Malcolm Brenner, a human who had sex with a dolphin named Dolly back in the 1970s, reviewed the Shape of Water for the Huffington Post. The Shape of Water was a big winner at this year's Oscars. It claimed the prize for the best picture. And its director, Guillermo del Toro, got the best director award. The film is about a mute woman who falls in love and eventually fucks a fish that looks like a guy. Brenner, the dolphin lover (and dolphins are mammals and pretty smart), makes two important points about this film. One: it is a female version of Splash, a 1984 "romantic fantasy" film that stars Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah (the latter plays the sexy human-like fish). Anatomically speaking, getting down with a mermaid is not really that different from getting down with a dolphin.
The dolphin lover's second point, however, makes it clear that the dolphin is, at the end of the day, totally a dolphin and the mermaid is part human. And as far as mainstream culture is concerned, you can have sex with something that's human-like but not with something that is totally not human—a dog, a pig, a horse.
Because I don’t think … There was a documentary made a couple of years ago ― I’m trying to remember what the name of it was now, I think it was “Zoo.” And it was about this incident where this Boeing engineer went out to this zoo farm in the country and got buggered by a stallion and died. And though that was a very artsy movie in the way it dealt with the subject, it was still, I think, a quadruped.
As long as, apparently, the object of your desire is a featherless biped, we’re not going to let a few gills or scales stand in the way of true romance, seems to be Hollywood’s dictum. Quadrupeds? No. Animals with flukes? No. But if it looks like a man …
Zoo is, of course, a film I made with Robinson Devor. It is certainly artsy and all that. And though it was screened at Sundance and Cannes, many thought it crossed the line—the one between human sex and animal sex, between the image of God (man) and His beasts. But according to Brenner's logic, if the animal that killed the Boeing employee in 2005 had been a centaur, that line would not have been crossed. Now that's something to think about.
But why did I make Zoo? Not because I was interested in animal/human sex, but because I was upset that people were more disgusted by a bunch of men getting fucked by horses in Enumclaw than George Bush's illegal war in Iraq. Watch the film. This point is right at the heart of the work.