Dust Devil (1992) Script

Back in the first times...

...In the time of the red light...

...the desert wind soo-oop-wa was a man like us.

Until by mischance...

...he grew wings...

...and flew...

...like a bird.

He became a hunter...

...and like a hawk he flew to seek his prey...

...taking refuge in those far corners of the world...

...where magic still lingers.

But having once been a man...

...so does he still suffer the passions of a man.

Flying in rages sometimes, and throwing himself down like a child...

...to vent his wrath upon the Earth.

The people of the great Namib have another name...

...for those violent winds that blow from nowhere.

They call them "dust devils."”

You're almost there.

Come to me, Ben. Come to me, Ben.


Hello? Robinson house.


Who is this?

Who was that?

No one.

Just a crossed line. Go back to sleep.

What time did you get in?

Fill the bowl...

Fill the bowl...

Fill the bowl...

Lord, we pray for release from this drought.

Send us the soft rains of your mercy!

The earth cries out to you! The cattle die in the fields!

The crops wither in the springtime!

Forgive us, lord, and send us the power to forgive.

Send us peace from these troubled times.

Send us the peace of your rain against our brows.

Watch for the evil...

...and drive it from our hearts and from our lands.

Take heed of the shadow that comes in the morning.

...Of the shadow that comes in the morning.

...fire blasts the cornfield of the farmer...

...So shall the evil of this shadow smite thee.

Look to the west into the wasteland...

...for from thence cometh the evil.

His shadow follows across the ways of the righteous...

...and maketh them as cold dust.

Even the innocent and the babe at arms...

...the sun has gone out from their pastures...

...and a shadow has blighted their being...

...the shadow of that old serpent...

...who deceliveth the world and lead it into damnation... and now controls everlasting fire!

I can't live like this anymore. It's sucking the life out of me.

And you think sleeping with another man...

Jeff is a friend! Can't you get that into your head?

You're lying to me, Wendy! Where were you?

Don't you touch me!

I'm not changing my mind, not this time!

No! Wait! What do you think you're doing? Mark, I'm leaving you!

You think running to him will fix things?

Talk to me! Just let me go.

No. Wait! Wendy, please! I'm sorry!

Wendy, don't do this!

You know you'll be back!

Aw, shit, Wendy...

Yeah, Mukurob. Get your breeches on, Ben.

We're going to need you, man. We've got something.

Better be a big show, Kornelius. I haven't had much sleep.

I think it's an arson here, Ben.

One of the farmsteads. It's possibly even homicide.

It's very early for another suicide.

I said "homicide”.

The peace keeping troops turned it up this morning.

Now get to Sonneblom. That's the Haarhoff farm.

Turn offs about 200 km down the Keetmanshoop road.

Now, Ben.

Yeah, I'm on my way.

Where does this dust come from, Watcher?

Take casts of the footprints. Seal off outgoing roads.

Any indication that it's politically motivated?

I'd say it's far too early to even consider it.

We should proceed with the investigation as a local incident...

...until we see what evidence arises. I've put my best man on this.

- As long as it's not you... Yes, sir.

Call me later. Thank you, sir, I'll get back to you.

Hell of a way to start the day, huh? Fucking nightmare.

Whole place has been gutted. House is full of body parts.

Looks like it's been hit by a commando unit.

Ben, I think we're dealing with terrorists here.,.

There are no terrorists these days - cease fire.

It's a free country. Ach, man!

The victim was white? Probably.

Hard to tell from what's left.

The house was owned by the Haarhoff family.

I don't know where the kids are. Grown up and gone away.

Mr. Haarhoff works as a site foreman...

...for a copper mine across the border in South Africa.

We're trying to contact him. Mrs. Haarhoff?

My bet is that's her in the house.

Sir! At ease.

This last Israeli is lying in the sand dying.

When just across the desert, comes this P.L.O. guy to shoot them.

He cries out, "What the fuck was that? A bacon tree?"

"No", says the P.L.O. guy, "it was a ham bush."

Out of the flatlands she came...

...Into the dry lands, the furnace lands...

...the bomb lands of the Namib.

Blazing like an arrow into the west...

...towards the sea.

She needed to be cool and clear now...

...and had some idea about the cold salt wind...

...blowing the dust from her eyes.

But even then, he must have been calling to her in her sleep...

...drawing her to Bethany...

...where an old man, cancerous with guilt...

...waited, like her, for deliverance.

Grown tired from serving a country that doesn't want him...

...chasing mirages in the dust.

Now turn the radio off! Yeah.

How long do you think it's been playing? Don't know for sure.

I guess about 12 hours. Shall I have it checked?


The things I've seen...

The things I've seen, you won't believe.

You been in a war?

How far is this train going?

Goes all the way to the sea.

What's the next stop?

Bethany... some shithole like that.

Anybody ever get off there? Nah. Train tanks up with water.

People get on at Bethany. Nobody gets off.

The little town of Bethany...

...Just inside Namibia's southern border, is doomed.

The record seven-year drought has already devastated cattle herds...

...and with the closure of the local uranium mine...

...brought on by the withdrawal of South African investment...

...Bethany's last source of revenue and fresh water will finally dry up.

He sifts the human storm for souls.

He can smell a town waiting to die...

...and the manhood festering in a boy from a thousand miles away.

Their smell is sweet to him.




Eyes to front!


So what's so special about your woman apart from her being white?

She died near Bethany, doctor. It didn't do her any favors.

We've just got about everything here:

Evisceration, partial cremation...

...sexual mutilation, and possibly even cannibalism.


We found the remains of a clock wedged inside her, for god's sake.

What's your theory on actual cause? I mean, just off the record?

She wasn't tied down.

I'd say she may have been strangled first. Her neck's dislocated.

And the spinal cord's severed between the atlas and axial vertebrae.

We know that much.

God knows... Maybe she let him do it to her.

Fly with the sun this summer to a new Namibia.

Book your Carrot Sun Skeleton Coast holiday...

...with the very best in surf, shopping, sun, sea and safari,

I says: "Fuck that. We're going to see the canyons this year."

The kids are getting education...

...and it's a damn side cheaper than going to the Wild Coast.

- Can I help? Do you have a wash room?

On the left, second door. Thanks.

There's no great shades or anything.


Look at the shape of my hand here. What does that remind you of?

No, look at this shape, man. Come, check here.

Did he sleep with her?

If he did, he didn't come.

The only really interesting stuff we've got so far...

...is in the scrapings from the mural.

But we'll need specialist help if we are going to get any further with it.

Go ahead.

What am I meant to be looking at?

He had to mix other materials with her blood to bring out those colors.

We found traces of iron oxide and hematite.

The whites and lighter shades were achieved...

...by mixing the victim's fat with kaolin and... sea gull guano.

The man's an artist, all right. He didn't leave us a print.

This stuff's closely related to witchcraft.

Are you serious?


Human body parts all have their uses in ritual magic.

A witch or sangoma could tell from the missing pieces...

...what our man was after.

You must have a local sangoma, Seargeant. Why don't you ask him about it?

There's a projectionist, Joe Niemand, out at the Star of Bethany.

I've busted him for some pretty weird stuff before now, but this is crazy.

This is the 20th century! You can't possibly believe in that.

It depends how you mean it.

I believe in witchcraft.

Every town has its own local witch. It's big business out here.

But do you believe in magic?

You mean magic as in classic terminology?

Shape shifting, raising the dead, all that?

I don't think such things are possible, Sergeant. Do you?

Hello, operator.

I'd like to make a collect call.

Yes. Pretoria 885-82.

Please hold the line.

Wendy and Mark are out right now.

If you want to leave a message, speak after the tone.

Hello. This is the Bethany operator calling South Africa from Namibia.

Will you accept the charges?

Hello? Bethany operator.


I'm sorry. There's no one answering. Thank you. It's all right.

Dear Mark.

I'm going on a long holiday and don't want to see you again until I get my head straight.

I know 1 still need you. But I know also...

...that I can never be the wife you want,

Go on, give me a kiss!


Hello. This is the Bethany operator calling South Africa from Namibia.

Will you accept the charges?

Hello? Bethany operator. Hello?

I'm sorry. There's no one answering. Thank you. It's all right.

That night, Ben Mukurob had a familiar dream.

A dream of a lost wife, gone 15 years...

...and a dead son, dead because of him.

In a forgotten white men's war.

Sorry, it's been a power cut.

It's all right. This is embarrassing for everyone.

We were trying to find you all day. I'm, sorry.

I's because of you it's come to this. You and your stupid pride.

If you take this rock, you can put it right.


Hello? Is anyone there?

Hello? Anyone awake?


God... Are you the driver?

Do you drive?

No... No... I don't drive.

Uh, not this. My car is over there.

I think I'm stuck in the sand. Could you help?

Where you heading for?

Nowhere. I just came from there.

Anyplace else I'm good for, climb aboard.

I saw you at the roadhouse yesterday.

Figured we were on the same road. 1 could see you needed a ride.

The name's Wendy. Pleased to meet you.

Are you a serviceman?

I'm a tourist.

Are you from the states? Texas, maybe?

I travel a lot. Grew up on the road.

It's the only place I feel at home.

Where was it you were heading to?

Why? How far are you going? Straight through all the way to the sea.

You're not running from something, are you?

What do you mean?

I don't know.

You just look like you might be running from something. That's all.

Like maybe you committed a murder, and the police were after you.

No. I wish...

You wanna talk about it?


That's okay.

We've got nothing but time.

Hey, Johann... Go call Ben on the radio.

Tell him we found something here, man.

I remember the day Ben Mukurob came to call on me.

I was still working as the projectionist at the Star of Bethany drive-in.

We were showing The Bird with the Crystal Plumage...

...and Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires that night.

It was a good double. I remember it well,

Hi, Joe.

Remember me?

Used to come way back. And the Empire was still running.

That was a good cinema. It's all sanded in now.

Got jackals coming in the auditorium and all sorts.

Not just jackals, huh?

Wasn't a jackal took my job away.

I've been talking to him, Ben.

He said, it's gonna end the world real quick now.

The Earth gonna dry up, crack.

I don't wanna hear that, Joe.

I want to know who did this.

I see the problem. One last night.

One the night before.

You know anything about it? This...

I would say, this is a clue for Officer Mukurob.

It's a shame he doesn't believe in this bullshit, huh?

Doesn't matter whether I believe in it.

- I need to know what it means. My, friend, this stuff...

To know it, you have to believe it.

Gonna be difficult for a man in your position...

...Who's taken the choices you have...

...To understand this... num.

What's this num?

My friend, let me tell you, the num...

...is a power... when people sing...

...when man dances...

That is the way of this num.

He took her fingers. Why did he do that?

There's a whole lot of power in fingers.

Knots and knuckles and such.

If you want to win a war...

...you need a fistful of knuckles.


...you smoke too much.

Maybe you should help me lay some rocks.

It might be easier for you to understand.

You gotta keep your eyes wide open...

...when you deal with magic.

Yeah, Joe.


...magic all around us. Yeah, you bet.

All around you, friend.

You must believe in something.

God. The devil...

The soul, at least. Don't be silly.

I don't believe in that any more than 1 believe in magic or Peter Pan.

Surely you'd have to admit some superior force guides your hand.

Fuck superior forces.

When you're dead, you're dead. That's it.

Keep your eye on the road. You don't want to fall asleep.

Hey, that looks... Don't stop. Drive on.

What the hell was that?

Oh, God...

Jesus Christ...

Hey, Texas!


What are you doing?

Fuck it, man!

What'd you do that for? For Christ's sake, what have you done?

Nothing worse than what the boys did to Saartjie Haarhoff...

...and the others the other day. Nothing worse than what he would do to us...

...if he had half the chance. Us? What do you mean us?

I'm not one of you! He would've talked to me!

So we got heavy with him. So what?

At least we've got something to go on now.

She's a white girl...

...in her late 20s or early 30s.

She was right there at the scene of the crime.

He says he helped her push-start her car.

A red Volksy with city plates.

Should be piss-easy to pull in, man. That's a break, man.

The first real break we've had.

Release this man.

- He's a material witness. 1 don't care! Release him!

Let him go, Constable.

Sergeant Mukurob is still your superior.

Yes, sir.

1 want you and Woodys in my office tomorrow morning with a full report.

What you have done here, has cost us this man's testimony!

Do you understand that?

Yes, sir.

Ben, I want a word.

Come one, I'll buy you a drink.

You must watch that. You could get an infection.

Lose a finger or something.

You know some whales make for life, Kornelius?

Oh, yeah, yeah... I've never heard that, Ben.

Yeah? I heard sharks never sleep.

They stop moving, the suffocate. No, that's not true.

They just sleep in strong currents.

And that way, the water flows down their gills and they keep breathing.

There are photographs of this.

Yeah, you always like the sea, didn't you, Ben?

What's that crazy tape you're always listening to?

The whale song. Whale crap.

Katie left it by mistake.

Now, 1 don't know anything about the sea.

I grew up in the desert. Katie was the one who liked the sea.

Yeah, that's for sure. Hey!

Where are you taking my favorite football table?

To the beer hall across the street.

Hey, don't tell the old lady about it. She'll get mad.

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, requisitioned by the state.

Ben, I've got to tell you...

...I have to take you off the case.

I don't understand.

1 have to handle the whole body business over to the UN.

And they'll probably let the bastard go on amnesty.

I'm close to him, Kornelius. You can't just take me off like that.

I just need facts.

Anything we got on any similar cases from up-country or across the border.

I mean, he's done it someplace. He's experienced.

I can put in a request to Pretoria...

...and get you anything we have on file here.

But after that, you're on our own, man.

It's over for me here.

This town's finished with me.

Yeah, I heard.

They offered me two year's pay. What could 1 do?

You did the right thing.

You've got Pam and the kids to worry about.

What about you, Ben?

What's keeping you here?

What will I do? Maybe I'll go away.

Where would you go?

Where everyone else is going.

The Namibian tourist board announced today...

...that the Finger of God has fallen. The landmark rock formation...

...one of the area's largest tourist attractions...

...collapsed last night during a high wind.

Dated by geologists as being at least four million years old...

...the formation was given its name by bushmen hunters...

...who felt it resembled a massive finger pointing towards the earth.


I'm sorry. I didn't mean to frighten you.

Who the hell are you?

And how did you get into my car?

How did you get out of it last night?

You fell asleep.

I thought 1 was going crazy. I.

We should be going.

You're still going to the sea, aren't you?

What makes you so sure I still want to give you a ride?

Well, it's your call.

I won't hold it against you if you tell me to take a hike.

Put the top on. Give it a twist.

Kornelius, your man is here.

Ben... At last.

Glad you made it. I'd almost given up on you.

I was at a funeral.

Come on. We'd better go in the house.

Kornelius, you said you were ready. Wait in the car. I'll just be a moment.

- I brought everything 1 could find. I didn't expect this many.

Yeah. Here, Ben, look at the date.

Christ, this is from 1952.

They go all the way back to the war. 1 even found one from 1908.

Some hooker got herself stabbed in Klein Karib Station.

They found a pocket watch up her puss.

That couldn't have been him, my man. That was before he was born.

Do you ever ask yourself how many murderers...

...are struck by lightning every year, die in car accidents...

...or other acts of God? A great many, probably.

It would make an interesting statistic. Kornelius!

Don't you think? Good God!

Hurry up!

I'd better not keep her waiting.

No, I suppose not.

- This is all 1 can do. Come on, kids.

You have to look after yourself now, Ben.

I saw Mr. Haarhoff's eyes at the funeral.

He didn't love her. Nobody loved her.

Nobody cared about her.

Yeah, Ben.

Remember to lock up.

We're driving in circles. I'm sure of it.

You've done it.

Made it all the way to the edge of the world.

Oh, my God! This is amazing.

This is the home of the great snake father, Kouteign Kouroo.

In the dawn of things, he made this place from the lashing of his coils.

Don't talk.

Don't spoil it.

But you don't understand...

Morning, sir. Good morning, sir.

It's just a routine roadblock. Do you have any identification for us?

Yes, 1 have it here. Let me give it to you.

It looks in order. Do you have any firearms?


Must I give you the license too? Yes, please.

I've been driving all night, from Johannesburg.

Where are you heading for? Bethany.

Bethany? What are you going to do there?

Visit my in-laws. In-laws?

Okay. Drive safely, sir.

Thank you. Can I drive straight through? Yes, you can.

Okay, goodbye. Have a nice day.

What's that?

Probably just some bored soldier messing around.

Care to dance?

She's been waiting for you, Sir.

I'm afraid, you'll have to explain to her.


I'm so sorry.

I'm doing everything I can.

I... I was dreaming.l.

That was no dream.

You're in a lot of trouble, pal.

You're going to have to come with me.

Am I...

...awake? No, no, my friend. Now you're dreaming.

Hello. Excuse me. 1 wonder if you can help me.

I'm looking for someone. Sorry?

A white lady.

Her name's Wendy. Wendy Robinson. I've got a photograph.

Sorry. 1 didn't know her.

She came in here about two days ago and used the telephone.

She was in here. Just pass it around.

You must've come through the wrong door. I beg your pardon?

You must go to the other side. The white bar.

Just because she's white doesn't mean you couldn't see her.

No one here has seen such a person.

Please, man. I'm looking for my wife.

Hey, you. Hey, you recognize her, don't you?

No one has seen anything here. There's nothing for you here.

Listen. Stop playing bloody games with me, okay?

That's the same pinball machine I heard when she called me!

Who are you? My name is Mark Robinson.

I'm her husband. We're married!

- You're a policeman, 1 think. What?

Look, man, I run a sports shop, okay?

What for you wearing a uniform?

I was in the army, man! Compulsory military training!

South Africa! Give me back my passport.

- Do you believe in God, South Africa? Of course 1 dot!

Then I hope God can help you!

Fuck! Get the fuck...

You're no one's husband now, South Africa.

I want my wife back.

But you don't understand.

What happened? What did they do to you?

Don't let go.

Sometimes it's like this wind...

...is inside my head.

Like my skull just could blow apart to let it out.

I'd give my life for a quiet corner of the Earth.

But this wind...

It keeps blowing me on... and on.

To the edge of eternity... and beyond.

It's silent out there, Wendy.

And bright...

So birght.

It's okay.

But you don't know who I am.

This is the work of a 'nachtloper'.

Black magician.

A shape shifter.

He seeks power over the material world through the ritual of murder.

The power of vision.

Of ecstasy.

The power to shield himself from detection and death...

...to travel, to transform.

He feed's off our light. He preys upon the damned.

Cuff him, Botes. Cuff him!

One wrong move and I'll skin your fat, white neck.

The weak, the faithless, he draws them to him.

And he sucks them...


You've been watching too many drive-in movies.

My friend, you... you got to stop thinking like a white man...

Start thinking like a man instead.

Otherwise, you're going to be in big trouble with this.

He's flesh and blood like us. He must be.

You can't hunt a 'nachtloper' like an ordinary criminal.

He's of the spirit.

We were put here just for his use. We're nothing to him.

We're dust in the wind.

His world is older than ours. He has been here since the first times.

He and his kin, walking in our shadows.

Leeches, growing fat on the world's pain.

He smelled Bethany dying.

And he came for souls to build his power...

...and return to he realm of the spirit.

Until this ritual is completed, he is trapped...

...like us in the material world, bound by the flesh.

He must work through human form...

...while he's in this world.

So he's vulnerable to human failings.

Only through ritual...

...through gaining power over the flesh...

...can spirit awake to fuller consciousness.

To work the ritual, he must keep moving.


But if he can be tricked...

...to step across this kierie...

...he can be rooted to the spot and stripped of his power.

I don't know about this, Joe. You...

You must bind him with the stick.

Strike a blow. It's the only way.

Bind him with the stick...

...and burn the root. Drive away his shadow.

Otherwise, he may take you, his murderer to be his new host.

Look at the little hunter 'mannetjie'...

...how patiently he sits and waits for his prey to step across the kierie.

So patient, so 'slim'.

Take it.

Take the stick.

You must go now, Ben Mukurob.

But go careful.

Death hunts you just as you hunt...

...the dust devil.

Don't touch that!


Why, for god's sake?

I swear to God, Wendy, I never had any choice.

They wanted to die. I just put them out of their misery.

Jesus, you're out of your fucking mind. Don't you see that?

No. You're the one who doesn't understand.

It was their choice.

They came to me.

I can tell when someone's time is up.

Who the hell are you?

You know who I am.

God, you're not from Texas.

I'm from the other side of the mirror.

I come from you.

Why? Why? Why? Because you need help.

Anybody can see that.

You're right on the edge...

...like the desert sky...

...at night, just after sunset...

...or maybe just before the dawn.

You have a choice to make.

Day or night?

You have a spark of light inside of you.

I'm just a midwife.

All I have to do, is make a small incision...

...and let it out.

Relax. It's all right now.

Everything's all right.

I'm right here.

I should've done this days ago, but I get lonely sometimes.

Forgive me. I won't keep you waiting any longer.

There's no good or evil.

Only spirit and matter.

Only movement toward the light...

...and away from it.

It's all light. All there.

No... please...

You picked the wrong girl, you son of a bitch!

Every time we go that way, we get lost.

I'm dying, you bloody fool!

Andre, quick, come away.

Run, children! Run!

Is this your wife?

It's for you.

You are a good man, and I don't want to hurt you.

Nor do I want to see you hurt yourself...

...but I must leave you and South Africa for good.

Don't blame yourself, and don't look for me...

...or try to follow me.

You must be strong now and try to be kind to yourself.

Love Wendy.

I met Wendy at a protest when we were both still at varsity.

It was back in 1978...

...when South Africa was stirring up all the frontline states...

...and causing all kinds of grief up there. You know what it was like.

We both caught a dose of tear gas.

Afterwards, 1 gave her a ride home on my bike.

And that was it.

She had a look in her eyes that day, you know, defiant...

...like a wild horse staring into the barrel of the future without blinking.

The same way she looked when she walked out on me.

Her tracks lead straight on to open desert.

Vulture City.

I wouldn't rate anyone's chances in it on foot.

Well, can't you call in air support or something?

I mean, get a couple of helicopters to comb the area.

No choppers. Not here. Listen, we're not going to find her like this.

At least get on the radio call some extra cops to help us.

What kind of fucked-up third world country is this anyway?

There are no more police, just you and me...

...No countries, just this. Just the hunting ground.

Do you think 1 fucking care what happens to you and your wife?

That's fucking open desert out there!

Listen, Rambo, if it was your wife out there, you'd feel exactly the same.

My wife left me 15 years ago when our son got killed on the border.

So don't tell me this shit! You talk about grief?

What do you know about grief? Let's get out of here!

Well, at least I still stand a chance with mine.

Let's get the fuck out of here!

Keep the windows closed!

I can't bloody well breathe in here, man!

What are you burning this thing for? To keep it out.


What the fuck is going on? Get out of the way!


Stop shooting!

There's nothing out there!

Listen! Put down your gun!

Or I swear to God I'll blow your fucking head off!

I mean it!

I took out the bullets!

After 15 years...

...do you think I'd let someone like you fuck it up for me?

Put them on!

One on the wrist and one on the bumper!

Don't leave me like this!

Yeah, there you still have a chance!

He only takes those who've got nothing!

Come back here!

Please, man!

The serpent lures its prey, entranced, eyes wide open...

...through the mirror to the land of the dead.

70 the house of the dust...

...Where the air is thick and hard to breathe.



You're almost there. You're almost there.

Oh, God... no...

No, please, no...

There must be somebody here!


Who are you?

Do you hear it?

Take this.

Keep your eyes open.

Stay here until I call you.



Come to me, come to me... Ben!

Ben, come to me, come to me, Ben!

Come to me, Ben!

I'm not going with you.

That's okay, wait here.

I know what I'm doing.

I'm a cop.

That won't help. I know.


Who's there?

Who's that?


Our world is just an interruption of the being.

A projected image caught for an instant on an upraised hand.

It's because of you it's come to this. You and your stupid pride.

Can't fix this.

It's on safety.

It's the little lever next to the breech.

Back off! Hands in the air!

I mean it!

What are you going to do, shoot me? Fuck yes!

There's a storm coming.

I think it's going to rain.

Look at my hand.

All five beams will stay with you.

You have to trust me, Wendy.

I thought you Were gonna shoot me.

I love you, Wendy...

Wendy? Wendy!

I've come to take you home.

Please... Please...

Wait for me!



Wendy... Wendy...!

The desert knows her name now.

He has stolen both her eyes.

When she looks into a mirror, she will see his spirit...

...like a shawl blowing tatters around her shoulders in a haze...

...and beyond the dim horizon, a tapestry unfolding...

...Of the avenues of evil...

...and all of history set ablaze.