Anti-drug PSAs from the late 80s up until the early aughts are responsible for some of the most terrifying characters ever. There are certainly more effective ways to tackle the serious (and seriously complicated) issue of drug addiction and we've come a looooong way, but if the creators of these ads were gunning to haunt our nightmares for years to come, they definitely nailed it.
Remember that blissful feeling of strolling into health class, spotting the TV/VCR set-up and just knowing you'd be forgoing worksheets for some wholesome, informative screen time?
Well, this is nothing like that. Things are about to get weird. Watch at your own risk.
This Australian anti-drug ad has been making headlines recently (mostly with people mocking it) and it's not hard to see why: The same sad music plays in every video, as the stoner sloth fails to accomplish the most simple, basic b--ch tasks. Finally, another fed-up Australian kid scornfully rebukes it in the same exact SMDH-tone: "stoner sloth."
More depressing than some of the truly terrifying videos on this list, it's an appropriately gentle scare compared to some of its predecessors. It may inspire bedwetting or mild night terrors in some children, but probably nothing too extreme.
Again, this one falls slightly more into the realm of melancholic, psychological horror. But watching what looks like every drawing I did in first grade come to life and play out a falling out between two best friends -- a boy and his #AboveTheInfluence dog -- is sure to nag at you for the rest of the day.
Also, this dog.
This is understandably a recurring theme in these kinds of PSAs as they are playing on a very real anxiety: No one ever wants a dog to be disappointed in them. But, somehow, watching this monster's mouth move with the help of CGI (much like the entire "Air Buddies" film franchise) is even more unsettling. No one asked for this.
McGruff The Crime Hound.
This longtime canine crusader could probably fill out a nightmarish list of his own. Yes, it's another dog -- but this one steps up its terror game by being a man in a dog costume. Stare into those soulless, vacant eyes (and watch as he holds conversations with a cartoon version of himself) and contemplate your own mortality.
These Canadian puppets.
Not quite Cabbage Patch or Garbage Pail Kids, these muppet rejects came straight out of Canada (or, possibly, the depths of hell). While the two children aren't intended to be horrible (unlike the freaky strung-out drug dealer) the entire aesthetic of this ad might give you a few sleepless nights.
This Snake Monster drug dealer.
You might think you're about to watch a typical hokey ad with some wholesome kids saying "no to drugs" and carrying on their way. But watching the dealer (aptly named "Snake") tell you to send your parents out of the room before finally revealing his ~true face~ would have you lunging for the remote in a heartbeat. (I want my mom.)
This trippy Hanna-Barbera short.
If someone took Disney's "Fantasia" and handed it over to your artsy college boyfriend, you'd get this Hanna-Barbera cartoon PSA from 1970. It naturally ends with a grim reminder of all the consequences of addiction that -- while not as ridiculous as some of its contemporaries -- is still 100 percent not suitable for small children or adults or anyone.
Everything about 'Cartoon All-Stars To The Rescue.'
When #TypicalTeen Michael starts stealing money from his little sister to buy drugs, it launches an emotionally trying half-hour special featuring some early nineties/late eighties Saturday cartoon favorites.
You'll laugh (uncomfortably) and cry (uncontrollably) as you listen to these vaguely threatening musical lectures from Bugs Bunny, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Muppet Babies. This is probably one of the single most terrifying (and, like, terrifyingly bad) things you'll ever watch -- you've been warned.