Following on from Island of Terror (1966) by Plant Film Productions is the science fiction film Night of the Big Heat (1967). This time we have both Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee present. So time for my Night Of The Big Heat Blu-ray review.
- Night of The Big Heat (1967)
- Genre: Sci-Fi Horror
- Directed By Terence Fisher
- Written By Based on the novel by John Lymington
- Music By Malcolm Lockyer
- Cinematography By Reg Wyer
- Released By Odeon Entertainment
- Starring Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Patrick Allen, Sarah Lawson, Jane Merrow
Set on a remote Scottish island during winter, the mainland is experiencing freezing temperatures so you might think the islanders would be having the same weather. Not so for some unexplained reason the island is actually suffering from a heat wave.
The hub of the community is the local pub, the Swan run by Jeff Callum (Patrick Allen), who is also a famous writer and his wife Frankie (Sarah Lawson).
In fact Jeff’s has a new secretary, Angela Roberts (Jane Merrow) who has just arrived on the island. He is not however pleased to see her. The two had an affair back on the mainland and Jeff left to come to the island to save his marriage and career. There is plenty of tension between them.
With the heat increasing tempers are becoming short.
Godfrey Hanson (Christopher Lee) is a scientist staying at the Swann and is on the island investigating the strange weather phenomena. He has been conducting experiments to and shed some light on recent events.
Another regular at the Swann is the local doctor Dr Vernon Stone (Peter Cushing).
Strange events soon begin occurring such as interference on both the phone lines and television which leave the islanders essentially cut off from help on the mainland.
A mysterious whining whirling sound is often heard usually followed be a death. How do the victims die? They are burnt to death. With heat intensifying the tension increases who or what is responsible for these strange events.
No one is seen during the murders but a strange sound is heard.
Hanson thinks he knows who is responsible but his theory looks to the stars…
Style / Direction
Directed by Terence Fisher whom directed several Hammer films, he does a good job with a limited plot and probably budget. This film is more about building the tension with the heat and the strained relationships involving a love triangle. This is where the film concentrates its focus, with the hostile forces largely unseen for most of the film this works well.
Set entirely on the island it does a good job of emphasizing the remoteness of the islander’s situation.
Music / Audio Effects
The sound effects play a crucial role in this film as you don’t see anything in terms of hostile forces, creatures etc.. until right near the end.
It does a very good job and really does ramp up the stress and strain of the locals.
The music is also ok complementing well the sound effects.
Acting / Characters
With very little special effects early on the success of the film rests largely on the cast.
Adding Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing to that cast takes this from a film you may pass over watching into one you will want to see.
Patrick Allen is the main character in many ways playing the owner of the pub as well as being a successful writer. He plays this very well as do both Sarah Lawson and Jane Merrow.
Jane Merrow plays Jeff’s former lover and seems out to wreck his marriage. She does a good job of portraying a woman who will do whatever it takes to achieve her goal. Playing games with Frankie is just one of her ways.
But back to Christopher Lee, as the film develops so does his involvement and for me this is where my enjoyment really begins.
Having just watch Island of Terror starring Peter Cushing made by Planet Film Production, as is this one, I can only conclude they don’t like Peter Cushing very much as his character suffers in both pictures.(Joke)
Oh and keep an eye out for actor Kenneth Cope playing mechanic Tinker Mason. Well know for many British films and television series. I had a smile on my face when he is talking to Patrick Allen’s character and saying, “Jeff the televisions not working”. The reason being Kenneth Cope played a ghost in the TV series Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) and his partner played by Mike Pratt was called Jeff.
I know something and nothing but it made me laugh as I simply loved watching Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)!
Conclusion: Night of The Big Heat (1967) Film Review
Worth watching because of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, but the rest of the cast do a good job too. It’s a film that makes the most of the resources they had to play with.
It’s I decent science fiction horror brought up a notch or two by inspired casting.
There really is something great about these British sci-fi horror films from the 1960’s the feeling they evoke. Top stuff.
Looking for more classic sci-fi or horror films then take a look at these:
- Night of the Demon (1957)
- The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)
- The Two Faces of Dr Jekyll (1960)
- Island of Terror (1966)
- Horror Express (1972)
Conclusion: Night of The Big Heat Blu-ray Review
So an entertaining enough watch, but what is the Blu-ray version like. It must have great picture quality right? No, I’m sorry to say it doesn’t.
Where to start, well for starters it has plenty of speckles and flickers of dirt constantly appearing throughout the film. The print looks like without too much work it could look great.
However I’m not sure any real work has been carried out. Like Island of Terror this film has been released by Odeon Entertainment and both suffer the same problems.
I know these may not be the best known films and maybe sales would be more of a slow burner but I do think if you are going to release films on Blu-ray you should do a better job of cleaning up the picture quality. Of course I would love a full restoration but with tools available today they could have and should have reduced the amount of speckles of dirt and flickers present in this Blu-ray.
What makes it worse is that both films still cost between £17-18 (as of time of review). For this price I expect a fully restored or massively improved version.
Put simply Night of the Big Heat needs to be revisited by Odeon Entertainment or another company with the rights and cleaned up to a more acceptable standard.
Will it happen? Probably not anytime soon but with more companies entering the Blu-ray releasing market who knows.
- Interview with Sir Christopher Lee (20 mins)
- Original Trailer
- Image Gallery
On to my movie rating for Night of the Big Heat (1967)
- Movie Rating: WELL WORTH WATCHING
- Blu-ray Rating: POOR
Night of the Big Heat (1967) is available now on Blu-ray.
For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster with trailer…
Trailer not representative of the Blu-ray release.
If you enjoyed my Night of The Big Heat Blu-ray Review then see check soon for more sci-fi classics.
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Summary: Night of The Big Heat (1967) Blu-ray Review
Movie title: Night of The Big Heat (1967)
Movie description: A remote Scottish island suffers a heat wave during winter
Duration: 90 mins
Director(s): Terence Fisher
Actor(s): Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Patrick Allen, Sarah Lawson, Jane Merrow
Genre: Sci-fi, Horror
- Movie Rating
- Blu-ray Rating
A good sc-fi horror with top actors, Christopher Lee & Peter Cushing, let down only by a poor quality Blu-ray release.