Night of the Big Heat (1967 film)

Night of the Big Heat

Italian theatrical poster
Directed by Terence Fisher
Produced by Tom Blakeley
Ronald Liles
Written by Jane Baker
Pip Baker
Ronald Liles
Based on novel Night of the Big Heat by John Lymington
Starring Christopher Lee
Patrick Allen
Peter Cushing
Sarah Lawson
Music by Malcolm Lockyer
Cinematography Reginald H. Wyer
Edited by Rod Nelson-Keys
Planet Film Productions
Distributed by Planet Film Distributors
Release dates
May 1967 (UK)
1971 (USA)
Running time
94 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office 509,439 admissions (France)[1]

Night of the Big Heat is a 1967 British science fiction horror film released by Planet Film Productions. Based on the 1959 novel of the same name by John Lymington, the film was directed by Terence Fisher, and starred Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and Jane Merrow.

The film was released theatrically in the United States in the winter of 1971 by Maron Films as Island of the Burning Damned where it was paired up on a nationwide double bill with Godzilla's Revenge, but the poster art confused it with "Island Of Terror" from 1966 which only starred Peter Cushing. The title was changed years later to "Island Of The Burning Doomed" for US television.


Jeff and Frankie Callum run the Swan, an inn and tavern on the remote Scottish island of Fara. Jeff, a novelist in his spare time, hires a secretary named Angela Roberts. Unknown to Frankie, Jeff and Angela are former lovers.

The Callums moved to Fara Island so that Jeff could escape Angela's amorous advances (although as far as Frankie knows, it was to escape the tedium of city life on the mainland). Angela wants to resume her fling with Jeff, despite Jeff wanting nothing to do with her.

Not helping matters much is the fact that despite the fact it's the middle of November, Fara Island is experiencing a stifling and inexplicable heat wave, with temperatures in the 90s and rising daily. It has become so hot that cars stall, beer bottles shatter, televisions explode, and telephones have ceased to work.

Into this tense situation comes Dr. Godfrey Hanson, a mysterious scientist from the mainland who rents a room at the Swan. Hanson spends his time exploring the island, setting up motion-sensitive cameras and taking soil samples.

The locals, including the Callums, find this suspicious, especially since quite a lot more is going on Fara than just the heat and Hanson's snooping.

A homeless man is burned to death in a cave by something emitting a high-pitched whirring sound. Later, farmer Ben Siddle claims his sheep are all dead. Hanson examines the dead sheep and finds their corpses are badly burnt.

Swan regular Bob Hayward, is attacked by something on the road while driving into town. He crashes after being blinded by a bright light, which also creates enough heat to ignite the car's petrol tank.

Jeff finally corners Hanson and demands answers from him. According to the scientist, Fara Island is the site of an invasion by extraterrestrials, whose high body heat burns any living creature that gets too close to them. Jeff and Hanson attempt to stop the aliens with the help of local physician Dr. Vernon Stone.

Stone tries to get to Fara's radar station so he can alert the mainland of the invasion, but is waylaid by the aliens and killed. Hanson tries to makes it next, but witnesses the death of Stella Hayward, Bob's wife, and realises the aliens are attracted to light. At the radar station, he learns that the aliens already destroyed all their communications equipment, making it impossible to call for help.

Quickly formulating a plan, Hanson summons Jeff, Frankie and Angela up to the radar station. He and Foster will set fire to bales of hay in a field, attracting the aliens. The others will lob dynamite into the field, hopefully destroying the aliens.

This plan fails. Foster is killed. Surrounded by the deadly aliens, the situation looks hopeless. Lightning is flashing, thunder is heard, and it begins to rain. The rain brings death to the aliens.


Maron Films theatrical poster for the 1971 U.S double bill release of Island of the Burning Damned and Godzilla's Revenge.
Actor/Actress Role
Christopher Lee Dr. Godfrey Hanson
Patrick Allen Jeff Callum
Peter Cushing Dr. Vernon Stone
Sarah Lawson Frankie Callum
Jane Merrow Angela Roberts
William Lucas Ken Stanley
Kenneth Cope Tinker Mason
Percy Herbert Gerald Foster
Thomas Heathcote Bob Hayward
Anna Turner Stella Hayward
Jack Bligh Ben Siddle
Sydney Bromley Old Tramp


The film is based on a novel which had been adapted for television by ITV in 1960. It was intended to use the TV script with some embellishing, but investors required several changes and a number of writers had to work on it. Filming took place at Pinewood Studios.[2]


  1. Box office information for Terence Fisher films in France at Box office Story
  2. John Hamilton, The British Independent Horror Film 1951-70 Hemlock Books 2013 p 162-166
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