It's 1980, it's Toronto, Canada, and here is what is without a doubt one of the oddest soft-core porns I've ever watched. Tanya's Island is just that - a fantasy place for her to 'getaway' from her hectic life. "D.D. Winters" plays Tanya, an aspiring actress with an extremely overactive imagination who seems to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown over losing her boyfriend, a painter named Lobo, who accuses her of "owning him." (I'd love to tell you that this is all high drama, but I was all at once laughing and oddly aroused.) She often has bizarro dirty fantasies that seemed to leap out of the dark at me and then run away.
She is filming some bizarro commercial/movie involving a trolley and black people dressed up as some kind of Borneo-like natives (this movie is so Freudian it's sickening!) All I can figure out is that because her personal world is falling apart as her (so-called) acting career is taking off, she must be cracking under the pressure.
As she tries to keep it together, she has recurrent dreams of getting away with Lobo, who she sees as her dream man, yet in almost every scene (other than the nudity) there are heavily erotic clues splashed all over the place to let us know that - and this is my opinion, from what I got of this - Tanya has serious sexual (read: rape) fantasies. They are everywhere in this thing. Yeesh!
We see rubber monkeys dangling from strings over her bed and African masks hanging in her apartment, Lobo likes to paint monkeys, and even at the beginning of the the movie there film clips of Mighty Joe Young, when suddenly we go from the real world (via one of her little dream sequences) to her "fantasy island" (filmed in Puerto Rico). This is also the part where the main titles finally come in, with her totally and I mean TOTALLY nude, superimposed and shot from the front, the back, as she beckons the watcher to "come with me." Jeez! Talk about high art!
We find her and Lobo now on the island, they argue, they play, they fiddle around, then she gets mad at him, she loves him, etc. Oh, did I mention shes mostly NUDE throughout all of this??? On one of her jaunts around the island on a horse, she meets an animal - well, an apeman - that looks oddly like the King Kong costume from the 1976 remake. No wonder, the makeup guy on both movies was none other than future Oscar winner Rick Baker!
She befriends him and she calls him Blue because - get this - his eyes are "so blue." He seems to represent the animal she wants in the sack, because every time we see her getting "made love" to by Lobo, it's kinda violent, but the animal is peaceful, so what does she do for her new friend? Goes nude swimming right in front of him! Nice! Mint!
As usual, as is the direction that these kind of low-budget movies tend to drift to, Lobo sees that the ape is AWFULLY friendly towards Tanya so... he decides to trap him! This whole sexual innuendo thing between the three becomes strange, and sexy, and sickening all at once. She seems to be conflicted, as she wants the gentleness of the ape, but on the other hand wants to be mentally (and physically) to be abused as much as possible by the man. Boy, am I reading too much into this???
This movie over the space of last hour de-evolves into some kind of King Kong rape thingy in reverse. He is turning into the animal she needs, and of course since she's confused about what she wants from anyone (within the space of 10 minutes she tells him "no one kisses like you, Lobo" then calls him a son of a bitch) I don't even know how this was going to end. Well, it all comes to a head when he starts puts on the blackface - honestly, I'm not lying, BLACKFACE - to fight the animal. And of course to rape and abuse her as many times as possible in front of ol' Blue when he traps him, too.
Well, the "climax" is so obvious, I shouldn't tell you, but... okay I will. (MASSIVE SPOILER, SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW.) She gets eventually set free and carried off by the animal after the two men have a nice little war, then the animal rapes her, then... she wakes up! Big surprise, she's been DREAMING THE WHOLE THING! The. End.
Well, I'd like to say there's more to it, but there really isn't. She likes to fantasize, but she definately needs some kind of psychiatric counseling to deal with her issues. I was subjected to 90 minutes of one woman's sick little dreams, and let me tell you, the girl is CONFUSED.
As for the technical end of the DVD, it is presented in the Standard format, the framing is off a tiny bit at the bottom at times, and you can see the lense's curvature in several scenes. The picture is clear, not too grainy, and appears remastered. The sound is crystal, you can hear every scream and moan.
Apparently Substance Video gets it's hands on the oddest stuff - this is the same company who luckily put out "Meet The Feebles," a fantastic yet sickening puppet sex/disaster movie made by Peter Jackson! Yes, that Peter Jackson. Oscar winner Peter Jackson. (Go ahead and Google the movie, you'll never be the same.)
Now, after watching this, I had to ask myself how a 20 year-old Denise Matthews - or D.D. Winters, or Vanity, whatever - got talked into making this dreck, I don't know. It is truly awful, and I'm not even sure it's ever been shown since it was made over 25 years ago! This was also made before she became the flavor of the month for Prince, but let me tell you, she still looks choice here!
I've also read online that she had flatly REFUSED to let the major studios release "52 Pick-Up" or "Action Jackson" onto DVD without editing out her raunchier bits because she's all religious now, but this movie is a voyeur's major wet dream. Since this was released in Canada, I guess there's a catch or something, or maybe she doesn't know about this, or maybe she DOES and realizes there's nothing she can do about it.
Either way, she's naked, and she's heavily sexually confused, and she's an actress, and she is Tanya. Take it or leave it, this is worth the price of at least one viewing.