrator asks "Could you live with the shame?"
    • In 2014, a similar PSA to the SUV crash ad was produced, in which the driver loses control of his a speeding car, the car crashes through a hedgerow ... and then crushes an entire class of young schoolchildren on a field trip to a nearby park note . A mournful, lullaby-version of Guns N' Roses hard rock classic "Sweet Child of Mine" plays in the background, and the scene is underscored by a shy, possibly autistic young boy paying more attention to his Matchbox-sized car ... the car was a scale version of the same car being driven by the responsible driver, and he is shown losing his grasp after being killed. The over-the-top Bloodless Carnage means it could be seen as Narm, but some people have lauded its sobering message that speeding in Ireland has killed enough children since 2000 to fill a primary school classroom.
  • One drunk-driving PSA showed a home video of an adorable 1-year-old, repeating his mother's words for numbers in Spanish. Then writing appears on the screen, telling the viewer the baby died in an actual crash, which was the result of the mother trusting a friend to pick the baby up. The friend had been drunk. Why would they show this on a kid's station?
    • This commercial was just one in a series of similar PSAs. All of them showed home movies of adults and children in happy moments and then the writing on the screen would have the names of the people in the video, their date of death, and stated that they were killed by a drunk driver. Those were done by Wells Rich Greene BDDP for the Ad Council, beginning in 1994 or '95.
    • Perhaps the most chilling entry in this campaign shows the names and photos of three smiling children — followed by a horrific shot of the car they were riding in when they died.
  • There was a similar UK PIF, featuring home video of variously-aged, similarly-deceased children who had been killed by drivers exceeding the speed limit. One of the films ran to the narration of a man reading out the police protocol for officers delivering the news of a road death; others featured readings of poems about death and sorrow, including "Funeral Blues" by WH Auden (famous for its appearance in Four Weddings and a Funeral.)
  • A series of bus ads on the DC Metrobus system make mention of crossing the street only during the 'Walk' portion of the pedestrian signals. Some are relatively low-key, but there's one in particular where a car is barreling straight into a woman. Said woman is flying, rag-doll through the air, scattering brown paper bag with groceries, purse, and shoes. To make it all the more nightmarish, a baby in a stroller is sitting in front of the woman.
  • There was a British radio PIF in the mid-1990s with a cheerful, motherly-sounding woman (if not Judi Dench, then a remarkable simulation) relating the tale of little Alice and Bob, whose favorite Fairy Tale was Peter Pan. They wanted to be like him, and got their wish - when the car crashed on their way to school. They weren't wearing seat-belts, so Bob got to fly (through the windscreen, blinding him in at least one eye during the process) and Alice never grew up (Because she hit her father's head, causing both of their skulls to crack and sending brain matter everywhere)! Just like Peter Pan! Made all the more horrific by the way the narrator lovingly describes the children's injuries in intensely graphic detail. Plus, the picture the uploader used of Peter Pan makes the ad even worse (though, as the uploader put it in the video, it might be intentional).
    • The photo is made by Disney, though, lessening the scariness of it.
    • This PIF ran at the same time as a companion piece aimed at teenagers, where a doctor describes in excruciating detail the reconstructive surgery that a young person may have to go through if they sustain facial injuries from smashing into a windscreen.
  • A TV ad against texting while driving. It showed a first-person view of someone reading messages on an iPhone, the messages saying stuff like "If you have to pick up Chris at 11, and the party ends at 3, and you have 50 miles of gas worth in your tank..." and then it ends with the final text message being "What are your chances of surviving this crash?" and then you can feel the guy's Oh, Crap! reaction as he jerks his head up and sees a car roaring towards him...then the screen goes black. Congratulations. You just died in a car accident. In first person.
  • This PIF from the Safer Scotland campaign. Ads featuring first person car accidents are all well and good, but what about a first person car accident...at night?
  • "Drive Like an Idiot, Die Like an Idiot" This ad features bloody (fake) dead bodies, a crashed car and Christopher Eccleston making tasteless jokes.
  • This seatbelt PSA from the late 1960s voiced by Jack Webb. While the line "they wrinkle my dress" might sound a little narm-y, the tympani combined with the imagery delivers quite an eerie effect. There's also something truly terrifying about how that drum roll is just cut off.
    • This line was re-used in an 80's-era PSA: First a shot of the lady driver complaining about how seatbelts wrinkle her dress, then a cut to show her paralyzed and strapped in a wheelchair, with her caretaker observing "Oh, your dress is getting wrinkled; let me tighten your belt..."
    • It appears again in the Crash Test Dummies campaign that began in the mid-'80s and ran through most of the '90s — both in commercial and poster form.
  • The Winnipeg Police Service is committed to safer streets. You don't want to hit an unsuspecting little girl with a car, do you?
  • This harrowing Canadian advertisement for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD Canada) depicts a black-and-white scene of a baby named Emily lying in a crib crying with nobody coming to take care of her. After slowly zooming out, the picture finally goes to black, with the sound of the baby crying still audible, and explains that drunk driving kills 4 Canadians every day, including the baby's mother. It had to be pulled off the air, either for being too depressing or because it scared children.
  • The "Kids and Cars" commercials are just bone chilling. They include a mother trying to wake her apparently dead son up, shoving a baby into a oven, and a mother telling about how she accidentally backed her own son. The worst thing is that they showed them on Boomerang and Discovery Kids before it was defunct.
  • Death Zones, Gene Starbecker's graphic bus safety film from 1975, about kids getting run over by buses for not paying attention to what they're doing and the way they show it was pretty graphic and gave kids nightmares. One kid loses her card for her mother she goes back to get it but gets hit by a bus! Another kid drops his books and goes under the bus to get them but his head gets runs over instead! But the ending really takes the cake. One girl tries to get her book back from the boys who are teasing her. She manages to get it back, but then she slips under the bus and the bus runs over her stomach, while we see a close up of her face moaning in pain. Later on, she is taken to the hospital, but she's going to die before the day is out. This video has Adult Fear written all over it!
  • A Canadian anti-drunk driving PSA shows a group of teens being pulled over by a police officer. You think the teens are going to be arrested for underage drinking and driving under the influence but instead, as the police officer waits for the teens to roll down their window, he's struck from behind by another car. The ad ends with a horrible thump as he's hit and then silence as the camera focuses on the two cars and an empty road with one of the officer's shoes. Worst part of the ad, it's based on a true story.
  • A US PSA against texting and driving from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows an inside-the-car view of a teenage girl and her friends driving along. The girl gets a text and runs a stop sign while checking it. What follows is a slow-motion view of a semi truck hitting the car and the teenagers being whipped around in slow motion like crash test dummies. The scene then cuts to a view of the crash site with a police officer picking up the shattered phone and saying "If I had pulled her over for texting and driving and given her a ticket, it might have saved her life."
  • An old PSA from the late 80s to early 90s features a man with a group of friends driving at night when all of a sudden, he comes across some train tracks and the train itself can be heard in the distance. The man is reluctant to cross it since it's coming, yet his friends egg him on even as we can hear it approaching. Giving into peer pressure (including the last moment where we can hear his friends calling him a chicken and bawking as such), he crosses it when the next thing we see is a bright light and silence. The man's eyes now appear in the rearview mirror looking at us, the audience, saying, "I should have waited" and we see that the train has smashed the car into an accordion.
  • One PIF encouraging the use of seatbelts featured the sound of a car crash being run through a vectorscope (with Sickening Crunches galore), as Ewan McGregor explains what you're hearing. You don't see the accident, you just hear it, and all you see are the ghostly waves of the vectorscope.
    • From the same campaign, the infamous UK PIF "Julie", which warned viewers about the importance of wearing a safety belt in the back seat, features a woman getting her skull crushed when she has to stop suddenly and her teenage son, who isn't wearing a seatbelt, collides with the back of her head. It's not as gory as some PIFs, but the dispassionate narration ("Like most victims, Julie knew her killer. (beat) It was her son.") and the daughter's screams at the end make it extremely unsettling. The ad was later used by the THINK! campaign, whose Scare 'em Straight antics are detailed below; this PIF also essentially replacing "Backwards" because it seems more meaningful.
  • This 1983 ad from the Ad Council has a group of excited teenagers leaving a bar and getting into a car, while the tune of Michael Jackson's Beat It plays. Their designated driver hops into the driver's seat with two bottles beers, which he then hands to his friend in the passenger's seat. As the driver's friend questions him on if he is in a state to drive, the driver then reassures him with "what's a few beers?" As the driver proceeds to start the car, an ominous-sounding announcer then warns, "If you don't stop your friend from drinking and driving...you're as good as dead!" The driver gets the ignition started...only for the PSA to emit a bright flash and jarringly cut to the teenagers as skeletons, accompanied by the music abruptly stopping in favor for a Scare Chord. The PSA then ends with the words (which the announcer reads) "DRINKING AND DRIVING CAN KILL A FRIENDSHIP" fading in on a black background, with a human hand giving a firm handshake to a skeleton hand underneath the text.
    • A similar PSA, also using "Beat It" as the music score, was created for radio, with the passengers begging their driver — who is clearly intoxicated — to pull over and let someone else drive. The driver, who barely avoids one collision with an oncoming car (cue the horn honk) insists he's fine and, wanting to go to another party when the others want to go home, proclaims that he is invincible. "Invincible" is the last word he ever says ... as the car crashes immediately afterward and everyone is (presumably) killed. The voice-over announcer finishes with the "drinking and driving can kill a friendship" line.
  • Transport for London ads have strayed into Nightmare Fuel territory on several occasions:
    • In 2009, TfL began running a successful campaign entitled "Don't let your friendship die on the road", encouraging young people to look out for each other on London roads. Three rather disturbing print ads were produced, and here they are. It'll take you a moment to realise what's happening, which is what makes them disturbing. You don't immediately realise that what you're looking at is actually a dead child lying in the middle of the road. A few years later, they made three more. The situation is more obvious in these ones, but they're still equally disturbing.
    • Another campaign consisted of two adverts initially taking on the guise of a film trailer and an episode of MTV Cribs, respectively. Both entries featured a fictional character (including a movie star named Scott Smith and a female supermodel, Sarah Rivers) being interviewed about their success. Towards the end, they walk across the street, suddenly looking off-screen; the camera cuts to a boy or girl in school uniform getting hit by a car, rolling unconsciously to the ground. A caption appears, reading "Don't die before you've lived."
    • Three print ads from 2007 urged people using the transport system to report suspicious behaviour. They all featured a short first-person story set against dark and rather unsettling pastel drawings. One ad features the image of a sinister woman glowering at the audience from her seat on a near-empty bus, another has a faceless man in a long coat sitting on a bench with a suspicious-looking bag underneath, and the third has the unnerving stare of a man in a bowler hat. All the stories end in a Cliffhanger, leaving it to the public's imagination to guess what happened next. Creepy imagery plus creepy story equals damned creepy advert.
    • TfL and the Metropolitan Police run a terrifying annual campaign called "Know What You're Getting Into", about the dangers of unlicensed minicabs. Some notable ads include one depicting a male minicab driver nonchalantly recounting his criminal record of sexual assault, before offering an unsuspecting woman a lift; another entry showing a minicab passenger on her phone realize the driver isn't taking her where she asked to go, ending with the driver stopping the car and getting into the backseat with her; yet another concerning group of girls forcing their drunken friend into an unlicensed car after a night of partying; this one showing a girl getting locked inside an unbooked minicab, presumably being raped or murdered off-screen; and –- perhaps the most disturbing of the bunch -– this ad, which depicts a woman being sexually assaulted inside a minivan in first-person perspective.
      • There were also equally disturbing print ads such as this one, which faced several complaints of being triggering to people who have actually been through rape.
    • This ad from 2013 features the dying victim of a motorcycle accident lying in the middle of the road, surrounded by paramedics. With an intense, unblinking stare, and in a completely unaffected voice, he describes how he caused his accident and what's happening to his body as he succumbs to his injuries. "Still, you live and learn... don't you?"
    • A retelling of "The Tortoise and the Hare", in which the hare runs out into the road and is knocked down by a car.
    • One of their poster campaigns from 2002 looked as though it had been taken straight from the pages of Nineteen Eighty-Four. It's currently the page image for Big Brother Is Watching.
  • The UK advertising campaign 'THINK!', which deals with road safety, has always had a few Scare 'em Straight moments:
    • One of their first campaigns was a series of anti-drunk driving ads played every holiday season for around two years, featuring much-loved Christmas songs playing over live police camera footage of paramedics and firefighters at the scene of serious and fatal drunk driving accidents. The songs don't do much to ease the horror. Here are the ads in question. Viewer discretion is advised. "Silent Night", "Cliff","I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day", "Jingle Bells" .
    • One horrifying PIF (NSFW) from the Think! campaign begins with a man's face horribly disfigured and unnaturally smashed in like the aftermath of a car itself being in a severe accident. A woman's voiceover says that while a car is built to sustain critical damage in an accident, the human face is not in an effort to push the issue of wearing a seatbelt and slowing down. Fortunately, as the ad goes on, his own face gradually returns to normal state.
    • One of their adverts about drug driving features a car full of youths with their eyes digitally enlarged. The girl's huge, blank eyes as she stares out of the window are particularly creepy.
    • Another features a man going about his daily routine whilst being followed by the lifeless body of a boy he killed when he was speeding, affectionately nicknamed "Dead Ginger". The message: "Kill your speed or live with it." Watch and be horrified.
    • One of their most memorable ones, simply called "Don't drive tired", shows a man driving at night with his family, except that he's basically asleep. The narrator then mentions that he will die in his sleep tonight with his family by his side. Following right after is a shot of the car crashing and getting completely flipped over. What makes it all extra creepy is how the car is still running with the wheels spinning at top speed despite being upside down, implying that the man's foot is still on the pedal even though he's dead.
    • There is also a very creepy anti-speaking-on-the-phone-when-driving ad, in which a man is calmly talking to his wife through a mobile phone, they talk for about 30 seconds before you hear a thump, the man jerks forward and just lays there (presumably dead) with a bleeding nose as his distraught wife repeatedly calls his name while crying. Watch it here.
    • In one ad, three men in a pub ask each other if they'd like another drink. The three men sit at a table with a pint each, and spot a woman standing at the bar. She winks at them, then suddenly looks shocked as a loud, screeching car is heard as the woman suddenly flies towards the table, violently crashing into it. The men then peer over the table to see the woman lying, bloody on the floor, surrounded by broken glass.
    • Another ad showed a very realistic-looking slow motion collision with a child, whilst the narrator coldly counts the distance that the speeding car travels before it stops.
    • "Lucky", a terrifying anti-speeding PIF, opens with a dead girl lying by the side of the road, with her voice informing us that "If you hit me at 40 miles an hour, there's around an 80% chance I'll die." Then her injuries begin to heal, complete with a Sickening "Crunch!" as her bones snap back into place. She slides back into the middle of the road and gasps as she wakes up, demonstrating that "If you hit me at 30, there's around an 80% chance I'll live." An equally terrifying print ad was also made.
    • In another, a man is shown without a seat-belt and he crashes into another car, then the camera goes X-Ray and a narrator, a very monotone creepy middle aged lady's voice, explains how the airbag saved him from going trough the window, but then in extreme detail goes into how his ribs break, his lungs get punctured and his heart suffers physical trauma, as the organs go through this on later afternoon TV before 6! Enjoy.
    • This anti-drink-driving ad, entitled "#PubLooShocker", is essentially footage of an elaborate practical joke on pubgoers, centered around Jump Scares. The sight of a bloodied mannequin smashing though a mirror might make you want to keep away from mirrors for a while, or you might find the people's reactions to be utterly hilarious. Or both. You decide.
  • John Krish's infamous The Finishing Line, from 1977, a 21 minute long British Transport Films commission about a child daydreaming about their school's sports day being held on a railway track. It's quite graphic, to say the least, especially the aftermath of "the great tunnel walk" scene.
  • A PSA by the Federal Railroad Administration about the danger of railroad crossings started with a railroad crossing crossbuck sign on a black background as creepy music plays in the background. An off-screen voice says "A lot of drivers ignore this warning." Then the crossbuck sign fades into a skull and crossbones as the voice continues, "Almost every 90 minutes, one of them is hit by a train." After that the skull and crossbones fades back into the railroad crossing sign as "ALWAYS EXPECT A TRAIN" appears on the bottom as the music fades with scary synthesized sounds.
  • This train crossing safety PSA from the Metropolitan Transit Authority of New York.
  • The UK's Network Rail are known for making some particularly disturbing PIFs:
    • "See Track, Think Train" shows a family biking in the country, when a boy starts an innocent sounding game of "I spy", challenging the others to guess the word he's thinking of that starts with the letter "T". Tractor, tree, train, tire, and teddy are incorrectly guessed, and then a Mood Whiplash comes as a girl guesses "Wait, is it... track?" as she walks with her bike onto a train track, and then a Smash to Black as a train is heard whooshing by.
    • Another corporate campaign, reflecting on why using a mobile phone at work can be a very bad idea (specifically, while working near the rails). This one's called Hit or Miss.
    • Network rail have also done adverts urging people to use level crossings properly, with the tagline, "Don't run the risk." The print ads show accident sites with smashed cars and labels showing where the passengers were found. It's not clear whether the labels refer to the dismembered bits of the passengers or the individual passengers themselves...
  • An Australian PIF called Yes Mum made for Victoria TAC's MAFMAD (Make a Film, Make a Difference) competition shows a young man calling his mother. She talks about how she's having trouble hearing him and asks if he's at a party. He tells her he is. She continues talking about mundane things such as his schoolwork while he says "Yes Mum." whenever he gets a chance. This is all intersected with scenes from a party. The young man asks if his father is there and when his mother replies that he isn't the young man can be seen fighting back tears. He tells his mother he loves her as she begs him to tell her what's wrong and the party music fades out. The camera pulls back to reveal that the car has crashed into water and it's occupants are trapped as it fills up. The film ends with them screaming for help as the water covers the windshield.
  • This 1997 PSA from Argentina features a young girl and her baby sister telling their dad his errors while driving, while the dad ignores them. After telling him that they passed a red light, The girls scream and the baby cries after we have a shot of the father, who turns out to be a terrifying monster, complete with growling noises. The No Budget feel and Special Effects Failure of the thing do not help at all. How lovely.
  • A French PSA telling the dangers of drinking and driving starts off tame and only goes downhill from there.
  • A recent anti-drunk driving commercial by our old friends at the DOT shows a man in a club going to the bathroom, drunk, and putting his keys on the sink. Cue his reflection in the bathroom mirror starting to speak to him, trying to get him to pick his keys up and drive home because he's fine, he can handle it. The guy is sensibly smart enough to say no, and the reflection eventually snaps and screams "JUST GET IN THE CAR!" The fact that your own "I can handle a few drinks" mentality could be taken as your head deliberately trying to kill you is a rather chilling prospect to think about.
  • There's a billboard in New Zealand that reminds motorists to drive according to weather conditions. It features the image of a young boy that actually "bleeds" whenever it rains outside.
  • This recent anti-texting and driving PSA has been aired prior to Saturday morning programming in the United States, especially on digital sub-channels looking to fill airtime. It's gruesome enough she's all bloody and macabre, but did she really need to look at her phone?
  • A disturbing collection of print ads from the Arrive Alive campaign show the creepy flashlight faces of drivers staring right at you, along with Paranoia Fuel-inducing texts like "I'll wait for you on the top of ur road". The message was to convey that you become "a killer" when you text and drive. The first one is especially creepy, given the male driver's Axe-Crazy expression.
  • This PSA from the city of Santa Clarita on texting and driving. The acting is a little cheesy, but the ending is beyond the usual level of dark for a modern-day PSA. A little girl getting hit by a car? Dark, yes, but if it's simply implied nothing new. Try blood splattering on the windshield as the driver moans "Oh my god..." realizing what she just caused. This aired on Cartoon Network, by the way.
  • There was one billboard (located somewhere in Wisconsin on the highway) that simply had the image of a shattered dashboard, with the accompanying text reading something along the lines of "The last thing Emily saw." That's it.
  • A French Public Information Film has a man talking to a friend of his, who was in a drunk driving accident and now lies in a coma with severe injuries, including lacerations to his face, one leg that has been amputated and the other that is badly injured and in danger of amputation. As he is talking to him and telling him not to drive drunk, the man's injuries slowly heal and then it is revealed that the injured man is now unharmed and sitting in the friend's home, having been convinced to sleep off his drunken state, saving him from any potential danger.
  • The Government of Ontario released a PSA titled #PutDownThePhone, showing a man driving along when his phone goes off. He picks it up, and CRASH. Smash Cut to the man at the hospital in a neck brace and wheelchair, to assure the audience that yes, it happens that quickly. There's also a 60 second version, which confirms that the man is left almost entirely vegetative by the crash. While not necessarily creepy, it gets a lot of shock factor from how quickly it unfolds. Oh, and Youtube's ad service has a nasty tendency to use the PSA as an intermission ad, so if you're not paying attention to the screen...
  • This PSA from the Brain Injury Association has a child on a bike going up to another kid on a bike and insulting him because he has a helmet. In the middle of bullying him, The kid runs into a board of wood, and it's implied he now has a head injury.
  • In Australia, Towards Zero, in order to prove how we are all fragile in car crashes, made Graham, the only human designed to survive a car crash. Uncanny Valley is in full effect here!
  • The British Transport Police put out a short video featuring real CCTV footage of people doing stupid things on railway lines, including a few near-misses as a train comes by. The final clip shows a person actually getting knocked down by the oncoming train, and in full view of the camera too. Though it isn't stated in the video, he ended up paralyzed.
  • A 2014 spot for the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission intertwines footage of a pickup truck rolling over a field and crashing with audio of a wedding oath. Emphasis is put on "Till death us do part". The effect is nothing short on chilling.
  • One haunting public service announcement from the early 1980s begins inside of a junkyard full of wrecked cars and a male announcer reading off the names of various people and where they're from. He then says that "though they're not victims yet, one out of every two Westchester County residents will be involved in a alcohol-related crash in his or her lifetime" and before going back to reading off the names, asks "Will today be the day?" as the commercial ends from the inside of a crashed car with a smashed-in windshield. Adding onto the nature of the ad is its ominous soundtrack.
  • Western Australia released several radio ads advocating against fatigued driving by having a narrator tell the audience a whimsical bedtime story involving people getting killed or seriously injured because they were driving tired. The worst of which was the story of "Sleepy Simon", who didn't get enough sleep because of his crying baby. So he and his family got into a car accident when he was driving them tired and fell asleep on the wheel. The narrator then happily tells you that now, since his baby died in the accident, the only thing that keeps Sleepy Simon up at night nowadays are his own nightmares!
  • This horrifying 1960s print ad by Mobil, starring Dancer Killer Joe Piro, was produced to advocate against driving with tension. Talk about Nightmare Face! Don't click the link unless you're not planning on sleeping tonight.
  • This example is unique, as it is a PSA disguised as a Choose Your Own Adventure game that plays in theaters during the pre-movie advertisements. The premise is that it follows a man on his last day of school and viewers are invited to vote with their cellphones on decisions he has to make throughout the day using the TimePlay app (which include picking what socks he should wear, what prank he should pull at school, what music he should listen to on the way to class, etc.). The final decision he makes is whether he should spend the day with his regular friends or his girlfriend. Whichever you choose, he pulls out his phone while driving in his car to make a text, and while he's texting, the sound of tires screeching is heard while another car is coming out of the intersection in front of him in the background, and the screen cuts to black as he crashes into the other car, presumably to his death, because he wasn't paying attention to the road. The ad then asks you to press "I Pledge" on your phone and promise to never text and drive and shows a list of people in the room who pledged. The fact that the PSA starts so lighthearted only to take a turn for the worst in the end only makes it more jarring.
  • And then there's this infamous horror from Poland, which warns the viewer about insufficient buses carrying children. It follows a beat-up red bus as it is constantly abused. Nobody wants to ride on it, and it doesn't even have a nice place to sleep. Finally, the bus drives off to a junkyard to end it all, placing itself onto a crusher's conveyor belt ala The Brave Little Toaster. Right before it can do the deed, a butterfly shows up, turns the machine off, and cheers up the bus immensely. Happy ending, right? After this heartwarmer, a previously unseen woman turns the machine back on, and the frightened bus is sent to its doom. We actually get to see it get crushed. "Have no mercy" indeed.
  • THIS horrifying public information film shows the dangers of drink driving involving children and in the tune of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" sung by children. For each different number, the child featured has suffered a horrible medical fate, but perhaps the most harrowing fates go to the "Five golden rings" part, which has been replaced by a haunting echo of "Fooood through a tuuuube" and "And a Partridge in a pear tree" which now has the melancholic lyric of "And a lifetime in a wheelchaaairrr..."

    Workplace Safety 
There's a lot of dangerous jobs out there, but someone's gotta do them. Better make sure that someone knows how to stay safe...
  • In 2006 and 2007, the Workplace Insurance Safety Board (WSIB) of Ontario, Canada, produced a series of PSAs detailing the consequences of neglecting safety in the workplace. The spots took on two formats, one with the worker being killed at the beginning, before "suddenly regaining consciousness" and describing what safety rules were violated and other factors that led to the deadly incident; and the doomed worker, after detailing what he/she is looking forward to, explaining that he is about to be killed (or badly injured) and why.
    • The most famous of the commercials, which scared The Nostalgia Critic in his "Conquest of the Commercials" video, did not involve a death (or an immediate one, anyway); it featured a young sous chef at an upscale restaurant, talking about her plans to become head chef and her upcoming wedding, before explaining that — because of a grease puddle that had not been cleaned up earlier — she is going to have a "terrible accident," after which she grabs a vat of boiling water, slips and takes the full brunt of the boiling liquid; she lets out a blood-curling and painful scream that makes horror films look tame, and as a co-worker yells for help, there's a split-second shot of her skin boiling (as pictured above), and then the picture cuts to black as her co-worker continues to call for help. The worst part? These commercials air during not only primetime hours, but during shows aimed at children.
    • Here is the link to all five Prevent-It Ads. The chef one is first, but the most disturbing are when the accident victims sit up and describe their mishaps while dying. Without pain. The creepy, otherworldly music/ambient noise that plays when they get up certainly doesn't make things better. Probably the second most notable one (behind the chef ad) is the one where the corpse at a funeral gets up and explains why his face and hands are covered in burn marks (something to do with high-voltage power lines)note .
    • Other ads in the original set of commercials included a young, attractive, college-age woman attempting to hang a "sale" banner at an upscale department store, unspotted and reaching precariously from a tall, rickety, ladder to hook it ... only to fall into a coffee table below (and suffer presumably fatal head and neck injuries); a forklift driver who crashes into a shelf, which promptly gives way, and the steel beams stored on it crush him (one beam even impales his chest, severing his heart and lungs); and a middle-age construction worker who — while describing his plans for an extended family vacation — is blown off a building under construction after his torch to get too close to gas tanks (which hadn't been inspected in several years), and after crashing onto the roof of a passing truck is bounced onto the cement below. Another ad ended with someone narrowly escaping severe injury - the sleeve of a machine shop worker's uniform becomes tangled on a knob, and as the man is panicking as a power saw slowly approaches, sure that the safety switch hasn't been repaired ... power is cut, the saw literally almost touching his skin; the safety switch had been repaired that morning.
  • A second series of commercials was issued in 2008-2009, and featured an exhausted trucker being involved in a head-on fiery collision (to deliver a load by deadline), window washers (after the outrigger beams were neither secured nor checked), and a construction worker who is severely burned after his piledriver hits a gas line (his boss had failed to give him the blueprints detailing where the utilities were located).
  • Another WSIB PSA is tamer in comparison, with a construction manager talking about how he make sure everything and everyone is safe. Midway into his speech, however, a pack of zombies suddenly attack him and his crew, gory details and all.
    Narrator: Workplace injuries and deaths are preventable. If there is a random zombie attack, run like a motherf**ker.
  • A series of Australian workplace safety ads featured, among other things, a chef pouring boiling water on himself, (but is less graphic compared to the above PSA) note  a teenager in a bakery having a finger cut off in a bread slicing machine, a woman falling off a ladder and breaking her neck and a builder's apprentice shooting himself in the eye with a nail gun (or maybe it was a splinter hitting him in the eye).
  • This PSA from ISS Facility Services' UK division is basically a 69-second ripoff of the Canadian sous chef PSA.
  • There is a workplace safety video called ''Will You Be Here Tomorrow?'' that skips the "what is workplace safety?" and goes straight into a montage of people being maimed, dismembered, and killed in excruciating and extremely graphic ways, including a man being hurt by a nail after it jumps into the air and forces itself into his eye just because he hit it wrong.
  • This Canadian PSA depicting a man getting his shirt caught into a conveyor belt and having his arm squished into oblivion like a steamroller. There's no blood in this one, and it even lampshades it by ending with the tagline "Seen enough? Us too.", but the image of the man's finger bending back will surely make your toes curl.
    • Also from the CSST, here is a pair of ads regarding workplace safety. The first isn't bad at all, and is actually quite effective without being violent; a worker attempts to start a machine, but finds that it's been locked out. He goes to check why and finds his supervisor monitoring a maintenance man, who is inside the machine and repairing it. However, the second - in which the padlock isn't installed - shows exactly what would have happened if the machine were turned on.
  • Similar to the "There are no accidents" Canadian PSAs, the Workers' Compensation Board of Nova Scotia released a series of PSAs back then where a narrator happily tells the "story" of objects in the workplace that are about to cause a horrible accident. A memorable one compares a shoddy repair job of some high-pressure pipes to a disgruntled employee who quits "right when you need him the most." This happens to be when a generic woman representing the viewer walks by with the "repair" (some white electrical tape) at eye level. It cuts to black; rushing water and the woman screaming for help is heard, with the implication being that it blasted her eyes out. Another one has the story of a loose nail on a wooden pallet and ends with a man getting his head stabbed with it while his co-workers panic.
  • WorkSafe Victoria made several print ads showing the aftermath of grisly workplace accidents, showing people with stitches, amputated limbs and burns with slogans like "I thought I could wing it", "I was new and afraid to ask", and "I thought I'd look stupid if I asked again".
  • The organization responsible for the above-mentioned asbestos PSA, the Construction Safety Association of Ontario, commissioned an entire series of fucked-up PSAs in the 1980s in an effort to teach future construction workers about the dangers present at building sites. The worst of the lot involves a man getting a piece of metal shrapnel lodged in his eye because he didn't use proper protection, accompanied by an ear-piercing synthesized scream. There's no gore, but the horrible noise combined with the camera work still make it a pretty wince-inducing affair. Other "highlights" of the series include two crane operators getting electrocuted as a result of unloading next to some power lines, a worker being run over by a reversing dump truck, another worker being buried alive in a trench collapse, and two montages of people being killed or injured in various accidents. The creepy Goblin-esque synthesizer music really doesn't help.
  • In 2008, there was a workplace safety campaign in Alberta called "Bloody Lucky", which featured PSAs that depicted incredibly gruesome workplace incidents (arguably more gruesome than the above examples). The scenarios in the PSAs included a woman accidentally getting doused in toxic chemicals, a shoe store worker falling off a ladder and suffering a massive head injury, a chef accidentally cutting his finger, a deli worker getting his finger severed while preparing pepperoni, a construction worker getting his ankle crushed by a forklift, and finally a kitchen worker getting a huge blast of boiling grease after accidentally knocking an aerosol can into the fryer.

    Crime Prevention 
  • This anti-car crime ad from the UK shouldn't be as effective as it is, but the tone of the narrator and the horrible yelps of the hyenas - combined with the Adult Fear and violation of having one's car broken into work to make it very, very unsettling.
    • Two other PIF's, which are shorter, are arguably more terrifying.
  • A sinister 1980 PIF about house crime shows a couple of shots of burglars breaking into one's house. The narrator's tone alone is extremely scary, especially near the end.
    Narrator: Crime: Keep it out. Keep it shut!
  • There was a London-only PIF showing a cheery, smiling mother making breakfast for her vast family of children and then pulling out a gun and shooting one of them in the head, with blood all over the table and splattering over the other kids. Then a voiceover says that keeping quiet about gun crime is as bad as shooting the victim yourself. It was originally given a 15, but to stop it from being banned completely, the PIF could only be shown in cinemas for 18-certificate films. Watch it here.
  • An ad for the prevention of identity theft depicts a man having his pocket picked while walking down the street, another man being mugged, and a woman just not paying attention in a restaurant as another woman watches, and in all three scenarios, the victim's smartphone is stolen. What makes the commercial nightmare worth is that the people committing the crimes have no faces, their noses, mouth and eyes are obscured...and then when the woman at the end takes the other woman's phone and walks away with it, her features morph into those of the woman whose phone she just stole.
  • It counts as Narm, but this anti-piracy warning from the Federation Against Copyright Theft can be downright terrifying, especially for children (and this was featured in most PG rated and some U rated VHS's from 2002-2005). The dark atmosphere, loud explosions, close ups of this demonic blacksmith (at one point his eyes blaze fire), gloomy music and the haunting voiceover, detailing what happens with the profits of pirated videos (including the infamous "Piracy funds terrorism") and pulling in much Paranoia Fuel ("The pirates are out to get you"), all contribute to a highly unsettling viewing. And woe betide you if you ever saw it in a cinema, where the loudness (and therefore the scariness) only increased.
  • The anti piracy ads in Japan are well known for their humor, but one obscure PSA has a girl crying black tears. And if that wasn't bad enough, her tears fall to a puddle, which makes the tear turn into a picture of a skeleton. The music makes it all worse. If you see that, you're kissing your sleep goodbye.
  • This Canadian PSA instructing viewers to use their eyes to record certain details in the event of a robbery sounds harmless on paper, but in practice it's terrifying thanks to the camerawork, ominous lighting, and creepy droning background music.
  • This PIF begins with a terrifying image of a young man’s body on a slab as the coroners remark that he died of gun violence, but it only gets worse from there. Although it’s off-screen, we can still hear the saw cutting the man’s body open as they begin to perform the autopsy and as this happens, not only do we see his body shake from the vibrations, but also the sight of blood beginning to trickle upwards on the table and pools underneath his corpse.
  • This Colombian PSA meant to discourage consumers from buying stolen cell phones begins with people smiling as they are talking and taking pictures with their cell phones. Moments later, everyone's devices start to ooze blood which then spills onto their hands. A message crawls across the screen stating "Buying a stolen phone is like carrying a dead person. Don’t do it." in Spanish.

    Other Safety 
  • While they don't seem nearly as extreme as some these examples, New Zealand ACC ads are incredibly scary indeed. They start off as ads for other products - house paint, muesli bars etc. - and then accelerate rapidly into horrible domestic accidents.
    • In the house paint ad, a man falls off a ladder and onto the concrete below, breaking his back.
    • Another (in the guise of a shower advert) has a man slipping on his wet bathroom floor and smacking his head on the base of the shower.
    • This one, which plays out as a home loans advert, involves a man falling down a flight of stairs in his home.
    • Possibly the most horrifying of them all is the muesli bar advert; the woman advertising them trips on a Tonka truck and lands, face first, on a glass table. It ends with a lingering long-shot of her trying to get up out of the table and whimpering softly in agony.
  • This PIF about the dangers of carbon monoxide leaking into your home. It shows a young woman coming to her house, turning the heating vent on, and eventually going to bed...and dying the next morning. Will almost certainly press your Paranoia Fuel buttons, and incidentally it was made after two students were killed from carbon monoxide poisoning for an extra bit of nightmare fuel.
    • Another version was made which cuts out the first part, and only shows the dead woman in bed.
  • A British PIF shown in cinemas which advises against buying drugs from the internet shows a man taking a pill from an envelope and swallowing it. He looks confused for a moment and pulls from his mouth a whole dead rat, then coughs and retches into his sink. A close-up of the rat on the floor is then shown while the narrator talks about rat poison being used as ingredients in non-prescription drugs. View here.
  • Sortie en Mer, an interactive French-British website by Guy Cotten on wearing life jackets when going out to sea, is more widely known as a "Drowning Simulator" for good reason. It features a live-action video first-person view of a man who is in the middle of the sea on a sailboat with his friend. Innocent enough, until your person falls into the water (who, of course, doesn't have a life jacket). In what turns into a scarily realistic drowning simulation game, you then have to start using the mouse to scroll upwards in order to keep your person afloat as he waits for his buddy to turn the boat around and rescue him... ...but sadly, the friend can't/doesn't turn the boat around and/or is unable to see your player (due to your player being carried away by the current of the water as soon as he falls in), and your player eventually gets exhausted from trying to stay afloat and drowns. The fact that the site afterwards reveals that a person without a life-jacket can keep afloat for 79 minutes before succumbing to fatigue and subsequent drowning just makes it even worse. And there's a moment in which your character tears off his fingernail, plate and all.
  • The RNLI has a 15-certificate advert shown in cinemas. It's shown from the perspective of a man in a harbour trying to stay afloat, the audience is asked to hold their breath every time he goes under the water. After a minute or so of seeing him struggle we are told that you'd be OK holding your breath like that on land, because the average person can hold their breath for 45 seconds, but in the water you'd stand less of a chance because of shock from the cold. It ends with a murky shot of the drowned protagonist as he sinks towards the bottom.
    • In 2016 the RNLI did a series of 15-rated adverts about being responsible around rivers and the sea which where also shown in British cinemas. These adverts are in a first-person point of view of someone struggling to stay afloat in a river while their friends struggle to save them, only for the person to sink down to their watery demise.
  • Any and all of the Protect and Survive Public Information Films detailing what to do in the event of a nuclear war. Picture being a child in the 1980s in the UK. Sitting happily, watching The Smurfs on TV, then the commercial break. One of these plays. Your parents, who have been acting oddly already today, break down completely. Your mother starts to cry. Your father's face is white, and he's shaking. Every single member of your family, everyone you could possibly talk to, is terrified. And none of them dares tell you why. That's what those films would have done if they ever aired for real.
    • Thankfully none of these had to be used, or have ever had to be seen, but some have made up mock nuclear attack adverts that are chillingly realistic and would have been nightmarish during the Cold War or for anyone concerned about nuclear proliferation. Such as this Australian version.
  • This ad from Disaster Action shows us the inside of a dark warehouse via a night vision camera. The camera wanders over dead bodies wrapped in newspaper, with each set of bodies representing a different disaster, such as Piper Alpha and Hillsborough. Finally, the camera zooms in on a body covered in blank paper, with the message that "it's time to put safety first before the next disaster" delivered in a horribly chilling voice. Anyone with a fear of the dark probably shouldn't watch, especially with that godawfully creepy music.
  • In 2012, British Red Cross began running a horrendously creepy advert to drive home the message that a crisis can happen to anyone. It features a hooded teenage girl and her dog walking around a city at night as she delivers Adult Fear-heavy narration, all set to horribly unsettling background music.
    Girl: I am the fire that leaves you homeless. A heart attack in aisle six. The prescription you cannot collect. I am the boiled sweet stuck in your child's throat. The motorway pileup that leaves you traumatised. The food shopping you cannot do. I am the reason you need a wheelchair. The flood that leaves you stranded. The empty house when you return from hospital. I am a crisis. And I don't care who you are.

Other / Unsorted

    Other 
  • This advertisement from Method, a company that makes ethical cleaning products. So...toxic residues are blobby gang-rapists? Is that the message they mean to convey?
  • The 1984 anti-abortion propaganda video The Silent Scream. Regardless of its authenticity, the footage of the fetus in the abortion is still disturbing. Until 2004 it was a regular part of Religion classes in Croatia. According to the media, lots of students have been heavily traumatized by it.
  • Comedic Australian duo Henry & Aaron are perhaps best known for creating some of the most unsettling ads to hit the internet.
    • This ad for The Central Institute of Technology in Australia. Just wait until you get to the end. For the curious, but afraid to click: A video that's half typical college advertising, half meta-humor, half horror. A guy shows his friend around the campus by snapping his fingers and "teleporting" him around. It's super hilarious, until the guy realizes he teleported himself through a rack of clothing. His friend tells him to teleport away and a scream comes from down the hall. Most horrifying is his friend's fear and horror upon realizing that he's dead. Why is he dead? Well, he teleported himself through an employee ladder! Then again...
    • A few years later, they made THIS little horror, a fake ad for not being truant. It starts with some kids sneaking out of school and heading off to the beach, set off to a catchy indie-folk song. Then one of the girls explodes randomly, and it's revealed that they're actually on an explosive testing site, where more kids blow up. The best part is at the end where the last girl to survive is on the ground doing a Skyward Scream upon realizing that all her friends are dead, as the camera zooms out to reveal a huge mushroom cloud, and just as that happens her screaming is immediately cut off.
  • This PIF from Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency for paying road taxes has a mechanical laughing clown at the end of a pier, representing the kind of person who refuses to pay their taxes and laughs at those who do. It's unnerving, and the fact that the pier is deserted and that it appears to take place at night does not help.
  • This 2003 ad from the Carbon Trust, in which energy wastage is depicted as blood seeping out of office appliances.
  • An ad from the DVLA. "You can't escape the computer," so pay your car tax.
  • An outdoor ad campaign called "The Longest Night" from Open Family Australia targeting child homelessness. Its trio of ads are quite unnerving in their portrayal of how The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You.
  • "The World of Autism", a PSA produced by Autism Speaks, in which a stop motion-animated boy note  journeys through a bizarre world inhabited by strange creatures, which represents the signs of autism (poor response to change, sensitivity to lights and sounds, inability to make eye contact, and arm-flapping movements).
    • One particular segment from the ad — in which the boy ventures into a dark forest or garden and is surrounded by creepy glowing-eyed creatures — was adapted into billboard format. Accompanying the unsettling image is the text "Sensory Sensitivity is a Sign of Autism" in a white Jokerman-esque font.
  • An advert from Guide Dogs for the Blind, in which a careless man's ringing phone causes a blind man and his guide dog to walk straight into the path of an oncoming car.
  • An Ad Council PSA from the early 2000s has some creepy calliope soundtrack playing as we see a letter spinning around slowly in an acid-colored vortex as a voice-over tauntingly asks us to identify it, "Am I a "d"? Or a "p"? A "q", perhaps? Or a "b"? (chuckles) I am dyslexia and one out of nine children struggle with me."
  • A 1989 PSA from Keep Boston Moving features the off-screen crying of a woman explaining that her husband has gone into cardiac arrest. While the others, also off-screen, try to assist him, someone says that an ambulance has been called and is on its way…only for us to see it not able to get through due to being stuck in traffic and no one clearing a path for it. Then a man cries out himself, "Where is that damn ambulance?!" with the implication that the husband will likely die.

It sure is a good thing there is at least one PSA that could probably cheer you up after all this.

Alternative Title(s): PS As And PI Fs

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/NightmareFuel/PublicServiceAnnouncement