A Contract With Death

The Devil's Partner

In The Devil’s Partner (1962), a Twilight Zone reject, Pete Jensen is a scraggly hermit who looks like he’s older than lava. He also lives in wooden shack just outside of the appropriately named Furnace Flats, NM. Let’s just say if you wanted to, you could fry an egg on Pete’s dirt porch.

The Devil's Partner

Before Pete kicks the furnace, he sacrifices a goat in his living room (actually the only room in the “house”), smears the animal blood on a hexagram he painted on the floor and hides with a goat skin rug, and makes a pact with the Devil in writing, promising to loan out his soul for two years in exchange for turning young and handsome in order to get busy with Nell, the town’s young hottie.

The Devil's Partner

The Devil grants Pete his wish — he’s now “Nick” and lookin’ slick! He “arrives” back in town as Pete’s nephew, moves back in to the old shack, and starts his plan to snare Nell in his web of deceit. And dang, it works, even though Nell is engaged to handsome gas station owner, David. Heck, so convincing is Nick as a happenin’ and polite young man, David even offers him a job.

The Devil's Partner

But he needs to clear the field of people that are Nick-blocking his attempts to make smooch happen with Nell. First, he uses his “powers” to take out a guy with poison goat’s milk. (I thought all goat’s milk tasted like poison.) Then Nick possesses a pet dog to bite half David’s face off. Then he turns into a horse that stomps the buzz out of the town drunk. But there’s one more person Nick needs to put down — David. Prior, Scar-Face Dave has been treating Nell like a goat and plans on leaving town for good. When Nell goes to Nick for solace, he makes smooch happen. All according to plan.

The Devil's Partner

Furnace Flats’ sheriff and the town doctor (also Nell’s pop) are hot on the bloody trail. Nick turns himself into a rattlesnake (implied, not shown) and goes to bite the rest of David’s face off. Dave’s ready for him — with a gun. Shots were fired, words were said, and everybody puts the clues — and bloody trail — together, and finds the snake in the grass. There it turns into a dying Nick who shall no more make smooch happen.

The Devil's PartnerYou don’t get to see the Devil, but you get to see his evil hands. They look dirty. All the deaths are not shown (except the goat milk guy falling to the floor), and despite Furnace Flats’ dry and dusty hot temps, at no point does Nell slip into a socially acceptable bikini. So yeah, be prepared to be let down.

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