This film is part of Free
Military mind experiments, pacifists, Brighton beach and Billy Bunter in a bumper car – there is a lot going on in this fantastic animated short
Animation is the only medium which can combine a serious message about military drug experiments with Billy Bunter in a bumper car. Since their student days, Derek Hayes and Phil Austin made a series of diverse animated shorts that demonstrated their massive ambition. This film was inspired by a World in Action documentary about American Army drug trials on soldiers, and the film ends with documentary footage of such experiments.
The film was commissioned by the Head of Drama at Channel 4 at a time when this relatively new broadcaster had a real commitment to animation production for all audiences. This is not Saturday morning kids’ cartoon, with some stark, violent scenes matching its serious message. Its mix of clever design, ingenious effects and great story have dated very little for audiences today.