wadd poster


Wadd: The Life & Times of John C. Holmes is a 1998 documentary produced and directed by Cass Paley about adult film icon John C. Holmes. It was the winner of Best Feature Documentary at the 1999 South by Southwest Film Festival held annually in Austin, Texas. It was shown publicly only a few times before being lost. The film has been reclaimed and re-engineered in HD. A national art-house tour is being planned by The Sager Group.

Drawing on interviews, film clips, and never-before-aired crime scene footage and family photos, the documentary examines Holmes' early life, his entry into porn and the creation of the Johnny Wadd film series, directed by Bob Chinn. It discusses Holmes’ romantic relationships, including ones with his first wife, registered nurse Sharon Holmes; his underage mistress, Dawn Schiller; and his second wife, porn actress Misty Dawn. Finally, it covers Holmes involvement with drug lord and LA nightclub impresario Eddie Nash and the gruesome Wonderland murders, as well as Holmes’ death from complications related to AIDS. It is narrated by journalist Mike Sager, whose Rolling Stone story "The Devil and John Holmes" inspired the movies Boogie Nights and Wonderland. Wadd features interviews with Ron Jeremy, Larry Flynt, Misty Dawn, Aunt Peg, Sharon Holmes, Dawn Schiller, and Paul Thomas Anderson, among others, in addition to footage from the actor’s career. The documentary is not rated but contains language and some nudity equivalent to a PG-13 film.

Praise for Wadd:

“The ultimate searching - and shocking - exposé of the porn world.” Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

“Like Holmes, Wadd is seedy, twisted, a bit on the long side--and creepily fascinating.” Richard Corliss, Time

“Wadd leaves us to ponder the difference between Holmes' special 'gift' and, say, another star's beautiful singing voice. When you come right down to it, they're pretty much the same thing, but distributed to different parts of the body.” Stephen Holden, The New York Times

“Holmes' story isn't pretty, but it's fascinating, in no small part because the people Paley interviews offer a glimpse into a brief time when making porn was an act of rebellion that attracted a diverse and eccentric group of filmmakers and performers.” Maitland McDonagh, TV Guide

Cass Paley is president of Cassel Productions. He has worked as a production coordinator on Saga of Western Man (ABC), and production manager on the Emmy Award-winning National Geographic special Journey to the Outer Limits. As project coordinator for Unicorn Films, Paley oversaw production and post-production of many ABC World of Entertainment specials, including Darryl F. Zanuck, Filmmaker, and Fred Astaire Salutes the 20th Century Fox Musicals. Paley, a 1971 graduate of Emerson College, began his professional career as a film traffic coordinator and production assistant at ABC TV, in the award-winning documentary division in New York. For the past 12 years, Paley has been the archivist for the Roy Orbison estate while actively creating new documentaries, including The Prisionaires.

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