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School of Shock: Pain and Pleasure in the Classroom Safety Film

Date/Time
Date(s) - Thu. Jan. 8, 2015
7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Location
The Horse Hospital

Instructor
Kier-La Janisse

Admission
£10 advance / £11 on the door / £8 concs

Tickets: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/299642

For many genre fans, a love affair with horror and the grotesque began early on, sometimes fueled by unlikely sources. One of these was the classroom safety film, which for many kids was their first time seeing other children threatened by true danger, being confronted with a combination of gore effects and actual accident footage, and being offered a pictorial glimpse at things their parents didn’t want to talk about. Thousands of these films were made in North America from the 1940s through the 1980s, when companies like Centron, McGraw-Hill, Coronet, Encyclopaedia Britannica Films, Avis Films, Crawley Films, Bell Labs, the NFB and others thrived on the burgeoning market for classroom or workplace educational films.

Subjects ranged from safety in and around vehicles, to drug abuse and venereal disease, teaching children scary lessons about everything from dental hygiene to how to spot a pedophile. The most memorable of these films deliberately used horror visuals to entice and/or shock children into paying attention – such as those by prolific producer Sid Davis (1916-2006) – and some were even made by directors with genre film pedigrees, such as Carnival of Souls’ Herk Harvey, a key figure in the industrial film scene.

This lecture and screening by Kier-La Janisse, founder of The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, will present some of the most notorious educational films of the 40-year golden age of social hygiene onscreen. We’ll also briefly look at educational television PSAs, from the British Public Information Films through the incredibly grisly Australian drunk driving commercials of the 1990s.

The classic era of classroom films may be over, but viewed from today’s perspective, some of these films offer up a fascinating survey of changing social mores and cultural preoccupations (not to mention fashions!). Being safe has never looked so grim.

WARNING: This program contains graphic imagery, including real accident and casualty footage.

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