The Devil's Partner
Enter the Devil
Hugh Hooker for Huron Productions
directed by Charles R. Rondeau
starring Ed Nelson, Jean Allison, Spencer Carlisle, Richard Crane, Edgar Buchanan, Byron Foulger, Claire Carleton, Brian O'Hara, Harry Fleer, Joe Hooker
written by Stanley Clements, Laura Jean Mathews, music by Ronald Stein
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Old Pete Jensen (Ed Nelson) was never really well-liked in the village
he lives in, and since there've always been odd stories about him, it's
only fitting he should have died in a weird ritual that involved him
slitting his wrist and a freshly slaughtered goat. Enter his nephew and
only living relative Nick Richards (Ed Nelson), who enters town picking up
the old man's belongings, and who's actually quite a charming young man,
so makes friends easily, including Nell (Jean Allison), daughter of Doc
Lucas (Edgar Buchanan), the only physican in town, and Nick takes a
definite liking to. So much so that once at old Pete's shack, he performs
a ritual - and wouldn't you know it, suddenly Nell's boyfriend David
(Richard Crane) is brutally attacked by his own dog who almost tears off
his face, and it's more luck than anything else that David manages to
shoot the dog dead before the dog can kill him. This scars David both
physicall and mentally, but at least not financially, as Nick offers to
run David's gas station while he's recuperating. A plastic surgeon is
called in for David from the next town over, but he crashes his car into a
cow lying on the street and is killed instantly.
Nick invites the town
drunk Papers (Byron Foulger) over to his shack and turns into old pete
right before his eyes - which shocks Papers to such a degree to pretty
much blindly run away ... and be trampled to death by a horse. All these
animal-related attacks and deaths puzzle local Sheriff Fuller (Spencer
Carlisle) and Doc Lucas, and they soon figure newcomer Nick must have
something to do with them, but how they can't really tell. And all the
while Nick's already planning the ultimate demise of David, to make his
move on Nell ...
Ok, if you think about it in much detail, this
film doesn't make all that much sense, especially since Nick's powers are
unclear, as in the beginning he seems to only possess animals while
towards the finale he actually turns into them and can be harmed in his
animal form - which is clearly not the case when David shoots his dog dead
in self defense. Also, there's absolutely no reason for Nick to reveal his
secret to Papers, giving that he kills him soon afterwards.
asides though, The Devil's Partner is a quite effective horror movie, one
that develops in a slowburn manner around a well-structured (if not
well-written) mystery, invariably chooses atmosphere and tension over jump
scares - even if it gets gruesome at all the right moments -, and its
somewhat eerie score sure helps to create a properly creepy mood. It might
not be a perfect movie by quite a bit, but fans of vintage horror
sure will find a lot to like about this movie.