Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 1st, 2006
Theatrical Release Dates: UK, 1992
Director: Richard Stanley
Writer: Richard Stanley
Cast: Robert John Burke, Zakes Mokae, Chelsea Field, Rufus Swart
DVD released: September 26th, 2006
Approximate running time: 107 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Subversive Cinema
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95 (Limited Edtion of only 9,999 copies)
Synopsis: The Dust Devil is a killer who lures his victim’s in by hitching rides with them. He travels far and wide to find his next victim. While investigating an arson a murdered woman’s body is found mutilated and the police quickly assign a officer Ben to the case. Every night Ben is haunted by the souls of those who have been murdered by the Dust Devil. The can never be at peace as long as the Dust Devil remains alive. Wendy decides to go on a round trip to get away from her abusive husband. Along the way she picks up the Dust Devil unaware of his murderous ways.
The Dust Devil was directed by Richard Stanley who also directed the post apocalyptic classic Hardware. This projected was plagued from the beginning as many scenes would be cut due to lack of budget and cast & crew walking away from the project. The original U.S. theatrical release cut about twenty minutes of footage which has now been reinstated for this DVD release.
Visually speaking The Dust Devil is nearly flawless with its strong colors palettes and picturesque compositions. There is a dream like quality to the way the film evolves. Richard Stanley’s eye for composition and ability to build up mood are some of this film’s strongest assets. The camera is also used in such a way that through its movement and framing we are being shown how various characters feel. The acting is very good all around with standout performances by Zakes Mokae as Ben and Robert John Burke as the Dust Devil. The Dust Devil character is best summed up as a doppelganger. Also in many ways some of the characters in the film also bear many traits that one would associate with as being a doppelganger.
The story is filled with many peaks and valleys as there are several occasions in which the story drags almost to halt before being rescued from the brink by a new major event in the story. About half way through the film were are given a brief view of a different side of the Dust devil as he reconsiders killing Wendy when he witnesses her trying to kill herself. The characters are never fully developed and while that may hurt most films it actually doesn’t affect the Dust Devil as much since the various characters are nothing more then props that need no background to advance their story. Simon Boswell’s score is beautiful and haunting. Ultimately The Dust Devil is not without its flaws; still it is a truly unique visual experience that is sure to stay with you long after the film has ended.
Subversive Cinema presents Dust Devil in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original aspect ratio. Colors look nicely saturated and vivid as they leap from the screen. Flesh tones look natural and healthy. Black levels are exceptional as details look razor sharp and equally impressive in the background and foreground. There are no problems with artifacts, compression or edge enhancement and print damage is non existent. Overall this high definition sourced transfer is breathtakingly beautiful and without a doubt Subversive Cinema’s best transfer to date.
Dust Devil comes with two audio options a Dolby Digital 5.1 remix and the films original Dolby Digital stereo mix. Both audio mixes are in English. You can’t go wrong with either as there are no problems with distortion or any other sound defects. Music and effects perfectly blend with the rest of the mix and dialog of crystal clear.
Extras for this release are spread over four DVD’s and one CD.
Disc one comes with the following extras talent bios for cast and crew, a stills gallery and trailer for the 16mm version of Dust Devil. Also include with this release is a six minute segment titled “Dust Devil 16mm Scrapbook” it includes stills from the lost 16mm version of the film. Dust Devil Home Movies is a eighteen minute segment that includes behind the scenes and on the set footage. Other extras include a thirty five minute interview with Richard Stanley and composer Simon Boswell. The bulk of this segment is spent with Stanley talking about his childhood, his first short “Rites of Passage”, directing music videos, “Incidents of Expanding the Universe” and “Hardware”, “Dust Devil” and all the difficulties making the film. Simon Boswell discusses working with Richard Stanley and working with Dario Argento. Rounding out the extras for disc one is an audio commentary with Richard Stanley and it is moderated by Subversive Cinema’s Norman Hill who keeps things lively by asking Stanley questions. Stanley discusses “The Man with no Name” and Clint Eastwood’s inspiration for the character of Dust Devil, camera and other technical aspects about the film, scenes that had to be abandon due to budget and other reasons, Dario Argento as an influence and the reasons behind why most of the actors where chosen for this film.
Disc two comes with the following extras the one hundred and fifteen minute work print version of The Dust Devil. These seven minutes of new scenes are not in as good of shape as the rest of the film since they were taken from a VHS work print of the film. This version of the film is presented in a non anamorphic letterboxed widescreen and the audio is in a Dolby Digital stereo.
Disc three comes with the following extras the feature film documentary “Secret Glory” in which Richard Stanley takes an in-depth look into the life of Nazi Otto Rahn and his search for the Holy Grail. This feature runs about ninety six minutes in length and the audio is when not in English is subtitled in English. Extras for this film include a bio for Richard Stanley and twenty seven minute interview with Richard Stanley. The main extra for this film is an audio commentary with Richard Stanley and it is moderated by Subversive Cinema’s Norman Hill. This audio commentary along with the interview with Stanley is the most engrossing extras included with this release. It is fascinating to listen to additional stories that were not included in the final film.
Disc four comes with two films “The Voice of the Moon” a thirty two minute documentary about the Afghanistan/Russian war of the early 1990’s and “The White of Darkness” a forty eight minute documentary about voodoo in Haiti, this documentary also comes with a introduction from Richard Stanley about the film. Both documentaries come with a bio for Richard Stanley, interviews and audio commentaries. One again these extras are all filled with insight and depth that add to the main features.
Disc five contains Simon Boswell’s complete score for The Dust Devil. The addition of film scores is always a welcome addition and something that should be done more often.
Also included with release is a twelve page “Dust Devil” comic book, a twelve page booklet that contains excerpts from Richard Stanley’s production diary for “Dust Devil” and a twelve page booklet that contains comments and essays by Richard Stanley about “Secret Glory”, “The White Darkness” and “Voice of the Moon”.
Subversive Cinema’s limited edition Dust Devil release is one of the most impressive DVD releases that I have ever had the pleasure to watch. What is even more amazing is that all this amazing content is available at a more then affordable price, highly recommended.