Dust Devil (Stanley, 1992)

I watched Dust Devil for three reasons: 1) the tagline “He’s not a serial killer.  He’s much worse.” is pretty awesome.  2) The cover (image below) is pretty awesome, with the faceless protagonist, the unknown stuff on the back of his jacket and the odd markings.  3) I’ve never seen a Richard Stanley film…which could be pretty awesome.

There’s a whole lot to dislike in here.  First of all, the casting is way, way off.  The Dust Devil is apparently a folkloric creature who kills others to stay alive himself.  I think.  That all wasn’t as clear as the fact that this guy likes to murder people.  Robert John Burke, clean cut, army-looking guy, plays the Dust Devil and immediately makes the part unbelievable (don’t read ‘unbelievable’ as ‘good’, rather as ‘not believable’).  For someone whose name sounds crusty and old this guy is too well-kept.

This isn’t the only problem with Dust Devil.  I haven’t really talked about the plot, because there isn’t much to report.  A guy stalks women.  He also stalks men, but because stalking women gives him the opportunity to sleep with them in an awkward, Skin-emax kind of way, we only watch him stalk women.  He’s apparently a shape shifter, but if that means he can disappear from a car and change his face once when he’s mad, then yes…he’s a shape shifter.

Lessons learned from Dust Devil:

1. The way to kill any legit enemy is to put a stick in front of him/her and then blow his/her head off with a shotgun.

2. Don’t hit your wife.  She’ll leave you handcuffed to the front of a jeep in a dust storm.  Every time.

3. All mystics are black and blind.

4. Voiceover doesn’t have to be logical if it’s said in a baritone, creepy, Vincent Price meets Orson Welles voice.

5. Next time you pick up a hitchhiker, make sure he is not wearing a tan trench coat.  Or you’re screwed.

6. If your loved one keeps a set of severed fingers in his/her carry-on bag, you should probably reconsider your relationship.

7. If you are shooting and someone says that you can get a helicopter shot, then get a helicopter shot for every single scene.  It will make everything better.

8. Don’t bother explaining peoples’ actions.  As long as people get killed no one will question anything.


About dcpfilm

Shooting, teaching, writing and watching the Phillies.
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2 Responses to Dust Devil (Stanley, 1992)

  1. I hadn’t heard about Richard Stanley until earlier this year when I saw his short The Sea of Perdition. He’s got quite a reputation amongst horror aficionados, especially for Hardware. Maybe I’ll watch that first because your review just killed whatever chance Dust Devil had of getting a rental.

  2. dcpfilm says:

    Thanks for the comment Darwin. How was the short? I’d heard about Hardware and Dust Devil a little while back. I’ll still watch Hardware, despite DD’s shortcomings.

    Maybe I shortchanged it in that poorly written post…but maybe not. The film is occasionally nicely atmospheric, but it’s pretty sloppy.

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