‘Night Of The Big Heat’ was known as ‘Island Of The Burning Damned’ in the USA, a ridiculously hyperbolic title for what is, unfortunately, a terribly tedious film.
Set on the remote Orkney Isle of Fara (actually uninhabited since the sixties), the premise is quite intriguing: the island is experiencing an incredible heat wave which has put all the phones out of order, killed all the sheep and left all the men with enormous sweat patches. That sort of weather is unusual enough for Scotland, of course, but it’s absolutely unheard of in November.
Stupefied from the heat, the villagers mainly gather around the local pub and bicker with each other. Peter Cushing is there, inexplicably wearing a jacket that looks like it’s just had a bucket of water thrown over (take it off, Peter, just take it off). Visiting rude twat scientist Christopher Lee is up to something strange, but is too rude and twattish to let the islanders in on it. The pub landlord (Patrick Allen, always good value) is also a writer, and his life is complicated by the arrival of his ex-lover, who is posing as his secretary and spends most of her time exposing parts of herself to him. As if it wasn’t bloody hot enough. It doesn't sound a lot on paper, but I had high hopes for it.
From here on in, however, the film very, very, very slowly degenerates into something extremely dull indeed. There are half a dozen deaths and, ultimately, a dynamite attack on an extraterrestial race who resemble rocks with lights in them but it’s all done at such a draggy pace that even the supposedly exciting climax is like watching the proverbial pigment grow parched. In the end, it starts to rain and the hot rocks, having travelled thousands of light years to take over our world, are killed by it. Yes, that’s right, aliens who can be killed by rain decided to start their invasion of Earth in Scotland. Idiots.