Dust Devil (1993 film)

Dust Devil (1993 film)
Dust Devil
Directed by Richard Stanley
Produced by Joanne Sellar
Written by Richard Stanley
Starring Zakes Mokae
Robert John Burke
Chelsea Field
Music by Simon Boswell
Distributed by Miramax
Release date(s) 1993
Running time 103 min
Country UK
Language English
Budget £4,300,000

Dust Devil is a 1993 horror film written and directed by Richard Stanley. The film was described as being like "Tarkovsky on acid" by Steve Beard of The Face.



Set largely in the desert in Namibia and South Africa, it concerns a demon which possesses human beings. The film has three interlocking plots, about an abused wife fleeing her husband, her husband's search for her, and the search of a guilt-ridden, elderly black police officer for the perpetrator of a gruesome ritual murder. The plots are woven together in what the writer-director has described as a "spiralling" structure, and come together at the end for an apocalyptic finale.


In December 1991, Stanley turned in a 120-minute version of the film, which was subsequently trimmed down to 110. Stanley hoped this version would become the so-called "European cut", as the US distributor Miramax had the right to re-edit the film for their own market. However, in the spring 1992 the British production company Palace Pictures test-screened a 95-minute cut in Wimbledon, and went bankrupt soon after. The post-production of the European version was shut down and Stanley lost control of the film.

Meanwhile Miramax exercised their right for a new edit without the director's involvement. The resulting cut, running at 87 minutes, was released in the U.S. on VHS and laserdisc, both in pan and scan. This version was also released in Italy and France, under the respective titles Demoniaca and Le Souffle du Démon. According to Stanley, an even shorter US version was released, with a running time of 68 minutes.

In 1993, Stanley acquired the Miramax print as well as the excised material and self-financed a cut which would resemble his original version. This version, suitably dubbed as The Final Cut, ran at 105 minutes, and is said to be only one sharing most of the scenes and the general storyline with the original cut. It was released on video in the UK by PolyGram, with the co-investor Channel Four airing it in their network on occasion. Stanley has also personally presented it in various film festivals.

The state of things has improved greatly since then, as the German publisher Laser Paradise have released their Dust Devil DVD. It features the final cut of the film, based on the same master as the British VHS. Recently, Optimum Releasing has released a more sophisticated DVD version of the film, basing it on a newer digital master and including a commentary track by the director.

Subversive Cinema has released a special edition DVD in North America. Alongside the final cut, the release features a restored workprint of the original director's cut, running at 114 minutes. Stanley recently has recorded commentaries and interviews not only for the film, but also for three rarely seen documentary films he has directed over the last decade and a half, Voice of the Moon, The Secret Glory and The White Darkness. [1][2]

The Subversive Cinema DVD is now discontinued.


  • John Matshikiza as Joe Niemand
  • Robert John Burke as Dust Devil (as Robert Burke)
  • Terri Norton as Saarke Haarhoff
  • Chelsea Field as Wendy Robinson
  • Rufus Swart as Mark Robinson
  • William Hootkins as Capt. Beyman
  • Zakes Mokae as Ben Mukurob
  • Russell Copley as Cpl. Dutoit
  • Andre Odendaal as Cpl. Bates
  • Luke Cornell as Soldier 1
  • Philip Henn as Soldier 2
  • Robert Stevenson as Rifle Boy
  • Peter Hallr as Marist Monk
  • Stephen Earnhart as Camper Driver
  • Marianne Sägebrecht as Dr. Leidzinger


  1. ^ "Fangoria.com". Fangoria.com. http://www.fangoria.com/news_article.php?id=2153. Retrieved 2011-03-28. 
  2. ^ "Fangoria.com". Fangoria.com. http://www.fangoria.com/news_article.php?id=2390. Retrieved 2011-03-28. 

External links

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