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Film / Wonderland

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Wonderland is a 2003 crime film based on the real life Wonderland Murders that happened in 1981. It stars Val Kilmer as the famous porn star John Holmes, and Kate Bosworth as his underage girlfriend. John Holmes is suspected as playing a part in the four murders, and he and David Lind provide different perspectives on what happened during the robbery of Eddie Nash.

This film provides examples of:

  • A Simple Plan: Robbing Eddie Nash was far more dangerous then the Wonderland gang could have imagined.
  • Asshole Victim: Launius and his cohorts (with the exception of the wives) were murderous, unstable drug addicts. They still didn't deserve the particular fate they get though.
  • Ax-Crazy: Eddie Nash and Ron Launius. Launius was actually far worse in real life. At the time of his death, he was a suspect in 27 open homicides.
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  • The Bad Guy Wins: The "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue end states that Eddie Nash was acquitted of the charge of having ordered the Wonderland Murders and that, at the time of the movie, he was living in California as a free man, probably enjoying the profits of his life of crime.
  • Berserk Button: John Holmes pushes Ronny's berserk button a couple of times.
  • The Cameo:
    • Paris Hilton is on Eddie's boat, but it's brief.
    • Also, Carrie Fisher as a religious zealot housewife who tries to help Dawn, but angrily throws her and John Holmes out of her house when she catches them doing the nasty in her kitchen.
  • Career-Ending Injury:
    • Not so much a physical injury but more of a poor mental state: as a result of Holmes’ drug addiction, by 1980 he could no longer maintain an erection and was blacklisted by the porn industry. Dawn mentions this when confiding with Sharon, saying that John hasn’t made a film in two years.
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    • It can be applied to Holmes’ life before porn when he worked as a forklift operator in the freezing section of a meat-packing plant: both his lungs collapsed and he was force to quit.
  • Closer to Earth: Billy Deverell, who, despite his obvious drug problem, is level-headed enough to convince Ron Launius not to kill John Holmes in the Wonderland apartment.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Eddie Nash can be a nice guy at times but is a soulless bastard underneath it.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: Holmes gets this. The film omits his frequent physical abuse of Dawn, as well as the fact that he tended to steal his wife's credit cards to support himself. While mentioning his death from [AIDS], the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue neglects to mention that Holmes infected two of his female co-stars, apparently after he knew he was sick.
  • Historical Villain Downgrade: Ron Launius was far more sociopathic and violent than he is portrayed here (not that he's the poster child for stability here). He was a suspect in twenty-seven open homicides at the time of his death.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: During the robbery David Lind accidentally shoots one of Nash's guards; it doesn't kill or heavily injure him though.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Holmes is sometimes this to his girlfriend and ex-wife. But it doesn't work so much with the latter.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Eddie gets revenge by getting his henchman and Holmes to break into the Wonderland gang's apartment and beating Ron, Deverell, Richardson and Miller to death with steel pipes. It's a very violent and intense scene.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Lind refers to his shooting of a bodyguard in the back as this. Subverted in that its clear to viewers it isn't.
  • Only Sane Man: Both Holmes and David Lind try to pass themselves off as this in their stories. Both are probably lying but John's version sounds closer to the truth as, unlike Lind, he is willing to admit he isn't that sane.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Holmes' recollection of the events prior to the murders features Ron and David dropping quite a few N-words, particularly when they rob Nash at his home.
  • Rare Guns: Ronny has a pair of antique revolvers that he's trying to sell, but he never actually uses them himself.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: The film shows differing accounts of certain events leading to the Wonderland murders, one from David Lind's recollections and the other from John Holmes'.
  • Sanity Slippage: We see John Holmes just after the Wonderland murders and with blood all over his clothes and face, and he is very shaken and unstable.
  • Scary Black Man: Some of Eddie Nash's bodyguards.
  • Shower of Angst: Two; Dawn after pimping herself out to Eddie Nash and Holmes after the Wonderland murders.
  • Third-Person Person: Eddie Nash frequently refers to himself as "The Nash."
  • Unreliable Narrator: Lind and Holmes are both less than truthful in their accounts of what happened.


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