And Then It Happened (downloaded from Google Video. Also available on You Tube). [Category: Educational]

We’ve come a long way from the 50s, kids. By the 70s, educational filmmakers had abandoned the “we just love being safe and following the rules” approach to safety films in favor of the scare approach. So this school bus safety film for junior high kids was based on the driver’s ed scare model, though perhaps not quite as gory. It tells the stories of two different bus accident caused by kids acting up on the bus. The kids are very realistic and extremely obnoxious, requiring the drivers to stop every few minutes to put out cigarettes, remove dogs, stop fights, and, in one case, to summon police to take a sick kid who had been popping pills to the hospital. You’re surprised that enough driving takes place to cause an accident, but the accidents eventually happen when the kids’ behavior becomes even worse. These dramatizations are portrayed with little narration, and the inevitable accidents are shown in lurid slow-motion. I suppose, if anything, this film prepared its junior high audience for the gory scare films they would later see in driver’s ed class in high school. This also qualifies as a scare film for anybody who was in junior high during the 70s, as it’s bound to bring back unpleasant traumatic flashbacks. And like watching most accidents, it’s extremely unpleasant, but you can’t tear yourself away.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: $$$$.

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