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Author Topic: Reader Review: Night of the Big Heat  (Read 3239 times)
Kooshmeister
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« on: December 09, 2006, 04:21:10 AM »

Name of the Movie: Night of the Big Heat (Island of the Burning Doomed)
Rated: Unrated
How you rate this movie: 4 slimes
Copyright Company and Date: 1967 Planet Film Productions
Your email: kooshmeister3@yahoo.com

Characters:
Dr. Godfrey Hanson - Christopher Lee! Secretive, anti-social jerk scientist with Buddy Holly glasses trying to stop the alien invasion. Fried by the aliens close to the end.
Jeff Callum - Patrick Allen! Struggling author who owns the Swan, an inn and tavern on Fara Island. Has to save both his marriage and the entire island when ex-girlfriend and aliens show up.
Frankie Callum - Jeff's rather homely wife who he loves dearly despite occasionally cheating on her.
Angela Roberts - The slutty homewrecker to end all slutty homewreckers, an old flame of Jeff's comin' back for more.
Dr. Vernon Stone - Peter Cushing! The village doctor and a regular at the Swan. Fried by the aliens.
Tinker Mason - Twitchy mechanic and regular at the Swan who goes insane, rapes Angela, then gets fried.
Bob and Stella Hayward - An older married couple who are friends of the Callums. He's blown up in an exploding car, she and the dog get fried.
Ken Stanley and Gerald Foster - The guy in charge of the island's radar outpost and his survivally-challenged assistant. Gerald gets blown up with dynamite.
The Aliens - A bunch of glowing blobs of protoplasm who eat car batteries and fry people with sudden bursts of heat. Melted by rainwater at the end.

Lessons Learned:
Intense heat can turn people into homicidal maniacs, mess with phone and television reception, and make beer bottles explode.
TV signals work the same as transporters on the Enterprise.
M. Night Shamalayan saw this movie.
Radar outposts keep dynamite handy.
Christopher Lee is a badass even in Buddy Holly glasses.

Stuff To Watch For:
07 minutes - Hey, it's the cave from Island of Terror!
13 minutes - Bob almost becomes roadkill.
48 minutes - Looks like somebody put Pop Rocks into the beer bottles.
52 minutes - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST PATRICK ALLEN!
1 hour 13 minutes - Didn't this guy already get killed?
1 hour 16 minutes - Technobabble!
1 hour 23 minutes - The dynamite didn't work and yet he's going back for it?
1 hour 26 minutes - Godfrey dies Dracula-style.
1 hour 29 minutes - Water kills the aliens!

Notable Quotes:

Jeff: If Frankie gets to know about us, I promise you I'll break your little neck.

Godfrey: You must be aware of the fact that increasingly we've been sending out high-frequency impulses to explore space.
Ken: Bouncing signals off stars, that sort of thing.
Godfrey: Exactly. Now, to us, these impulses are useful but they're quite harmless, aren't they? But to these beings, they represent a lifeforce.

Godfrey: These beings are composed of high-frequency impulses in heat form. They transfer from one place to another like any form of high frequency does. In fact, they've transmitted onto this planet like a television signal does.

The Plot:

Fara Island is experiencing a stifling and inexplicable midwinter heatwave. Visiting scientist Dr. Godfrey Hanson is staying at the local inn and pub known as the Swan, and he's earned a reputation for being a weirdo due to either being in his room or out doing who-knows-what around the island. That, and his horribly antisocial attitude. Frankly, he's a colossal jerk. When we're first introduced to Godfrey, he's setting up a camera in the woods and rigging it to go off when something hits a nearby tripwire. He finishes his work and returns to the inn, unaware that he's being watched by an old bum. The tramp goes about his business only to be attacked by something in the cave he lives in, something which makes a weird whirring sound and turns the screen white.

Meanwhile, Angela Roberts arrives from the mainland, sent by Jeff Callum's publisher to be his new secretary. At least, this is what she tells Jeff's wife Frankie, who tends the bar at the Swan. Her car stalls out in the heat and she is assisted by local mechanic Tinker Mason, who helps repair her convertible before driving on to the Swan for a drink. In short order we're introduced to the Swan's other regulars: town doctor Vernon Stone and Jeff's friend Bob Hayward, the latter of whom heads home not long after Angela's arrival. Jeff almost runs Bob over on the road because Bob stopped to listen to a strange whirring sound coming from the woods, but Bob just shrugs it off as one beer too many. Jeff is unaware of Angela being on the island just yet, since he's been on the mainland picking a package for Godfrey Hanson, which turns out to contain infra-red photography equipment, but as soon as he learns his new secretary is Angela Roberts, he is furious and tracks her down at the beach where she's taking advantage of the heatwave to go swimming.

Here we learn that while the Callums were living on the mainland, Jeff had a fling with Angela. She wants to rekindle their relationship, but Jeff isn't interested. He tells her to leave the island but she threatens to tell Frankie about them. Jeff allows her stay, just as long as she keeps her mouth shut. Meanwhile more trouble is brewing. First, Tinker Mason arrives at the Swan with farmer Ben Siddle who is ranting about his sheep being killed. Godfrey investigates and discovers that the animals have all been burned to death. Back at the Swan, Tinker complains that the TV isn't working, and Jeff can only get static on it. Not long after this, Bob, at home with his wife Stella, can't get his TV to work either. It does the Swan's TV one better and explodes, and while driving into town to buy a new one Bob encounters an unseen creature which causes him to crash his car. The unseen menace then also makes the vehicle blow up, killing Bob.

Angela is a real tart and starts dropping hints to Frankie that Jeff has had his eye on her, which severely p**ses Frankie off. Jeff, proving to be a weak-willed doofus, gives in and kisses Angela and Frankie sees them. Uh-oh. He ultimately learns that she knows, and tells her that he only wanted Angela physically: his true love lies with Frankie. It's typical soap opera stuff. Anyway, during one of these tiresome spiels Frankie says she saw something glowing outside. She, Jeff and Angela go out to take a look and see Godfrey returning from collecting the film from one of his cameras. Jeff finally bursts into Hanson's room and demands answers from the scientist.

Godfrey caves and tells Jeff that Fara Island is under attack from evil aliens from outer space who are intentionally heating up the island to make it more suitable for themselves, and who generate enough body heat to burn alive any living creature that gets too close to them. This is what happens to Tinker when for some reason he goes totally apes**t, attempts to rape Angela, and then runs off and gets attacked by one of the still unseen creatures in his garage. By the time Jeff and Godfrey reach the garage the alien has left, but Godfrey notices a big tank of propane has been inexplicably burst open and drained, which leads him to the conclusion the aliens are consuming energy to survive.

Jeff and Godfrey meet with Dr. Stone at the Swan, and they decide that they must warn the mainland about the aliens. Stone volunteers to drive up to the island's radar outpost. He takes his car, keeping in touch with Jeff, Godfrey and the women back at the Swan via a walkie-talkie. Halfway there the vehicle overheats and dies, forcing him to walk. He doesn't get very far before an alien waylays him, and Stone dies an agonizing death. Godfrey makes a run at it next, and despite a detour where he witnesses Stella Hayward also get killed by one of the aliens, he manages to make it to the radar station. Unfortunately the aliens have gotten there before him and now all the radio equipment has been destroyed. In the process they also killed the operator. Thankfully, this is the final time the aliens will kill someone without us not getting to see them.

Godfrey arrives at the radar station and meets with the man in charge, Ken Stanley. Ken and his obviously doomed assistant Gerald Foster listen to Godfrey's crap explanation about how the aliens got here (see the quotes), then agree to help him destroy them. They cannot contact the mainland, but Godfrey is the man with the plan, and has Ken and Gerald break out a buttload of dynamite that they have on hand for some reason, before summong Jeff, Frankie and Angela up to the outpost. Godfrey's plan to deal with the aliens is fairly simple: throw dynamite at them. Unfortunately, this fails miserably and both he and Gerald are killed. Helpless, Jeff, Frankie, Angela and Ken had better come up with a backup plan real quick, or else they too will die.

Based on the novel of the same name by John Lymington and made by the same group who did the previous year's Island of Terror, Night of the Big Heat is an adequete science fiction film but not much else, very similar to The Day the Earth Caught Fire, except with aliens. Christopher Lee is terrific as always and it's nice to see him playing a good guy for once, albeit one who is a jerk. Poor Peter Cushing, though, is wasted in a thankless minor role that amounts to nothing. The soap opera style love triangle between Jeff, Frankie and Angela is tiresome as all get-out, and it's obvious that, as in so many of these types of films, it only exists to pad out the running time to make up for the fact the props used to represent the aliens suck and could only be used for the last few minutes of the movie.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2006, 04:22:58 AM by Kooshmeister » Logged
Andrew
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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2006, 02:37:03 AM »

Another good review.  (To everyone else: this should be the same gent who did the review for "Island of Terror.")

I really need to find this one, because it has been stuck in the craw of my "hunt down these movies" list for a while.  The idea of chucking dynamite at the creatures is not all bad.  Also, on the surface, the reason why that might not harm them is pretty easy to understand.  How are you going to hurt something based on a waveform with dynamite?

Sounds like "Island of Terror" is the better-known and better-overall film for good reasons, but this one is worth a look too.
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Andrew Borntreger
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Kooshmeister
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« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2006, 05:28:51 AM »

Another good review.

Thanks! I plan on doing more in the future. The more obscure the movie, the better. :)
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Kooshmeister
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« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2006, 05:43:25 AM »

Oh, and as I did over on Island of Terror's comments thread, here's some tidbits about a few of the more recognizable cast members:

Gerald Foster is played by Percy Herbert, who I'm sure some people will recognize as Pencroft in Mysterious Island.

The old bum who ends up as victim number one is played by Sydney Bromley, who seems to have made a career out of playing characters like this. He played Hodge, the loyal-but-doomed elderly manservant in Dragonslayer, and also had a bit part as a guy named Alf in An American Werewolf in London.
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Doc Daneeka
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« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2006, 04:09:03 PM »

Welcome to the forum Nerfmeister!
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BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2006, 09:54:03 AM »

What Andrew says. Here again is a film I'd like to see, if only because I've seen "Island of Terror," where dynamite is also chucked at the invaders. Apparently, the dynamite chucking is as effective in this film, as it was in "Island of Terror."

While both Cushing and Lee, have made any number of movies together, and both of them have any number of on screen deaths, as far as I know, this is the only film in which they both die in the same film.

And it is interesting how many horror films set in the U.K. and the U.S. are set on islands. Maybe because of the isolation such islands provide.
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