Tanya’s Island (1980)

Depending on your point of view this movie is either an interesting Freudian exploration of the “beauty and the beast” myth, or it is a particularly pretentious example of what Robin Bougie of “Cinema Sewer” magazine hilariously dubbed the “bigfoot-rape” film. Evidence of the former would be that this was directed by Alfred Sole who directed the cult horror classic “Alice, Sweet Alice”. This isn’t a patch on that one,of course, but it’s better than a lot of Soles other equally bizarre, post-“Alice” projects (like the off-the-wall slasher spoof “Pandemonium”). Evidence of the latter, however, would be that this movie stars D.D. Winters, a singer/actress who couldn’t really sing and DEFINITELY couldn’t act. She would later become Prince’s protegee under the name of “Vanity” and then eventually a born-again Christian (and I’m not sure which is worse).

This movie is about sexy and oft-naked woman and her husband who go off to live on an island for reasons that eluded me. The only other being on the island is a ape man/bigfoot type creature who the girl nicknames “Blue”. The girl feels a strange affection, even perhaps an attraction, to the creature, which makes her husband increasingly jealous. He becomes determined to capture this monster and put it in a cage. The Freudian metaphor here is pretty obvious–the monster represents the wild, uncivilized side of the man, and he fears the woman’s attraction to it and wants to repress both it and her. This intriguing idea is pretty seriously fumbled though by some truly horrid acting and a clich├ęd, cop-out ending usually used by filmmakers when they have totally run out of ideas.

This movie greatly resembles the notorious Walerian Borozyx film “The Beast”. It is also a arty, metaphoric exploration of bestiality (albeit a little less graphic than the Borozyx film). But while “The Beast” also starred a sexy but talentless actress (Sirpa Lane) as the object of the bestial affections, Borzyx had the good sense not to give her any lines. Winters has many lines in this movie and is unbelievably annoying when she’s not having sex or getting naked. More importantly, however, “The Beast” had a strong ending that tied everything together, while this one . . .well, I won’t spoil it–I’ll just let it spoil itself. This is a potentially interesting but flawed film.