Official Traumatizer: The Day After (1983)

Hey kids! Would you like to render every horror movie you’ve ever seen into a relatively benign, shrug-worthy snore-fest? Just watch THE DAY AFTER (1983)! You’ll wish you were being stalked by a mutant serial killer, tormented by devil worshipers or mercilessly hunted by space creatures when you get a glimpse of the very real devastation of nuclear radiation! Witness how after a nuclear attack, everyday concerns like paying bills, your home team winning the big game or the slavish upgrading of your home media collection take a backseat to worrying about obtaining uncontaminated water while your skin, hair and teeth painfully dissolve into puddles of toxic sludge.

THE DAY AFTER aired on November 20, 1983 and was watched by so many viewers that, to this day, it remains the highest watched TV movie in history. Many folks who were too young to watch the initial broadcast were later shown the brazenly kindertraumatic reality-check in school (like your Aunt John for example). No matter where they caught it, a generation was forever changed by the searing nightmare scenario that hit a little too close to home. THE DAY AFTER has been brought up too many times on these pages to count them all but feel free to revisit these two classic traumafessions HERE and HERE!

And watch the movie below! I know it seems like it could never happen but trust me, lots of things that seem like they could never happen, do. I mean, you wouldn’t think a movie that features the super talents of both JOBETH “Get away from my babies!” WILLIAMS and STEVE “Get away from my VILLAGE PEOPLE!” GUTTENBERG could ever happen but lo and behold, here it is…

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Drew Bludd
Drew Bludd (@drew-bludd)
4 years ago

Oh, Gosh, my poor Auntie John!

Dr. Future
Dr. Future (@dr-future)
4 years ago

In addition to the two related traumafessions you cited, I also posted on The Day After and some other cool post-nuclear dramatizations here:

I’ll never forget watching The Day After the night it first aired with the rest of my church youth group in somebody’s rec room – we didn’t say a word through the whole long broadcast. I imagine most of us did not sleep well that night. I also felt like that during the election returns last month.

While I mentioned a number of important such post-apocalyptic broadcasts in my prior post, I should add the one from Dr. Steve Brule’s one-time talk show, “Stevie!”, when the owner of Myer’s Super Foods went into a trance on air and declared the impending end of the world, causing the audience to leave in a panic, and Dr. Brule to begin eating his drum of “Slop Soup!”. It’s worth looking up!

WaltKeegan (@waltkeegan)
4 years ago

So many nightmares from this in grammar school. I think the teacher had to have a discussion in class because so many of us watched this and were scared that the Ruskies were going to bomb us right away.