APRIL MOVIE THON 2: Tanya’s Island (1980)

April 3: Rock and role — A film that stars a rock star.

D. D. Winters is, as you can tell, Vanity, the same singer who brought us “Nasty Girl” and starred in Action Jackson. But here, you can call her D. D. Winters.

And yes, that Alfred Sole who directed this is the same person who made perhaps the best American gialloAlice Sweet Alice.

She’s Tanya, a woman in love with Lobo (Richard Sargent), a violent artist. She dreams of a tropical island where she falls for Blue (Don McLeod in the suit made by Rick Baker, Rob Bottin and Steve Johnson, voiced by Donny Burns), who is a gorilla. Or maybe it’s really happening. Or maybe it’s all a dream. Or maybe it’s art.

McLeod was also T.C. Quist in The Howling and often shows up in strange roles, like the gorilla in Trading Places — I wonder if it was the same suit — as well as the oldest living Conehead in Coneheads, Zamora the ape in Mom, Can I Keep Her?, a gorilla — typecasting? — in the Sheena TV series and a statue in the recent Guardians of the Galaxy: Holiday Special. He was also the famous ape that destroyed luggage in the American Tourister commercial.

Writer Pierre Brousseau was the PR guy and music coordinator for Visiting Hours. He also wrote Après-ski, which also has Mariette Lévesque in it, who is in this.

Sole also made Pandemonium and then one more TV movie, Cheeseball Presents, before giving up on directing and being a production designer. I always loved seeing his name pop up on Disney Channel movies and in episodes of Veronica Mars and Castle. Sadly, he died a little over a year ago, but he left behind a few great movies and some at least strange ones like this.

There’s nothing else like Tanya’s Island.

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