What I was about to experience was so frightening that it would seem like a punishment. Mom was concerned about what we were both about to go through and it showed on her face. We were there to see a movie about two little girls who took candy from a stranger and got into his car. The ending was the most horrifying thing I had ever seen; the girls’ bodies lay, sprawled on the ground, looking like lumps of bloody meat wrapped in children’s clothing. The tiny actors were dressed like real murder victims, whose bloody crime scene photographs were used. The bloodied childrens’ corpses drove home the point that THIS WAS NOT JUST A MOVIE, it was real.
I was never sure if this actually happened or was one of the frightening dreams I was prone to until I found it by accident on the Internet. My recollections were correct, even down to the clothes the children wore. The movie was called THE CHILD MOLESTER, a public service announcement made by the Highway Safety Foundation in 1964 and shown in elementary schools around America for several years to educate parents and children about the dangers of talking to strangers.
NOTE: For the expanded version of Mike’s traumafession check out his blog WHAT I WATCHED LAST NIGHT!
UNK SEZ: Mike, thanks for your traumafession and for informing us about this scary public service movie. I made the colossal mistake of watching it HERE and it’s one of the creepiest things I have ever seen. I can’t believe they showed this movie to kids!
I can understand them showing it to parents as a way to ensure they talk to their children about these matters, but showing that movie to kids is insane! The images at the end are completely indefensible. From what I read, you are part of a small unfortunate club as the film was pulled from circulation by the HIGHWAY SAFETY FOUNDATION shortly (and rightfully) after its release.
Now, thanks to you, I must now watch an episode of THE GILMORE GIRLS to counter the effects of what I have witnessed.
Thanks for posting my traumafession. I feel honored. I have really been enjoying kindertrauma and I am looking forward to exploring it more.
One thing I feel the need to point out is that I probably saw the film in 1969 or ’70. I remember thinking abut how old the cars looked, etc. So the film was in circulation for at least 5 years.
Yikes. I can’t believe they were showing this as late as 1970! Thanks for your first hand account. The way it has aged just makes it all the more creepy. The film quality alone is enough to give me the wiggins. For some reason the shot of the chicken coming out of the egg with the mother’s voice over is especially disturbing.
What I find even more disturbing is on the Google videos link they show “related videos” that are porn. How are they equating porn to child molestation? What kind of world are we living in?
1972’s “Dangerous Stranger” does a better job w/o being all traumatic…
I don’t see how lesbian Indian porn is “related” either. In fact, I don’t get how those “related” engines work at all. My Netflix account keeps insisting that based on my viewing habits I will enjoy “Sunshine Cleaning” and I don’t agree.
That was just….
I don’t even know.
I need a warm bath.
**CONTENT ADVISORY: Crime scene footage at end will upset some people**
Wrong. Try “Crime scene footage at end will upset ALL people”. Seriously, you have your “people” test right there – if they are upset, they are “people” and if not, I vote gulag on the moon.
Jeez. The whole thing was just so…. I’m drawing a blank. I’ll come up with a new word – disgustulous. Yes, disgustulous.
I can fully understand why Mike confused this film with a nightmare.
Oh, and Unk – have you seen “Sunshine Cleaning”? The protagonist gets into the business of cleaning up crime/death scenes. So maybe that’s the connection to the Traumatic? It’s also pretty decent and has Alan Arkin, which is basically never a bad thing.
Actually, they were showing this later than 1970. I saw it in 4th or 5th grade, which would have been ’76 or ’77. However, I think it was probably a somewhat censored version. The image that has haunted me for years is that of the bloody tennis shoe floating down the stream at the end. I’m sure that if I had seen the version linked here, my memories would have been much more trauma-rific.
I feel ya. I’m voting this trauma of the year.
Oh! That’s why they keep pushing “Sunshine Cleaning” on me. All I ever watch is horror films and they won’t stop pushing it on me. Now it makes sense if they are disposing of dead bodies in it. I was scared that Netflix somehow knew of my secret crush on Emily Blunt.
Lee W. , 1977? Mike, you are in a bigger club then I thought!
Probably has more to do with that ginger Amy Adams…who didn’t love her in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day?
<<ALBUM COVER INSPIRED BY THIS?
also i think that singer was molested so it very well could be…
Anyways, i remember seeing this from the film "Hell's Highway", a documentary about highway safety films… I know this video was featured, if not shown fully in the extras
I put of wacthing this clip yesterday cuz I didnt want it to “ruin my day” but maybe Ill work up the balls today?
By the way. I predominantly rent Horror but once I had my sister coming over and she doesnt dig Horror so i rented SUNSHINE CLEANING. It really is a pretty decent movie! So dont hate them too much for suggesting that one. Their hearts in the right place!
Mia, do NOT work up the balls. Even knowing what the end was going to be, it still gave me a fright. This qualifies as AdultTrauma. I know HSF had good intentions, and their M.O. with traffic safety films was “blood will scare them into caution”, but this was a bad way to extend that tactic into a way more sensitive topic.
I was tricked into watching the uncut version of this film at a school assembly as a second grader in Texas in the late 70s. It scared me to death. I mentioned it to people over the years, but no one knew what I was talking about. I wondered if I imagined it for a long time. Coincidentally, my husband and sister in law went to the same school that I did and they saw it too. We all had the same memory of it, so I knew it was real! I still can’t believe they showed that to us.
Oh. Mygod. I read about this kindertrauma yesterday and, being a curious person, I went to youtube to find it. I found it, and had to go through a couple videos before I found one that showed the crime scenes (two were edited out).
I thought the videos/photos whatever were going to be staged. I thought the actresses were going to have blood makeup on and have been instructed to lay still and play dead, which would have been disturbing enough. I had no idea there was going to be footage of actual murders….actual dead bodies. I was horrified! I’m still horrified! And they showed this to kids back in the day!
I guarantee no child who saw this video went anywhere with a stranger, EVER!
This was shown to us 2nd graders in Charleston, WV in 1972. AFAIK the parents weren’t consulted first.
For literally decades my entire family insisted that this never could have happened, that I imagined it or made it up. I had to wait for the Interwebs to come along and document it.
The crime scene photos at the end were burned into my memory for life. Really, no one should watch this, ever.