In the 1970s, John Holmes became the most legendary male porn star of all time, due in no small part to his far from small part. Myth surrounding the size of Holmes' gift estimated it to be as large as 15 inches, though Holmes himself once claimed to have measured it at nearer 10 inches. Despite making around 2000 films throughout his porn career, Holmes managed to fritter away his fortune in spectacular fashion, with drugs lending more than a little help to his downfall. The bigger they are, as they say . . .
Wonderland tells the true-life story of four gruesome murders that took place in a house on Hollywood's Wonderland Avenue during the early 1980s. At first, it appeared that the murders were merely the bloody outcome of just another drugs war going on in Hollywood's seedy underbelly. However, when news broke that John Holmes was somehow involved - by this time, his career over and his dependency on drugs completely out of control - interest in the story was inevitably piqued. What that link actually was is what Wonderland attempts to explore.
Val Kilmer does a brilliant job as the sleazy fuck-up John Holmes, with a performance reminiscent of his portrayal of the Lizard King in The Doors, though it is different enough not to be a rehash. It is a shame, watching Wonderland, to think of the time that an actor as talented as Kilmer has wasted in the wilderness. If stories are to be believed, this was down to how difficult he was/is to work with, and for a spell the only roles going his way were in utter rubbish like The Saint. Still, given the strength of his turn in Wonderland, this should certainly signal the start of a comeback.
With a strong ensemble cast and a highly intriguing story in place, James Cox delivers a powerful and visually interesting film that stays reasonably close to the events in question whilst at the same time offering its own slant on the what actually happened on that fateful night on Wonderland Avenue.