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Ghost Canyon

Perdita Durango (aka Dance With the Devil)
(Rosie Perez, Javier Bardem, James Gandolfini, Demian Bichir, Harley Cross, et al / Blu-ray / R / (1997) 2021 / Severin - MVD Visual)

Overview: A psychotic criminal couple kidnaps a random teenage couple. The woman rapes the male captive, and lets him watch his lover being raped by the man. They then plan to sacrifice the couple!

Blu-ray Verdict: For his English-language debut, writer/director Alex de la Iglesia (DAY OF THE BEAST) chose novelist Barry Giffords prequel to WILD AT HEART featuring sociopath priestess Perdita Durango.

But when the U.S. distributor saw the finished film, they slashed 10+ minutes of gleefully profane sex & violence and dumped it under the title DANCE WITH THE DEVIL.

Severin is proud to present the complete Directors Cut starring Oscar nominee Rosie Perez and Academy Award winner Javier Bardem in the amoral love story (DVD Talk) filled with human sacrifices, kidnapping, murder, fetus trafficking and the dogged DEA agent (James Gandolfini, THE SOPRANOS) on the trail of it all!

Perdita Durango (Rosie Perez) is an attractive and exotic Mexican girl with violent past and future, as we soon learn. She meets mysterious Romeo Dolorosa (Javier Bardem) who practices some strange and bloody voodoo/Satanism rituals and also needs human victims for his acts he performs for and with some cult.

They team up, and start their violent journey near the border of Mexico and the USA in order to steal a huge truck carrying loads of human fetuses for some sleazy pedophiliac mafia boss. Yes it sounds very outrageous and once all the characters are introduced the level of wildness reaches its most breathtaking level.

The film is pretty empty in content for sure, unlike David Lynchs film, for example. It has one quite funny bit of commentary about stupid mediocre TV audience that gets its meaning for life through various TV shows and commercialism related to it, and that is exactly the kind of humor that can be found in Iglesias another outrageous (gore) comedy Accion Mutante (1993).

But mostly Perdita Durango seems to concentrate on sudden and rather shocking bursts of violence and steamy sex that will definitely annoy censors throughout the world.

There is a silent moment at the end which tells something about what is happening inside the characters head and what she has learnt but still it could have been a whole serious theme for the film.

Also the way how the kidnapped couple change in their dangerous situation is quite repulsive as in that world it seems like the more selfish and mean you are the more you will succeed and survive.

The young couple is not used as it should have been if Iglesia would have liked to include some serious and dramatic elements to the film and characters and thus make a more noteworthy piece of powerful film.

The other characters are also very nasty and perverse, completely unable to control their violent and sexual instincts, but they are also quite blackly humorous (the mafia boss, the two FBI agents etc.) and so the tone of the film is not too serious at all.

Most of the characters are just animals in the burning heat of the border trying to exploit and survive from each other. Romeos character is definitely as wicked as they come but still he is far from the effect of Willem Dafoe in Lynchs film, where the character was the other side of human nature; whereas Igleasia never seems to be interested in depicting things so deep in this film.

His characters are just bad, violent, miserable and selfish scumbags and there are not too many, or any, normal and safe feeling individuals in the film. The FBI caricature played by a film maker Alex Cox (Repo Man) is quite funny and makes fun on all the serious agent characters of the cinematic history!

The film is far from the greatness of Iglesias wonderful El Dia de la Bestia aka The Day of the Beast (1995) with its philosophic elements and incredible atmosphere with great visuality.

Perdita has not got any genuinely interesting and inventive camerawork or cinematic magic and even the rites Romeo commits are not as chilling as in, for example, Wes Cravens Serpent and the Rainbow (1987).

The soundtrack by Simon Boswell is mediocre, nothing too special in my opinion even though the director praises his work for this film and in general very much. He is a talented composer but his soundtrack for this film is not so memorable. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of Perdita Durango
On The Border - Interview with Director Alex de la Iglesia
Writing PERDITA DURANGO - Interview with Writer Barry Gifford
Dancing With The Devil - An Appraisal By Film Scholar Dr. Rebekah McKendry
NARCOSATANICOS: PERDITA DURANGO and the Matamoros Cult - Interview with Canciones de Amor Maldito: The Music of PERDITA DURANGO - Interview with Composer Simon Boswell
Shooting Perdita Durango - Interview with Director of Photography Flavio Labiano