The 1970s Witchcraft Horror Romance Is A Secret Of The Era, Stream Now

By Brian Myers | Published

the touch of satan

The popularity of the occult that began in the mid-1960s made its way into cinema quickly, with dozens of films either making witchcraft a sinister plot point or one that elevated women. Romero’s Season of the Witch, Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, and Orson Welles’ The Witching were all a part of the phenomenon to varying degrees of success. But one entry, The Touch of Satan, was able to combine the supernatural terror associated with witchy folklore by way of a romantic angle and create one of the most memorable witchcraft films of the era.

The Set Up

The Touch of Satan (also known as The Touch of Melissa) opens with a farmer working late in the day in his barn. As he tends to his cow, someone emerges from the shadows and stabs him to death with a pitchfork. As his killer is leaving, a lantern is knocked over onto a pile of hay and starts a fire.

Moments later, a nearby family is gathered around the kitchen table when an elderly woman bursts into the room, covered in the farmer’s blood. It becomes apparent that this isn’t the first time the woman has killed someone, and that the family has been forced to cover up for their murderous relative.


the touch of satan

The Touch of Satan follows Jodie, a man on a cross-country road trip. He stops along his route to fill up his car and is told of the farmer’s murder the night before.

Though warned that there is a maniac on the loose in the county, Jamie decides to stay and have his lunch at a nearby pond where he meets Melissa. The two become quickly infatuated with each other and she brings him home to meet her family.

The family she introduces Jodie to in The Touch of Satan is the same one that dealt with their murderous elderly relative the night before.

Melissa tells Jodie she lives on the farm with her parents and her great-grandmother, but there are some subtle clues that Melissa is not being completely forthright with her new suitor about her family.

Melissa Tells The Truth

Melissa eventually comes clean with Jodie and confides in him that she is a 127-year-old witch that has retained her youth as a result of a bargain with the Devil.

More than 100 years before, her sister (the old woman she initially said was her grandmother) was burned at the stake for witchcraft. Distraught at the site of her sister being burned alive, Melissa offered her soul to the Devil to spare her life.

But The Touch of Satan had more in store for Melissa. She was granted eternal youth and the life of her sister in exchange for her soul but has been forced to watch her sister grow old. To make matters worse, the older her sister Lucinda gets, the crazier she becomes.

Not The Best, Not The Worst

The Touch of Satan puts Jodie in the strangest of situations. He falls in love with Melissa, who he now understands is a witch.

Their love is put to the ultimate test by Lucinda’s continued homicidal tendencies, the hostility of the locals, and a new bargain presented to Jodie by the Devil himself.

The Touch of Satan is every bit as much a low budget love story as it is a horror story about witchcraft. The dialogue is corny, but the storyline is one that keeps your interest all the way through.

The cast of unknown actors are mediocre at best, but still manage to deliver believable performances.

Stream It Now

the touch of satan


The film’s score gives the perfect overlay, transitioning the scenes from romantic to terrifying in a beat. It was composed by Robert O. Ragland, who also provided the score for the cult film Abby (the blacksploitation version of The Exorcist), among other horror entries.

The film’s ending is the perfect blend of fear and love, serving as a thought-provoking conclusion that wraps a creepy bow on the production.

All things considered, The Touch of Satan is able to incite mild terror without the gore, relying instead on its storytelling. Lucinda gives a particularly eerie presence to the movie, balancing out the love story between Jodie and Melissa.

You can stream The Touch of Satan for free with Roku and Pluto or rent it On Demand with Prime.