Fear is one of the six basic universal emotions (the others are anger, disgust, happiness, sadness and surprise) and like all human emotions not easy to understand. Fear can be played upon, enjoyed, conquered. It is an obstacle to progress (“the only thing to fear is fear itself”) and, as we stand at the kerb, it saves our lives every day. This series of The Essay brings you five essays on different aspects of fear.

Kier-La Janisse is a writer and the Founder of the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, and reflects on how educational films like Dark and Lonely Water, The Finishing Line and Signal 30 have scared more children more deeply than any horror feature film, and explains how – in mid-twentieth century America – fear was exploited to create an educational film boom.

Producer Laura Thomas.
Released on February 24, 2015 as part of BBC 3’s ongoing series “The Essay”