By EW Staff
April 25, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
  • Movie

John C. Holmes was famous for one thing — one almost freakishly enormous thing. But ”Wonderland” is more interested in what later made him infamous: the skin-flick star’s involvement in a 1981 quadruple homicide at 8763 Wonderland Avenue, a drug den in L.A.’s arty Laurel Canyon. The subject of an ”E! True Hollywood Story,” Holmes was also the inspiration for the central character in Paul Thomas Anderson’s ”Boogie Nights.”

”’Boogie Nights’ was great,” says coscripter Captain Mauzner. ”But it didn’t focus on Wonderland.” Prior to the killings, the down-and-out Holmes was known to hang out at the house and do drugs with the same people who would later end up in the coroner’s office. ”He was used as a party favor,” says Val Kilmer, who stars. ”That’s why they let him stay there. He was such a thief, and he was so strung out by this time…. And then these murders happened — [although] I’m not saying he killed anybody.” (Holmes, who died of AIDS-related complications in 1988, was in fact acquitted of the killings.)

Kilmer and director James Cox also refuse to say if the film will feature an appearance by Holmes’ legendary appendage. ”You’ll have to see the movie,” says Cox. ”But whether we show it or not isn’t the point. This is a true-crime melodrama. It’s not pornography.”