Color, 1984, 88m.
Directed by Rino Di Silvestro
Starring Ann-Gisel Glass, Sebastiano Somma, Fausto Lombardi, Karin Schubert
Severin (US R0 NTSC) / WS (1.78:1) (16:9)

Saddled with a drunk, promiscuous single mother (Schubert), pretty Dutch teen Hanna (Glass) falls in with a bad crowd whose most toxic member, a degenerate playboy (Lombardi), introduces her to the joys of visiting porn sets, hanging out with streetwalkers in Vondel Park, and pill-popping and heroin use. Soon she's hooked on smack and turning tricks with plans of becoming a stag film actress, but a straight-laced guy named Alex (Somma) spends a passionate night with her and tries to save his beloved from the path to destruction.

The late Rino Di Silvestro had a sparse but memorable career in Italian sleaze, churning out efficient sex-and-violence concoctions like Women in Cell Block 7, Werewolf Woman and Deported Women of the SS Special Section. He brings that same tact into play here, depicting a girl's descent into the hell of addiction with the gusto best described as Lucio Fulci and Jess Franco on a bender. Hysterical anti-drug movies had been common in mainstream since the days of The Man with the Golden Arm and Roger Corman's The Trip (or even earlier if you want to go back to the days of marginalized films like Reefer Madness), but the subgenre really hit its stride in the '70s and early '80s with fare like Go Ask Alice and this film's most obvious antecedent, Uli Edel's Christiane F. However, where those films aimed (and sometimes missed widely) at a positive social statement, this one is just ridiculously foul. After getting her start running around naked in David Hamilton's Premiers Désirs, Glass obviously had no reservations about going to extremes for her craft with this film (an outlook she later proved with the unforgettable Rats: Night of Terror) and, aside from shedding her clothes at regular intervals, performs in a number of excessive scenes in which she's either vomiting uncontrollably, having random sex with strangers in unflattering positions, or in the queasiest moment, getting a hit via syringe to the eyelid. The relentless parade of IV drug use and enthusiastic softcore sex scenes really muffle whatever message the film was trying to convey, but it's all so sordid you can't help but enjoy as a pure guilty pleasure.

Severin's first American release of this film is a real gem for trash fans, offering a solid anamorphic transfer (which improves substantially after the somewhat rocky opening credits) and a respectable presentation of the English audio track which, in the grand tradition of Italian exploitation, is about as genuine as any other. The early '80s Amsterdam location shooting is a real asset here, offering a glimpse of still-standing landmarks as well as stores and sites now lost in time. The disc includes the original theatrical trailer and, much more importantly, a new 42-minute interview with Di Silvestro (who died shortly before the DVD release) entitled "The Confessions of Rino D." He focuses mainly on the film at hand, calling it a story about an angel's descent into and through Hell while eschewing any attempt at stark realism, instead going for an exaggerated depiction of drug addiction. He certainly achieved that, no question. He also talks a bit about his other significant exploitation films, and fans will be happy to note that he often worked (including on this film) with the infamous Bruno Mattei (who edited) and cohorts like composer Luigi Ceccarelli (Women's Prison Massacre) and cinematogapher Franco Delli Colli (Strip Nude for Your Killer). If any of those titles get your blood racing, snap up this DVD pronto!

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