Famous for his gargantuan anatomy, John Holmes led a bacchanalian high life surrounded by a bevy of beautiful porn starlets and a plethora of drugs. Veteran documentary director Cass Paley tells of the sordid and often bizarre rise and premature fall of Holmes, porn's most famous performer. Starting from his humble upbringing in the back woods of Ohio, the film chronicles Holmes' rise to fame from the notorious porn-noir Johnny Wadd series, to his 27 fan clubs and his reported $1500-a-day salary. Yet Paley is less interested in the sensational aspects of Holmes' debauched life than in exploring his character. Through interviews and clips from four of the most famous of his 2000 movies, a disturbing dark side emerges from his good old boy image. He had an abusive childhood, kept a wife secret from his porn colleagues for 20 years, pimped out his 15-year-old mistress for drug money, was questioned for his connection with a grisly mass murder, and eventually died of complications from AIDS. In the process, Paley paints a raucous portrait of the porn world during its '70s heyday. Wadd: The Life & Times of John C. Holmes was screened at the 1999 Toronto Film Festival and won the best documentary award at the 1999 South by Southwest Film Festival.
by Jonathan Crow synopsis