He Became the… – Devil’s Partner (1961)

When a film begins with a man making a deal with the Devil, you know that bad stuff is about to go down. It is good to say that Devil’s Partner lives up to that promise and while this is not a particularly scary film, it is commanding in the fact that it captures your attention quite thoroughly.

devils-partner-14Like many stories that deal with bartering one’s soul to Satan, it finds the person usually in desperate straits and this movie is no different. Here, an old man who has come to the end of his life, one who was treated unfairly by the townspeople around him like some kind of social pariah, realizes that he cannot leave the Earth without taking some form of revenge upon them. So for an extra two years of life in a younger body, the old man gives away his soul and proceeds to murder those he felt wronged by in a number of different ways. Suffice it to say, making a deal with Lucifer does not always have that fairytale ending and come the end of it all, the Devil will have what is his.

Though the film was obviously made on the cheap, it sports a good script by Stanley Clements and Laura Jean Mathews and is ably directed by Charles R. Rondeau. Bringing it to life is Ed Nelson in the dual roles of Nick Richards and his older ‘uncle’ Pete Jensen as well as Edgar Buchanan, Jean Allison and Richard Crane. Hampered by a budget it might have been, but that did not stop the film from featuring some really good performances and some decent effects reminiscent of The Wolf Man. Nelson is the best of the bunch, being both affable in his performance like thedevils-partner-13 guy next door, yet with shades of menace about him. You want to like him and part of you does in a way, but you know he is only present in town to take his revenge and warranted or not, murder is not the way to go about it.

Altogether, Devil’s Partner is a film that is put together very well and makes for a very interesting time. Technically it is a horror film, but it lacks the fright needed to really be scary in any manner. At best, it is a little creepy at times, but in no way does the lack of scares hamper the movie in any way. A good film, Devil’s Partner is worth seeking out.

3.5 out of 5

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