I’ve been thinking about Mike Sager’s story, “The Devil and John Holmes,” for a long time. I first read his chronicle of the famous porn star and the Wonderland murders when it came out in 1989; I was 10 years old. It is a testament to the story’s vividness that, when I picked it up years later, so much of it–entire scenes and lines of dialogue–had stuck with me. (It’s not surprising that parts of the story ended up in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights. “There was this great Rolling Stone article,” Anderson said on his DVD commentary, “and I remember the description of this guy Eddie Nash in Speedos and the sheen of sweat on his body.”)
Some of the remarkable detail in the Rolling Stone piece comes from extensive interviews Sager did with two women in Holmes’s life: his first wife, Sharon, and Dawn Schiller, a teenager he had a relationship with and prostituted to support his drug habit. Schiller, who is now 53 and a graduate student at Eastern Oregon University, says the piece still holds up.
“The story is in alignment with what I lived,” she said in a recent telephone interview. “I think [Sager] did a really … Read More