Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 27th, 2007
Theatrical Release Dates: UK, 1992
Director: Richard Stanley
Writer: Richard Stanley
Cast: Robert John Burke, Zakes Mokae, Chelsea Field, Rufus Swart
DVD released: March 27th, 2007
Approximate running time: 107 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 & Stereo
DVD Release: Subversive Cinema
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
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 are vivid and details are razor sharp. Overall this transfer is the same one they used for their limited edition release of the Dust Devil last year.
Dust Devil comes with two audio options a Dolby Digital 5.1 remix and the films original Dolby Digital stereo mix both in English. There are no problems with distortion or any other sound defects. Overall both mixes sound robust and crystal clear.
Extras for this release include 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.
Also included with this 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 trailers for The Dust Devil, The Secret Glory, Voice of the Moon, White Darkness, Defenceless and Wild Blue Yonder.
This new edition of The Dust Devil gives those who missed out the first time around with the limited edition release a chance to pick up a first rate edition of this film which includes a stunning audio/video presentation and carries over all the essential extras that were included on the limited edition release, highly recommended.
For more information about Dust Devil and the films of Richard Stanley visit Subversive Cinema here.