Tanya’s Island (1980)

I freely admit that Tanya’s Island is not a horror film, but like Soul Vengeance, it defies genre (not to mention logic, good taste and proper hygiene). The film stars The Artist Formerly Know As Vanity as Tanya, a vapid model (redundant?) who we’re supposed to pity because her artist boyfriend, Lobo (Richard Sargent), treats her like crap. Instead of leaving the abusive dolt, she transports herself to a dream world where she and he are alone together on a tropical island so that he can…um, abuse her in isolation?

Turns out they’re not alone, though. There’s a blue-eyed gorilla (You can’t make this stuff up.) that roams the island, too, whom Tanya befriends and nicknames “Blue.” (Tanya’s vocabulary skills aren’t very keen.) While there doesn’t appear to be any romantic relationship between gal and beast, it’s still awfully weird, and when Lobo finds out, he goes “ape shit,” becoming more beastly than the beast. Man and ape duke it out for the woman, and the woman ultimately gets it in the end, literally…twice.

I suppose Tanya’s Island is supposed to be some sort of allegory, with a message about the nature of man or the treatment of women or whatever, but it’s all lost in this repugnant mess. Not only is Vanity’s character exploited, used and abused in the movie, but Vanity herself is treated likewise; she’s just a slab of meat here, a seductress stereotype parading around naked for most of the film, being subjected to unsubtle ass and bush close-ups and the occasional monkey rape. No wonder she’s since become a minister. I like seeing naked women as much as the next hetero guy, but here it’s just numbing, sort of like Showgirls without the poles but with all the icky perversion — not to mention the potential racial innuendo. Talk about horror.

“My daddy was killed by mangoes!”
“Are you for real, lady? I’m a frickin’ ape here.”
“Why can’t people just accept me for who I am?”
Judy just couldn’t get the monkey off her back.

 

What do you think?