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Hell's Highway - The True Story of Highway Safety Films


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Hell's Highway - The True Story of Highway Safety Films + SAFE... NOT SORRY (Classic Educational Shorts Volume 3) + Rules For School (Classic Educational Shorts: Vol. 5)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Anderson, Sonny Bono, John F. Butler, Hans Conried, Earle Deems
  • Directors: Bret Wood, Richard Wayman
  • Writers: Bret Wood
  • Producers: Earle Deems, Bret Wood, Richard Wayman, Felicia Feaster, Tommy Gibbons
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • DVD Release Date: October 28, 2003
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000D0YWQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #305,464 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Hell's Highway - The True Story of Highway Safety Films" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Critically-acclaimed upon its 2003 theatrical release, Hell's Highway The True Story of Highway Safety Films recovers a missing chapter of American film history as it examines the fascinating and shocking driver education films of yesteryear. Produced between 1959 and 1979 by a group of volunteers in Mansfield, Ohio, these films promoted safety by presenting color footage of careless driving's dark consequences: blood-stained wreckage, injured bodies, fresh corpses. In the 1970s and '80s, these films disappeared from the American classroom and assumed an almost mythical status among those who had once seen them. Hell's Highway unearths these artifacts of grim Americana and interviews the filmmakers responsible for this radical educational movement.

Customer Reviews

Films but never saw them.
Lee Bowen
Other aspects of the topic, such as the essentially hostile and abusive nature of showing this material to young kids is touched on, but not examined adequately.
David Bonesteel
The old black and white traffic death scenes were, as anticipated, intrusive and disturbing.
Pat

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on July 30, 2005
Format: DVD
Oh, the days of driver's education! What a fun experience that was, eh? A bunch of kids packed into a classroom to study the ins and outs of stop signs, speed limits, and turn signals. Those were the days. For many of us, the most memorable part of the class was the day Officer Friendly came into the classroom, set up the film/slide projector, and proceeded to show twenty or thirty minutes of good old fashioned highway carnage. Long before I sat down to enjoy such gorefests as George Romero's Dead Trilogy or any of the Friday the 13th films, I saw scenes of stomach churning violence in driver's education class. It's sort of sad to say that my class didn't watch any of the films on display in the documentary "Hell's Highway." What we did see was a state trooper come into class with a series of slides far worse than anything witnessed in this two disc DVD set dedicated to the history of safety films. Moreover, the cop in our class stood at the front of the room and fairly screamed at all of us about how we'd end up ground into pudding in a car wreck if we ever broke a traffic law. What a guy!

When I learned about Bret Wood's documentary, I knew I had to see it if only to discover the same scenes of human misery I witnessed back then made an appearance here. No such luck. We never watched "Signal 30," "Mechanized Death," or any of the other atrocities released by the Highway Safety Foundation (HSF) of Mansfield, Ohio. That's the organization behind the vast majority of traffic safety films and the focus of "Hell's Highway." According to the film, an accountant with an obsession for police work, Richard Wayman, started down the path to forming the organization way back in the 1950s.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Robin Simmons VINE VOICE on October 24, 2003
Format: DVD
If you're a certain age, remember those gory films in "Driver's Ed" classes? HELL'S HIGHWAY (Kino International) is the true story of highway safety films. Two discs document the filmmakers and their grisly anecdotes, with clips from numerous flicks. Includes three uncut classics with lots of mangled teen bodies. Campy, informative and authentically horrifying.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 1, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have been waiting for this release for over a year now.I must say that I am a little disapointed.The idea behind this film is sound,and its good to see the people behind these old films,but the clips shown are in no particular order,scattered all over with very little thought behind their placement.I would have started with Signal 30 clips and then gone in chronological order with the additional scenes.It was "good" to see clips of the rare "drive and survive" and "death on the highway" though as these I have never seen before.Overall though,everyone should see this..its good information for drivers even today.Once you see some of the "reality" you will never want to be a Signal 30 yourself.Much thanks to all those behind the Highway Safety Films,and the makers of this release.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By TidesManian Devil on February 11, 2005
Format: DVD
I agree with the other reviewers that the concept behind doing this DVD was great, but the actual end product leaves a lot to be desired. Yes, the clips from the films are presented in a disjointed fashion, and the background information on the folks that pioneered Highway Safety Films was a snoozer. After I received this DVD through an online rental service I eagerly popped it into my DVD player and was initially very impressed. The menus are slickly done, and the film gets off to a good start. But about 15 minutes into it I realized that I wasn't enjoying it - and was becoming frustrated by it - for the very reasons mentioned above and in other reviews. Namely, no sooner than they started showing scenes from a film and I started getting into it they would cut back to the stodgy characters. Very bad flow and editings indeed. A much better approach in my opinion would have been to feature the uncut films as the main course, and condense all the background stories as one or more of the extras featured on disc 2. That way we could have still gotten the stories about how the Highway Safety Films got started and the background of those involved without it interfering with the enjoyment of the films themselves.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Bonesteel on June 26, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
This video documents the heyday of the gruesome driver's safety films that used to be shown to students in many schools. Renowned for their use of actual footage of dead and injured people from traffic accidents, they have become the stuff of urban legend over the years. This film chronicles how a small group of Ohio volunteers began recording the aftermaths of accidents, the evolution of the films, and how they were received by their audiences.
I'm sure that there is an interesting film to be made here, but this one misses the mark. I wanted to know more about those people who began shooting these pictures and what motivated them to do it. After all, it's a very strange hobby to take up: dragging oneself out of bed at a moment's notice to rush out to an accident site and take a gruesome photo or film. Once their Highway Safety Films business was a going concern, there was a profit motive, but the filmmakers never push hard enough to find out what had them out there in the first place, before the first film or safety presentation had ever been made.
The film is unfocused as well. It wastes time on sketchy allegations of mob connections and illegal porno production, passing up the opportunity to spend more time with a small-time video dealer who packages those films for the current generation as gory freak-shows along the lines of the "Faces of Death" series. It would have been interesting to know what the makers of the original films think about how they are being received today. Other aspects of the topic, such as the essentially hostile and abusive nature of showing this material to young kids is touched on, but not examined adequately.
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