Remember Dungeons and Dragons? Kind, friendly Dungeon Master leads our youthful protagonists through a series of trials and adventures always ending in IMPORTANT LESSONS on FRIENDSHIP and SHARING. What a nice chap.
Dungeon Master was an asshat. He abducted six kids and an endangered animal, tortured them for fourteen hours, and left them to die in unresolved peril. Want to raise awareness about child abuse? There’s your child abuse right there.
Update: We have received an injunction from the Unicorn Anti-defamation League and therefore are obliged to say that Uni was hella cute, if a little bit whiny. We offer our apologies and no offence towards any magical creature was intended.
I would encourage everyone to check out The War Game, a BBC fictional documentary by Peter Watkins which was never shown due to governmental pressure. Appearing to be the first of what is now a genre of “aftermath” movies from Briggs’s sublime When the Wind Blows to ABC’s The Day After Guttenberg-fest, it’s in equal measures frightening, harrowing, and an ultra-realistic depiction of what might have been.
I grew up in the 80’s of Reagan, Thatcher, and Haughey and remember the all pervasive fear of nuclear war. Survivalist books were on the best seller lists. Chernobyl gave us in Europe an idea of the widespread damage a nuclear detonation could do. Even Tomorrow’s World got in on the act with a special programme simulating a Soviet Nuclear attack being repelled by Reagan’s fantastical SDI programme (if anyone can find something on this please let me know).
Of course, since I was only nine years’ of age, I truly believed there was a nuclear attack. Thankfully Mr. Tulié put me right the next day in school.
UPDATE: Ferg pointed out Threads, an eighties documentary which is just as harrowing.