Lust in the Dust
By Jeff Shannon
After forming a match made in trash-movie heaven in John Waters's Polyester, Tab Hunter and Divine reunited for this deliciously tasteless Western comedy, which borrows its title from the nickname for Duel in the Sun, the turgid Western that inspired director Paul Bartel's affectionate spoofery. With Hunter wearing two hats as hero and coproducer, the movie indulges its own outrageous excess while staying true to the dustiest traditions of the Western genre. It's just good enough to watch without shame, and rude enough to hide from more offendable members of the family.
Nothing's sacred in Chile Verde, the wild western town where lone gunman Abel Wood (Hunter) arrives after rescuing corpulent saloon singer Rosie Velez (Divine) from being defiled by Hard Case Williams (Geoffey Lewis) and his gang of misfit gunslingers. Saloon owner Marguerita Ventura (Lainie Kazan) gets hot 'n' heavy for Abel's wood, and passions flare up in a race for hidden treasure, the map to which is tattooed in two sections on Rosie's and Marguerita's ample posteriors. To reveal more would spoil the wretched hilarity; one needn't love Westerns to enjoy this pig-wallow of a comedy, but it helps if you know the legacy of screen villains like Henry Silva, who's riotous here while barely shifting his vile expression. No doubt, this is the wackiest Western that ever cooked under the "blistering, burning, blazing, scorching, roasting, toasting, baking, boiling, broiling, steaming, searing, sizzling, grilling, smoldering, very hot New Mexico sun."