Starring Ann Gisel Glass, Karin Schubert, Tony Lombardo
"It's not enough that you gave me the Clap?"
Directed by notorious cheese dealer Rino Di Silvestro (Women in Cell Block 7, Werewolf Woman), Hanna D is an amusingly overwrought riff on Christiane F, the '81 movie based on the '62 youth-gone-wild autobio about a Euro-teen flipped out on heroin. Starring wispy Ann Gisel Glass (Rats: Night of Terror) as the wayward waif, this lurid melodrama drags wide-eyed Hanna down the thorny path to Loserville with a remarkable lack of subtlety, humiliating and degrading her at every turn until she is reduced to a quivering, self-destructing mess of abused flesh.
And then it turns into a love story.
Hanna lives with her mother (Karin Schubert, Black Emanuelle) in a relatively fancy apartment. Mom used to be some sort of dancer/beauty queen, so now she spends all her spare time guzzling hooch, pawing at her sagging boobs in the mirror, and blaming her teenage daughter for everything.
Mom really does drink an enormous amount of booze, so Hanna is forced to blow guys on trains just to pay for it all. She's also started dabbling in intoxicants herself - mostly coke nipped from rich clients. Even though her mom knows exactly what she's up to, whenever Hanna heads home, she strips off the slut-ware before she goes in, always presenting herself as a fresh-faced, flat-chested innocent to her soused mother. That ruse cannot hold much longer, however, because Hanna is quickly sinking into the muck of the heroin underground. She hooks up with an aggro pimp who gets her hooked on the hard stuff and forces her to make porn to support her habit and his lifestyle.
One day while riding the crosstown bus, Hanna meets a nice guy, for once. She's sorta beyond the nice guy phase at this point, but she accepts his offer to make her dinner and ends up having a pleasant little date with the young gentleman. And then she abruptly splits, because there's drugs to do and penises to suckle for cash. Eventually, our bedraggled heroine gets tossed into jail and, while kicking the lethal cocktail of drugs swimming around in her system, adopts all manner of strange behaviors, including tap-faucet-sucking and slurping her own blood. Naturally, this freaked out her roommate something awful.
While she's waiting for her hearing, the still-twitchy Hanna is offered a hit from one of the other jailbirds, who had the stuff jammed up her ass. By the way, they graphically show that bit. It's pretty alarming.
"No one could guess the things we have hidden in our asses," says the girl with the heroin in her ass.
Hanna eventually gets out and goes back to her life of sin, but her true love Axel has not forgotten her. Can he make a respectable woman out of this "Dope and Syphilis filled" whore?
Maybe. Seems like a long shot, though.
Hanna D manages to somehow seem like sleazy grindhouse trash and a ham-fisted, G-rated, TV Movie-of-the-Week at the same time. Even when it's deep in exploito-scuzz territory - hooker beating, asshole extracting, puke-kissing, drunk mom fondling - a heavy morality play vibe lingers over the proceedings. It's like a long buildup to a bloody Charles Bronson revenge spree that never happens.
While it may be missing the bone-cracking justice of similarly themed films, Hanna D does, however, have its own demented charm, thanks largely to a going-for-it cast that never treats the preposterous story as anything less than a Shakespearean tragedy. Even in this (largely unobtrusive) dubbed edition, it's obvious that Gisel Glass figured she had the role of a lifetime on her hands, and she is pretty fearless here, going from lovesick high school girl to dopesick demon-bitch in the blink of an eye.
Hopelessly weird, wrong-headed, overheated and undercooked, Hanna D: The Girl from Vondel Park is well worth a look for Euro-sleaze fans and 80's hooker-gone-wrong enthusiasts.
Hanna D is available on DVD in a pristine new print from Severin, complete with an illuminating (and half-mad) interview with Director Di Silverstro.
- Ken McIntyre