|908 - The Touch of Satan|
|Air Date||July 11, 1998|
|MST3K Director||Kevin Murphy|
|AKA|| Curse of Melissa |
Night of the Demon
The Touch of Melissa
|Movie Director||Don Henderson|
|Cast|| Michael Berry|
|Preceded by||907 - Hobgoblins|
|Followed by||909 - Gorgo|
|“|| (Townspeople are singing "Amazing Grace", the second time it's been used in the film)
"This song is in/ the public domain/ that's why we used it twice."
Jodie Lee Thompson (Michael Berry) is taking a trip to San Francisco from Austin, TX. Stopping at a small town for some supplies, the gas station attendant informs Jodie that there's a killer on the loose, and that a local farmer was recently murdered.
Jodie drives off, and eventually takes a detour through an area where some trees and a small pond are. While having some food, he is surprised to meet a young woman. She tells him that her name is Melissa Strickland (Emby Mellay). Melissa eventually invites Jodie back to her family's walnut farm, where he meets her parents Luther (Lee Amber) and Molly (Yvonne Winslow).
After dinner, Jodie prepares to go to sleep, when he is shocked when a wrinkled old woman with white hair and a badly scarred face appears in his room for a few moments. Jodie tells Melissa, who claims that he saw her Great-Grandmother, Lucinda. When Jodie inquires about her face, she explains that Lucinda was badly-burned as a young girl.
The next day, Jodie and Melissa go into town for some supplies. Going into one store, Jodie is surprised that alot of people are going out of their way to avoid Melissa. Melissa explains that this is because the townspeople say that she is a witch. Jodie finds this laughable and hard to believe.
On the drive back to the farm, Melissa offers to show Jodie where she does her witchcraft out of. Going to a small shed, the two talk over what Melissa's witch powers are, when Luther comes by. He doesn't give much information, but Melissa suspects that Lucinda has gotten out of the house again. Feeling something is wrong, Melissa asks Jodie to take her back to the house.
The two arrive in time to see Lucinda having killed a Sheriff's deputy, with Luther and Molly trying to restrain her. Melissa manages to calm Lucinda, and has Molly take her inside. Luther shocks Jodie when he takes the keys from his car, and puts Jodie in the barn, handcuffing him to a pipe.
As he is in the barn, Jodie's thoughts return to the gas station attendant who claimed that there was a killer in the area who had killed a farmer recently, and Jodie now feels that Lucinda is the killer.
Melissa comes into the barn to talk to Jodie, who insists that they should have turned Lucinda into the police some time ago. Melissa claims she can't do that, and she has to take care of the family, claiming they are cursed. Jodie refuses to believe this as well.
Later that evening, Jodie is allowed dinner and goes to his room in the house. Melissa goes to the shed, and through her powers, coaxes Jodie to dream a certain dream:
In it, Melissa is a young woman, in the 19th century. She is seated with her sister Lucinda and their parents reading a Bible, when some townspeople come carrying torches, and chanting 'burn the witch!'
The father goes out to see the villagers who claim that a plague has struck their village, but left the Strickland family without any problems. The villagers then say that this is due to Lucinda being a witch, and soon after drag her from the house and burn her on a pyre.
Melissa pleads for anyone to help her, when a strange wind is heard, and a voice asks Melissa if she will accept the Devil in exchange for the saving of her sister. Melissa agrees, and is able to put out the fire. She then lays curses upon the villagers who run off. Melissa is then seen untying her sister who has been badly burned.
Jodie then goes to the shed where he finds Melissa. Through discussion, Melissa explains that she sold her soul to the Devil in exchange for saving her sister's life. This resulted in her staying youthful-looking for 127 years, but due to the deal, Lucinda aged and goes through her violent attacks.
Even with everything he is told, Jodie still claims that he can't believe it all, but does love Melissa. Suddenly, Lucinda appears at the door, intending to kill Jodie. Melissa then causes her sister to catch fire, and she and Jodie escape from the shed before it burns to the ground.
The next day, Jodie is given the chance to leave. He promises Luther he will not tell what he saw, but still refuses to believe what Melissa said was true.
Jodie drives off a ways, but then has second thoughts, and turns back. Heading back to the pond and forested area, he finds Melissa waiting there. Jodie tells her that he still loves her, even if the Devil is inside her soul. They then make love, and Melissa tells Jodie that his love has set her free.
However, this comes with a price: having freed Melissa, she has now begun to age to what she really is, and will now die. Jodie then calls upon the Devil, and gives his soul for Melissa, returning her to her youthful form, and now sharing in the curse that has fallen over the Strickland family.
- Robert Easton, who played the leader of the angry mob in the flashback, had earlier appeared as a cantankerous redneck in The Giant Spider Invasion.
- Despite popular belief, the film was not directed by Tom Laughlin, who was often credited under the pseudonym Don Henderson. The director was actually Donald Henderson, who was credited as Don Henderson.
- Satan's "I am a friend and companion of the night..." speech is taken from Howard Phillips Lovecraft's short story "The Horror At Red Hook."
- On the opening title card and closing credits, the text has stock footage of flames matted into it.
- When Satan tempts a character, the corresponding actor's voice beckons them to join him.
- The film's Italian title was "L'Ossessa: i raccapriccianti delitti di Monroe Park", which translates as "The Obsession: The Horrific Crimes of Monroe Park." The film has no scenes set in Monroe Park.
- Members of the film's crew play the villagers who try to burn Lucinda.
- One of the film's alternate release titles was "Pitchfork."
Segment One: Mike finds a loophole in the song in that it doesn't specify the condition of the Wassail, but their antics are interrupted when they learn that Pearl has gone on vacation and hired Steffi the babysitter to look after things. She's not quite prepared for the strangeness and treats everybody like small children much to torment of Bobo and Brian.Segment Two: A very sweaty Mike learns that walnut ranching is harder than one would expect, while Tom has taken up pecan farming with much better results.
Segment Three: Yet again, Crow is influenced by the movie and believes he is a witch, a fact borne out of his ability to survive the test of being buried under rocks. Acting as a voice of reason, Mike points out his survival is due to his nature as a robot, but ends up making things worse when he suggests that Crow could just as easily be a frog.
Segment Four: Tom's Grandma attempts to pitchfork Mike. Tom points out that he can distinguish between his grandmothers by their desire to commit murder.
Closing (Segment Five): Crow believes that he has sold his soul to Satan and will soon gain unworldly powers, but Mike discovers a typo - Crow has instead sold his soul to "Stan", a CPA (or Certified Public Accountant). Down in Castle Forrester, Steffi attempts to read Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham, but Brian is a little overtired and Bobo still insists on being a bad dog.
Stinger: Melissa advises Jody that "This is where the fish lives".
- Like all the R-rated films shown on the show, it was edited for time and for content, including the scene where Lucinda stabs the policeman in the neck and the end sequence where "Grandma" goes partially topless.
- Mary Jo Pehl was absent from this episode as she was traveling to L.A. to shoot segments featuring film critic Leonard Maltin for the next episode of MST3K.
- “Stay!” (The Undead)
- Upon realizing the leader of the Angry Mob is played by the same actor who played the back brace-wearing Dan Kester in The Giant Spider Invasion, Servo lets out an enthusiastic, "You've been hittin' the BOOZE again!"
- During the opening credits, Mike puts Crow on "Clu Gulager alert", referencing the actor from Master Ninja I and San Francisco International.
- "Go Packers!" (The Giant Spider Invasion)
- Crow cracks a joke as the shack burns in the movie, and his mouth continues to move for a moment after he finishes talking.
Unusual Credits: The babysitter hits Bobo with a newspaper while he tries to explain he wasn't barking.
Quotes & References
- Grandma Kramer!
Kramer was a character on the TV show Seinfeld, who had a propensity for bursting in the door.
- "The Last Days of Edgar Winter"
Edgar Winter is a rock musician known for his pale complexion and long platinum-blond hair.
- "With Screwtape on kettle drum! Wormwood on harpsichord!"
Screwtape and Wormwood are two demonic beings from C.S. Lewis' novelette "The Screwtape Letters".
- "OK, Crow, I'm putting you on Clu Gulager alert."
Clu Gulager is an actor who appeared in several movies and TV shows, whose career reached its peak in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Mike's joke is derived from the film's dated look.
- "What do you get when you fall from grace? You only get cast into 'Perdition!'.'"
Tom is parodying 'I Will Never Fall in Love Again', a song composed by Burt Bacharach and covered by various artists like Dionne Warwick and Elvis Costello.
- "He forgot to give me my Roman Gabriel cocktail glass!"
Roman Gabriel was an NFL Quarterback from 1962-1977. He was famous for being the first Asian-American to start as a quarterback.
- "I'm gonna get out my guitar and practice 'Sister Golden Hair.'"
- "Wow, I'm the first one at the Rainbow Gathering!"
The Rainbow Gathering is a gathering of "hippies" in an outdoor environment. Sort of like Burning Man, only without the fees or desert environment.
- "Thank you Lurch!"
Mike is referring to the overture being played as being somewhat similar to the theme of The Addams Family. Lurch is the incredibly tall butler.
- "But the trees can't help their feeling, if they like the way they're made..."
Mike is misquoting the Rush song "The Trees".
- "Hello, Jody", "Or should I call you Buffy?"..."How's Uncle Bill?"
Crow is referencing to Buffy Davis and her custodial Uncle Bill, both characters from the '60s/'70s CBS TV sitcom Family Affair. Jody is also the name of Buffy's twin brother on the show.
- "You know, you're pretty?" "In a frumpy, Rhoda sort of way."
- "You like me too don't you?" "In a Ron Palillo sort of way, sure."
- Herbert von Karajan is upset
Reference to the popular conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic from 1955 to 1989.
- "Hey! Beelzebub! Kali! And Lucifer!"
Jody glances at three pictures hanging over his bed in which Crow names off three separate entities alluding to Satan. Beelzebub was originally a deity under the name Ba'al whose name meant "Lord of the Flies." Lucifer is another such deity with his name meaning "the morning star." Both names are used to describe The Devil. Kali on the other hand is separate from all this, as she is a Hindu deity representing death and destruction.
- "They've got a signed copy of the Necromonicon [sic]!"
- "Excuse me, I think I left a Sustacal back in the corner there."
Sustacal is a supplementary drink meant to help the elderly treat malnutrition.
- "She turned into Cecilia Bartoli."
Cecilia Bartoli is an Italian opera singer.
- "You know, if she had two of these, she'd be Melissa 'Two-Sheds' Strickland." "Aww, now she's Melissa 'No-Sheds' Strickland."
A reference to a skit from Monty Python's Flying Circus in which an interviewer obsesses over whether or not a famous composer nicknamed "Arthur 'Two-Sheds' Jackson" actually owns two sheds.
- "This is where the fish lives."
A non-sequitur spoken by Melissa while on her first "date" with Jody, repeated often for the duration of the episode.
- "I haven't understood anything since McKinley went down."
- She's going to buy a whole bunch of Proctor and Gamble products
P&G was the subject of an urban legend alleging promotion of Satanism.
- You been hittin' the booze?
- "Hold on, I'm getting a call from Margot Adler."
- "It's that witchcraft, wicked witchcraft."
A reference to a song made famous by Frank Sinatra called "Witchcraft".
- "She gives him 15.55 just so she can get 6.66 back in change!" "Hey! The odometer is all 6's!"
Referring to the 'Mark of the Beast' (666) which signals the coming of the antichrist. (AKA The Devil's return.)
- [A farmer is walking his cow into a barn.]
- Farmer: Mercy, if... if you'd come in like the rest of them...
- Servo: Mercy?
- Farmer: ...there wouldn't be all this… this chasing.
- Mike [as Mercy]: Yeah, milk me.
- [The farmer is repeatedly stabbed with a pitchfork.]
- Mike: The American Gothic people take revenge.
- . . .
- [Fade to table of people laughing]
- Crow: [as if one of them were telling the last scene like a story] And then he died!
- [all laugh]
- [A very ancient, wrinkled woman with long hair (Lucinda) barges through the kitchen door and falls to the floor.]
- Servo: Grandma Kramer!
- Mike: A kabuki actor's been hit!
- . . .
- Luther: What happened? What have you done?
- Servo [as Lucinda]: I stayed in the tanning booth for a whole decade!
- Servo: Emby Mellay? That's not a name, it's a bad Scrabble hand.
- [Jody chats with a gas station attendant, a small-town oddball cliché on two feet.]
- Attendant: That'll be six dollars, even.
- Crow [as Attendant]: Oh, and an extra dollar for the aliens in my head.
- . . .
- Attendant: See, the way I got it figured, this job was done by one of them fromokaidal maniacs, and we ain't got none of them around here.
- . . .
- Jody: Yeah, well, nobody needs a fromokaidal maniac hanging around.
- [Jody drives off.]
- Servo [as Attendant]: Is that right? I should check my dictionotomy.
- [Over a shot of the forest]
- Mike: [singing] But the trees can't hide their feelings if they like the way they're made...
- Crow: [stern] Mike, stop it now.
- Mike: ...Sorry.
- Jody: This your pond?
- [Lengthy pause]
- Crow [as Jody]: You can take your time, it's a tough question.
- Melissa: It belongs to my father.
- Jody: Oh, does your father mind if people skip rocks across his pond?
- Servo [as Melissa]: As long as you don't hit his favorite frog.
- [Another pause]
- Melissa: I don't think he's mentioned it before. That your car?
- Jody: Yeah.
- Servo [as Melissa]: Mind if I skip rocks across it?
- [Jody catches up to Melissa, who stares out over the creek.]
- Melissa: This is where the fish lives.
- [Mike and the Bots snicker loudly]
- Jody: Why did you run?
- Servo [as Melissa]: 'Cuz this is where the fish lives.
- Melissa: I felt like it. I really wanted to fly, but I couldn't do that, so I ran.
- [A pause.]
- Mike [as Jody]: You're kind of an idiot, aren't you?
- [Jody and Melissa draw together in a serious kiss.]
- Crow [as Jody]: This is where my tongue lives.
- [A police car passes the car Jody is driving]
- Mike [as Barney Fife]: I'm telling you, Andy, there was a demon in the car!
- [At the general store, Melissa's total comes to $8.89]
- Crow: She gives him $15.55 just so she can get $6.66 back in change.
- [In Jody's 19th-century dream, a mob of townspeople gathers with torches and pitchforks, chanting "Burn the witch!"]
- Mike [as townsfolk]: Oh, and "go Packers" too, but mostly burn the witch.
- . . .
- [Father Strickland is reading from the Bible (Job) to his family.]
- Strickland: "The wicked man travaileth with pain all his days..."
- Servo [as Strickland]: ...said Madeleine.
- Strickland: "...and the number of years is hidden to the oppressor..."
- Crow [as Strickland]: Tsch. Bunch of crap.
- Strickland: "A dreadful sound is in his ears."
- Mike [as Strickland]: It's Paula Cole, I think.
- Strickland: "In prosperity, the destroyer shall come upon him."
- [Strickland sees Lucinda fidgeting.]
- Strickland: What is it, child?
- Young Lucinda: I thought I heard something.
- Strickland: Pay attention to the word of God.
- Servo [as Strickland]: For He loves you, and He may KILL you if you don't.
- Strickland: "Yea..."
- Crow [as Strickland]: "...team!"
- Strickland: "...the light of the wicked shall be put out..."
- Mike [as Strickland]: "...by ten-thirty…"
- Strickland: "...and the spark of his fire shall not shine."
- Servo [as Daughter]: Just take the old-fashioned photo, Dad!
- . . .
- [The mob of townspeople approaches the house, still chanting "Burn the witch!"]
- Mrs. Strickland: What is it, David?
- Crow: It's people saying "Burn the witch". Are you deaf?
- Young Melissa: Papa, what is it?
- Crow: [irritated] People saying "Burn the witch"! Do you have any deductive powers at all?
- [Townspeople are singing "Amazing Grace", the second time it's been used in the film.]
- Servo: [singing along] "This song is in/ the public domain/ that's why we used it twice."
- [Lucinda has just murdered a police officer with a hay hook, while Melissa tries to comfort her.]
- Servo [as Lucinda]: I meant to ask him in for pie; I don't know what happened!
- Commercially released on VHS by BBI in November 2001.
- Commercially released on DVD by Rhino Entertainment in March 2004 as part of The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Volume 5, a 4-DVD set with Boggy Creek II: And the Legend Continues…, Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders and Time Chasers. The DVD features an introduction with Michael J. Nelson recorded especially for this release and a trailer for the original film.
- The episode was released as a DVD single in 2011 on the MST3K website.
|preceded by: Season 8||MST3K Season 9||followed by: Season 10|
|901||The Projected Man||1998-03-14||906||The Space Children||1998-06-13||911||Devil Fish||1998-08-15|
|902||The Phantom Planet||1998-03-21||907||Hobgoblins||1998-06-27||912||The Screaming Skull||1998-08-29|
|903||The Pumaman||1998-04-04||908||The Touch of Satan||1998-07-11||913||Quest of the Delta Knights||1998-09-26|
|905||The Deadly Bees||1998-05-09||910||The Final Sacrifice||1998-07-25|