The 13th Floor

CINEMA IN EXTREMIS: Watch the Outrageously Gory “Safety Film” FORKLIFT DRIVER KLAUS!

Greetings, cinematic extremists! Time to put your plastic ponchos on, ‘cuz we’re gonna get messy again.

I’ve had kind of a rough week, so instead of delving too deeply into the artistic, social and philosophical aspects of extreme horror today, I thought we’d have a little splatstick fun instead… and best of all, today’s entry isn’t some underground obscurity you have to track down through the grey market; it’s readily available on YouTube, and short enough to enjoy on your lunch break.

But first, a little background…

Written and directed in 2000 by Stefan Prehn and Jörg Wagner, award-winning German short Staplerfahrer Klaus: Der erste Arbeitstag (“Forklift Driver Klaus: First Day on the Job”) was conceived as an outrageous parody of real work-safety training films — the kind which have been screened for incoming employees for decades.

Like the gruesome footage Driver’s Ed teachers used to horrify students, many of these have been known to employ grisly shocks to drive home their accident-prevention messages (the most memorable is “Shake Hands With Danger,” best known to fans of the Rifftrax gang).

Prehn and Wagner decided to take this concept to its most extreme, while playing it totally straight — even hiring narrator Egon Hoegen, whose voice accompanied numerous legitimate safety films, to add just enough irony to the assorted dismemberments, disembowelments and gallons of blood-spray.

In only nine minutes, new warehouse trainee Klaus (Konstantin Graudus) demonstrates plenty of on-the-job enthusiasm… but less common sense than the average potato. Over the course of nine minutes, the chain of workplace accidents caused by his carelessness escalates to near-apocalyptic proportions.

Don’t be put off by the subtitles, or the gradual build-up to the inevitable bloodbath… I know you can spare nine minutes for this truly deranged collision (pardon the pun) of pitch-black satire and hilariously over-the-top gore effects. It’s totally worth your time.

Hey, stop giggling! Workplace safety is no laughing matter!

 

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