Meet Klaus. Klaus recently became a certified forklift driver. Today is Klaus' first day driving a forklift. He has been looking forward to this day for some time. He wants to be the best forklift driver ever.
However, Klaus will find himself in the middle of a horrifying sequence of bloodshed and destruction. Why?
Because Klaus is the central character in a workplace safety video.
Forklift Driver Klaus - The First Day on the Job (German title: Staplerfahrer Klaus – Der erste Arbeitstag) is a short film from 2000, presented as a workplace safety video for forklift drivers, centering on the newbie Klaus (Konstantin Graudus) and narrated by Egon Hoegen, who also narrates Der 7. Sinn, which gives tips for correct behavior in road traffic. However, Klaus parodies the workplace safety video, using over-the-top violence and Gorn to demonstrate the brutal consequences of insufficient workplace safety, which results in the horrifying deaths of nearly everybody at the site. Although the film is not officially part of the German training and education system for forklift trucks, it is frequently shown by instructors to lighten up the mood.
The film has won many awards, including:
- The Canal+ International Award for Best Short Film at the Cinema Jove Festival Internacional de Cine València in 2001
- The Jury Award for Best Short Film and the Audience Award for Best Short Film at the San Sebastian Horror and Fantasy Film Festival in 2001
- The Audience Award for Short Film and the Special Prize of the European Broadcasters Jury for Best Original Idea at the Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film in 2002
- The Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Award at the Day of the German Short Film awards in 2002
- The German Film Critics Award for Best Short Film at the German Film Critics Association Awards in 2002
- The Jury Prize for Best Short Film at the Fantasia Film Festival in 2003 (where it also won 3rd place in the Best Short Film category
This short film contains examples of:
- Adam Westing: Egon Hoegen as the narrator, using the exact same measured, instructive tones he employed for thirty-five years of Der 7. Sinn, which just makes the film all the more surreal.
- All There in the Script: The names of Klaus' unfortunate coworkers are never stated in the dialogue, only being named in the credits and official website:Guy who falls from pallet: HelmutGuy who gets stabbed in the head with a boxcutter: WernerGuy who has his hands chopped off in the forklift's engine: GüntherGuy who is cut in two by a piece of metal that flies off the forks of Klaus' forklift: HerbertGuy carrying chainsaw who is impaled by Klaus' forklift: RudiOther guy who gets impaled on the forklift: Paul
- Ambulance Cut: Done every time there's an injury, until the alarm bell breaks.
- An Arm and a Leg: The chainsaw operator loses his left arm, courtesy of a sharp sheet of metal, which also happens to be the arm holding the chainsaw.
- Anyone Can Die: Klaus does not make it through his first day as a forklift operator in one piece.
- Black Comedy: Horrifying injuries resulting from lack of workplace safety are Played for Laughs.
- Bloodier and Gorier: Than your average workplace training video. All aiming to be funny as hell.
- Bloody Hilarious: It's so completely over-the-top and ridiculous, not to mention obviously fake, that all of the Gorn ends up looping back around to funny.
- Chainsaw Good: A chainsaw is used to force the runaway forklift to turn around a corner, temporarily sparing one guy's life, but then it gets severed from its user and ends up racing across the floor and killing the guy anyway.
- Comically Missing the Point: Both the Narrator and Klaus miss that some moron has placed an extended boxcutter on one pallet.
- Deadfoot Leadfoot: Klaus continues to "drive" the forklift after he gets decapitated.
- Disaster Dominoes: The entire short, really, but the climax takes the cake. The equation is simple: Distracted by the Sexy + Chainsaw Good = utter mayhem.
- Distracted by the Sexy: This is how the final segment starts off and how Klaus is eventually killed.
- Doom Magnet: Klaus causes death and mayhem wherever he goes.
- Dramatic Drop: The guy who's boxcutter knife lands in his head drops his hardhat in slow-motion.
- Failsafe Failure: In this case, the fault isn't the failsafes themselves, but the Lethally Stupid workers that are ignoring them.
- First Day from Hell: Klaus's troubles start immediately upon taking up his new job.
- Forklift Fu: Several people are killed with a forklift. None of these are at all intentional.
- Funny Background Event: The guy who got his hands chopped off in the forklift's engine reappears near the end, sorting nuts & bolts. The forklift, Klaus, & two coworkers he impaled on the forklift drive by, but the guy doesn't notice, especially since he's listening to music blasting out of a radio.
- German Humour: Exaggerates the "dry wit & slapstick" combination to straight-up Black Comedy with a completely deadpan narration.
- Gorn: All over the place.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: One guy gets bisected twice. He even survives the first one (sliced at the waist), and just kinda gets left there for the rest of the video "sitting" on his stump.
- Headphones Equal Isolation: One of the impaling victims doesn't hear the forklift coming due to his earmuffs. Ironically, during his sequence the narrator is talking about the need for ear protection in loud areas, so the poor bastard is technically following procedure — but he choose a poor location to stop mid-walk and check out a stain on his shirt.
- High-Pressure Blood: It spews out of severed arms and Klaus's neck after he is decapitated.
- Hook Hand: The guy who gets his hands chopped off in the forklift engine reappears with a set of these.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: This happens to two unfortunate co-workers.
- Laser-Guided Karma: The idiot who leaves his open box-knife perched on the edge of a crate is the one who ends up getting speared in the head with it.
- Major Injury Underreaction: Pretty much everyone who isn't killed instantly:
- The guy who gets speared in the head with his own boxcutter does nothing more than pull it out of his head ''sideways'' (breaking the blade in two in the process) and walk off like nothing happened, albeit with a stunned expression on his face.
- The guy who has his hands chopped off when Klaus starts the forklift up doesn't even scream, but instead looks up at Klaus with a "What have you done!?" look.
- The guy who's chopped in half by a sheet of sharp metal DOES both gasp and scream, but he doesn't continue screaming after he's been bisected. (even though he should be in severe pain)
- Both of the workers that Klaus accidentally impales on his forklift don't appear to be screaming in pain, but instead screaming in fear.
- No OSHA Compliance: Taken up to eleven; the factory isn't just lax by the EU's tough safety standards, it's an absolute deathtrap waiting to be sprung.
- Oh, Crap!: The two guys who get speared on the forklift prongs understandably go into this mode. Klaus gets a reaction cut too, despite having no head by that point.
- Off with His Head!: Klaus gets decapitated and continues to drive the forklift.
- Poe's Law: It's possible to find the film linked in various places online as a "look at those crazy foreigners" gag by people who obviously didn't realise it's an intentional parody.
- Public Service Announcement: A parody of workplace safety videos, exaggerating the consequences of improper safety to gruesome levels.
- Reactive Continuous Scream: Upon seeing each other impaled on Klaus's forklift, workers Rudi and Paul scream for a very long time, and it's not so much screaming in pain as it is screaming in fear. They continue to scream as the now headless Klaus drives them out of the plant and off into the sunset.
- Retraux: The film was shot in 2001 but uses graphical illustrations and music more reminiscent of the 1980s.
- Riding into the Sunset: The decapitated Klaus and his two impaled co-workers ride off into the sunset on his forklift. Followed closely by the arm of one said co-worker, still holding a runaway chainsaw.
- Running Gag: The emergency bell rings each time an accident occurs at the workplace, followed by a roof shot of an ambulance rushing to the scene. On one occasion it coincides with the bell ring signaling the start of lunchtime, leaving one worker with a utility knife impaled into his head completely unattended. It goes on to the point when the bell malfunctions and falls off its mounting, (conking someone on the head in the process) and the ambulance never responds after.
- Sickening "Crunch!": Heard when Klaus accidentally chops a fellow worker's hands off in the forklift engine.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: The film's entire soundtrack is upbeat and cheery, which directly contrasts the gory action.
- Tempting Fate:
- The coworker who wants Klaus to lift him on the forklift to a box he needs to grab puts a pallet on the forks and says it couldn't be safer. Of course once he's lifted to the box's location the guy looses his balance and falls the equivalent of a couple stories.
- One victim comments "What do I need two hands for?" right before they both get chopped off. This is after the same victim tells Klaus that he knows what he's doing.
- Too Dumb to Live: Klaus in particular, but pretty much everyone counts. Case in point: when setting down a box-cutter, make sure it's retracted first.