Untold Tales of Hollywood #36

Film #9: Tanya’s Island (1980)
Directed by Alfred Sole
Art direction by Angelo Stea

My pal Mick Garris brought me aboard on this one. I don’t recall what role Mick had on this picture. My pals Rick Baker and Rob Bottin were on this stillborn baby, too.

The movie starred D. D. Winters (Denise Katrina Matthews). Years later, Prince changed her name to Vanity (he originally wanted to call her “Vagina”, but she refused) and she embarked on a singing career with her group Vanity 6. In 1995 she left Hollywood and the entertainment business to serve the Lord and practice her Christian faith. Her Tanya’s Island experience may have been one of the reasons she left The Biz. There was a sex scene in the film. I don’t recall whether or not it was a rape or consensual according to the script. As related to me by some of my friends who were on set, both D. D. and the male actor in the scene were instructed to have real sex on camera, which is completely unprofessional if not illegal.

I was asked to paint some fairly large paintings that appear in the film. One was of a mastiff with a human face (which reminded me of that composite creature in the Philip Kaufman Invasion of the Body Snatchers).

The painting originally looked much nicer than this. The beautiful background and foreground I had created for this picture was sloppily painted out by someone in the art department up in Canada. This job, which I did mostly as a favor, falls under the heading of “No good deed goes unpunished.” D. D. wasn’t the only person abused on this picture.

The other painting was a bloody silhouetted night time cityscape. I think I may have painted a third piece as well — I hope not.

Director Alfred Sole is best known for his second film, Alice, Sweet Alice, Brook Shields‘ movie debut, an okay horror film. He also directed Pandemonium (I created the one sheet art for that movie but didn’t notice he was the director until a few minutes ago). After directing about five films, in a sort of reverse career move, he became a production designer, most notably on the great TV series Veronica Mars.

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