Friday, October 1, 2010

Just Read: The Yattering and Jack by Clive Barker

"I did write, or rather I adapted, one story of mine - the Yattering and Jack - which is a kind of comedic short story, which came out very so-so as far as I was concerned; I was not happy with it... The problem with network television, the thing you're faced with all the time - [with] horror on network TV - is that it has to be so mild and my horror fiction is not mild, so we're always dealing with the problem of, again, censorship, I'm afraid." – Clive Barker, The Larry King Show

Oh, how I adored The Yattering and Jack! In fact, I read both the short story, and the graphic novel version, and I just kept falling in love with the characters (especially when I saw how awkwardly cute the Yattering was!) haha.

While Barker wasn’t too pleased with this piece, I think it completely succeeded as a darkly comic short story.  I found myself laughing at the Yattering’s struggle, and at the same time secretly chuckling to myself about how Jack decided to handle things; while I felt for Jack at the same time, because it was obvious that the Yattering was (slightly) destroying his life, good ol’ jack would just mutter che sera, sera and get on with his day. 

II think my favorite ploy that the Yattering used was when he would mess with Polo’s cats…especially when he got so frustrated that he just blew the one up!   Plus, I loved that Barker described it by stating, “The effect was spectacular.  The results were gross.”  Short, sweet, and very effective to the setting.  Even when he wrote that, “Polo just cleaned up the cat,” it shows us that Barker doesn’t need to go into a whole lot of detail to explain what is going on, yet still manage to have an effect on the reader. 

However, I’ll admit that I was a little confused where he was going to place his notable sexual images at.  But he didn’t disappoint me; he included a scene when the Yattering had the house all to himself that involved him staring out the window at a naked woman across the street.  He talks about how hard it was knowing that he couldn’t leave the house to go to her, no matter how much he wanted it.  Then, there were also several places that he added some crude sexual humor for comedy… such as: “The Yattering, invisible, sat on the window seat and made obscene gestures at the women, tying knots in its genitalia,” and “For its part, the Yattering was enjoying this orgy of destruction.”  I must admit, I didn’t think he was going to pull it off in this piece, but my man didn’t let me down!  Even the part where Amanda finds a work curling up in the middle of one of the Brussels sprouts, could be looked at as a phallic symbol…


Oh, and did anyone notice that there is a line in the story that says “Let there be blood?”  Do you think the writers from the SAW series ripped Barker off when they made SAW 2 –its catch line being..Oh yes, there will be blood…hmmmmm…. Ok ok, I know it’s not the exact same, but it’s pretty damn close.


  1. I don't know why, but when you mentioned the cats in your essay, it made me think of something. At that point we didn't know Jack knew about the Yattering. But he did. So, why did he keep bringing cats home knowing that the Yattering would destroy the poor things? True, it could possibly be seen as a way of Jack pretending there is nothing wrong, but could it also be that Jack has a bit of an evil side himself? That might be a silly thought--not sure why it popped into my head!


  2. You should check out the Tales from the Darkside episode made from this story. It's not technologically awesome, but it's not too too bad.
    I felt that that by the end, Jack was the real monster and the yattering was more tortured than he he was.