NIGHT OF THE BIG HEAT
ISLAND OF THE BURNING DAMNED; ISLAND OF THE BURNING DOOMED
Each of Terence Fishers Planet Films trilogy centres around a small group of people, gathered in an isolated locale having to fend off an alien invasion. All of these films are nondescript. Terence Fisher, whose exemplary work for Hammer had earned him a cult reputation, failed to translate the vividity and floridness of his Gothic period work into a contemporary locale. He simply fails to conjure the necessary paranoid atmosphere that alien invasion films require these films feel as though Fisher had little interest in making them. The scenes of people being attacked by bright lights here are not terribly threatening and when the aliens are finally revealed they seem too ridiculous and slow moving to be of menace to anybody. The science is nonsense Christopher Lee talks about aliens having higher body temperatures than anything that can be produced on Earth, which would mean that they would have to be producing heat on the order of nuclear explosions.
Oddly enough, it is the people in the film that are more interesting than the alien menace. Christopher Lee gives a typical but effectively haughty and arrogant performance. Peter Cushing has a minor role as the islands doctor. The most interesting is the Angela character (played by Jane Merrow) who minces through the film with a series of heated seductions and tauntings, her wanton sexuality making an interesting symbolic counterpoint to the heat being provided from without by the aliens.
Terence Fishers other genre films are: the sf films The Four-Sided Triangle (1953) and Spaceways (1953), The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Dracula/The Horror of Dracula (1958), The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959), The Mummy (1959), The Stranglers of Bombay (1959), The Brides of Dracula (1960), The Two Faces of Dr Jekyll (1960), The Curse of the Werewolf (1961), The Phantom of the Opera (1962), The Gorgon (1964), The Horror of It All (1964), Dracula Prince of Darkness (1966), Frankenstein Created Woman (1967), The Devil Rides Out/The Devils Bride (1968), Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969) and Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1973).