Public Service Announcements: They just don’t make ’em like they used to.
Nowadays, kids get to watch shiny robots get high on syrup and puke pink stuff everywhere when learning about the dangers of abusing cough syrup. And let’s not even talk about this terrible and hilarious anti-drug PSA. Ugh, today’s kids have it so easy. Back in the day, PSAs didn’t come with fun games and flashy gimmicks, they came with cold hard facts and spooky voice-overs. Just ask the adults at BuzzFeed who were (forced?) to watch classic and terrifying Canadian PSAs for the first time (video above). You’re guaranteed to get a flashback or two.
Feeling extra adventurous? Take a walk down memory lane and relive a little bit of your childhood as we recap the top 9 creepy PSAs of all time:
1. Astar, a robot from planet Danger, was creepy as hell.
Now here’s how you make an effective PSA that includes robots. You have a sketchy planet that’s totally metal and a robot that plays with live wires, jumps through dangerous machinery and gets his arm ripped off and then simply put back on. You totally freaked out every single time this ’80s PSA came on.
’00s kids weren’t spared either. In the newer version, Astar’s costume was tossed aside for a much “better” animated one. Either way, both are jarring to say the least.
2. Um, are we allowed to put anything in our mouth?!
This PSA about “not putting strange things in your mouth” is full of sexual innuendos, strange blue puppets and a catchy tune that will haunt you for the rest of your life. “Don’t you put it in your mouth. Don’t you stuff it in your face.” There’s a “that’s what she/he said” somewhere in there…
3. Dead eyes and drugs on drugs on drugs.
This PSA probably single handedly stopped millions of young Canadians from trying these “dangerous” drugs. For one it had deformed Cabbage Patch puppets posing as kids (in a dark alley?!) and a scarecrow look-a-like with cool shades offering them drugs. When the video cuts to the shaded man removing his glasses to reveal his bloody eyes, we all collective jump(ed) in shock. Every. Single. Time.
4. This guy just threw it all away
While we don’t know how effective this particular video was, we have to admit that it made us super sad. This poor guy just threw his whole life away — but why? They’re playing “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” in the background for god’s sake. We’re just going to go find a corner to cry in now. Be right back…
5. Where’s our “house hippo” though?
If you have a warped sense of reality, you can blame this ad. This PSA completely tricked kids into thinking that miniature chubby hippos lived in their house and then yanked that dream away with this announcement at the end:”That looked really real, but you knew it couldn’t be true, didn’t you?” Why would they do that to us? Don’t worry, you’re not the only once still looking in your closet trying to spot that ever elusive house hippo.
6. Do you? No seriously, do you?
You’ve probably uttered the phrase “Do you?” a million times in your life and wondered “Where the hell did I pick that up from?” Well, it’s all thanks to this retro ’70s Canadian Fire Prevention PSA. Hey, you learned not to keep your cookies above the stove AND learned a catch phrase in the process. Win, win.
7. Never answer the phone, like, ever.
The phone rings once, twice, three times and what do you do? You let it ring of course. You don’t want to pick it up and hear a stranger ask, “Are you there all by yourself?” because you just might answer yes. Eeks!
8. Your brain is a bunch of wires. Watch it blow up.
Ah, another effective “say no to drugs” PSA. We had these a plenty, but not all of them made you sit there in shock. Watching that “brain” (a.k.a a bunch of wires shaped like a brain) set on fire and get completely fried was jaw dropping and emotionally scarring.
9. Stay calm and freak out.
Your heartbeat quickens and your palms are sweaty. Hey, you’re just camping with your friends in the woods, but because of that hellish 1987 Canada Emergency Preparedness PSA you can’t help but feel sick to your stomach. Seriously, what even happened to that kid? Did he ever make it out alive? We guess we’ll never know.