Now with the call coming in hot and heavy Mandrake is at his nasty best making anyone who's willing to call him's life a living hell. Showing no sympathy to any of his callers Mandrake tears into them like the woman who's husband was just laid off from his job or the night watchman who despite being a big fan of his being made to feel like dirt in the menial job he's doing! As if Mandrake talking for four hours a night and abusing those who call him was contributing to society more then he was.
As the show goes on it becomes apparent that something isn't quite right about it and its host Mandrake. It's the callers who are now getting the best of the shows host not the other way around! Mandrake turning out to look like the devil himself starts to pour his heart out in why he's the nasty and unfeeling creep that he is. Also the callers seem to be calling not now in the present but from the past many before Mandrake was even born!
***SPOILERS*** We as well as Mandrake then get the truth to what's really happening on the Devils Advocate Radio Show from the person who's really in control of it with Mandrake being only his faithful and obedient servant: The Devil himself! Yes Luther Mandrake had really made it big on radio but he paid a heavy price for it. Mandrak's wife had ended up in a coma after blotched operation with his teenage son as well as parents who died tragically over the years was the high price he paid for his success. With Mandrake now having outlived his usefulness he was just about to join them: Only in death but not where he was about to go. A place that he earned for himself after years of working for the "Man" who was now sending him there!
P.S As for the dead man in Mandrake's luxury car whom he was so mad about Mandrake would have been a lot less nastier and far more sympathetic towards him if he realized whom that person really was!
Mandrake is a radio host known as the Devil's Advocate that taunts and treats all of his radio listeners like dirt. This episode is just Jerry Stiller talking to people in his work place, but things change ever so slightly each time we see Mandrake. His hair gets longer, his nails get sharper, he starts decaying. This episode will be known for it's disgusting makeup effects especially towards the end. It will also be remembered for it's twist ending, and morbidity. It can be found on VHS volume 2.
My rating: Excellent episode. 23 mins. TV PG LV
For once this is an episode which makes the very best of its low budget as the host is a radio phone-in presenter who works alone in his studio. It turns out this guy is one of the angriest around, a chap who belittles and berates everyone who phones in to him with their problems. Given that this is a George Romero-produced show, listen out for one of the voices; it's the opening doctor from DAWN OF THE DEAD, David Early, with his instantly recognisable voice.
Stiller's constant put-downs are hilarious in the extreme, and even the twist is adroitly handled; what a shame that the majority of this series couldn't feature episodes of the same quality as this one. It's a real zinger.
Episode 7 from season 2 this Tales from the Darkside story originally aired in the US during November 1985, the third of three Tales from the Darkside episodes to be directed by Michael Gornick one has to say The Devil's Advocate is one of the very best from this generally hit & miss series. That probably has a lot to do with the fact that legendary horror film director & regular Tales from the Darkside executive producer George A. Romero wrote the script, it's witty, it makes several good points from several perspectives & has a really neat twist ending which although a bit silly I really rather liked. The character of Mandrake is brilliantly fleshed out despite the scant 20 odd minute running time & there's a strong moral message about not losing hope & trying to remain positive which is commendable in itself I guess. A great episode with a great ending, a must if your a fan of the show.
Unlike many Tales from the Darkside episodes The Devil's Advocate actually has a horror & supernatural based premise which makes a nice change. The special make-up effects on Mandrake as he literally turns into a monster are impressive & look very good. Like many Tales from the Darkside episodes this is set entirely within one location & has the minimum number of cast members, in this case just two to keep the budget down. The only really cast member who has to act is experience TV star Stiller who has appeared in the likes of Seinfeld (1990 - 1998) & more recently in 170 episodes of the comedy series The King of Queens (1998 - 2007) & he puts in a great performance here that really brings Mandrake to life in a short space of time.
The Devil's Advocate is one of the better stories from this series in my opinion & it's a good way to spend 20 odd minutes if your into these horror anthology themed show's. Well worth a watch.