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Dust Devil (1992)

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A woman on the run from her abusive husband encounters a mysterious hitch-hiker.



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Title: Dust Devil (1992)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dust Devil (as Robert Burke)
Wendy Robinson
Ben Mukurob
John Matshikiza ...
Joe Niemand
Rufus Swart ...
Mark Robinson
Capt. Beyman
Terry Norton ...
Saarke Haarhoff (as Terri Norton)
Russell Copley ...
Cpl. Dutoit
Andre Odendaal ...
Cpl. Bates
Luke Cornell ...
Soldier 1
Philip Henn ...
Soldier 2
Robert Stevenson ...
Rifle Boy
Peter Hallr ...
Marist Monk
Stephen Earnhart ...
Camper Driver
Dr. Leidzinger


A shape shifter (Burke) comes from the desert in search of victims, a spirit the locals call "The Dust Devil". He prays on the lonely and the unloved, those who have already lost everything but life itself. Wendy (Field) has broken up with her husband and wanders aimlessly in her car. She picks up a stranger and begins having misgivings about picking him up when strange things begin to occur. Meanwhile a local police officer (Mokae) tracks the killer. Aided by a shaman's admonishments about witchcraft he sets off to try and stop the beast before it can complete its grisly task. Written by Ed Sutton <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The hitch-hiker from hell! See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence and sexuality, and for language | See all certifications »




Release Date:

16 April 1993 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Dust Devil  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


£4,300,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(Final Cut) | (Workprint Version) | (director's cut)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Producer JoAnne Sellar got lost in the desert while out scouting for locations. See more »


When Wendy slams on the brakes of her VW Beetle, she doesn't touch the clutch, but the car stops without stalling. See more »


Joe Niemand: There's a whole lot of power in fingers and knots and knuckles and such. If you want to win a war, you gotta have a whole fistful of knuckles!
Ben Mukurob: You smoke too much, Joe.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The producers would especially like to thank the government and people of Namibia for their help in the making of this film. See more »


Referenced in Beyond the Grave (2010) See more »


You Can Call (But I Won't Answer)
Written by Bal Croce, Johnny Tub Johnson, Max Décharné
Performed by Earls of Suave
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

It Really "Blows" That DUST DEVIL Is Completed, But Not "Finished"...
4 December 2008 | by (Arlington, VA.) – See all my reviews

So you know how I feel about movies I've never even heard of. When I saw that DUST DEVIL: THE FINAL CUT had not one or two, but FIVE discs in the set, I was really skeptical. The ONLY reason why I was willing to cut it any slack was because of the director, Richard Stanley. I do remember seeing his sci-fi/horror/action cult favorite, HARDWARE, back in the good old days of VHS, and it kicked MAJOR butt-cheeks back then.

Here's the deal: apparently, DUST DEVIL went through the usual headaches and hardships during filming, Bottom line: a finished 'director's cut' of this movie as of now, does not exist. What Stanley and his co-conspirators had to do is piece together a rough version, using additional scenes pulled out of a work print. It's very similar to what had to be done when a "completed" cut of THE WICKER MAN was reconstructed.

The result is an erratic, but visually stunning piece of work, but it goes pretty deep into the metaphysical and supernatural aspects of native folklore in the country where it's set...Africa, particularly South Africa. Translation: people in this movie spend a lot of time talking, including the narrator. Sure, lots of stuff happens, but there's also a lot of time in between those events, so if you don't feel like putting up with a lot of dialogue, you might want to save this film for another time.

Robert John Burke (the ROBOCOP series, OZ and RESCUE ME) plays the title character, who is also called "The Shapeshifter." If he seems very familiar to you, he should be. He's a figure that runs through a lot of the mythologies of different cultures and has been used to represent both Good and/or Evil in many popular books and movies.

But make no mistake about it - this 'Dust Devil' ain't here to help anybody but himself. He's a demon trapped in our world in human form, feeding off the souls of the lost and the lonely who have given up on everything but life itself, gathering strength until...well, as far as I could tell, it was never all that clear WHAT he was trying to do - return to his shadow world, or eventually take over ours. Anyway, Burke plays the role really well, and he's believable as a charismatic force of evil who can convince his victims to stick out their necks while he pulls out his shiny axe...or knife, in this case.

As it happens, there are two souls on a collision course with Mr. DD: a police detective, Ben Mukurob (THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW'S Zakes Mokae) whose wife left him after the tragic death of their child, and a woman named Wendy Robinson, (Chelsea Field of PRISON and THE LAST BOY SCOUT), who has just left her clingy husband, Mark, (Rufus Swart), after he finds out she's been having an affair.

With his job the only thing he has left to look forward to, Ben dives into the investigation of the murder of the Dust Devil's latest victim with a vengeance. Adding an extra layer of substance to the story are indicators that the story takes place not long after the fall of apartheid, but the residual effects can still be seen in Ben's grudging relationship with the uniformed officers he supervises, and the friendship he has with his immediate superior, Captain Beyman (William Hootkins, everybody's favorite "red shirt" from HARDWARE and a little flick called STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE).

When symbols at the crime scene indicate that the murder has undertones of ritualistic sacrifice and black magic, Mukurob consults a shaman he knows named Joe Niemand (John Matshikiza), who warns him that forces are at work that he shouldn't be screwing with...unless he's ready to go all the way.

Meanwhile, Wendy runs into a mysterious, Western-garbed stranger hitching rides. She picks him up, and at first, she's attracted to the handsome and unusual "dude from Texas." Until some freaky stuff happens that indicates he's not quite who she thinks - or is that hopes? - he is.

There comes a point where he reappears to her, when you figure that a) this Wendy chick is one screwed-up piece of work, or b) this guy really does have a power to attract his victims beyond all reason. Because most women I know at this point (and you'll know it when it comes) wouldn't care if this guy was Brad Pitt - they'd be beatin' feet out of there faster than Usain Bolt going for a one-minute mile.

Wendy's husband Mark goes looking for her, and he runs into some trouble that has nothing to do with supernatural events of any kind. But eventually, the paths of all three people will cross at some point and all of them will encounter the Dust Devil...though not all of them will live to tell about it.

I wish I could say that including the shots from the work print does the movie justice, but the transition between clean, sharp cuts and the fuzzy, murky segments from the dailies doesn't allow the movie to weave the completely seductive and creepy spell that Stanley was ultimately after, and it makes you wonder what the finished film would've been like if he'd been able to gain all the resources and money he needed to give it that proper 'polish.' As is, though, it's still pretty heady stuff.

Casual fanboys sniffing out a "Triple-B" movie (Babes, Boobs and Blood) may want to wait for the next Eli Roth extrava-GORE-za, and leave this one on the shelf. I'm just hoping that whatever he does next, Stanley will be given a proper budget and the leeway to see at least one more film through to a completed AND finished version of what he envisions.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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