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Nightmare Fuel / Public Service Announcements: Health

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"How do our kids see us when we've been drinking?"

Particularly notable campaigns and organisations have their own folders.

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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 state-owned educational television broadcaster, 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 drink too much alcohol, it will control you." 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.
    • Another one in 1992 shows a woman in an eerily lit room who has a drinking problem, cracking open a bottle of dark liquor as "Passion" by Peter Gabriel plays in the background. Every time she takes a drink, one of her belongings disappears as the music gets more intense. When she takes one last drink, we see that a photograph of her children has turned into an alcohol bottle as we get a final close-up of her face.
      Tagline: Too much alcohol is a bitter pill to swallow.
  • 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, "Too much alcohol makes you feel invincible, when you're most vulnerable."
  • 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 collapses 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 has 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, asked 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 okay as long as it is done responsibly, and there is a tipping point wherein it's 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", 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 okay, 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.
  • Fragile Childhood asks "How do our children see us when we've been drinking?" Apparently, they see us as a monstrous anthropomorphic rabbit, a Grim Reaper, 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 his wife is there with him, and remember, he's been drinking...


Cigarettes and 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, since one pack of cigarettes is cheaper than the average wine bottle. 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.
The Truth organization is famous for its anti-smoking ads, and a good chunk of them are horrifying.
  • 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. The point of the ad? To make reference to what one tobacco executive said in response to a question on how babies would have to avoid secondhand smoke. And what was the executive's response? "At some point, they begin to crawl."
  • 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 like chocolate, vanilla, apple, honey, strawberry, mango, etcetera. 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 really freaky, but they show it before PG-13 movies.
  • 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 are 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 but every time he looks behind him, they disappear. Then the whole room lights up to reveal that behind him is a blobby wall of eyes, staring at him. He quickly hides the magazine in his pocket and pretends like he didn't have it. 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 some 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.
  • "#vote14YEARS" starts off showing a cake with peaceful music playing while describing how tobacco companies in 1974 started to target adolescents as young as 14 years old. Seems alright for a "hashtag" ad? Well... it's not. The cake suddenly melts into a mass of tar while the music turns ominous and creepy.
  • #voteICECREAM starts off innocent enough, showing fun-looking ice cream products and popsicles... until it shows the last two products, which both contain tobacco as distorted audio plays. The twitching eye and Slasher Smile on the “Minty Menthol Chip” are especially disturbing. The point of the ad was to show that people have considered selling tobacco products on a stick like a popsicle in order to attract children.
  • This one from the 2000s shows a group of people taking out 1,200 body bags out of a truck and putting them out on the sidewalk while we hear a man discussing how tobacco kills 1200 people every year.
  • This one from 2007 shows disembodied body parts inside garbage cans while menacing synth music plays in the background, all while we see people looking thoughtfully at the garbage cans. We then see a sign which says that every month, tobacco kills more Americans than there are public garbage cans in New York City.

    The Real Cost 
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 earlier ads in the campaign involves a man ripping his tooth out-complete with a gross sound effect-to use it as money and it's just horrifying. The employee's face just says it all. Even worse, there's another ad with a similar concept, instead having a girl peeling off a piece of her skin. Guaranteed to make your skin crawl.
  • 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 at 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 also pop up for The Real Cost on DeviantArt. Several include the creature in them. Age limit notwithstanding (the website is for ages 13 and over), that website is frequented by people as young as 11 years old.
  • And it just won't stop. The 7000 Toxins ad has countless terrifying tar monsters coming towards a young teen smoking at night. They all end up jumping inside his mouth as the harmful chemicals that come from smoking.
  • This one has a teen signing a contract letting someone (or something) have control over her life. Then, she lets 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 in a new, scarier form that looks gooier 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 (what used to be called snuff)Another ad has a football player be attacked by the now massive-sized creature, including being slammed against the bleachers.
  • The Real Cost has also produced a magazine ad that has surfaced in 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.
  • 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.
  • One campaign, entitled "Don't Search It", depicts teens browsing online for topics related to "dip" (smokeless tobacco), including mandibulectomy surgery, white patches, tooth loss, and gum disease. Graphic shock images depicting such things briefly flash on the screen; the teens log off, visibly disturbed and nauseated.
  • "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 an outline of a dip can, before cutting to 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 of "Truth" fame, 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.
  • "Little Lungs in a Great Big World" is a series of stop-motion 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. The worst of the bunch is probably "Snowboard", which has the Little Lungs getting impaled on a deer's antlers, spraying blood and causing his eyeball to fall out of his head, dangling off the optic nerve.
  • "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. Now with its own website, Vyle Delivery offers such products as the above-mentioned rotten teeth, grayish skin (represented by an aging human face), yellow fingernails (represented by a human hand with yellow fingernails, surrounded by other yellow fingernails) and ashtray breath (represented by rotten teeth in a pseudo-ashtray, along with some cigarettes). The website makes special emphasis how they can find you and deliver their products, no matter what.
  • Now the FDA has decided to release a series of ads centering around trapping four teenagers in a sick, twisted compound and killing all but one (based on the statistic that only one in four people who start smoking as teenagers will ever be able to quit). Sounds like a horror movie, doesn't it?
    • In this one, a girl named Gabby walks into a room with a table containing human teeth and tongues, which ends up making her choke. It ends with her slamming on a door, saying "Get me out of here!"
    • This one has a girl looking through a morgue, opening one of them, revealing nobody inside. A bang is heard as she runs towards a door, but it closes right before she can reach it.
    • A boy named Will tries to open various doors, but all of them are locked except for one. When he enters in the room, the door suddenly closes in on him.
    • Another boy named Rashid bangs on multiple doors, screaming for somebody to let him out, and also crying out for Gabby. He starts running and screaming, although what makes him run is left unknown.
    • A girl named Ellie is trapped in a room with only a dirty bathtub filled with what seems to be blood. Then she pans and sees a shadowy figure standing near her. She screams right before the PSA ends.
    • The two final ones reveal who manages to escape:
      • The 15 second edit shows what happens to some of the teens, including being plugged to a hospital bed and bathing in blood and guts. Rashid finally manages to get out, where it's revealed that he actually walked away from a group of smoking friends.
      • The 30 second edit reveals how they got inside in the first place. They walk into an abandoned hospital where they see a window pane with blood reading, "Only One Leaves". Will suddenly appears on another window, screaming, "RUN!" as they take off. It ends the same way as the 15 second edit does.
    • There's also a 7 second ad that just shows them trying to run out the building.
    • But wait, there's more! They made a video game based off of this commercial! No joke!
  • In 2019, there was a disturbing series of ads called 87 Tools that explain the tools used in a mandibulectomy. They seem straightforward at first, but then they say what exactly the tools do (reshapes your jaw and your future, 1 year liquid diet, forces your mouth open, etc.), followed by a mouth x-ray with a screaming sound effect. Another type of these ads feature the tools being tested on food: pulling a turkey apart (forcing open your mouth), peeling a fruit (peeling back your neck), or cutting a steak (cutting out your lower jaw). The moral of these ads is that it takes up to 87 tools to remove mouth cancer, but only one to get it: dip. All of the horror can be found here.

  • 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 in South Africa 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.
  • In the 1960s, there was this animated anti-smoking ad, featuring an anthropomorphic cigarette named Johnny Smoke, who is "feared by his friends and enemies alike." The focus on the deaths he causes (shown with men fading away from existence and a corpse on the ground) and the ominous tone terrified children whenever they saw it. Even worse, the narrator is none other than James Earl Jones.
  • 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 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 TV version 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 it was even the subject of a news story.
  • This horror from the Philippines about the dangers of secondhand smoke. The music is unsettling, but it only gets worse near the end... It even shows the children exhaling smoke, as if they grew up to be smokers.
  • 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 PSAs from the USA featuring an animated crocodile (representing tobacco companies). Normally there is no nightmare fuel in these ads, but in one ad, "Crocodile Tears" the crocodile says that 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 suddenly lunge at the camera with a roar, breaking the screen and even showing what looks to be blood for a few moments. However, the scare factor is somewhat lessened when the last line implies the cameraman is somewhat okay.
    Cameraman (casually): "Just thought I'd ask..."
  • Britain's NHS has made several memorable anti-smoking PIFs.
    • This 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.
    • 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.
    • A print advert, featuring the sinister expression of a toy Monster Clown (though it 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).
    • "Mutations" shows tumors caused by smoking appearing on the lit cigarette.
    • This one from 2006 shows a man breaking the news to a woman that she has lung cancer. A female announcer asks what is worse than hearing these words? The answer? Letting your children hear them.
    • This 2007 ad features a man working at his office... until a fishing hook from out of nowhere stabs him through the cheek and drags him out of the building past his unaware co-workers. It ends with him taking out a cigarette and smoking it with the hook now gone. The ad is a quite frightening metaphor on the phrase "get hooked".
    Narrator: The average smoker needs over 5,000 cigarettes a year. Get unhooked.
  • The Australia Quitline possibly has some of the scariest anti-smoking ads in the world, with some of their ads also airing in Canada. 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. Thailand and Hong Kong are the same way. What is perhaps their most iconic ad features a woman with mouth cancer, complete with rotting lips. Her face will definitely haunt your dreams. In Singapore, they did a remake of this commercial, and it is arguably even more gruesome.
  • 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. The skeletons have stereotypical chain-smoker voices, making them all the more eerie.
  • 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 (putting on her dentures, wig, and speaking device) 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.
    Debi: They say that nicotine isn't... addictive. [inhales] How can they say that?
    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 react 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." It also didn't helped that it aired late at night.
  • 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 from lung cancer, heart disease, and thrombosis, set against the backdrop of an eerie cyberpunk environment reminiscent of Blade Runner. If you don't plan on sleeping tonight, here it is. There was also a 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 PSAs 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 ran an ad campaign that claims kids have seen too much tobacco, specifically cigarettes. Case in point; their "Seen Enough Tobacco" series. Cigarettes replace certain "kid-friendly" items, such as (in order): Candles on a birthday cake, a crayon box, an ice cream truck, a baby mobile, and a windmill on a mini golf course. What's worse is that at the end of "Crayons", a kid actually takes out a cigarette, suggesting that they might start smoking soon!
  • The California Department of Public Health has made a series of disturbing PSAs:
    • "Trapped": The audience is treated to the disturbing scenes of people trapped in burning cigarettes, with screams constantly heard during the PSA. At the end, one person manages to break free, as the phone number to quit is displayed on-screen.
    • "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 other days of the year as the Day of the Dead, as it displayed more shots of more sugar skulls. Then the voiceover tells the audience that every day is Day of the Dead for the tobacco industry. Right after this, the PSA cuts to the shot of a literal human skull staring at the viewer. Then it ends with the phone number again.note 
  • 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."
  • This PSA from The Breathe Free Foundation in Singapore actually encourages suicide, claiming that there are cheaper ways of killing oneself than smoking cigarettes.
  • These PSAs, which the American government ordered various cigarette companies to air in late 2017. These are simple, with black text on a white background, no music, and a monotone voice-over. What makes them so chilling is that they are an admission that cigarette companies have been deliberately killing people for decades. It is a simple, emotionless rundown of all the effects nicotine has on the body, and a later PSA has them admit they designed cigarettes to deliver even more nicotine.
  • These PSAs from Ireland have tobacco personified by a handsome American model named Nico who talks at length and in a creepily cheery tone about cigarettes as though they were a fashion choice. The second one, shot in the style of MTV's Cribs, has him bragging about all the young women he's got addicted to his product and shows models and athletes suffering from the effects of cigarettes. By the end of the ad, his eyes and teeth have turned brown and the way he tells the viewer to "come back anytime" can make the skin crawl.
  • A Tobacco Free ad called "Icons" featured various tobacco company mascots (including the Malboro Man, Virginia Slim, and the Camel Cigarettes camel) discussing how tobacco companies create the illusion that smoking makes you a hard worker, cooler, or more beautiful. All the while, a rhythmic beeping sound is heard with the background music. Suddenly, the music stops, but the beeping doesn't; we're treated to Virginia Slim turning into a shriveled, wheelchair-bound man on life support (the source of the beeping) who warns that in reality, you'll end up looking like him.
  • The New Zealand campaign "Every Cigarette Is Doing You Damage" shows autopsies of real-life parts that belonged to a smoker. They include an aorta filled with fatty substances, a lung being cut open and having tar poured on it (the exact amount of tar it takes to kill a person), and a brain with holes in it that belonged to a cancer victim. You can see them here, but it's best if you don't watch them anywhere near the time you eat.
  • The Tobacco Smokes You campaign asks the question, "What if you can see the damage cigarettes are doing to you?" As the narrator asks this question, you see kids literally rotting away with each puff of smoke.
  • This creepy ad from 1996 shows a man singing Happy Birthday using an electrolarynx in a Creepy Monotone.
  • RAT's Candy Factory has a Willy Wonka Expy take children on a tour of his candy factory...except the Oompa-Loompa expies cheerfully sing: "If you try these goodies, you surely might die!". Right off the bat, you know there's something not right with the factory. And then the kids find out the candy factory is actually a cigarette factory, while the owner suddenly grows sinister and lets out an Evil Laugh, as the cheerful music takes a turn for the worse. Granted, it ends on a positive note where the kids wisely reject his products and a somewhat amusing logo, but if the owner and Oompa-Loompa expies weren't scary enough, kids would likely be turned off by the freaky Nightmare Faced cherry mascot.
  • This French anti-smoking commercial from 1999 begins with a man entering a room with his kids watching television. Suddenly, the kids turn back quickly and beg him to "do the robot". It is then revealed that he has a tracheotomy as he takes a deep breath and starts speaking in a disturbing, Darth Vader-like voice, all while he's shrouded in shadow, glaring at you with his soulless eyes with unsettling alien-like music playing in the background. However, it's slightly Nightmare Retardant if you realize that he is saying "I AM THE ROBOT. WELCOME TO THE EDGE OF SPACE.".
  • This disturbing 2014 PSA from the CDC features a tip of a former smoker, a man named Brett who reveals that his excessive smoking led to him contacting gum disease. Bad enough, but the real scare is after his advice ("My tip to you is... your smile says a lot about you"), in which he takes his false teeth off to reveal his mouth's current condition post-smoking. It's...not pretty to say the least.
    Brett: What does this say?
  • This one from the British Lung Foundation in 1996 shows a man in an eerily lit hospital coughing up his lungs, obviously suffering from cancer or another lung-related disease. The way this was filmed and the black and white effects are disturbing. And yes, it received a U rating despite all this.
  • This one from Australia shows a man gasping for breath inside a coffin, while a narrator tells you to imagine the horrors of being buried alive, all while a Drone of Dread is playing in the background. It turns out that he is in his bed all along, and his wife is crying and comforting him.
  • This one from the late 1980s in Australia shows a group of teens smoking. As we see a girl getting ready to smoke, a hook comes out of the cigarette. However, the girl doesn't notice and puts it in her mouth anyway, only to take a turn for the worse as she realizes what has happened as we see unnerving closeups of the hook in her lip, while one girl reacts in disgust, and one scream in terror.
  • This one from Australia shows a woman feeding a man (presumably her husband) who is unable to talk and is completely paralyzed due to a stroke caused by smoking. She talks about how it's affected their family. We also get unsettling close-ups of the man while we hear his voice-over explaining that his brain still works, but he is unable to communicate. There are also tears coming out of his eyes as he implores you not to make the same mistake that he did.
  • This one from Australia in 2001 shows a man's daughter talking to him about a funny situation when she played cricket. The commercial ends with the man suddenly breathing faster, with the daughter holding her father's hand.
  • This Australian anti-smoking ad. A mother and her child are walking along a crowd... and suddenly the mother vanishes without a trace. The child gets increasingly worried and then finally cries alone, all while the crowd walks past him like nothing is going on. All for a message that smoking's side effects may suddenly end your life.
  • This one from the CDC shows a man named Roosevelt, who never thought that at 45-years-old he would have a heart attack due to his smoking, never thought that smoking would stop him from playing basketball with his kids, and never thought that he would get a scar on his chest, as we get to see an unsettling close-up of his scar. His advice is to do your heart a favor and quit now.
  • This one from 2007 begins with a man hearing some noise inside his fridge. Then, we find out that there is an Uncanny Valley looking raw turkey with a moving mouth holding a cigarette, as the man catches the turkey smoking. The turkey tries to lie and say that he isn't and puts the cigarette in a jar of mayo and attempts to convince him that he is making a sandwich instead, and coughs up some dust. The man closes the door as we see a tagline saying that you can't rely on cold turkey alone.
  • This one from the CDC shows an old photo of a woman named Terrie when she was 20 years old, while we hear a very unsettling sound of Terrie's voice box speaking about how she wished she had never seen a cigarette, much less picked one up and smoked it. We also get to see a shot of poor Terrie in a hospital bed, which was filmed 2 days before her death.
  • NYC Health's "Painful Cancers" starts out creepy with unsettling x-rays, then instantly gets much worse. This PSA shows off photos of some of the worst things that can happen to you as a result of smoking, and it's horrific. The gruesome surgery images are the worst of it. It's no wonder that Love The PIF put this at the top spot of his Top 50 Scariest Anti-Tobacco PSAs video.
  • "Dusty the Dragon and Margie Hogan Talk About Tobacco" is fairly innocuous for the most part. That is until the introduction of a pair of cartoon lungs who speak in an almost demonic voice.
  • Korea's Ministry of Health released these creepy series of ads in 2005. You might want to stay away from cigarettes after the sight of three individuals clearly suffering from smoke withdrawl, all set to eerie music. That godawful scream at each ad's tagline doesn't help.
  • This 2003 PSA from the Philippine Cancer Society doesn't mess around, going for a Boom, Headshot! on a hapless smoker.


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".

    Partnership for a Drug-Free America 
The "Partnership for a Drug-Free America", later known as "Partnership for Drug-Free Kids" and currently "Partnership To End Addiction", has proven itself time and time again to be a reliable manufacturer of bizarre and emotionally harrowing content with their PSAs. But more than anything else, they know how to utilize the worst possible ways in which drugs can ruin one's life and give it to their audience straight... even if they'll be having trouble sleeping afterwards.
  • Snake: Perhaps one of their most notorious ones, this PSA 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 speaks of how far you'd be willing to go to get more drugs from him. His voice becomes more and more distorted as he moves in a fluid manner, saying how we'll "steal from your parents, lie, cheat on your homeboys" to get drugs. And as he's talking, his body shape becomes less and less human. He finishes up by saying, "Now, some folks will tell you that 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 appears in the light, revealing he is a human snake, and hisses in a distorted voice, "Yessss!" The ad ends with a freeze-frame of Snake hissing at the camera with his long, forked tongue flailing about.
    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 its effects. In the background, echoing voices can be heard encouraging the woman to jump. ("It'll be fun..." "It's cool..." "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 "Snake" above, this PSA also freaked out the Nostalgia Critic when he featured it in his top drug PSAs video:
  • Tracks: A woman is 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 that 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 body even 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 (Martin Sheen) 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 the way it pulls no punches in its message makes it effectively disturbing.
    "When you don't say 'no' to your kids about drugs, it's the same as saying 'yes'."
  • Everybody's Doing It: This PSA 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.
    • There is a variant where the music abruptly cuts at the end of the song and it fades to black with the logo. Just adds up to the creepiness.
  • 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. The PSA ends with a message similar to that of Final Lesson above.
    "If you don't teach your kids to say 'no' to drugs, it's as good as saying 'yes'."
  • Lab Rat: shows a rat inside a cage being fed small white tablets while scary music plays. A narrator says that there's a drug so addictive, "Nine out of ten laboratory rats will use it... and use it... until dead". 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. Later taken Up to Eleven by Rachael Leigh Cook, as she proceeds to demolish the entire kitchen with the pan while yelling about the effects drugs have on you. Of course, it may be Narm to some, especially since it was one of the first things Robot Chicken has parodied (with Rachael herself).

    Cook also remade the ad in 2017, using white and brown eggs to illustrate the way current drug policy disproportionately impacts black Americans. The visuals aren't scary at all (most of the ad features little cartoon egg people), but the situation it describes is horrifying.
  • 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 around in circles 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 that combines the first three, all set to an ominous background music that gradually builds up throughout, culminating into a hellish chanting at the very end.
    "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."
  • Surgeon: "What if the joint were in someone else's hand? Would you still say marijuana is harmless?" Cut to a young man Strapped to an Operating Table... and then a stoned surgeon, with a scalpel in one hand and a joint in the other. The young man repeatedly has to remind the surgeon why he's there (Surgeon: "I've never had anybody die of tonsillitis before." Patient: "Appendicitis...") and no one else in the ER seems bothered by this. As the young man is put under, the surgeon looks down at him and says, "Now let's see if I can make a straight line!", laughs maniacally, and begins to bring the scalpel down on the patient. Thankfully, there are strict rules in the operating room that require surgeons to be sober before operating. To some, the surgeon acts so over-the-top that they can be more funny than scary, but some people may find the surgeon's over-the-top antics to be why the PSA is scary in the first place. Notably, it was featured in JonTron's "Anti Drug Games" video, where he had this to offer:
    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.
    "If you don't tell your children about the danger of drugs, you may find a problem staring at you right in the face. A problem that won't go away or even worse, one that does."
  • 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?"
  • Going Out In Style 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 Warren 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.
  • One 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.
  • Vegetable: 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. Mitchell says to the viewer, "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. Them music 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."note  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 to be him 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: The inside of a meth lab is shown as a voiceover talks 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.
  • Welcome To Heroin: This PSA from the late 90s immediately opens with someone from a first-person perspective falling through a frozen pond that cracks open. We are then 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 apathetic voiceover (who appears to be the same one from the Partnership's later "They'll understand" campaign) saying, "Welcome to heroin. Enjoy your stay."
  • 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.
  • As darkly 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.
  • Nowhere: This early 90's PSA depicts a boy in his bedroom, as he prefers to spend time alone smoking pot rather than spending time with friends. The narrator then states that doing pot will get you nowhere. The camerawork and music don't help at all.
    "You thought smoking pot would take you places you've never been. So how come you're going... nowhere?"
  • Heads, a rare PSA from the 90s, is... somewhat indescribable. It features a crazed-looking bald man in a dark room, holding a machete and licking it, while a chilling voice-over describes what meth does to the brain. Things take a turn for the worse when it mentions an Arizona man who decapitated his child while high on meth and tossed the severed head from the van onto a busy highway, all while the man continues to caress and lick his weapon while grinning with a truly horrifying smile.
    "The tough part won't be what you tell the judge. It'll be what you tell God."
  • This 2006 PSA features the actual 911 call from a man desperately attempting to get assistance for him and his girlfriend from the operator while in the middle of a snowstorm. Unfortunately, neither is able to tell her their location due to being high on meth, and although the woman was equally desperate to find and help them, the couple was ultimately found frozen to death.note 
  • Coroner: This 1989 PSA features a coroner explaining the condition of the body of someone who died of a cocaine overdose as he works on them. It's all offscreen, but he discusses the deterioration of various internal organs until he gets to the heart, which is in such bad shape that it makes him slam his instruments down, pull off his mask and sigh deeply.
  • Stand-Up Comic: This 1988 PSA makes Recorded and Stand-Up Comedy unsettling. Her "joke" begins with a man who is the perfect picture of health, then tells how he went to a party where the partygoers were doing plenty of crack cocaine. So "Mr. Health", who has never done any before, decided to join in in order to be part of the "in" crowd. Then guess what happens? The fool drops dead! After a few seconds after laughing at that line she then asks, Get it?
  • This one from the 1980s shows a heart-shaped balloon inflating and deflating to the sound of a beating heart. As this is going on a man tells us that crack is one of the worst things you can do for your own heart and explains the side effects of what can happen when you take said drug. As he is speaking, the balloon inflates and deflates more rapidly until it bursts as pieces of the balloon fall.
  • Rush: Another entry in the organization's "Face the Fact: Drugs Are a Dead End" ad campaign. This one features rapid and jarring cuts between shots of an ambulance speeding down a snowy street, and paramedics and EMTs inside the ambulance attempting (and repeatedly failing) to revive a man who has overdosed on crack and cocaine to the point where his heart has stopped beating — all while an angelic choir sings in the background. The narrator explains that over 15,000 people who try the drugs "are in for a real rush", and the angelic choir music turns more sinister as the ambulance speeds into the camera and it cuts to the tagline.

    Meth Project 
You thought the above-mentioned PSAs were scary? The Meth Project, launched in 2005, is just as bad, if not worse.
  • "Bathtub" features a young woman who is going to try meth at a party she's about to attend taking a shower, and she's horrified to suddenly meet her future addict self begging her not to go. This one is often considered the scariest Meth Project PSA.
  • "Kevin" has a young man telling the story about his friend who took meth, beat up his own best friend, used pliers to pluck out the bugs he thought were underneath his skin (complete with corresponding imagery) and is now committed to a mental hospital (and is implied to be suffering from psychosis).
  • "Sisters" features a teenaged addict and her reluctant younger sister approaching two grown men for money to have sex with them both. As they start to service the girls, the younger one begins to cower. Making matters worse, as this is happening the older sister just tells her to shut her eyes as she has a dazed look upon her face.
  • "Family" seemingly starts out normally as three teenaged boys ring the doorbell of a home, but once the wife answers, the one guy violently shoves her down while he gives orders to the others to take what they can, another belts the husband in the face and then screams at the terrified little girl who cries out for her father. Worse, as the robbery occurs, not only do dark undereye circles and awful sores suddenly appear on their faces, but as the trio finally leaves, you can see that the woman is still lying motionless on the floor. Perhaps most terrifying is their excellent use of Paranoia Fuel: what if those innocent -looking teenage boys at your door are really just robbers looking for drugs?
  • "Friends" begins with three worried teens inside a car. A female narrator says she is "tight with her friends," who "always look out for me." The narrator is revealed to be the fourth person in the car, slumped in the backseat, as the car halts in front of a hospital emergency room. The girl's "friends" pull her unconscious body out of the car, dump her next to the curb, and speed off as a nurse approaches the girl.
  • In "Mother", a teenage boy raids his mother's purse for money, while in narration, he talks about how much he loves her. When she enters the room and objects to his theft, he strikes her to the floor. She cries out to him, hanging onto his leg. He kicks free and flees, as she lies sobbing on the floor.
  • In "OD", several clean-cut, smiling teens are sitting on a bed in a clean, sunny, suburban teenager's room, watching a lighthearted show on television. The camera pans to the floor, where one boy is gasping, sweating, and convulsing, his eyes rolled back into his head. The teens on the bed appear not to notice him. The voice-over begins, "This isn't normal..." as the camera pans to a mirror near the floor where the boy lays. The camera passes through the mirror and enters the dim, shadowy "mirror world" as a low, ominous tone overtakes the sound of the television. The camera pans upward past the now-pockmarked face of the seizing boy, rising above the filthy floor to the grimy bed where the group of teens sits, now gaunt and sickly. The teens on the bed take no notice of the overdosing boy because they too are high on Meth. One shaking teen passes a Meth pipe to another, while the voiceover concludes "... but on Meth, it is."
  • In "Parents", an upset teenage boy approaches his parents' house, knocking on the door, and shouting "I'm sorry, Dad!" In narration, the boy says he's always been very close to his parents. Inside the house, his parents are panicked and distraught and turn off the light. The boy kicks the door many times, begging to be let in, screaming that he's going to kill them.
  • In "Boyfriend", a teen girl lies on a bed in her underwear, as an older man zips up his pants and walks out the door of their motel room. In narration, the girl says, "I love my boyfriend, we've been together since like eighth grade. He takes care of me." As the older man exits, he hands something (presumably a bag of Meth) to the girl's boyfriend, who stands outside of the door. The boyfriend enters the room and inspects the bag of Meth that the man gave him, as the girl cringes and weeps.
  • "Ben" begins with the camera panning across an empty living room. We see quick flashes of a young boy going into convulsions on the couch. A girl's voice says, "This is where he went into convulsions." The scene shifts to a hospital operating room and we hear her say, "This is the emergency room where he almost died." As the commercial continues, the camera shows the alley where he smoked Meth again after he got out and, finally, the storeroom where he hung himself because he couldn't quit. The camera closes in on a frayed length of rope still hanging from a beam. In the last scene the girl who has been telling the story appears on camera and says: "...and this is what I said, when he told me he was going to try Meth." The girl falls silent and stares into the lens.
  • "Jessica" begins on an empty football field. A young man's voice-over says, "This is where she used to be a cheerleader." The scene changes to a dirty bathroom. The young man's voice says, "This is the sink where she started pulling out her eyebrows." The scene continues to change, showing the hallway of an abandoned building where her dealer raped her, and the backyard where she forced her little brother to smoke Meth with her. Finally the young man who is telling the story appears on camera, looks into the lens and says: "...and this is what I said, when she told me she was going to try Meth." The boy falls silent and stares into the camera.
  • "Tracy" starts in an empty clothing store. A teenage girl's voice says, "This is the store she got fired from." Quick flashbacks show a young girl's hand stealing money from the store register. The scene changes to a suburban house, "the house she broke into." The scene changes again to show the motel room where the Meth user started selling her body and the hospital incubator with the baby she gave birth to two months early. In the last scene, the girl who has been talking sits in front of the camera, looks up and says: "...and this is what I said, when she told me she was going to try Meth." Then she falls silent and stares into the lens.
  • "Just Once" shows a teenage girl saying that she will smoke meth, steal, sleep with a man for meth, just once, all while we see her do the following. We then hear an ominous tune playing while we see the teenage girl's (presumably dead) body lying on the bed while we see her little sister staring at the camera and telling the viewer that she will be trying meth just once.
  • "Tracks" shows a girl breathing heavily and panicking while we see shots of her snorting cocaine, smoke meth, and get ready to inject drugs while we also see a photo of two children, as we see the panicking girl running on the train tracks and taking off her coat, and eventually getting so exhausted she can't move as an oncoming train is about to hit her.
  • "ER" begins with an uncomfortable close up of a girl lying on a hospital bed while we hear a voice over say that if she had asked herself if she would become an addict if she tried meth, or if you could "really lose it" on meth. The camera backs up, and we see her screaming and thrashing around while the paramedics try to keep her still. It's then revealed that the voice over was not the girl, but her friend. She watches her get taken into the ER, then leaves. It then cuts to her getting into a car immediately afterwards, asking a fellow meth user for another hit.
  • "That Guy" shows a teenage boy telling his friends that he is going to try meth once and not end up like "that guy". We hear him say the same sentence while looking more nervous while we see someone use a lighter on a meth pipe. We then hear him Suddenly SHOUTING! the same thing thrice while we also see a shot of him with plastic tubes in his mouth. We then see a girl in a dark place telling her friend the same thing as that boy said, all while we also see the same teenage boy, now a drug addict, sitting on a dirty sofa.
  • "Shadow" begins with a teenage boy having a hallucination from meth and grabbing a bat and screaming and destroying stuff, and suddenly mistaking his mother for an intruder and runs after her with the bat, with the mother quickly closing the door, followed by the boy hitting the door with his bat, leaving a dent in it. What the narrator said is also quite chilling as well.
  • "Deep End" begins with an uncomfortable close up of a teenage girl while she tells the viewer that if she had asked, "What does meth do to your brain? Does meth make you hear voices", or if she had asked, "Can't you just stop doing meth?", her mom wouldn't be asking, "Oh God, what did you do?" The nasty shock comes in when it's revealed that the girl has cut her own wrists and her mother is frantically trying to find something to cover them.
  • "Laundromat" shows a teenage boy running into a laundromat and beating people up and yelling at them for money, scaring many people including a baby. He then runs over to a teenage boy, which is actually a clone of him who hasn't done meth, and screams at him "This wasn't supposed to be your life!", with the crying infant still audible.
    Narrator: This isn't normal. But on meth, it is.

  • 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 ads that will scar you for life.
    Tagline: Parents, don't let heroin take your place.
    • Scratching is pretty hard to describe, but here we are. We see a text explain to us how heroin, merged with bleach, can cause severe itching... while unbelievably Mind Screwy images are shown, including a disturbing eyeball thing and eerie visuals of people scratching their skin and flesh. Its' surreal nature makes it very unsettling.
    • Here is a collection of poster PSAs they made. The facts they present in of themselves are horrid, but the images are even more horrifying. There's a bloody-looking bathroom, a freaky-looking hand, bugs coming out of a person's armpit and a person cowering in a red-colored room with many spiders approaching. They rely on psychological horror compared to the company's other ones, but they're just as disturbing.
  • 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:
    • Instead of becoming a high school English teacher, before being married and having three children, she prostitutes herself for drugs.
    • Instead of becoming a firefighter who saves people and stuff in burning buildings and drives a fire engine, he becomes a drug addict.
    • Instead of running her own bakery with her friends due to helping her mother bake scones and cakes, she ends up having a fight with her husband over what seems to be drugs.
    • Instead of playing football (soccer for you North Americans) for his homeland as long as he's good enough and due to repeatedly scoring a goal in every match he's played in, he is a lifeless corpse 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, and 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. Even worse, it aired on YTV commercial breaks at one point.
  • This New Zealand anti-drug PSA shows 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?".
  • Another 70's anti heroin PSA by the same ones that did the screaming monkey above (National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information) shows a young man, eyes closed, stretch out on a table with a sheet over his waist. The camera slowly does a side pan over the body from the head downward as you hear the voiceover saying that heroin gives the person a calm, relaxed 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.
  • 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 if 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.
  • One such ad from Scotland Against Drugs shows a Polaroid photograph featuring a man at a nightclub or rave smiling. Then, as the ad progresses, the man's face in the photo gradually turns uglier and angrier until it becomes a horrifying demon spawn bordering on the Uncanny Valley, before melting away. Watch this on YouTube if you dare. The guy who uploaded it titled it simply "I've Just Shit Me Pants" and proclaimed it the scariest PIF he's ever seen, to the point that he says he doesn't want to see it in a lit up room in the middle of the day, let alone in a darkened cinema. People in the comments say that the thumbnail was enough for them.
    Narrator: Spots, rotten teeth, depression, anxiety attacks, personality changes, paranoia.... Take Speed (Amphetamine), Eckie (Ecstasy) or Acid (Lysgeric Acid/LSD) and you can develop any of them.
  • 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 anti-drug PSA's from Italy made in the early 90's from the Italian Ministry of Health 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 1989 Partnership For A Drug-Free America PSA "Faces" mentioned above. It's quite terrifying. You can watch some 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 or even turning into Herobrine from Minecraft.
  • 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 man 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 Destroy 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 PIFs from the United Kingdom in the early 1990s show text on a black screen saying what is happening while audio of someone overdosing on solvents, and one of someone with whooping cough, following the aftermath.
    • One of them starts off with the text "This is a 14-year-old inhaling a solvent." What can be heard in the background is a person sniffing, and then gagging horrifically. Then the text says "This is her mother identifying the body." The sound of a woman crying is heard. Then the text says "Sniffing aerosols, glue and gases kills 2 children a week.", with the woman’s crying still heard.
    • Another one starts off with text informing us that an 11-year-old is going to try an aerosol for the first time, as we hear his friends urging him to have a go. After a few seconds, we then hear his friends panicking and crying as they find out that his first time was the last.
    • This one starts off with audio of a 14-year-old boy panicking as he's intoxicated by solvents. We then hear his sister crying as she's having a nightmare months after his death.
    • This one starts off with audio of a 9-year-old choking and coughing on a solvent, followed by audio of his father crying after he's found out that his son had died.
  • A horrifying PSA from the Spanish Foundation 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.
  • In Nebraska, there's an ad campaign called Dose of Reality related to prescription drug abuse.
    • "Overdose": It shows a man, named Michael, passed out or dead from a drug overdose. Either his girlfriend or a family member enters the room, and begins to cry after he doesn't wake up.
    • "Pharm Party": It shows a woman, named Brittany, passed out or dead from a drug overdose, while her friends try to look for help. One leaves the room to call 911, while her other friends try to wake her up while help arrives.
  • Bath Salts: It's Not a Fad but a Nightmare. Ever wanted to see a first-person depiction of someone getting high off bath salts, hallucinating horrifically, and then being brought into the emergency room for an overdose? Here you go. The creepy faces the girlfriend and roommate make are particularly bad. On the plus side, you might get a dose of Narmy Nightmare Retardant at one point, as it's clear that in the scene where the person vomits over a bridge, someone in the film crew just poured a bottle of juice over the edge.
  • Truth has now gone from ads about how bad tobacco is to how bad opioid dependence is, by airing a series of ads from real people who purposefully injured themselves to get opioids. One such ad shows a man named Joe, going out to fix his car. He explains how he got Oxycontin for his neck, and how he kept on taking them. He grabs a wrench and slides under the car, then kicks out the jack holding the car up, making it fall on top of him and ultimately crushing him. Text onscreen, layered above an X-ray of what is presumed to be Joe's broken spine, reads how he broke his back purposefully to get opioids, then goes on to explain how opioid dependence can happen after five days. The music doesn't make this ad any better, nor does the sound of Joe's spine cracking--or his distorted scream. The fact that he survived is astonishing. There’s another one where an opioid-addicted man named Chris purposely slams his hand into a door frame, breaking his hand bones. Anyone who’s ever injured themselves on a door will feel the pure agony this guy must have been in.
  • Right before Rodrigo Duterte began his War on Drugs campaign, the 2004-2005 Coalition's Crusade Against Fake Medicines had their Wa Epek Ang Peke movement years ago note . It tackles on the dangers of medicines that weren't real or BFAD registered. Meaning, instead of medicines that will treat your sickness, fake medicines make it worse and will lead to your untimely death because of the illegal substances contained in them. Similar to a drug overdose. Just be thankful it doesn't air it anymore in the recent years. But when you watch it online, be sure to have someone with or not watch it on daytime.

    One of their PSA was aired on GMA-7. It started with a slight jumpscare of showing two medicine bottles with a text written in English stating "Can you spot the difference?" with the narrator talking about how hard it is to distinguish the two of them. Afterwards, a hand tips one of the medicine bottles indicating the fake one. The fake medicine bottle reveals the skull and crossbones symbol behind it. It gives goosebumps, especially since that bottle keeps on rolling while etching the Scare Factor of it like death stares right in your face.
    Narrator: Fake medicines are made to look real.
  • This 1982 Japanese PSA, made by the Government Public Relations, starts off with a baby and its mother sitting next to each other on a table, with the mother's face lying on the table. The mother pulls herself up, revealing her face, grabs a heroin needle, and proceeds to jab it into her right arm and inject herself with it on-screen with the familiar yet chilling sound of an older (1970's - 80's) Japanese emergency siren wailing in the background, then she fades away. The last we see of the PSA is the mother's baby, all alone, crying out to its mother against a black background. PSA reviewer HelloImAPizza considers this the most disturbing drug PSA he's ever seen, and fellow PSA reviewer EmiLightning considers this one of the scariest PSAs she's ever seen as well.
    Narrator: Recently, stimulant drugs are destroying housewives, young people, and salaried workers. Half of people are interested in stimulant drugs. However, not only will you destroy yourself, your family will also be destroyed.
  • This Brazilian PSA titled Rewind starts off with a woman being graphically shot in the head while her passenger, presumed to be her son, screams in horror, before showing the chilling domino effect that lead to the event taking place. The shooter is shown to have taken a gun from a pool table that was put there by a man, who then proceeds to take the gun from a table and leaves some money on it. He then proceeds to approach the same passenger who witnessed the shooting afterwards and hands him some money, who proceeds to give the money to a dealer that hands him some cocaine. All of this is filmed backwards so you know exactly which events happened first and happens last with the implication being that if the passenger didn't buy the drugs, the woman would still be alive.
  • This ad simply called "That's How" that aired during Super Bowl XLIX in the St. Louis broadcasting area depicts a mother coming home with groceries and calling for her son shortly after he snorted heroin. Between the time she makes it upstairs to check on him and the time she spots him lying on his bed, he's already died, and the heartbreaking images of a mother realizing that she's outlived her child because of a narcotics overdose and crying over her son's corpse are all overlaid by a cheery singer/songwriter track about how he'd started by stealing prescription pills from his mom and simply wanted to try something a little harder to chase the same high. It was meant to highlight the existing drug problem in the area as well as shed some light on the American opiate epidemic, but for those of you who worry about what kind of crowds your children will be/are currently hanging around with, this ad serves as a gut punch and makes you wonder if they've truly gotten the "drugs can kill you" message at such a young age.
  • This grotesque anti-drug PSA from Spain is not just scary, but also nauseating, as it subjects the viewer to the sight of a worm crawling up a guy's nose. The dark environment and ominous tone of the narrator do nothing to help the horror portrayed.
  • This 1990 ad from Britain about how the effects can last forever. We start off by seeing people having a typical rave party while we also see a boy telling the audience the story about his friend taking drugs. We then hear a drug dealer asking his friend if he wants some stuff. The boy then says it was alright at first, but then he got more and more out of it. We then see his friend balancing on a bridge while his friends beg him to stop. He eventually falls off the bridge and his body gets picked up by some guys on a boat.
    Narrator: He said you only live once. He just wanted to try it. He wanted to try everything!
  • This Brazilian ad from 1998 compares drug abuse to a baby playing with a knife. As if that wasn't bad enough, the last shot has it putting the knife in its' mouth.
    Tagline: It's the same way with drugs. People who use them don't know the risk they're running.
  • The Health Education Board for Scotland made this 2000 PIF which depicts a boy being offered heroin by two bullies. We are treated to a split screen of what happened if he said yes(left side) or no(right side). On the right side, we see him doing just fine. The left side? Not so much... You are treated to seeing his life falling apart; he goes from selling his Xbox to creepily suffering from withdrawl, until he finally graduates to stealing from his parents and eventually being forced onto the streets in poverty, begging for spare change, with his better half giving him a coin. The music doesn't help.
  • Drugs can have... bloody consequences, as this 1999 PIF from Bloodline graciously shows us, as it features a naked woman lying in the bathroom as a chilling male narrator describes the effects of the Hepathis C. Virus during drug abuse. As he details the symptoms of said virus, the woman begins to bleed profusely. Beginning by trickling out of her back, the blood floods the entire bathroom and eventually the lady herself. If you're Afraid of Blood, this, combined with the ominous music and disturbing sound effects, is not your ad.
  • This 2012 ad from Chile has a series of horrible events happening to several people, thanks to drugs. The first has a man in a pub about be knocked out cold by an angry bottle-wielding drug addict, the second has a woman about to be crushed by a bus stop thanks to a drugged driver who lost control of her car, the third has a sobbing mother who's lamenting the downfall of her family due to her drug addiction, culminating in what appears to be a dead baby, and the fourth and last one has a driver whose car flipped over due to drug abuse and, while alive, is clearly crying too. What's worse is that the ad shows that even the ones who don't do drugs are always affected somehow-in the most violent ways possible.
  • This one from 1987 in Australia shows a boy and his girlfriend doing Russian roulette, while an announcer says that shooting up drugs is like playing Russian roulette and tells you what could happen if you shoot up drugs. While we hear all this, we see an unknown man loading a gun and handing it to the boy. The boy offers his girlfriend to go first, but the girl thankfully refuses.
  • This famous PSA from the 1980s starring Clint Eastwood, starts off with a Drone of Dread while we see a camera in view, with a few lights turning on revealing Clint Eastwood himself, with him explaining about the danger of crack while holding said drug and staring right into the camera. The PSA ends with creepy horse galloping-like noises, and a loud BANG!
  • There's a 2011 Italian anti-drug commercial where a dude goes on a trip and then does drugs. Then a girl approaches him, hugging him before quickly morphing into an extremely hideous Buffyverse-esque vampire thing. A song by Italian pop singer Nek was used as the BGM, with very predictable results. Then it turns out to be all just some kind of hallucination shit and the guy goes away with an actual girl, and after that a message pops up, "Don't do drugs, do your own life", thus ending the ad.
  • This creepy Japanese PSA takes a leaf out of both Polaroid and Faces' books, as it starts off with a teenage girl smiling as some Japanese text is displayed on a mobile phone. But with each next shot of the girl, she begins to become more ragged and tired, losing her smile, as the text begins displaying more ominous and negative emotions and the music begins to take a scary turn. By the last still, she's become a zombified drug addict, her phone falls to the ground and breaks as she disappears. Oh, and the phone's text? It's a repeat of the word "help me" several times.note  It's much less scarier than Polaroid, but it's still pretty damn unsettling and enough to gives Faces a run for its' money.
  • This one from Canada in 1991 features a woman who goes to the kitchen to get some drugs. When she enters her bedroom, we find out that she's got cocaine, as she snorts the powder. The next day, we get revealed that she's a bus driver as she shuts the door, accompanied by an echo of the door slamming shut, ending the PSA, with the children's fates unknown.
    Narrator: One out of every five people who try cocaine get hooked, but that's not your problem...or is it?
  • This early 2000's Russian PSA shows a man telling the viewer that you should try everything in life. Right after he says that he stands upon a stool and puts a noose around his neck, and walks off the stool as he hangs himself. The painful choking and the closeups of his face do not help. He eventually goes unconscious (or presumably dead), wetting himself in the process as we see his body dangling.
    Narrator: The drug is exactly the same - it holds strongly, it tightens forever.
  • This Hong Kong PSA from 1997 shows a woman getting high while singing, with karaoke lyrics overlaid. As the video progresses, the woman's voice becomes slurred and she starts stumbling on the street before she hits her head on the camera. Cue zoom out shot on an old TV in the middle of a landfill.
  • "Hey Charlie," manages to combine this and tearjerker. We see footage of a boy named Charlie and his childhood and teen days. Then, we see at a campfire party where he is offered drugs. He accepts them, and unfortunately, things go downhill very fast. We see his life, via a first person view, become more and more consumed by his growing drug addiction. Eventually, after he completely isolates himself from his friends and family, we see his face and he looks horrified at how much he has lost control of his drug use. To make things even worse, afterwards, we're treated to more footage of Charlie before he started drugs. While we see this footage, we hear Charlie's mother tell him to wake up, only to find that he is unable to wake up due to suffering from the effects of a drug overdose. The ad ends with her frantically calling 911. The fact that we don't even know if he survived or not just makes it so much worse. To end it, we're told via text that we should help stop the spiral. This is easily one of the most harrowing anti-drug ads out there.
    Tagline: It doesn't have to BE this way.

Diseases and Illnesses

Just because we made it past drugs doesn't mean you're out of the woods yet.
    Diseases and Illnesses 
  • "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 it 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.
  • In the 2000s, the Government of Canada made a commercial highlighting stroke symptoms such as headaches, trouble speaking, and so on. What really made it scary was the animated white font on a black background while ominous music played. Also, this aired on children's television networks. Many kids were creeped out by it.
  • 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 1990 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.
  • A charity from New Zealand 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. It really goes to show that MND 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.
    Penny Marshall: There's something you should know about me. I believe in equality, regardless of race, gender, or age. If you have no voice, I am there. If you cannot stand, I am there. If you are lost or confused, I am there. I am there to hurt, paralyze, or kill. 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 havoc 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.
    • Two AIDS PIF's from Health Educational Authority around 1988 were 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."
    • 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.
    • this 1990 Italian PSA was one of the biggest nightmare of '90s children due to the combo of Laurie Anderson's eerie song "O Superman" and the purple halo.
    • 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!
    • One German PIF started 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. The message: "AIDS is a mass murderer." There are other versions of this PIF, where instead of Hitler, the man banging the woman is another dictator like Stalin and Hussein.
    • 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 Luke Stahler, a man with Stage 9 AIDS, spending the entire ad struggling to get out of bed, heavily breathing as he tries to lift himself. Simple yet horrifying.
      "And you think it's hard to get out of bed to get a condom."
    • These PSAs from (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.
    • One PSA showed a number of young people having a wild party. The camera pans the crowded room, eventually focusing on one couple starting to get hot and heavy. As they gradually inch their way toward an exit, a voiceover asks, "Can you find the person who has AIDS?" Freeze frame on the amorous couple in the doorway, hands all over each other. "She did."
    • A 1980s PSA had a woman named Cindy dance with several people as contemporary music played in the background, each person being a new sex partner. The narrator then says the Cindy eventually had a partner who would stay with her forever: AIDS. The camera then pans to the face of the last partner as it's revealed that it's actually the Grim Reaper staring right at the viewer, as the music suddenly turns more scary.
    • This one from the London Lighthouse in 1997 shows closeups of a crying man, with an unsettling distorted crying sound. While all this is happening, we see some text telling you that if your loved ones are living with AIDS, it's not the end of the world, because they are here to help. It then turns out that the man is actually laughing with his friends.
    • A (thankfully brief) series of AIDS campaigns in France pictured a woman being made love to by an enormous spider and a man having sex with a large scorpion.
    • An AIDS PSA has a man working in an office. He notices a man raising his voice in the background, and he starts to look. It is revealed that a boss is screaming at another employee for doing something wrong, with the other employees looking at him. He screams "NOW GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE!! GO!! OOOUUUT!!!!!" It then says "Treat HIV positive people like this boss does." "Exactly like any other employee." The boss screaming is guaranteed to send shivers down your spine.
  • 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. Granted, it's far tamer than most of the examples on this list, but still.
  • One PSA about Childhood Asthma had a kid talking about what 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 its 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 "Taming the Crippler", "I Am Autism", included such 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 Siamese kitten inside her bag, which does absolutely nothing to alleviate the absolute horror of seeing a little boy spasming and slowly dying from Rabies. The horrific, distorted screaming noise over the clips of the rabid little kid doesn't help at all.
  • 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 to have forgotten there was peanut butter in them. 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 ads, one in 1994 and the other in 1988, 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 on the first and solemn/ominous narration on both. They were aired during the daytime on several family-oriented networks and most certainly scared many children in the process.
    • Another one from 1990 begins with a naked man in a pitch-black room with his hands on his head, all while we hear an announcer talk about Multiple Sclerosis. We also see shots of the man with his head up, and lying with his hands on the floor. We then see another man lifting his head up for him. The camerawork and darkness is quite unsettling.
  • A creepily-animated PSA encouraging abstinence from Campaign For Our Children Inc. depicted 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."
  • One PSA from Canada from the Heart & Stroke Foundation showed 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, 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.
  • During the late 2000's, the Myasthenia Gravis Association UK ran these print PSAs at bus stops all over the country. Though the combination of the intimidating text at the top reading "GIVE US A SMILE" and the disturbing, black and white mugshots of those afflicted with Myasthenia are actually rather effective at making the viewer feel unsettled, the small print at the bottom is too small to be noticed by anyone who isn't viewing the poster intently, meaning that the message would have been lost on many (especially those who only drove past it in their cars).
  • A disturbing heart disease PIF from The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industries starts with a family that has a dinner consisting of chips, fatty meat, onion rings, and other unhealthy food. The whole PIF is a montage (made out of sped up/slowed down clips) of the family eating their dinner and drinking, smoking, watching TV, and laughing, plus a few clips of gravestones and their family dog. It ends with the dog leaving the house, upon which the camera zooms out, revealing that the house is actually a mausoleum with graves from the previous occupants. After this comes a black screen with "180,000 people DIE (larger then the rest of the text) every year from heart disease. The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industries". The music — horror film music, strange sound effects and rips of 80's music — doesn't help at all.
  • Lirandzo made three poster ads targeting unwanted pregnancies. They feature the caption "Children can be scary" written inside a condom. What's really scary about these ads are the black-and-white drawings of children (or adults with dwarfism posing as children in Leena's case) from horror movies glaring ominously at the viewer: Regan from The Exorcist, complete with backwards head and puke; the Grady Twins from The Shining; and Leena "Esther Coleman" Klammer from Orphan. They’ll definitely make you think twice before having sex.
  • This PSA about flu shots shows people saying they won't get the flu — then instantly cutting to them sick in bed. It also has the narrator offhandedly mention that an old woman's best friend, Dotty, died from the flu.
  • This PSA made by the State of California during the COVID-19 Pandemic consists of a camera slowly panning to someone hooked on a ventilator, while the onscreen text warns the audience that even if they don't experience symptoms of COVID-19, they could still spread the virus, and that their mom, grandpa, or friends could die from it. It ends with a message asking people to wear a mask to stop the virus's spread. It doesn't help that the only sound heard throughout is that of the ventilator.
    • Australia ran a similar, but more disturbing PSA to promote COVID-19 vaccines. This one is a close up of a young woman on a ventilator in a dimly lit hospital bed, panicking and in tears as she struggles to breathe. You can still hear her crying and trying to breathe as a message appears about how COVID-19 can affect anyone, so you should get the vaccine.
  • This public information film from 1990 about M.E. It begins with a girl doing a video diary talking about how she hanged out with her friends and is planning to take a bath soon. Cut to the next day, as we hear her nervously talking about how she made it to the corner shop and how she shouldn't have done it. Cut to the next day, which is arguably the worst one, as we see her having a breakdown, crying and talking about how she's scared, etc. We then cut to the next day as we hear her telling the audience that she met a few doctors who diagnosed her with M.E, and that she thinks about dying to prove how ill she is.
  • This one from 1993 about asthma shows a man writhing and gasping for breath while stuck in a straitjacket, while we hear a stern narration warning us all about the dangers of asthma. The way it's shot adds to the unsettling atmosphere. The music doesn't help either.
  • This one from the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation in 1999 begins with a man in a dark room injecting a needle into his arm with an unsettling scream. We then see a shirtless man dancing in a room with unsettling closeups of him jabbing a needle into his belly.
  • This one from the Health Educational Authority in 1991 shows a group of kids playing tag. However, when a child gets tagged, we cut to the child, who is now feeling sick. We're told that childhood diseases can be caught by any child at any time and it could lead to blindness, deafness, brain damage, and even death. The real kicker is the ending, as we hear kids chanting the diseases you can catch in an unsettling way.
  • This one from 1993 also from the Health Educational Authority shows a bunch of children engaging in singing "Ring a Ring O'Roses" in a black-and-white field. Over this, we get some captions listing all the diseases your kids can catch if they're not vaccinated. The eerie music and the kids singing "Ring a Ring O'Roses" with an absolutely haunting echo at the end does not help.
  • This one from Don't Die for a Diet shows a little girl talking about how being an anorexic is great, and that it promotes being thin and powerful. She then gives out instructions for anorexics, which were taken from websites, all while we see uncomfortable images of an anorexic woman, along with scenes of her vomiting.
  • This one from Australia shows a man describing a stroke as a "silent killer", all while he reveals a brain on a plate. He talks about how a stroke is Australia's 2nd biggest cause of death, and that strokes can result in brain damage, all while he stabs the brain in the part where people get the ability to talk. He then reveals two more brains and talks about how a stroke can also obliterate your brain, as he smashes one of the brains with a hammer, thankfully shown offscreen, with the dramatic music coming to an abrupt stop.
  • From the American Cancer Society comes this PSA about getting regular checkups from the late 1960s, narrated by Gene Wilder, which showed a smiling cartoon guy sleeping 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 Gene explained that everything was safe here because it was all make-believe, and in the real world, real people fight against real cancer. Gene urges the audience to get regular screenings for cancer, even when everything seems okay. His voice took on an unbelievably chilling tone for the closing lines: "Do you know why we talk to you like this? Because when we talk to you like adults, you don't listen." A similar newspaper ad was also made.

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...
    Medical Awareness and Donations 
  • Once again, we have the NHS.
    • This public information film starts with a teenage girl staring blankly at the camera as text on the screen tells 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 ad 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. Two similar PSAs repeated the process with a woman named Clare and a man named Dave.
  • 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?" Equally creepy in Spanish...
  • One Public Information Film from 1989 featured Rowan Atkinson literally trying to get blood from a stone by bluntly 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. You'd think that a PIF featuring one of Britain's most famous purveyors of silly humour wouldn't deserve a spot on this page, but Atkinson's utter seriousness is chilling.
    Rowan Atkinson: I just don't get how you can be so... cold about it. Don't you understand, that without blood donors, there'd be no operations? Or treatment for blood diseases? Or for burns, or for new-born babies? People with haemophilia would bleed to death! Am I getting through to you?
  • 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 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.
  • The March of Dimes has had a few over their several decades of service.
    • One was a black-and-white ad from the late 1990s featuring an infant crawling out in the middle of a busy highway where several cars are speeding by and can easily hit or run over the child. It was made to illustrate the level of peril that a woman goes through to ensure own life and the life of her child, even as early as the third week of pregnancy and how careful she must be in her condition.
    • Another one made around the same time that also was to illustrate that point featured a group of heavily pregnant women up high as one of them began to cautiously and nervously walk on a tightrope as the other women look on in fear and huddle together as they both hope for the first woman's safety and the fact that they'll have to do it as well.
  • This chilling 1988 public information film which asks us to help make Great Ormond Street get better. We see a children's hospital with a group of children singing a song with a music box playing in the background. Suddenly, a few letters start to fall off the building as the music suddenly turns more ominous and slower, and fewer children are singing until there is only one child left singing the song. We then see that the letters have fallen off to show "SOS". The music turns into a chilling synth drone. Rated U for cinema release.
  • This one from the Memorial Blood Center of Minneapolis gives us a nice tune playing over some squiggly text which tells us about many charities wanting your money. It starts off tame at first, but then the music then cuts to an unsettling record scratch and a heartbeat. We then find out that the company itself doesn't want our money, suggesting us to give it to other charities. Instead, they want our blood.
  • This one from the Ad Council shows a man falling into cold icy water while we see another man rushing to save him, all while an announcer tells us that every year thousands of people die waiting for organ and tissue transplants and asking the viewer to be a donor. The announcer then tells us to tell your family now, and they can carry out your decision later, otherwise, it's like throwing a 12-foot rope to someone who is 15-feet away, as we see the man throwing a rope, with the drowning man unable to reach and plunder into the water. The music doesn't help wonders.
  • This one from Spain in 2001 shows a man in a dark morgue opening up two drawers while a narrator tells us how these two people died. One of them died from a traffic accident at age 36, while the other one died after waiting for 4 years for an organ transplant, who was also 36. The narrator then persuades us to become a donor.

Dental Care

You know how they always told you "Don't forget to brush" when you were small? All those reminders were for a very good reason.
    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?
  • In 1998, the WWE created "Mommy", a PSA about oral cancer. It features a nightmare in which a man gets beaten by little girls and given oral cancer.

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