dreadedcandiru2 (dreadedcandiru2) wrote in binky_betsy,

Apaches: a summary.

The reason that the current arc disturbs us all so much is that Lynn makes an off-hand comment about Aaron coming within inches of getting killed before being rescued by Rod's parents. Her simpering about how haaaaaaaaard it is that there are no free-range children in real life got a lot of us to thinking about a British educational film about the hazards of farm life called Apaches. For those of you who have yet to see it, here's a nice little summary.

We start off with a visual of a group of youngish children running to the top of a ridge; as they do, the opening credits run. Once we focus in on them, a boy named Danny (who refers to himself as 'Geronimo') introduces himself and the other protagonists. He does so by referring to himself and his comrades as 'the entire Apache nation' (hence the name of the film) come to put paid to the broken promises of the Great White Father. They are, as follows:

  • Kim: an eight-year old girl who calls herself eight-and-three-quarters (meaning she's eight)
  • Sharon: a nine-year old girl allowed in because squaws fought too.
  • Michael: nine. Referred to as daft because he's wearing a red head-band.
  • Danny himself: calls himself "Geronimo"
  • Tom and Robert: the youngest and thus interchangeable in Danny's eyes.

After warning Robert to call him Geronimo, Danny leads his band of 'warriors' on their raid. As they do so, we cut to a dinner that Danny's parents are getting ready for; Danny makes a sarcastic comment about the main course. We then cut back to the six of them as they climb a fence and run through a town to get to the 'headquarters of the US Army': a small working farm in the Midlands. After arguing amongst themselves for a minute about how best to spread hoof-and-mouth diseaseavenge themselves on the palefaces, they decide to have Kim charge the big iron horse and not at all a tractor hauling hay. Kim is fairly happy about having counted coup until she loses her footing, falls and gets crushed under the blasted thing's wheels. She'll never make nine now. We then cut to a school. As small children weep in the background, a teacher removes the girl's name from beside her empty coat hook.

We then cut to Danny's parents as they prepare for the 'party' before going back to Slaughterchildren Farm; they exchange 'witty' banter about their dead friend and how silly girls can get for a few minutes. (Given how stupid they are, they probably think that for some reason, Kim has decided to take a long nap underground in a wooden box but is otherwise fine.) Having found this discussion tiresome, Danny decides to have more 'fun'.  This involves running about like maniacs playing a logic-defying cross between Hide and Seek and Kick the Buc...Can. Rather than lose the game, Tom (who resents allowing Sharon her chance to demonstrate an absence of any sort of self-preservation instinct because she'll girl up the needless death and thus ruin it for everyone) runs all the way to a slurry pit. He loses his footing, falls in and drowns in cow dung. We cut to his school where the children celebrate getting a half-day owing to classmate existence failure. As they do so, we see his teacher cleaning out his desk. Next comes more preparation for the 'party' as his Mum sets the table and Danny complains about how dull adult parties are.

Next, we have another sequence of the remaining four (who have yet to realize that their friends aren't coming back from the funny building with the sign "Municipal Funeral Home and Crematorium" in front of it) playing Cowboys and Indians followed by them exploring an old barn filled with old containers. Sharon proposes miming drinking the white man's fire water (that's "Paraquat" to we palefaces) whereupon she accidentally swallows some. Although she spits some of it out, she doesn't last the night and dies a gruesome, painful (and LOUD) off-camera death. The following morning, her mother cleans out her bedroom and we cut to more of the 'party'. Given that the plates and cups are black and, as Guru Larry said, it's not a goth's birthday party, I think we can guess what's happening. Also, Danny's narration is all about how odd it is that parents drink whisky; given that the decanter looks like the bottle they kept the weed killer in, a leaden point is made.

The remaining three (who still don't quite realize that their chums have been brutally killed) decide to play at being Starsky and Hutch. While Michael has a close call with a front end loader, it's Robert's time to die when Michael accidentally causes a heavy iron gate to fall on him and break his neck or crack his skull or something else instantly fatal. Meanwhile, back to the 'party' and more of Danny's commentary. (Given that there's no cut-away to Robert's school or home, it's clear that he and Danny weren't very close friends.)

Having (finally) noticed that there aren't very many of them left, Danny/Geronimo tells Michael to stay behind as (after passing through the churchyard where the other four children are buried) he scouts the land looking for more playmates. (Most of me wants to think that their parents have warned them to not associate with Poface McDeathwish.) Along the way, he asks Moron the Farmer if he can play on the tractor. The man says 'yes' so long as he's careful. Leadfoot Danny manages to release the handbrake and, after screaming for a minute or so, breaks his neck and dies after falling off an embankment.

We then cut to Danny's heart-broken mother sitting in his room before Father tells her that it's time to go to the churchyard. As Daft Michael looks on, Danny is buried. We then get introduced to Danny's family as they attend the party (i.e. "wake") Danny wishes he could attend because he misses his Mum, his Dad, his grandparents and his cousin Michael. As his voice fades, we see a list of other children who'd died on farms in the year before the film was produced.

One thing you can't help but notice is that most of the characters are bleeding stupid. Danny spends most of the film with a stunned look on his face because (as Guru Larry says) he's too stupid to know how death works, the parents' reaction to the pointless deaths of these children is to let Moron Danny and his friends race around looking for more chances to die and the farmers are cretins who let imbecile kids use their extra-fatal farm as a playground. (Also, you'll notice that they don't seem to miss the dead kids until there are only two left. My guess is that Danny thinks that they're trying to break a record in staying underground or some damned thing.)

The general idea behind the film is that children must be more careful where they play and adults (unlike the nitwits we see here who stand around like shivering pillars of shite watching children kill themselves) have a responsibility to make sure that their children don't manage to kill themselves. Given that Lynn seems to think that this sort of thing is an unfair imposition, she's as dumb as Moron The Farmer.

ETA: The interesting thing is that this framing device is one that the Brits seem to dig. Check out this road safety spot from about thirty years later. It's quite a bit shorter but again we have a gormless little twat who doesn't know how death works addressing us from beyond the grave.

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