Review – Tanya Tate’s Runaways

by Chauntelle Anne Tibbals, Ph.D. . 

Some might describe Tanya Tate’s Runaways as controversial… others might say sick, depraved, or immoral, but I thought this film was nothing but dark-comedy-evil-genius-naughty-seduction at its finest!

Distributed by Filly Films, Tanya Tate’s Runaways (2012) offers up four vignettes staring Tanya Tate as a kind, loving, giving, and totally predatory house mother. Accordingly:

Where have all the runaways gone? Over to Tanya’s house for sanctuary and motherly support! Taking care of the girls is always a treat for Tanya and friends.

Tanya, with her beautiful smile and soothing voice and bountiful bosom, runs a sort of halfway house for troubled young women – ladies who have had run-ins with the law, ladies with no where else to go, and ladies whose rides just didn’t show up. Mama Tanya is there to wash these girls off, give them a snack… and have a snack herself. It’s a sort of subtle psychological rapacious manipulation – heeee!!

And I say “heeee!!” because it’s all camp – even the most reticent of “runaways” is happy for her allotment of Tanya-time. Consider:

Scene One: Tanya already has two girls well-trained. They go at it while…

Scene Two: …Tanya is out trolling for chics! She’s dressed to the nines, in her nice car, the portrait of benevolence and class. She comes upon little ragamuffin Nina James, all tears and pouts, hanging curbside. In what’s a truly mirthful sequence, Tanya offers this tragic urchin her care: a bath, a hair brushing, and ultimately some smoldering sex. The lead-in sequence to this scene is the film’s highlight.

Scene Three: Tanya’s “daughter” (Heather Starlet) is off to college soon, but she’s in need of some worldly advice. Luckily, Mama Tanya is there to provide both sagacious insight and a practice run in the form of Little Thieving Brooklyn Lee.

Scene Four: Heather is now out on her own, putting Tanya’s life skills to good use in her dorm room.

(this scene was interesting, especially in that it looked WAY different from the other three – different location and totally different lighting. I imagine this was a clever trick designed to subtly illustrate that Heather was indeed on her own, out of her “mother’s” care and practicing predatory-lovin’ in her own way)

Conceptually, Tanya Tate’s Runaways might raise some eyebrows. The idea of at-risk (relative) youth coupled with a predatory caretaker (who is, one would assume, state-subsidized) is both uncomfortable and not unheard of. Throw gender roles and stereotypes in on top of it (e.g. women are “supposed to be” kind, nurturing, and not a threat… especially to young women… even though criminal histories show us that that couldn’t be further from the case), and you’ve got yourself a thriller of psychological, system-failing ick…

…but Tanya Tate’s Runaways is none of those things. The entire film is done in a way that both capitalizes on a taboo fantasy and plays around with slightly sinister humor. There’s no ick involved – only a desire to sit on a curb wearing your cutest panties and best lost puppy pouty face in the hopes that Mama Tanya rolls on by.

Buy your copy and/or watch Tanya Tate’s Runaways now here.


Image used with permission.

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