Friday, September 7, 2012

MST3K: Episode 908 - The Touch of Satan

I'm watching all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes in order. More about that here and here.

Episode 908: The Touch of Satan

First aired: Sci-Fi Channel on 11 July 1998
Availability: iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Amazon DVD (Solo), Amazon DVD (Volume 5/out of print), Rhino (Volume 5/out of print), Shout (Solo DVD), Best Brains (Solo DVD)

Just one touch...
There are some episodes of MST3K that are a cut above the rest. There are lots of good episodes, but every now and then, one sets itself apart from the others.

This is one of those episodes.

Some lines from the movies M&tB (and J&tB) did can be repeated and even casual fans of the show know that episode. This is the episode that contains the line, "This is where the fish lives."

If you don't understand the line, that's okay. Nobody does. The only meaning it has for me is the MST3K episode featuring the film, The Touch of Satan ... but that's enough for me.

"This is where the fish lives."
I've seen this episode a lot. It aired 11 times over 9 weekends from 1998 to 2003. It's one of those where I must have seen nearly every showing. And, I didn't mind seeing it again.

First time I saw it, I loved it. Some episodes have to grow on you. Some never do. This one? Fell in love with it from the get-go.

What's not to love about this episode?

The acting? Well, it's not bad. The dialog? Well, there are a lot of pauses. And a few silly lines, like the aforementioned, "This is where the fish lives." Special effects? Not too bad, actually. The scene where after the girl was partially-burned as a witch, and parts of her skin was still smoking? Yeah, it worked. The editing of many of the scenes, such as the murder and the burning of the girl, is well done. As is the girl. Okay, that was uncalled for.

"Burn the witch!"
The flaws really go to the writing, including, but not limited to, the idea of a walnut ranch. I'm wondering how much grazing those walnuts do. And the roundup must be a sight to behold.

So, there's a mixture of good and bad. Overall, the movie is on the bad movie end of the spectrum, but it's watchably bad. It's more watchable than bad. And that's something usually reserved for 1950s sci-fi flicks, not 1970s horror films, in my opinion.

Crazy old Lucinda kills people, but her family protects her, and then a drifter stops by and stays for a few days, falling in love with Melissa, who turns out to be a witch, which all the townspeople know about, because she's 127 years old and looks a lot younger, but Jodie the drifter falls in love with her, but when he finds out about crazy old Lucinda killing a deputy, he kinda freaks, then Melissa tells him about the townspeople burning Lucinda as a witch all those years ago so she sold her soul to Satan in order to save Lucinda, but now she falls in love and they get it on in the grass near the lake where the fish lives, only this causes Melissa to turn old and start to die, so Jodie sells his soul to Satan and they are damned happily ever after. The end.

Steffi and Observer.
The riffing is fantastic. They were firing on all cylinders for this one. And, the Host Segments are memorable. This is the one where Pearl is absent -- I don't know why Mary Jo Pehl didn't appear in this episode, unless we find out next episode -- and a babysitter, Steffi (staff member Beez McKeever) is in charge. This doesn't sit well with Observer, who she calls "Brian" instead of "Brain Guy," and Bobo, who she treats as a dog.

A couple of the Host Segments are directly related to the movie: Crow thinks he's a witch, and Servo's grandma attacks Mike with a pitchfork. Oh, yeah, Crow sells his soul to Stan.

One of the best episodes of MST3K.



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