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Friday, May 14, 2010

70's Horror Commercials

Just's just after dinner, and you're settling into the couch to watch Gilligan's Island or the Partridge Family reruns.You've finished your spelling and multiplication homework, and life is good. You're relaxed, you have a snack, and you feel totally safe and secure in your childhood cocoon. And then, after the opening credits of your favorite sitcom, you see this: Horrifying tv ad #1

 The Suspiria ad really captures an essential element of growing up in the 70's: having to deal with terrifying shocks like this that would keep you away from the TV for weeks. No wonder we spent so much time outside playing baseball and manhunt!

This ad is very typical of the time period, in that you really couldn't tell that it was going to be a horror trailer in the first few seconds. It might have just as easily been an advertisement for shampoo or perfume. And the curiosity hooked us all just long enough to get burned.

Horrifying TV ad #2

The "Magic" commercial really screwed me up. The first time I saw it, I thought it was some kind of new toy or game. About 10 seconds in or so, I remember getting a gut feeling that something was amiss - but again, I had to look. For the next month or so, I had recurring nightmares in which the TV set would continue to power itself on, despite my vain efforts to unplug it.

Maybe the creepiest commercials of all, though, weren't even for horror movies. 1970's public service announcements were often sadistically frightening. This one starts off bright and sunny, but sours pretty quickly. Check out the way the music and lighting conflict with the voiceover to create a sense of panicky tension: Trauma-inducing TV ad #3

In many ways, the 1970's was a more innocent and (at least it felt this way) safer time to grow up than today. But these commercials really hit us where it counted - the safety and comfort of our TV couches.

1 comment:

  1. I also still get freaked out by the Suspiria ad. I don't remember the Swine Flu PSA but can certainly relate to the "creepy" factor in it.

    Do you remember this one?