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Guest starring Phil Fondacarro.
This was one of the strangest episodes. It's actually quite scary, but even more humorous. It deals with a nice old man and having his grown daughter over for Christmas. She becomes scared to death when odd things happen in the house, like a dancing turkey and a mirror breaking randomly. He ignores it. We learn this creature is called a Yattering (Fondacarro), and the creature is sent by Satan to drive people insane. If the Yattering touches a human, the Yattering becomes their slave. It's a fun and great episode. It can be found on VHS volume 5.
My rating: Perfect episode. 21 mins. TV PG
THE YATTERING AND JACK has the distinction of being an episode of TALES
FROM THE DARKSIDE written by Clive Barker, one of Britain's leading
novelists and short story writers, a guy synonymous with horror
(HELLRAISER et al). Unfortunately, the decision to make this into a
silly, slapstick-oriented comedy means that it's yet another ruined
story, packed with wasted potential.
The story is a simple one, with an unlikeable salesman attempting to enjoy Christmas with his daughter only to find himself haunted by a tiny demon with designs on his sanity. If you like watching a dwarf actor running around in devil make-up then this may be for you, but I admit I was easily bored with the premise. If it had been done even semi-seriously it would have been a lot better...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Tales from the Darkside: The Yattering and Jack is set during Christmas
& starts as a young woman named Amanda (Danielle Brisebois) decides to
spend it with her father Jack (Anthony Carbone). Once at her fathers
house she notices strange things, pictures have fallen off the walls,
there are strange noises, smells & the Christmas turkey comes to life.
A little demon called the Yattering (Phil Fondacaro) is responsible &
has instructions from his boss in hell Beelzebub (Thomas Newman) that
he must break Jack's soul & will so that he will renounce God & when he
dies will go to hell where he will be damned for all eternity but Jack
is a very strong willed person who won't be broken easily...
Episode 7 from season 4 this Tales from the Darkside story originally aired in the US during November 1987 which I think was a bit too early for a Christmas themed episode but what do I know? Directed by David Odell the most interesting aspect of The Yattering and Jack is not that it features a half naked midget demon from hell wearing a dog collar around his neck & sporting two horns & a bad mullet hairdo, no it's the fact that acclaimed horror author Clive Barker wrote the thing based on one of his short stories. I suspect his involvement didn't go beyond the actually teleplay since the tone is far too uneven for Barker who likes his horror dark, Gothic & bleak. The S&M symbolism present in a lot of Barker's work is here, the leader of hell wearing a cape & a leather suit complete with silver studding & the Yattering wearing leather pants & a dog collar around his neck but as a whole the story isn't that great. At only twenty odd minutes in length there isn't enough time to develop the character's or the game of wills between the Yattering & Jack or the twist ending which one felt should have been much more darker & ironic than it came across. The Yattering and Jack is watchable I suppose but mainly for curiosity value as one of Barker's earliest screen works.
Like many Tales from the Darkside episodes The Yattering and Jack is set in one location, Jack's house. There are a few simple special effects, the dancing turkey looks a bit odd & I suspect if Barker was directing there would have been lots of blood, lots of twisted surreal imagery & a much more macabre atmosphere to it rather than the light comical tone that comes across as it is now. Typecast rent a midget Phil Fondacaro does OK but looks silly while the rest of the cast are unknown to me.
The Yattering and Jack is an average Tales from the Darkside episode, seeing as Clive Barker wrote the thing you have every right to expect more although I doubt the finished episode worked out as he had hoped.
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