Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1980s Lust in the Dust (1984)

Lust in the Dust (1984)

Out-of-work saloon singer Rosie Velez (Divine) lurches across the desert on a burro. She’s carrying a dainty parasol and wearing a not-so-simple peasant outfit and enough eye shadow to cover most of New Mexico.

Pausing at an oasis, Rosie is taken by surprise by a handsome hard-bitten stranger named Abel Wood (Tab Hunter channelling Clint Eastwood’s spaghetti western Man with No Name).

Joining Abel on the trail to the (fictional) border town of Chili Verde, Rosie describes her sexual assault by a gang of third world bandits. Flashbacks show that the bad guys met their match in Rosie whose appetite in all things is insatiable.

The rest of the plot involves buried gold and the seedy citizens of Chili Verde who are after it. They include voluptuous cantina owner Marguerita Ventura (Lainie Kazan), Bible-quoting outlaw Hard Case Williams (Geoffrey Lewis) and Marguerita’s Latin lover, Bernardo (Henry Silva).

Half of the treasure map is tattooed on Rosie’s derriere and the other half on someone else’s. But whose? One of the films many low points is reached when that question is answered in a cheek-to-cheek close-up.

The script is slow-moving but Divine and Lainie Kazan get the most out of their raunchy roles and compete for low-camp number of the year with their respective songs. Tab Hunter seems to enjoy poking fun at the characters he played in earnest 30 years previously.

Two charming supporting performances stand out: Cesar Romero, looking agelessly regal, plays the amusingly unreliable Father Garcia and tiny Nedra Volz is a living doll as the world’s oldest dance hall hostess.

Abel Wood
Tab Hunter
Rosie Velez
Divine (Glenn Milstead)
Marguerita Ventura
Lainie Kazan
Hard Case Williams
Geoffrey Lewis
Henry Silva
Father Garcia
Cesar Romero
Gina Gallego
Big Ed
Nedra Volz
Red Dick Barker
Courtney Gains
Woody Strode
Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez
Daniel Frishman
Ernie Shinagawa

Paul Bartel