The Young Ones – Something Evil – tape 73

First on this tape, a repeat of the last episode of The Young Ones, Summer Holiday. I’m fairly sure there’s nothing I can add to everything that’s ever been written about it. But it’s still brilliant. “I was Paul Squires!”

Quick! Get the picture back before Elephanthead starts singing.

ElephantHead

I love the fact that these insert gags are fully integrated into the main show – when Elephanthead is squashed when the picture of the living room slides down, he’s squashed under the carpet.

Hawk

John Otway provides the music.

John Otway

The reason the show includes a music performance in the middle of the show is so that it qualified as a light entertainment show, and so came out of the Light Ent budget, and not the comedy budget. Apparently.

Lenny Henry appears as a postman. “Give them a uniform and they think they’re Hitler”

Lenny Henry as the Postman

Norman Lovett appears as a bank customer

Norman Lovett in The Young Ones

BBC Genome: BBC Two – 1st July 1985 – 21:00

Then, recording switches to Channel 4 and Something Evil, It’s an early TV movie directed by Steven Spielberg. Sandy Dennis and Kolchak himself, Darren McGavin buy an old farmhouse in the middle of the countryside. Strange things happen. The old gardener keeps killing chickens and pouring their blood over the field. Two guests at their party are killed in a car crash on the way home. And neighbour Ralph Bellamy tells them stories of having the devil in his house.

She gets interested in mystical symbols – they keep calling them pentacles, but when she draws one on the children’s bedroom floor, it doesn’t look like a pentacle – more than five points, for example.

Pentacle

She grows more and more unhinged as the film goes on, and husband McGavin is away a lot, working as an advertising executive, so he’s already the tool of Satan.

After a lot of atmospheric wandering around with some very wide-angled lenses, finding things in jars that cry like babies, she eventually realises that the devil has actually taken over her son, and rushes to rescue her baby daughter from his room.

It’s a good thing she drew that design on the floor, too, as she’s able to hold her son, giving a very convincing performance as a possessed child, and she drives the devil out by telling the boy she loves him. Which is a reassuringly simple conclusion to the story.

It’s not the best of Spielberg’s early work – that’s obviously Duel, but it’s OK. It does lose points for Darren McGavin’s character getting ‘infer’ and ‘imply’ the wrong way round, though.

After this, there’s a couple of minutes of International Athletics before the recording stops.

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2 comments

  1. I wasn’t around in the UK for “The Young Ones” when it began, but I did see repeats in the ’90s. Time was not kind to it.

  2. I watched that broadcast of Something Evil! All I remember is that they’d obviously hired a very big wind machine for the ending, because it got a heavy duty workout.

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