Crow: Mike, what were you guys doing there in the 70s, making witch movies, inhaling huge clouds of marijuana, big ugly flared pants on...
Mike: Well, we had to do something.
-Mike and Crow, Mystery Science Theater 3000, S09 E08, Touch Of Satan
The Touch of Satan is a 1970's horror film (or rather, it wants to be a horror movie) directed by one Mr. Don Henderson and starring Michael Berry as Jodie and Emby Mellay as Melissa.
Since I'm pretty sure the statute of limitations on spoilers is 41 years, and it's been 42 years since this came out, I'm calling free game on this. Unmarked spoilers are ahead, but the long and short of the story is "college dope meets girl in rural California, and witchcraft, devil worship, angry mobs, and terrible line reads ensue."
"You can't use Amazing Grace in a Devil movie!"
- Crow T. Robot on the movie's lackluster public domain soundtrack.
The story follows Jodie, a young man driving around the country trying to find himself before having to succumb to the real world like everyone else. He decides to take a turn down a country road and winds up at a pond ("Where the fish lives") and meets Melissa, the daughter of a walnut farmer (or "walnut rancher," depending on the scene). The two hit it off since Jodie is apparently the only boy in the tri-county area who's willing to talk to Melissa, and the two go to the farmhouse where Melissa, her parents, and her murderous grandmother, Lucinda, live.
Oh yeah, Melissa's grandma kills people. The movie opened up with her killing some farmer, and it's implied that she's killed people in the past.
Despite the fact that all of the locals seem inexplicably afraid of Melissa, that Melissa's parents want Jodie to leave, that Melissa's grandmother is a murderous batch of craze wrapped up in an elephant hide, and that Melissa outright tells himthat she is a witch- and not a froofy new-age Wiccan witch, but a good old-fashioned boil-and-trouble hex-'em-up sort of witch- Jodie refuses to believe anything is wrong on this charming walnut ranch until Granny tries to kill him and Melissa has to use cheaply-shot magic to intervene.
It's revealed via flashback that that Lucinda is actually Melissa's sister. When they were young and innocent, a withchunting mob came to their house and was going to kill Lucinda as a witch. Melissa strikes up a Faustian deal with the devil and saves her sister, but becomes cursed in the process. She'll stay young and beautiful forever and have awesome supernatural powers (so, curse, huh?) but in return she's destined for hell if she should ever die, and she'll die if she ever falls in twoo wuv.
(We're supposed to assume that her parents are actually Lucinda's children or grandchildren from before she went all stabby, but since it's never explicitly stated, I like to think that they're just random walnut farmers who happen to be rooming with a witch and an axe murderer. It's like the Odd Couple if the director was Dracula.)
So BIG WHOOPIN SPOILER ALERT she and Jodie have sex and, since they're so in love in the week they've known each other, Melissa's broken her half of the deal. It's said that by doing this, she's actually freed from the clutches of hell, but unfortunately with a squeaky clean soul comes the draining of super youth-retaining powers, and she begins to rapidly age (she's around 130 years old). Jodie panics since she's going to die right there, and sells his soul to Satan who changed Melissa back to being young and bang-able.
The movie is cheesy and telegraphs the "twist" more incompetently than a drunken semaphore worker. It's only claim to fame seems to be an episode of MST3K where it was riffed by Mike and the bots (and as of this writing can be found on youtube here). It's certainly the only reason I know about it. And if I hadn't been watching with the MST3K commentary, I probably would've fallen asleep or at least changed the channel to a good movie (because in a world where you are given a finite amount of time to live and a near infinite number of sources of entertainment, why bother watching a humorless bad movie when you would be watching a good movie or donating orphaned puppies to orphaned children or donating orphaned cats to crazy cat ladies, or donating orphaned crazy cat ladies to orphan children homes so they won't be understaffed?)
Also the MST3K episode is also pretty damn funny, but calling an episode of MST3K funny is like commenting on the wetness of water or the meaninglessness of the points of Whose Line, it's a given so we might as well not mention it at all, though I already have mentioned it so suck it I suppose.
All in all, the movie itself isn't worth a watch unless you like so bad it's funny movies but the MST3K episode is something everyone and their grandmothers should be forced to watch in order to up the general populace's appreciation for humor.
Tom: So in the end, Satan wins, I guess?
Mike: Yep, pretty much a shut-out for Satan.