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Episode guide: 908- The Touch of Satan

Movie: (1971) An aimless young man encounters a rural family that seems to have some secrets.

First shown: 7/11/98
Opening: The bots seek wassail from Mike
Intro: Mike finds a wassail loophole; Steffi the babysitter is left in charge
Host segment 1: Mike learns that walnut ranching is hard work
Host segment 2: Crow tries a test to see if he’s a witch
Host segment 3: Grandma Servo attacks
End: Crow sells his soul to Stan; storytime with Steffi
Stinger: “This is where the fish lives.”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (289 votes, average: 4.51 out of 5)

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• This is a pretty unremarkable and meandering movie, and it’s one of those episode that I remembered as being kind of dreary and not terribly funny, but on rewatching it I found myself laughing quite a bit. The segments are mostly the usual random silliness, but of course they are livened by the appearance of the totally awesome (and deadly) Beez.
• Paul, who at this time was doing a lot of the writeups, offers his thoughts.
References.
• This ep was included in Rhino’s The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 5
• The movie is directed by a guy named Don Henderson. The director and star of the movie “Billy Jack,” Tom Laughlin, occasionally used the pseudonym Don Henderson. Because that, a number of MSTies, including our own Daddy-O, became convinced that Laughlin was the director of this. I was never convinced, and more than a little uneasy about his claims, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Laughlin passed away a couple of weeks ago and I scoured the obituaries about him and found zero evidence to back up this belief. We have removed any reference to it in the page for this episode in Daddy-O’s Drive-in Dirt.
• On the Rhino DVD, Mike does a little introduction and calls it “A Touch of Satan,” and makes a little riff on that. But it’s THE Touch of Satan. Kinda ruins the joke.
• Beez’s stint as Steffi the babysitter had a huge reaction from fans, especially young male ones. There was much hopeful conversation about whether she would be a permanent cast member.
• You sometimes wonder what sparks a segment. How did “wassail” come up?
• In segment 2, Mike climbs a ladder and we can see that he is wearing some pretty fruity sandals, if you ask me.
• Several shots of flowery meadows sparks an attack of Tom’s hay fever. Kind of reminds me of when Josh sneezed in the theater back in season one.
• Callbacks: “Stay!” (The Undead) and “You been hittin’ the BOOZE again!” (Giant Spider Invasion).
• In segment 3, Mike, who last week was reading “Bleak House,” is this week reading Henry Kissinger’s “Years of Upheaval.” Where is he getting these books?
• That’s Paul as the voice of Stan Johnson.
• Cast and crew roundup: Special effects guy Steve Karkus also worked on “Parts: The Clonus Horror.” Makeup guy Joe Blasco also worked on “Parts: The Clonus Horror,” and did special effects for “Track of the Moon Beast.” In front of the camera, Robert Easton was also in “The Giant Spider Invasion” and did voices for “Invaders from the Deep.”
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Kevin. This was Dan Breyer’s and Scott Bowman’s last episode as interns, and Nick Prueher’s first.
• Fave riff: “Get off the road, mangoat!” Honorable mention: “I sure hope he said peanuts.”

220 Replies to “Episode guide: 908- The Touch of Satan”

  1. Wetzelcoatl
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    says:

    I really love this episode. The movie is pretty standard stuff, but the horrible dialog leads to some great riffing, and this has probably my favorite opening credits scene riffs which were sometimes problematic for the writers.

       1 likes

  2. Watch-out-for-Snakes
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    says:

    I pretty much agree with what I said about The Touch of Satan last time around 3+ years ago up at post #97. My feelings haven’t changed.

    @ ghlbtsk #143: Well, I was gonna mention it, but you beat me to it. So let me expound: As said, the director of photography for the Touch of Satan is Jordan Cronenweth and he would go on to do an incredible job with Blade Runner. He also shot Stop Making Sense (one of the greatest concert films ever), Altered States, Rolling Thunder, and his first feature film (pre-Touch of Satan even!) was Robert Altman’s follow-up to M*A*S*H, Brewster McCloud, which is a very odd film that bombed big when released in 1970 (for the record, I dig it) and might account for why Cronenweth spent the rest of the 70s in the B-movie market..

    Also, his son Jeff Cronenweth is a cinematographer, shooting Fight Club, One Hour Photo, and The Social Network, amongst others.

    But enough about that,

    Here’s some
    RIFFS:

    Mike: “Robert the cat.”

    in regards to the title possibilities of The Touch of Satan,
    Crow: “I think it’s Tony Musante as a kind of hip Satan who solves crimes.” —I took note of this as Musante passed away just a few weeks ago.

    Servo: “Emby Mellay? That’s not a name, that’s a bad scrabble hand.” ———Also, she’s got a rather large forehead area; surprised M&tB’s didn’t riff on that.

    Crow: “Get off the road, man-goat!”

    Crow: “I sure hope he said peanuts.”

    Mike (in Don Knotts voice): “Well now Andy, I think there was a demon in the car.”

    Crow: “Talk quicker.”

    Crow: “Mike, what were you guys doing during the 70s. . .making witch movies. . .inhaling huge clouds of marijuana. . .big ugly flared pants on. . .?”
    Mike: “We had to do something.”

    The Touch of ZAAAA!


    I give it 3 out of 5 fishes living there.

       4 likes

  3. littleaimishboy
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    says:

    Another outstanding Season 9 episode.

    It’s made a little better for me because I know there’s a “romantic comedy” from the early sixties called “That Touch of Mink”, which I haven’t actually seen but like to imagine various scenarios where it melds with this …

    It’s a movie so goofy it could stand up to repeated riff versions, way more so that SCCTM.

    Walnut ranching … sigh … you think herding CATS is tough …

       3 likes

  4. Sampo
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    says:

    Thomas K. Dye–I did mention it in my comments and that he was in no way connected with this movie.

       3 likes

  5. ServoTron3000
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    Good episode made great by Beez!

       3 likes

  6. BIG61AL
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    Beez…she’s good in everything, just like Gene Hackman…

       6 likes

  7. Cornjob
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    says:

    Is it irony that we’re discussing a devil movie Christmas week? Not that I mind, since I’m the sort of person that likes eating Life cereal while listening to death metal.

       4 likes

  8. Sitting Duck
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    Since one of the movies featured on the show was a Christmas movie that had the Devil in it, probably not.

       4 likes

  9. bad wolf
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    says:

    This still feels like a made-for-TV movie to me, although perhaps some real gore got edited out. That’s the budget, at least, which is low but not the “got my friends to do it” budget last week. While its theology is a bit confused it does seem to me to be a better written movie than most; Jodie and Melissa have real character arcs, Lucinda is saved from burning then burned in the end, etc.

    Beez is a blessing, and i can once again only wonder at the Brains’ giving Mary Jo the regular character, while Beez, Bridget and Paul all get a guest shot once or twice a season. Perhaps if the Sci-Fi channel had starting giving more notes like “make more use of the funny, attractive people…”

    I really enjoy it but perhaps this is influenced by having it on DVD for a long time–if it came out from Shout today, would i still give it as many watchings? Dunno.

       1 likes

  10. 70's run on car
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    Steffi opened me up to the erotic possibilities of being threatened with a tick bath.

       3 likes

  11. Cornjob
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    I usually don’t find mean girls attractive, but there is something strangely alluring about Steffi.

    The Bechdel test results may be ambiguous for this film, but it does feature a strong female lead with a genuine grievance driving the plot.

    I could relate a bit to Melissa and her sister. I was never a satanist, but I was a suicidally depressed heavy metal fan in high school, and halfway through my sophomore year Geraldo did a special about Satanism that convinced about half of my classmates that I was some kind of baby-eating devil-worshiping warlock that killed people in their dreams like Freddy Krueger. I’m glad they never lynched me now, though it was a disappointment at the time. After that every day at school at least one person looked away from me to avoid eye contact. I’ve had a little glimpse of the kind of crazy and stupid that leads to witch crazes and satanic panics. When those 3 Goth kids got blamed for a murder because they wore Metallica T-shirts my heart went out to them. Merry Christmas all.

       6 likes

  12. JC
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    says:

    “Well, you’ve met Mrs. Wilma Failed Genetic Experiment, right?”

    “Oh, and there’s a huge insane scabby gorilla wandering around too.”

       3 likes

  13. Creepygirl
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    “This is where the fish lives” is a classic.

       4 likes

  14. Savvy
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    says:

    Man, I forgot to comment on “Werewolf”! Oh, well.

    Movie Notes!

    -Beez is absolutely adorable as Steffi. “Which one of you is Servo, and which one of you is Cow?”
    -Jody really does look sort of like a young David Spade. An early SNL days’ David Spade, of course.
    -That’s Mike, of course, channeling his inner Geddy Lee in Rush’s “The Trees”. A nice attempt, I must say.
    -Dig that ’70’s horror film music!
    -I think Mr. Strickland looks like what every dad looks like after a hard-day’s work.
    -Crow: “Mike, could you back off? You smell like canned tamales.”
    -“This is where the fish lives.” What a strange line for a movie. Crazy writing team, I guess.
    -Tom: “Stop it!”
    -Tom: “Say, nice door! I’d like to see it crumpled up next to my bed- Oh, wait.”
    -How would you feel if Grandma Dried-Apple-Head came into your room at night? Food for thought.
    -Crow: “Tell you what. I’ll flip on her left turn signal and she’ll go right back to sleep!”
    -Mike: “A WRINKLE!”
    -If “This is where the fish lives” wasn’t the stinger, “ZAH!” would be great!
    -I’ve always wondered: Did the director want long pauses between Jody and Melissa simply to pad out the film? The world may never know.
    -Y’know, If I knew Lucinda “Killer Grandma” Strickland was a serial killer, I would’ve gotten rid of her a lot quicker than them!
    -“Pay attention to the word of God.”
    Tom: “For He loves you and He may KILL you if you don’t.”
    “Yay-”
    Crow: “Team!”
    -Kevin Murphy is brilliant with Tom’s Grandma’s mumbling.
    -Mike: “Caleb, what kind of charcoal did you use?”
    -Crow: “If you could just hang on a sec, I’m about to say something…”
    -So, I guess when Melissa became possessed by the devil, Lucinda somehow became possessed, as well. Either that, or she’s just EXTREMELY bitter about her whole “Burn the Witch” incident. And who are Mr. and Mrs. Strickland if they aren’t REALLY Melissa’s parents?
    -Mike: “May the dark one hold your soul in his clutches- I mean, safe trip!”
    -“Don’t let her die, I love her!”
    Tom: “Whoa, boy! No I don’t! Hoo!”
    -Steffi hitting Bobo with a rolled-up newspaper was a very solid ending.

       5 likes

  15. thequietman
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    says:

    Front desk? There’s a mummy in my room…

    It doesn’t look like I commented on this one last time. I guess it’s because while this is a good episode it just doesn’t stand out for me. I remember the ‘Wassailing’ sketch and love Mike’s little promo (‘In CANS!’) and the way it continues into the first movie segment. The segments with Steffi the Babysitter are great too and make me wish Beez had appeared onscreen more often.

    The movie itself though is just so blandly made and lethargically paced that despite some laugh-out-loud moments it just fades to brown not long after it’s finished.

    Fave riffs
    “You seem to know what you’re about…”
    No I don’t. How’d you pick that up?

    “I’ll prepare the sewing room…”
    The SAWING room?!

       1 likes

  16. touches no one's life, then leaves
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    says:

    Sitting Duck:
    The Bechdel Test results for The Touch of Satan are rather ambiguous. While the conversation between Melissa and Lucinda appears to be male-free, it’s not certain as the latter is impossible to understand. There’s also the possibility of when Melissa pledges her soul to the Devil, as Satan had a female voice in that scene. But again, it’s inconclusive.

    Didn’t Melissa and her pseudo-mom speak to each other (about Lucinda?) in the pre-credits sequence (“And then he died!”) just after Lucinda killed the farmer? Or was it only Melissa and pseudo-dad who did that?

       1 likes

  17. Denver Brown
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    says:

    Cornjob:
    I usually don’t find mean girls attractive, but there is something strangely alluring about Steffi.

    The Bechdel test results may be ambiguous for this film, but it does feature a strong female lead with a genuine grievance driving the plot.

    I could relate a bit to Melissa and her sister. I was never a satanist, but I was a suicidally depressed heavy metal fan in high school, and halfway through my sophomore year Geraldo did a special about Satanism that convinced about half of my classmates that I was some kind of baby-eating devil-worshiping warlock that killed people in their dreams like Freddy Krueger. I’m glad they never lynched me now, though it was a disappointment at the time. After that every day at school at least one person looked away from me to avoid eye contact. I’ve had a little glimpse of the kind of crazy and stupid that leads to witch crazes and satanic panics. When those 3 Goth kids got blamed for a murder because they wore Metallica T-shirts my heart went out to them. Merry Christmas all.

    I wish people would stop with the Bechdel Test nonsense, it’s entertainment get that PC junk out of here.

       7 likes

  18. GareChicago
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    says:

    Denver Brown: I wish people would stop with the Bechdel Test nonsense, it’s entertainment get that PC junk out of here.

    We all enjoy the show at different levels and in different ways. Nothing wrong wiht some Bechdel-ing.

    As stated previously here – reading these comments is a voluntary activity. You are free to skip the posts you don’t like.

    Gare

       11 likes

  19. littleaimishboy
    Ignored
    says:

    GareChicago:
    As stated previously here – reading these comments is a voluntary activity. You are free to skip the posts you don’t like.
    Gare

    you were free to skip Denver brown’s post …

       7 likes

  20. Sitting Duck
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    littleaimishboy: Walnut ranching … sigh … you think herding CATS is tough …

    Try being a nuthand at an almond ranch. Those things get spooked at the slightest provocation.

    touches no one’s life, then leaves: Didn’t Melissa and her pseudo-mom speak to each other (about Lucinda?) in the pre-credits sequence (“And then he died!”) just after Lucinda killed the farmer? Or was it only Melissa and pseudo-dad who did that?

    I just rewatched that scene and you’re (sort of) right. Pseudo-mom asks if anyone wants more coffee and Melissa declines. I probably missed it the first time around because Pseudo-dad responded first.

       2 likes

  21. Johnny Drama
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    says:

    What did I learn from this episode?
    Nah, walnuts, fish, Amazing Grace, wassail.
    This episode clearly shows Beez as the superior actor. You picked the wrong person for the Sci-Fi era Mad! Granted, Mary Jo can be hilarious, but most of the time she just painfully phones it in. Which is unfortunate, since she clearly has the ability to be great. I think her recent riffs with Bridget are better than anything Mike, Kevin and Bill have done in years.
    So, opportunity lost by not having more Beez in front of the camera.
    Good episode, though. I used to not care for it much, since the movie is so slimy. But upon further viewings, I realize how goofy this movie is.

       0 likes

  22. docskippy
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    says:

    Denver Brown: I wish people would stop with the Bechdel Test nonsense, it’s entertainment get that PC junk out of here.

    Yeah, what I’ve learned from current events is that everyone should just go around spouting off whatever offensive and dangerous nonsense comes into their heads at the slightest provocation. If they would broadcast these putrid thoughts via social media to millions of gullible followers, so much the better!

       5 likes

  23. docskippy
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    says:

    I don’t know if you’ve ever been browsing the racks of a used bookstore and come to the horror section. If you’re in a sufficiently sleazy used bookstore, it will have a nice big selection of trashy horror paperbacks from the 70s-80s. Maybe you’ve picked up a paperback circa 1975 and looked at a cover depicting a young woman threatened by some overtly Satanish presence. Maybe she’s draped supine across an altar replete with a bloody pentagram. You thought to yourself, Gee, this couldn’t be more obviously an Exorcist ripoff if it tried. You know if you actually read it you’d be bored to tears and barely able to remember any of it a week afterwards.

    “The Touch of Satan” is the filmic equivalent of that hypothetical book.

       1 likes

  24. Lisa H.
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    says:

    You sometimes wonder what sparks a segment. How did “wassail” come up?

    Yeah, especially knowing that this aired in the summer and thus I guess must have been written in the spring? If it was nearer to December or even November it’d make more sense. That said, this is still somehow one of my favorite bits. “If the person that you sing to can’t provide the wassail / You are entitled to his debit card and PIN number…”

       2 likes

  25. The Original EricJ
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    says:

    I wasn’t sure what the poster in the S12 WDT was referring to by “State park refs”, when they just observationally point out something cheaply made in the movie by saying “Hey, that’s cheaply made” (except in the SciFi years, where anything cheaply made is an insult to its audience’s valuable time!), until I remembered Servo drowning out “Amazing Grace” with a whole droning verse of “We’re singing this because it’s free and public domain…”
    Yes, Kevin, we know…We know. We’re just not as personally angry about it, is all.

    And even though it’s been on disk for years, why do I have clearer memories of watching Commander USA’s Groovie Movies version?:
    (Grandma sees younger self in mirror) “Yes, your skin too can look years younger, with Touch O’ Satan!”

       0 likes

  26. touches no one's life, then leaves
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    says:

    Mark D.:
    “I seem to be the only human alive who thinks the guy actually said, “ZAP!” in the grocery store. That would be more like a witch’s whammy, wouldn’t it?


    I just think the soundtrack didn’t catch it very well. Zap.”

    NO, “fathermushroom”, you are NOT alone……………every time I hear someone reference the “Za” line, I always find myself thinking, “NO, that makes absolutely NO sense…….he HAD to have said “ZAP” !!!!”


    And I completely agree with your assessment………I think it was just poor audio recording equipment (along with the actor’s “over-enthusiastic” delivery of the word) that failed to satisfactorily pick-up that piece of dialogue.Kind of makes sense for a production that didn’t seem to be exactly “flush with cash”………..;-)

    In “Gunslinger” Host Segment 3, Joel said “ZA!” when he was trying to teleport through quantum linear whatever-it-is. If it’s good enough for Joel…
    ;-)
    Kind of a shame the screenwriter apparently wasn’t familiar with the word FARM. If the setting had been described as a walnut FARM, not a RANCH, we probably would’ve been spared the walnuts-as-animals riffs (and the “sweaty Mike” segment) and gotten some, y’know, FUNNY riffs in place of those. It’s all subjective, of course. ;-)

       1 likes

  27. touches no one's life, then leaves
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    says:

    littleaimishboy: you were free to skip Denver brown’s post …

    You’re free, he’s free, I’m free, things are only as important as we want them to be…

       1 likes

  28. Speedy B.
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    “She gives him $15.55 just so she can get $6.66 in change.”

       3 likes

  29. Mr. Krasker
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    Denver Brown: I wish people would stop with the Bechdel Test nonsense, it’s entertainment get that PC junk out of here.

    Me, I find it interesting and entertaining. Why are you so threatened by it?

       5 likes

  30. Lawgiver
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    says:

    Sitting Duck:
    The Bechdel Test results for The Touch of Satan are rather ambiguous. While the conversation between Melissa and Lucinda appears to be male-free, it’s not certain as the latter is impossible to understand.

    For some reason, I found this statement to be really funny. I guess because usually the results are so clear-cut, and the idea that you can’t make a determination because one party is unintelligible cracks me up.

       0 likes

  31. Ray Dunakin
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    I wonder if Robert the cat and Chris the dog (“Revenge of the Creature”) ever hang out together?

       1 likes

  32. Ray Dunakin
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    Also, Melissa and the Creepy Girl ought to get together sometime and discuss their fish.

       4 likes

  33. touches no one's life, then leaves
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    Mr. Krasker: Me, I find it interesting and entertaining.Why are you so threatened by it?

    Well, he complained about it being “PC” (which I’m not at all sure it qualifies as in the first place) and I’ve rarely seen anyone but “right-wing” guys-who-hold-women-in-contempt use that term as derogatory, so that would seem to be at least a piece of the puzzle. Unless I’m wrong, of course.

       7 likes

  34. bartcow
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    says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves: You’re free, he’s free, I’m free, things are only as important as we want them to be…

    These days, I’m free to skip the comments section entirely. Sigh. Remember when we could just hang out, share our favorite riffs, and share trivia about behind the scenes stuff? Oh well. Nice knowing all, er, some of you.

       4 likes

  35. pirengle
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    says:

    This is one of the few episodes I can’t find unriffed. I’ve always wondered if Melissa’s “parents” are ever explained in it. Their relationship raises so many questions. What’s keeping them on the walnut ranch? Are they in thrall to Melissa and Lucinda? And now that wossname is also Satan’s plaything now, does this mean he has to move in and pretend Luther and Molly are family?

       1 likes

  36. Joe Boltonn
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    says:

    pirengle:
    This is one of the few episodes I can’t find unriffed. I’ve always wondered if Melissa’s “parents” are ever explained in it. Their relationship raises so many questions. What’s keeping them on the walnut ranch? Are they in thrall to Melissa and Lucinda? And now that wossname is also Satan’s plaything now, does this mean he has to move in and pretend Luther and Molly are family?

    It’s on YOU TUBE, though the print is worse than the MST3K version. It’s also on the FILM ON App (Horror channels)

       0 likes

  37. GareChicago
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    says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves: You’re free, he’s free, I’m free, things are only as important as we want them to be…

    Well, one thing I’ve learned from MST3K is that Each Man is a God, Each Man is Free.

    Gare

       1 likes

  38. touches no one's life, then leaves
    Ignored
    says:

    pirengle:
    This is one of the few episodes I can’t find unriffed. I’ve always wondered if Melissa’s “parents” are ever explained in it. Their relationship raises so many questions. What’s keeping them on the walnut ranch? Are they in thrall to Melissa and Lucinda?

    Wouldn’t it be odd if they were only staying for room and board and walnut-related profit?

    Luther felt comfortable talking back to Melissa, so I guess they’re not under as much thrall as all that, I guess. Also, Luther disapprovingly asked Melissa if she “called” Jody (which she says she didn’t), implying that she has in fact done such a thing before and that Luther has a serious problem with it. But that’s just more unanswered questions…

       1 likes

  39. The Original EricJ
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    The movie is directed by a guy named Don Henderson. The director and star of the movie “Billy Jack,” Tom Laughlin, occasionally used the pseudonym Don Henderson. Because that, a number of MSTies, including our own Daddy-O, became convinced that Laughlin was the director of this. I was never convinced, and more than a little uneasy about his claims, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Laughlin passed away a couple of weeks ago and I scoured the obituaries about him and found zero evidence to back up this belief.

    IMDB doesn’t list anything for “Don Henderson” after this movie in ’71, although some softcore/drive-in horror before it.
    While for Laughlin, it lists the unreleased “Billy Jack Goes to Washington” for ’77, at which point Laughlin reportedly retired from film to work on that real Peace School, just like in his movies. Also a “Return of Billy Jack” during the Rambo mid-80’s, but don’t recall whether that also fell into limbo.

    Watch-out-for-Snakes:
    Crow:“Mike, what were you guys doing during the 70s. . .making witch movies. . .inhaling huge clouds of marijuana. . .big ugly flared pants on. . .?”
    Mike:“We had to do something.”

    As for the witch-movies thing, yes, that was pretty much the case:
    Countries generally tend to escape into a suddenly obsessive paranormal and occult interest after being “disillusioned” by a political trauma and left with nothing to build on–there was a huge fake-ESP craze in Russia after the Wall fell–and The Exorcist probably wouldn’t have made half the money it did if it hadn’t come out in the wake of Vietnam and Watergate. The cheap movies put their witches out in the desert, because that was all they could afford, but the big-budget bestseller-novel movies always put the devil in the upscale townhouses of NYC and DC, because, as with Rosemary’s Baby in the late 60’s, that was where all the upper-middle-class lapsed-Catholics lived, who all went around handwringing that the church was “irrelevant” now with our terrible headlines and no one could save us.

    It’s one of the reasons why jokes about “What were we thinking in the 70’s and 80’s?” jokes are so hilarious to high-schoolers who didn’t live through the social contexts, and Bill, who did.
    In fact, seeing them in the Rifftrax Live concerts, I’m pretty sure MK&B were alive to live through the 70’s, the 80’s, and I’m guessing a good part of the 60’s too. Maybe they even remember Eisenhower being president. ;)

       0 likes

  40. Sitting Duck
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    @ Lawgiver: I could go into detail as to how Lucinda mumblings for all we know could be about her desire to kill Jodie OSLT. However, as noted in my prior post, the whole thing is moot anyway.

    Since Denver Brown appears to be hot and bothered about it, I’ll reissue my disclaimer. The Bechdel Test as applied to MST3K films is something I regard as a curiosity that intrigues me which I share with others and nothing more. I certainly don’t believe it to be a litmus test of feminist ideals or the like. Even if I ever had, the fact that The Atomic Brain, Angels’ Revenge, and The Horrors of Spider Island not only pass but pass easily would disprove that line of thought.

       5 likes

  41. Jeremy Zharkov
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    says:

    docskippy:
    I don’t know if you’ve ever been browsing the racks of a used bookstore and come to the horror section. If you’re in a sufficiently sleazy used bookstore, it will have a nice big selection of trashy horror paperbacks from the 70s-80s. Maybe you’ve picked up a paperback circa 1975 and looked at a cover depicting a young woman threatened by some overtly Satanish presence. Maybe she’s draped supine across an altar replete with a bloody pentagram. You thought to yourself, Gee, this couldn’t be more obviously an Exorcist ripoff if it tried. You know if you actually read it you’d be bored to tears and barely able to remember any of it a week afterwards.

    “The Touch of Satan” is the filmic equivalent of that hypothetical book.

    The big difference is that those novels had a lot of graphic sex in them. As a teenager, I was a big fan of them.

    But in a way, it sort of anticipated the urban fantasy/romance/porn genre of today

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  42. Jeremy Zharkov
    Ignored
    says:

    Watch-out-for-Snakes:
    I pretty much agree with what I said about The Touch of Satan last time around 3+ years ago up at post #97.My feelings haven’t changed.

    @ ghlbtsk #143:Well, I was gonna mention it, but you beat me to it.So let me expound:As said, the director of photography for the Touch of Satan is Jordan Cronenweth and he would go on to do an incredible job with Blade Runner.He also shot Stop Making Sense (one of the greatest concert films ever), Altered States, Rolling Thunder, and his first feature film (pre-Touch of Satan even!) was Robert Altman’s follow-up to M*A*S*H, Brewster McCloud, which is a very odd film that bombed big when released in 1970 (for the record, I dig it) and might account for why Cronenweth spent the rest of the 70s in the B-movie market..

    Also, his son Jeff Cronenweth is a cinematographer, shooting Fight Club, One Hour Photo, and The Social Network, amongst others.

    But enough about that,

    Here’s some
    RIFFS:

    Mike:“Robert the cat.”

    in regards to the title possibilities of The Touch of Satan,
    Crow:“I think it’s Tony Musante as a kind of hip Satan who solves crimes.”—I took note of this as Musante passed away just a few weeks ago.

    It’s funny, there’s a TV show on Fox that has this exact premise. No Tony Musante, but some hipster playing Lucifer.

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  43. Lisa H.
    Ignored
    says:

    Jeremy Zharkov: It’s funny, there’s a TV show on Fox that has this exact premise. No Tony Musante, but some hipster playing Lucifer.

    It is based on a comic, but not having read it, I have no idea how faithful the characterization is, and whether they’re using the book’s plot or thinking up something else.

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  44. Yeti of Great Danger
    Ignored
    says:

    Denver Brown: I wish people would stop with the Bechdel Test nonsense, it’s entertainment get that PC junk out of here.

    I find it interesting in a film history sort of way.

       2 likes

  45. Joe Boltonn
    Ignored
    says:

    Yeti of Great Danger: I find it interesting in a film history sort of way.

    Ironically, The movie “The Women”(1939),which has an all female cast, would fail the test, because nearly all of their conversations are about men. It’s a test in which the results tell you next to nothing about characters and situations that didn’t happen in real life.

       2 likes

  46. Thad Boyd
    Ignored
    says:

    Joe Boltonn: Ironically, The movie “The Women”(1939),which has an all female cast, would fail the test, because nearly all of their conversations are about men. It’s a test in which the results tell you next to nothing about characters and situations that didn’t happen in real life.

    It’s not really intended as a statement on individual movies. The point isn’t any single movie’s score, it’s just how few movies pass a test that should be easy to pass.

       1 likes

  47. Jason
    Ignored
    says:

    Those walnuts are TEARIN’ through the hay.

       1 likes

  48. Lawgiver
    Ignored
    says:

    Sitting Duck:
    @ Lawgiver: I could go into detail as to how Lucinda mumblings for all we know could be about her desire to kill Jodie OSLT. However, as noted in my prior post, the whole thing is moot anyway.

    Please don’t, it’s funnier this way ;)

       0 likes

  49. Johnny Drama
    Ignored
    says:

    The Bechdel test was just a comic strip pointing out there weren’t very many lesbians in cinema. That’s all it was. (as confirmed by my lesbian friends)

       0 likes

  50. touches no one's life, then leaves
    Ignored
    says:

    Johnny Drama:
    The Bechdel test was just a comic strip pointing out there weren’t very many lesbians in cinema. That’s all it was. (as confirmed by my lesbian friends)

    With due respect to your lesbian friends…uh, no. No, it wasn’t.

    https://flavorwire.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/bledchel.png

       2 likes

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