Apache (c 1970s)
Although this was riffed by Guru Larry, this is one short the RiffTrax Crew should do. Originally a British short, the misleading title is not about Native American kids getting picked off Hitchcockian style. But instead dealing with the dangers of the farm.
Think of it as 'Shake Hands With Danger' meets 'Danger! Keep Out' but in a more gruesome tone.
Basically it's about Danny and his friends playing on the farm, and how each one gets picked off in normal, as well as bizarre ways. And that Danny is the most cold-hearted bastard in the entire short, no really.
So why should it get riffed? Here are 3 reasons:
(1) The unusual deaths which occur on the farm. If you thought Christine making Mario fall down a shaft was bad, Apaches has worse: Though one child gets killed by being run down, another drowns in cow crap (I kid you not ), another by accidentally consuming weed killer, and well, you get the picture. But what's more disturbing is the next reason.
(2) Danny's apathetic stare whenever one of his friends meets their demise. Though Larry claims Danny acts like he can't comprehend the way Death works, I say he does and is rather a cold-blooded jerk. Mainly because in some scenes where he COULD go and get help, or even attempt to make a stupid effort, like Christine did with Mario, Danny just stands there with this soulless stare, as if to say, 'Blimey, me friend just drowned in cowshit... oh, well, nothing for it.' And the adults haven't a clue as to why their kids are getting 'bumped off,' so to speak.
(3) The disturbing repacking of this short. Strangely, before Larry revealed this short, I wondered where I had seen it before. Well, when it was put on PBS stations, by GRETA. Producers had retitled it as 'A Day on the Farm.' And if that wasn't disturbing enough, the kids' voices were redubbed by the actors who voiced the Peanuts gang specials. (Let's get fatally injured on a farm, Charlie Brown!)
Overall, Apaches was a bizarre short, because it makes you wonder if it's really about warning kids of the dangers on a farm, or if the director just liked seeing kids offed on one, where apparently there's no adult supervision, or they just don't realize the kids are there.
Here's the full short on YouTube, Public Domain by Guru Larry.
Simon Wood commented
Totally agree with this. Directed by John Mackenzie who went onto direct THE LONG GOOD FRIDAY, APACHES is probably more violent. This is an infamous Public Information Film (PIF) from the 70's. Unlike most PIFs there's no voice of authority just a stark narrative that kids under 10 (like me at the time) we supposed to just work it out ourselves. There's little light to this short film and Riffing would add some much needed light added to this film.
The British Film Institute has now cataloged the PIFs from the 60's & 70's which range from odd to flat out frightening.
'Apaches' is emotionally-scarring British public information filming at its peak. Well, that and 'The Spirit of dark and lonely Water', narrated by Donald Pleasance. But the latter is a bit short.