While mainland Britain shivers in sub-zero temperatures in the depth of winter, the small northern island of Fara bakes in the nineties and beyond in an inexplicable heat wave.
The boys at the local meteorological station have no more idea what is going on than the regulars at The Swan Inn, where publican Jeff Callum (Patrick Allen), his wife Frankie (Allen’s real-life wife Sarah Lawson) and Dr Vernon Stone (Peter Cushing) sit around trying to figure out why it’s so hot on the island but not on the mainland.
Only the mysterious and stand-offish visiting scientist Godfrey Hanson (Christopher Lee) suspects aliens are to blame, altering the Earth’s climate to suit their own needs.
Meanwhile, Angela Roberts (Jane Merrow) arrives to work as the new secretary to Callum (a best-selling author who is about to start work on a new novel) and raises the temperature in her own way. She and Callum had been lovers in the past, although he reassures his wife that Angela was just a “slut” whose body he wanted, and he never felt any love or affection for her.
Local sheep farmer Ben Siddle (Jack Bligh) stumbles into the pub and mumbles something about his sheep being dead. Hanson is very interested and goes to investigate. He finds the dead sheep whose corpses are badly burned and takes samples.
When he returns to the Swan, he learns that Frankie has seen something come down out of the sky and land behind the hill.
Locals are found incinerated after hearing a high-pitched sound, and as the temperature continues to rise, all the bottles at the Swan explode. After trying to rape Angela (a scene which earned the film an ‘x’ certificate), Tinker Mason (Kenneth Cope) also falls foul of the aliens.
Night of the Big Heat is let down in the closing stages by the hugely inferior and disappointing aliens (essentially just slow-moving gelatinous blobs), and the cop-out ending which sees the aliens destroyed not by dynamite but by Mother Nature and an unexpected bout of rain!
Filmed on location in Dorset in a freezing February (with the cast doused in glycerin to simulate sweat), this low-budget affair was one of only three films released by Planet Film Productions. The film was released in some markets as Island of the Burning Damned.
It’s cheap and cheerful fun.
Dr Vernon Stone