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Island of the Burning Damned (1967) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • While mainland Britain shivers in deepest winter, the northern island of Fara bakes in the nineties. The boys at the Met station have no more idea what is going on than the regulars at the Swan. Only a stand-offish visting scientist suspects aliens are to blame. Meanwhile the new secretary to the local best-selling author is raising the temperature in her own way.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • ISLAND OF THE BURNING DAMNED

    aka ISLAND OF THE BURNING DOOMED

    aka NIGHT OF THE BIG HEAT



    Angela Roberts (Jane Merrow) is driving her sports car along a coastal road. At the same time, Godfrey Hanson (Christopher Lee) is checking cameras that are set to trigger with trip wires and a mirror. An old tramp (Sydney Bromley as Sidney Bromley) watches and comes to examine everything as soon as Hanson leaves.

    Angela gets a hot radiator and has to pull over. Tinker Mason (Kenneth Cope) in a van pulls up behind her and adds some anti-freeze to her radiator. He tells her the Swan Inn she is looking for is just down the road to the right. He leaves and she waits for the engine to cool. All at once she hears a high-pitched humming sound.

    The old tramp goes into his cave where he has been living, but is soon disturbed by a high-pitched humming sound. As it gets louder, something approaches him. He backs away and scrambles to get away from it as it gets closer to him.

    Angela is seen driving down the road. Hanson steps out onto the roadway just as she passes.

    Meanwhile at the Swan Inn, Dr. Vernon Stone (Peter Cushing) has been served an ale by Frankie Callum (Sarah Lawson). They listen as the weather forecast is given by a radio announcer. It is said that the temperature is unnaturally high for the island of Fara. They discuss how hot it is.

    Angela drives up to see Tinker and Bob Hayward (Thomas Heathcote as Tom Heathcote) sitting outside with drinks. They watch as she carries her suitcase inside.

    Angela asks for Jeff Callum (Patrick Allen) and is told he is away by his wife Frankie. Angela announces that she is Jeffs new secretary. Frankie offers to show her to her room, but Angela requests a drink. Dr. Stone introduces himself and says he will pay for the drink. Bob comes in, bringing the two beer mugs and asks for a refill. He is served one. Angela says she wants to finish her drink in her room. Frankie leads her upstairs to the room and places her suitcase on the bed. Opening the window, Frankie says how hot it is. She notices in Angelas suitcase a copy of Jeffs last novel. Angela says she thought she should read it since she will be working for him. In the bathroom she is observed putting perfume on her neck. Frankie tells her she will inform her husband when he returns.

    Hanson arrives and asks if Jeff has brought the parcel he is expecting. Frankie tells him he is not back yet. Hanson insists that Jeff deliver it to his room immediately when he gets back. After he goes to his room, Frankie and Dr. Stone discuss how rude Hanson is. Frankie talks about how mysterious Hanson is, going out each day, setting up cameras and staying in his room the rest of the time. Stone suggests it sounds like material for one of Jeffs novels.

    Jeff is driving to the inn. As he rounds a corner, Bob is standing there on his bicycle and there is almost a collision. Jeff gets out and questions what Bob is doing there in the middle of the road. Bob looks confused but apologizes, saying he was not thinking. Jeff asks if he is all right. Bob says he is, but that he heard something: a strange whirring noise. Jeff chalks it up to Bob having had one too many.

    Arriving at the Swan Inn, Jeff greets Ken Stanley (William Lucas) who just loaded something into his vehicle. They joke about the weather and Ken leaves.

    Inside, Jeff greets his wife, who asks about his trip. He says it was good except for almost running over Bob, who was in the middle of the road. Frankie says Bob was fine when he left here and gets Tinker to agree.

    Frankie asks about the parcel Jeff brought for Hanson. She tells him Hanson is impatient to receive it. Stone tells him Hanson demanded it be brought up to him right away. Jeff delivers it to Hanson, who rudely grabs it away and locks the door.

    Frankie tells Jeff that his new secretary has arrived and is staying at the Cove. Tinker offers Jeff a ride. When they get there, they see Angela on the beach in a bikini. She waves to Jeff, who starts down toward her. Tinker leaves.

    Jeff tells Angela that she had better leave right away. Their former affair led to no writing and almost wrecked his marriage. Angela tells him that he cant just love a girl and then leave. She asks what he will tell his wife (who doesnt know about them). Jeff says that is his problem.

    They hear the high-pitched whining and wonder what it is. After it dies down, Angela and Jeff kiss.

    Back at the Inn, Tinker helps Ben Siddle (Jack Bligh) inside as Jeff and Angela drive up. Hanson notices this from an upper window. They sit him down at a table and ask what is wrong. Dr. Stone comes in to examine him. Ben tells them that his sheep are all dead. They take him to a cot in another room. Hanson seems especially interested in what killed the sheep. He goes to his room and places a red lens on his camera. Then he loads it into a bag with some film and leaves. Dr. Stone gives a sedative to Ben and tells them to let him rest.

    Jeff calls Bens wife to tell her that Ben is not feeling well but he experiences some interference on the phone line. He is unable to complete the conversation and hangs up.

    Angela goes up to her room to take a bath. Jeff comes in and warns her not to reveal their affair to his wife. Suddenly Frankie comes in, bringing some towels to Angela. Jeff hides in the bathroom with Angela, who takes a towel from Frankie without giving away that Jeff is hiding. After Frankie leaves, Jeff warns Angela again. She is amused.

    Tinker tells Jeff that the television is having problems. There is static and technical interference. Jeff wonders if it is from static electricity built up by the heat. Meanwhile, Bob also notices trouble on his television and asks his wife Stella (Anna Turner) if she did anything to the set. She replies that she never touches it. Suddenly the television explodes. He tells his wife to get a dustpan and broom. Still examining the television wires, Bob hears the whirring noise and is maddened by the heat. Going out to his car, he drives in misery, crashing through a fence and going over a precipice. His car burns.

    Meanwhile in the kitchen, Angela cools herself with an ice cube. Frankie and Angela talk about why Jeff would come to live in an out-of-the-way place like Fara Island. Angela suggests that Jeff is running away from something. When Frankie tells her she doesnt know Jeff very well, Angela confesses to the affair. Frankie expresses shock and disbelief. Finally Angela tells her she was lying in anger.

    Hanson goes out at night to look at the dead sheep. He makes a photo of one sheep. Next he is seen removing a knife from a metal box.

    Jeff and Frankie are sitting on a patio table as Angela joins them. Talk of the heat turns to the question of whether Jeff has seen Bob. He hasnt. He hands over his manuscript to Angela to type. Frankie goes inside. Jeff lights a cigarette and Angela comes out, asking for a light. When he goes over to her, she feels his trembling hand and places it on her chest. You know you want me, she says.

    The whirring sound is heard again by both of them. Frankie comes out and tells them that she saw something landing that made a whining noise. They go out to the hill and see Hanson returning. Frankie questions what Hanson is doing. They see nothing and Jeff again questions Frankie about what she saw. He tells them to wait while he goes to look. They tell him they dont want to wait in the dark and to wait until morning. He says he is tired of Hansons sneaking around and will go ask him what he is up to.

    Hanson is developing film in his room under a red light when Jeff knocks on the door and calls to him. He refuses to open the door, and Jeff threatens to break it down. Hanson tells him to wait a few minutes, but Jeff kicks in the door. Hanson angrily shuts the door to protect the photographs from being exposed to the light. Jeff questions Hanson about what he is doing and why he was on the hill that night. When he mentions about a landing, Hanson is eager to know what was seen. Jeff confesses that it was his wife who saw it. Hanson tells Jeff that he has been investigating an alien invasion the past week and that this is the source of the heat. Jeff expresses doubt about this. Hanson tells him that he ruined the photos he was developing. They go out on location where Hanson has the cameras set up. He shows Jeff some black cinders which he says were burned by something hotter than anything on this planet. As Jeff goes to see about a dog whining at the fence, Hanson calls Jeff to see what broke through the fence. They look at Bobs burned car. Jeff says they must warn others about this, but Hanson says not yet. He wants time to gather new evidence to prove the aliens exist.

    At the Inn, an old man orders a beer and takes it to a table where an old woman sits. Angela comes downstairs and is seen by Tinker and Ken, who wants to know where the girl was hiding. She says she will go to work on the typing.

    Jeff and Hanson come into the Inn. Hanson goes up to his room, and Jeff orders a bottle of beer. Frankie asks what the matter is, but Jeff snaps that nothing is wrong. He says the heat is bothering everybody. Suddenly the bottles of beer begin to burst. Frankie gets cut by the shattering glass, and Jeff goes to get a first aid kit. He looks for it in the room where Angela is. She is told about the bursting bottles. He looks at her with her blouse open and cant resist kissing her. At this moment Frankie enters and sees them kissing.

    Tinker, now affected by the heat, comes in and attacks Angela. They struggle and he throws her onto the couch and tries to rape her. She jumps up and hits the floor, where he continues his attack until she is able to hit him on the head. Tinker flees just as Ken, Jeff and Frankie come in. Ken puts Angela on the bed and goes to get Dr. Stone. Jeff and Hanson run after Tinker. Jeff struggles with Tinker, telling him to come back with him to the Inn. Tinker hits Jeff with a stick and runs off. Hanson approaches and Jeff tells him that Tinker got the best of him.

    Tinker runs to his garage and lights a welding torch. Looking through the door to see who is coming, he is horrified by something approaching which gives off a bright light and a tremendous humming sound. Dropping the torch, he runs behind a car. The car falls as the door slowly opens, the light shining from outside. Tinker covers his ears as the noise grows unbearable and screams. When Hanson and Jeff arrive, they see only burnt areas and a tank from which all the energy has been drained by the aliens.

    Dr. Stone is discussing what happened with Tinker, saying it is unlikely under normal circumstances. Hanson says these circumstances are not normal. Frankie comes in just in time to hear Jeff say that two men have been killed. She wants to know who. Stone tells her that Tinker met with an accident. She asks Jeff who the other man was. He tells her it was Bob. Jeff is getting excited and Hanson tells him to remain calm. He tells Frankie and Stone that Hanson believes aliens are attacking them. Jeff says the temperature is now 108 and the telephones are out. Stone suggests they go to the relay station where they can radio for help. He offers to go. Hanson brings him a two-way radio to keep in touch with them.

    Stone reports over the radio that the car is overheating. As he gets close to the station, the car stalls and he says he will have to walk the rest of the way. As he is looking at the car engine, he is approached by an alien force which produces the loud droning sound and emits a bright light. Stone screams as it closes in on him. Hanson and the others can only listen in shock.

    Jeff volunteers to go next, but Hanson convinces him that he is better equipped to deal with them. He gets the car keys and tells them to lock all doors and windows. Angela screams and Jeff runs to comfort her. She says she must have had a dream. The man was attacking her. He comforts her as Frankie looks on. She leaves the room, lost in thought. Jeff comes out and Frankie confronts him about knowing the girl before. He denies it at first, but finally admits he knew her before and that they moved here to get away from her. Frankie asks if he loves her. He admits that it was strictly a physical attraction and that his love is for his wife. He calls Angela a slut and admits that he wanted her.

    Angela comes out and wants the doctor. Jeff tells her the doctor cant come. She insists that she needs him. Finally under duress Frankie tells her the doctor is dead. Angela seems distraught.

    Hanson arrives at Stones car and finds the battery drained. He finds the radio and calls Jeff to report that Stone is dead, burnt up. He also sees a glowing light in the stone quarry and is going in. Jeff tells him to be careful.

    Hanson sees Stella and her dog searching with a flashlight. He thinks to warn her, but suddenly she and the dog cry out and flames are seen. Hanson retreats to the car, dropping his flashlight, which goes out. At that moment he realizes the aliens are attracted to the light. He calls Jeff and tells him to put out all the lights at the Inn. He says he will drive to the station with no lights on.

    At the station we see the radar operator (Barry Halliday) as he notices disturbances on the radar screen. He goes to call someone on the phone and the screen explodes. [This scene was also shown at the beginning of the film, just before the titles.] The electrical circuits crackle and pop. The droning sound becomes very loud and the aliens light reflects on the face of the screaming radar operator.

    Jeff, Frankie and Angela get restless and decide to drive to the station in Angelas car. Meanwhile, Gerald Foster (Percy Herbert), Hanson and Ken are viewing the burned out control room at the station. Ken says the radar operator was burned to a crisp. Hanson tells them that the aliens were attracted to us through the signals we send into space. Needing an energy source, they were drawn here in energy waves and materialized like a television image. Ken says we must destroy them before they destroy us. They go to get some explosives near the quarry.

    Jeff says the car is about to fail. Suddenly they run off into a ditch. Angela runs into the road and lies down just as Ken drives up. Jeff comes and they stand Angela to her feet. Ken tells them the radar operator was burnt up. He helps them get the car out of the ditch.

    At the station Ken says he and Gerald will set the dynamite. Jeff questions using the dynamite, which will light the area and attract the aliens. Hanson argues that there are no other ideas. He tells them to watch for his signal flare gun.

    Jeff tells Ken to look after Angela if things turn bad so he can stay with Frankie. At that time the flare is shot and seen. They advance to the quarry, where Hanson is setting fires with his flare gun. More flares are shot into the sky by Ken and Jeff. All at once Gerald, who has been throwing dynamite at the creature (who is now visible as a glowing glob) gets stuck and cant get out from where he is. Hanson shouts for Gerald to get away, but he is unable. Dynamite blasts go off near the creature. Angela runs down toward the fires with Ken following her. He catches her and tells her to come back with him. She tries to get away, but he persuades her to follow him to a stone building outside the edge of the quarry. Inside, she tells him not to tell her what to do. She curses him but he tries to reassure her that they should not give up hope. As he looks out the window at the explosions, she eyes the gun in his pocket.

    As lightning and thunder are heard, Jeff shoots more flares and tells Frankie to stay close. Hanson runs up and warns about the storm. Suddenly the creature is seen coming toward Hanson. Jeff shouts for Hanson to run, but he is overcome by the creature.

    Inside, Angela grabs the gun and turns it on Ken. He knocks it out of her hand, but she grabs it again, saying shed rather not be burned alive out there. He tells her to think of someone else for once in her life and to shoot him first. She curses him and he takes back the gun. The sound is growing louder and she holds her ears. He holds her.

    All at once rain begins to fall. Ken and Angela come out to watch. The rain kills the creature and they rejoice as it dies off.

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