Film is not the only medium to adapt the work of Clive Barker. In this entry I’m going to take a look at the 1987 “Tales from the Darkside” episode The Yattering and Jack, an adaptation of Barker’s short story of the same name. While not the most famous episode of the series it’s a very unique one. Barker wrote the episode and while it’s different from the original story, it’s still a great episode with a unique plot and is very funny. However by no means is this a comedy.
The episode tells the story of Jack Pollo, an average ordinary guy. A demon known as The Yattering has been sent by the forces of Hell to drive Jack insane and take his soul. If he does not accomplish this he becomes Jack’s slave. There are rules The Yattering must follow to achieve this task: such as he is not allowed to touch Jack. He tries mischievous things, such as making messes or boiling the water in Jack’s fishbowl, however he is unable to make Jack snap. This drives The Yattering mad and he is the one starting to go crazy. However Jack’s daughter has come to visit him on Chrstmas and The Yattering has an epic plan which he hopes will finally cause Jack to snap.
As I mentioned earlier this episode is quite different from its source material. The short story was vulgar, violent and brutal while this episode is not that at all. The story also goes into more depth as to why The Yattering is there to torment Jack, while the episode skips over those details. I could spoil it for you but I think you should go ahead and read the short story. If you are really curious though I will provide that information at the bottom of this post. It’s a fairly accurate adaptation of the story, just stripped of all its extreme parts. A great episode with a unique plot and a good sense of humor.
If you enjoy the work of Clive Barker or just want a unique piece of short horror then I highly recommend checking out this “Tales from the Darkside” episode.
SPOILER ALERT: In the short story the reason the forces of Hell want Jack’s soul was because his mother made a deal with the forces of Hell for her soul. However she double crossed them, died in the arms of a preacher and went to heaven. To compensate for their loss they want to take her son’s soul (Jack Pollo) so they send an inexperienced young demon to do the job of driving Jack to insanity.