The Evil Touch + talk
The Evil Touch was an Australian 26-episode anthology series of horror and suspense stories. Each self-contained episode delves into tales of murder, science-fiction and the supernatural, bookended by host Anthony Quayle’s cryptic musings.
Crime writer and pulp scholar Andrew Nette joins us to examine the origins, making and reception of The Evil Touch, as we showcase the first episode to screen in Australia, The Obituary (starring Leslie Nielsen) and the series’ most innovative episode, Kadaitcha Country.
The Obituary: Former pilot Willie Tremaine (Leslie Nielsen), the sole survivor of the airliner he was flying, is visited by reporter Pettit (John Morris), who alleged in print that Tremaine was drunk at the controls of the plane. Pettit brings with him an obituary of Tremaine and his wife's deaths, dated that day. Tremaine becomes frantic, fearing the reporter is there to harm him and his family.
Kadaitcha Country: Reverend Vincent (Leif Erickson) arrives at a missionary outpost in remote Australia only to discover everyone missing. Following a series of inexplicable events, he's told that it's the work of a Kadaitcha, an Aboriginal spirit man, who's trying to take his soul.
Please note: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that Kadaitcha Country may contain names, images and audio of deceased persons. Some of the content may also cause some distress. The NFSA would like to acknowledge the contribution of the Lardil People of Mornington Island to the making of this film. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.
Andrew Nette is a crime writer, pulp scholar and researcher with an interest in the history of popular fiction and screen culture.
He was a co-recipient of the 2015 Australian Film Institute Research Fellowship, examining depictions of crime and policing in early Australian television crime drama.
He has written on film for a wide range of publications and organisations, including The Los Angeles Review of Books, Sight and Sound, the British Film Institute and Australian Centre for the Moving Image. He is currently completing a PhD on the history of pulp paperback publishing in Australia.
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