aka Island of the Burning Dead
aka Island of the Burning Doomed
Despite it being winter and the rest of Britain complaining about freezing
temperatures the British island of Fara suffers under a terrible heat wave.
Experts are baffled by the phenomenon.
The weather is only the start of the islanders’ problems, though, for there’s
much worse, much stranger and much more fried egg shaped to come. At first,
there’s only an inexplicable high-pitched noise in certain parts of the island
upping the pressure but soon, sheep and people are cooked while electronics
burst. And what does the mysterious guest of the island’s only inn, one Hanson
(Christopher Lee), do with the science-y instruments he has in his room, and the
tripwire and camera constructions he builds in the woods?
If your answer to that is: trying to find proof for an invasion by
heat-producing giant, glowing fried eggs from outer space, then give yourself a
gold star! Now the only question is: will you get through the film’s main
concern, a love triangle between writer/innkeeper Jeff Callum (Patrick Allen as
some sort of mid-60s John Agar-like manly man monstrosity who likes to blame the
woman he fucked for their extramarital affair with charming declarations like
“She was a slut! And I wanted her!”), his former lover Angela Roberts (Jane
Merrow) who has smuggled herself onto the island as Jeff’s new secretary and is
characterised in a way even a gracious interpretation can’t not call misogynist,
and his wife, the wifely – yes, that’s her only character trait – Frankie (Sarah
Lawson) to reach a finale where the aliens are beaten through a bit of rain,
which never happens on the British isles?
Oh boy, this just might be director Terence Fisher’s worst film. It was
produced by the same company responsible for the somewhat superior Island of
Terror with quite a few overlaps in cast and crew, with the addition of
Christopher Lee and the relegation of Peter Cushing to a guest starring role.
Which is rather unfortunate, seeing as Lee does the usual low effort thing he
did when cashing his cheque for projects he was embarrassed by – looking grumpy,
then looking grumpy, then looking grumpy some more – while Cushing doesn’t get
anything to work with at all and still comes out looking the dedicated
Though, to be fair, the script really doesn’t give Lee much to work with. It
is much more interested in a love soap opera sub-plot that is badly dated,
deeply unpleasant in his loathing of female sexuality and which can’t help but
make every character involved in it look like a deeply horrible person. Sure, a
better script could have used this approach to do something interesting about or
with its characters’ general unpleasantness; unfortunately, this one’s not even
average and therefore leaves us with a bunch of protagonists we have no reason
to care about.
Night also suffers from sluggish pacing (that at least fits the
whole heat wave concept, so there’s that), monsters that turn out to look like
downgraded versions of the creatures in Island of Terror when we
finally get a look at them in the last act, and the lamest deus ex machina
ending imaginable. It’s really a rather dire film.