Lust in the Dust

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 9


Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,383
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Movie Info

A controversial spoof on the Spaghetti western (some love it, some hate it), Lust in the Dust features the 300-pound Divine as the inimitable Rosie Velez, riding into view in full drag on a poor donkey as solemn commentary muddles on about the passions that enslave men and women -- and then Rosie, who weighs more than the donkey, is gang-raped by Hard Case Williams' (Geoffrey Lewis) outlaws. Eventually Rosie is rescued by the tough, taciturn cowboy Abel Wood (Tab Hunter), and together they reach the miserable town of Chili Verde where the entire population, not many after all, can always be found at a saloon run by Marguerita Ventura (Lainie Kazan) and her nit-wit bouncer/gunslinger, Bernardo (Henry Silva). Abel soon discovers that the reason why the population is so interested in Marguerita's saloon has nothing to do with hard liquor -- Marguerita and Rosie each have one half of a map of buried treasure tattooed on their backsides, and everyone wants a look at the whole map. That situation introduces rather absurd bedroom farce. Viewers with a very broad if not bawdy sense of humor will most enjoy this earthy exercise in parody.

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Tab Hunter
as Abel Wood
as Rosie Velez
Lainie Kazan
as Marguerita Ventura
Geoffrey Lewis
as Hard Case Williams
Henry Silva
as Bernardo
Cesar Romero
as Father Garcia
Nedra Volz
as Big Ed
Courtney Gains
as Red Dick Barker
Woody Strode
as Blackman
Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez
as Toothless Mexican
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Critic Reviews for Lust in the Dust

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (2)

Audience Reviews for Lust in the Dust

  • Dec 09, 2013
    Making a Western in the eighties must have seemed a bold idea. Making a camp, farcical, musical one with a female impersonator in the lead may have been outright foolhardy. Lust in the Dust is a film that on the surface should be a delight; a mixture of the high camp grotesquerie and satire that has served John Waters wayward work so well combined with the independent spirit and nose for contemporary issues in a grindhouse package that had produced such films as Eating Raoul and Death Race 2000 for director Paul Bartel. When strong thighed Chanteuse Rosie Velez (Divine) arrives in the small desert backwater of Chilli Verde with her savior Abel Wood (Hunter), a mystery surrounding missing gold, a limerick and the existence of two tattooed buttocks unfolds. Add a rivalry between Rosie and the pneumatically upholstered Marguerita Ventura (Kazan) that could turn murderous and a gang of outlaws arriving on the scene also looking for the treasure and revenge. The plot is well worn, all the better to hang a series of set pieces, which, depending on your tolerance for high camp and the dubious charms of Divine as both an actor and singer, is either nails on the blackboard excruciating or a gay delight. The problem is that the film seems so geared towards cult status, aiming for a raucous 42nd street or Scala Cinema crowd that positively demands interaction. It goes for bad taste but Bartel's film chops are too skilled to make a deliberately grubby movie.What you get is a mixture of sub par Carry On innuendo mixed with a rich visual aesthetic that wouldn't disgrace a mainstream Western ( The films title comes from the nickname for the film Duel in the Sun, scandalously sexy and cleavage heaving in its day). The authenticity also stretches to the casting of such familiar faces as Juliette's dad and long time Clint Eastwood collaborator Geoffrey Lewis and John Ford regular Woody Strode. Throw in gimlet eyed character actor Henry Silva and one time Batman nemesis Cesar Romero and you have no lack of named performers who can do this stuff in their sleep. Even Tab Hunter is giving it his full Clint impression as Abel Wood. Made as a showcase for Divine, who had previously worked with Hunter on Polyester, the former Harris Glen Milstead has always been an acquired taste. Briefly hitting the UK charts with a cover of the song "Walk Like a Man", but mostly known for her work with John Waters and in particular the original version of Hairspray. In Lust in the Dust the mixture of high camp and low brow comedy clashes with the labored drag schtick that Divine peddles here. Always working best as part of an ensemble, Waters always managed to bring the best out of her. Waters likes his grotesques and is unafraid to put them front and center, aiming his barbs at a square society that values surface over character, and if he can get someone to eat a dog turd on camera then all the better. You can tell Divine has gone mainstream with this Western, no fresh steamer here, a clearly fake dead vulture is as stomach turning as it gets. In the end, what we have is a film uncertain in its approach. Afraid of letting itself go. It wants to be vulgar but not to disgust. It wants to flame and be camp, but not so it offends or be too flagrant in its homosexuality. It's trying to be good bad taste and no one wants that. Or to put it another way, don't feed me a Mars bar and tell me it's dog shit. (Review by Jason Abbey)
    The Movie W Super Reviewer
  • Jan 23, 2013
    Four people (including overweight drag queen Divine as a dancehall girl) scheme to find the gold buried in the desert town of Chili Verde. This goofy Wetsern spoof labors most of the jokes but it's fairly watchable, and Lainie Kazan does have a great musical number ("Let Me Take You South of My Border").
    Greg S Super Reviewer
  • Feb 21, 2010
    Embarrassingly bad. There is not much else to say....the script stinks, the jokes fall flat, the production values are virtually non-existent, & the acting is excruciatingly painful. It is sad to see that circumstances forced Divine to waste her talents on such rubbish. Judging by the abysmal performances that Divine gave in the few films she made without John Waters, it seems likely that he was as much her muse as she was his. They really brought out the best in one another.
    mirabella 1 Super Reviewer

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