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Wonderland (film): Wikis

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Theatrical release poster
Directed by James Cox
Produced by Dawn Schiller
Rick Rosenthal
Captain Mauzner
Written by James Cox
Captain Mauzner
Todd Samovitz
D. Loriston Scott
Starring Val Kilmer
Kate Bosworth
Dylan McDermott
Music by Cliff Martinez
Cinematography Michael Grady
Editing by Jeff McEvoy
Distributed by Lions Gate Entertainment
Release date(s) October 24, 2003
Running time 104 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $5 million
Gross revenue $2.5 million

Wonderland is a 2003 film about the Wonderland Murders starring Val Kilmer, Kate Bosworth and Lisa Kudrow. It was directed by James Cox. Kilmer plays the role of John Holmes, the pornographic film star, a suspected accomplice in four grisly murders committed in an apartment on Wonderland Avenue in the Laurel Canyon section of Los Angeles.



John Holmes and Dawn Schiller

We are first introduced to the underage girlfriend of John Holmes -- Dawn Schiller (Bosworth). She is on the streets and is picked up by a holy roller (Carrie Fisher) after she and Holmes break up. She eventually calls Holmes to come and get her. Holmes arrives at the apartment and they have sex and snort cocaine in the bathroom. While in a motel room, Dawn sees a newscast that states four people were murdered at a rowhouse on Wonderland Avenue, the same one she had been to with Holmes before. The story eventually moves onto two city detectives (Ted Levine and Franky G) investigating the crime and their contact with Holmes. Another officer (M.C. Gainey) intervenes with the investigation, himself being a colleague of Holmes.

David Lind's story

The next major character introduced is David Lind (Dylan McDermott). He hears of his friends' murders at Wonderland and soon discovers his girlfriend was there. While at the crime scene, he is picked up by L.A.P.D. Detectives Nico and Cruz (representing real-life detectives in the case, Tom Lange and Bob Souza). Through Lind's story (told in flashbacks), we are introduced to some of the people who party at Wonderland. These people, known as the Wonderland Gang include Ron Launius (Josh Lucas), Billy Deverell (Tim Blake Nelson), Lind's 22-year old girlfriend Barbara Richardson (Natasha Gregson Wagner), Joy Miller (Janeane Garofalo) and Susan Launius (Christina Applegate). Ron has a fondness for antique guns and quite frequently shows them off. When Ron learns that Holmes knows notorious gangster Eddie Nash (Eric Bogosian), he gives Holmes a pair of stolen antique guns to take to Nash so that Nash can fence them and they can split the loot. Nash befriended Holmes because of Holmes' notoriety as the film phenomenon Johnny Wadd. Holmes takes the guns to Nash, but Nash says the guns are too rare to be sold; they would be recognized right away and everyone involved would be apprehended. Rather than give the guns back to Holmes, Nash keeps them for himself. Attempting to get back in the good graces of the gang, Holmes suggests robbing Nash's home. Ron is reluctant to go along with the robbery at first, but after Holmes gives him a rundown of what's there, he is quite eager for the big score. Holmes volunteers to draw them a map to plan the robbery, since he has been to Nash's house a lot. Holmes then visits Nash to buy drugs. On the way out, he leaves the door to the kitchen unlocked so the Wonderland gang can have easy access.

The robbery of Eddie Nash

The next morning, the robbery is carried out by Ronnie Launius, Lind, and Deverell, while wheel-man Tracy McCourt waits outside in a car, serving as lookout. Neither Holmes nor any of the women are present when the robbery occurs. The Wonderland Gang gains access through the unlocked kitchen door and robs Nash at gunpoint. Lind accidentally fires his gun, wounding Nash's bodyguard, Greg Diles (Faizon Love). Racial epithets are hurled at Nash and Diles. The gang walks away with over one million dollars in cash, jewels and drugs. They bring their loot back to the Wonderland apartment to divide everything up. Holmes is unhappy with the cut he is given, even though he did not take part in the robbery. Nash finds out that Holmes helped plan the robbery. He has Holmes beaten and finds his black address book. He tells Holmes he will kill every person listed in the book, starting with his mother, if he does not give up the men who robbed him. He also threatens to cut off Holmes' penis, cut it into pieces, and shove it down his (Holmes') throat.

July 1, 1981

The retaliation for the robbery is swift and fatal. On July 1, 1981, a group of Nash's henchmen (including Holmes) led by Diles gain access to the apartment at Wonderland Avenue. Ron Launius, Deverell, Richardson and Miller are all brutally beaten to death with striated lead pipes. Holmes is compelled by Diles to deliver blows to Launius. Susan Launius is beaten but not killed. She survives and is questioned by Nico and Cruz in her hospital bed. She tells them (in a near comatose state) that she does not remember anything—only shadows. Lind is not present during the attacks.

The robbery of Nash (in fictionalized form) features heavily in the Holmes-inspired Boogie Nights. In that film Mark Wahlberg plays the porn star and Alfred Molina plays the "Nash" role.


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