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Hardcore (1979) movie script
by Paul Schrader.More info about this movie on IMDb.com
Credits are played over Currier and Ives-like winter scenes
from life in Grand Rapids. It's Christmas morning.
-- Two well-bundled youths shovel out a suburban driveway
while their father scrapes ice off the family car.
-- Youths pelter a passing car with snowballs. Others, more
daring companions, grab onto the car's rear bumper and hitch
a free ride across the icy roads and past a sign which reads
"Grand Rapids City Limits."
-- Christmas decorations hang from the lamp posts on Monroe
-- Children, dressed in bright parkas, and breathing steam,
compare their Christmas presents: sleds, skis and a toboggan.
In the b.g., other children speed down Richmond Park Hill.
-- A woman's distant voice sings an old hymn:
"Precious memories, unseen angels,
Sent from somewhere to my soul,
How they linger ever near me,
And the sacred past unfolds.
Precious memories, how they linger,
How they ever flood my soul,
In the stillness of the midnight,
Precious sacred scenes unfold.
Precious father, loving mother,
Fly across the lonely years,
And old home scenes of my childhood
In fond memories appear."
INT. VAN DORN HOUSE - KITCHEN - DAY
Four generations of the Van Dorn family have gathered at the
A long kitchen leads to the dining area, then to the spacious
The house is perhaps one hundred years old; deeply varnished
woodwork and patterned yellow wallpaper section off the walls.
Apart from several recent tasteless acquisitions (an E-Z Boy
lounge chair to replace the old Queen Anne which broke two
Easters ago), the house remains furnished in the style of
the previous century. The old dining room table, which
Grandfather Van Dorn built because he was too cheap to buy
one, has now become a priceless antique.
The rooms are littered with religious calendars, Bibles and
plaster-of-Paris plaques bearing such sentiments as "As For
Me and My House, We Will Serve the Lord." The oak buffet is
laden with similar religious knickknacks and chintz. Framed,
tinted photographs of the family patriarchs are
indiscriminately mixed with newer snapshots of proud fathers
and high school graduates.
The house radiates a sense of continuity. Generations come
and go; the family remains. All of life's "old home scenes"
have been played out here: births, deaths, romances,
blasphemies, betrayals. And now the air is again alive with
the sounds of playing children, busy housewives and bickering
The kitchen is crowded with mothers, daughters and aunts.
Each has brought a special dish. ANNE DE JONG (nee Van Dorn),
thirty-five, supervises the final preparations. One aunt
shows another snapshots of her new grandchild.
JAKE VAN DORN, forty, and his brother JOE, fifty, sit at the
table watching the kitchen activity.
The house echoes with small talk:
...He got accepted at Grand Valley,
but he'd rather go to Michigan...
...Get that pink rot...
...No way Uncle Joe talk me into
cutting celery again this summer.
Rather work in the car wash.
As the CAMERA TRACKS THROUGH the dining room, it passes a
cluster of men standing near the buffet. WES DE JONG and
JOHN VAN DORN, both about forty, casually discuss a
theological point with GRANDFATHER VAN DORN. Across the table,
a young boy, about eleven, listens with rapt awe.
These are men of the soil. Their faces are sun-blotched and
weather-beaten. Wes has rolled up the sleeves of his white
shirt; John has switched to a more comfortable plaid.
...I still say that if a man has
committed the unpardonable sin, he
knows he has.
Grandfather nods head approvingly.
I don't know about that, John. It
don't seem to account much for God's
What kind of grace do you mean,
universal or specific...?
INT. BASEMENT - DAY
A long line of folding tables have been set up in the
basement. A mixed assortment of chairs can accommodate thirty
or more persons. A pre-teen daughter helps her mother place
dishes and silverware on the tablecloths. Evergreen branches
and red candles decorate the tables.
INT. DEN - DAY
Most of the teenagers have crowded into what was once called
the study, but is now the "television room." KRISTEN VAN
DORN, fourteen, and MARSHA DE JONG, fifteen, are scrunched
onto the sofa. Kristen has long blonde hair, a clean Dutch
complexion and an unaffected beauty. The girls' legs are
innocently wrapped around each other's.
JOE, forty-five, another of the Van Dorn brothers, and a
male cousin about nineteen, are also squeezed on the sofa.
Young children squat on the floor in front of them. All are
watching some inane Christmas variety show.
Joe, bored of this tripe, gets up and turns off the set. The
children wail in unison. "Aw, c'mon, Uncle Joe."
I'm sick of watching this television
stuff. You know who makes it? All
the kids who couldn't get along here.
They go out to California and make
television. I didn't like 'em when
they were here, and I don't like 'em
One of the youngsters reaches over and snaps the set back on
as Joe leaves the room.
INT. LIVING ROOM - DAY
As Joe leaves the den, he passes Jake Van Dorn and Wes De
Jong. Unlike his older brother, Jake is not a man of the
soil. He has been to college and runs his own business. He
looks well-groomed and comfortable in his navy suit, white
shirt and striped tie. Wes is Jake's brother-in-law and
friend. They get along well enough.
(to Jake and Wes)
Television. If you don't buy one
yourself, the kids go someplace else
and watch. And what do they sell on
television? More televisions.
They got to make their money, too,
Joe. Give the kids a break. It's
Joe shrugs and walks into the dining room.
INT. BASEMENT - DAY
Anne listens as NADINE, her sister-in-law, about forty, and
RUTH, her niece, about twenty, help her set out celery and
...and they hadn't heard a word from
him before he died.
Three children, BILL, LENARD and JANE, ages six to ten, walk
over to the three mothers. Lenard, six years old, wears a
blanket over his head in mock Biblical dress.
Aunt Ruth, can we use Timmy for the
Nativity play? We need him to play
But Timmy's only six months old.
We won't hurt him. I'm going to be
Joseph, Jane's Mary and Lenard will
be one of the shepherds.
Bill looks at blanket-headed Lenard, who has no idea of what's
I don't think so...
You can't do that. That's blasphemy.
If anybody pretends to be Christ,
But he's only a baby.
Anne nods in agreement. Bill seems disappointed.
INT. LIVING ROOM - DAY
Jake and West stand with their arms around their respective
daughters, Kristen and Marsha. The girls squirm and giggle
Your dad and I aren't sure you and
Kristen should go on the YC Convention
Wes plays along:
I don't know, Kristen, that's a long
trip to be on a bus with all those
You mean those creeps.
There are more chaperones than boys
INT. BASEMENT - DAY
Every family is in place. The social order is complete:
grandfather, parents, children, grandchildren. The long table
is stacked high with salads, casseroles, and vegetables.
The diners turn their heads toward Jake who stands at the
far end of the table, his closed fists pressed against the
tabletop. He lowers his head in prayer.
One of the mothers, looking at her son, Lenard, quickly pulls
the blanket off his head.
The CAMERA TRACKS ACROSS the table toward Jake.
We thank the Lord for bringing this
family together at graduation time.
We ask Thee to watch over this family
and keep us together in the coming
EXT. JAKE'S HOUSE - MORNING
Two cars are parked in the driveway of Van Dorn's suburban
INT. KRISTEN'S ROOM - MORNING
Marsha sits on the bed as Kristen finishes packing her
The items include: a bright red sweater, jeans, underclothes,
Tampax, and a Bible.
INT. DINING AREA - MORNING
Jake, Wes and Anne wait in the spotless dining area. Harold
Jay looks in the refrigerator.
Sis, would you check if Kristen has
Anne nods and walks into the bedroom.
You want to go for coffee after we
send the girls off?
No. Thanks anyway. I've got to get
over to the office.
Anne wants to make sure you come
over for dinner Sunday. With Kristen
gone you'll be all alone.
Kristen, wearing a light blue sweater and skirt, emerges
from the bedroom. She smiles demurely.
Her suitcase is in her hand. Jake, for a moment, feels a
sharp twinge of loss. A foreboding of the day when Kristen,
fully grown, will leave his house for good.
EXT. TWELFTH ST. CHURCH - DAY
Parents watch their children board a snow-covered bus outside
Twelfth St. Church. A banner across the side of the bus reads:
YOUNG CALVINIST CONVENTION
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. -- BELLFLOWER, CALIF.
Most of the parents, working folk long accustomed to the
brutal Michigan winters, wear heavy overcoats, bearskin caps,
fur-lined gloves and galoshes.
Jake, bare-headed and wearing a thin topcoat over his suit,
waits with Kristen, Marsha, Wes and Anne. Harold Jay pelts
the side of the bus with a snowball.
MRS. STEENSMA, one of the trip counselors, reads off the
youngsters' names as they board the bus:
...Daverman, DeBeer, DeBoer, DeJong,
Marsha kisses her parents goodbye and heads toward the bus.
...Vander Ark, Vander Hoven, Vander
Keen, Van Dorn, Van Dyke, E., Van
When Kristen hears her name she starts toward the bus, then
stops, comes back and gives her father a farewell kiss.
Take care of yourself, Kristen. I
I will, Daddy.
If you need anything, just call.
Later, amid horn-honking and farewells, the bus pulls away
from the curb and heads down the snowy street.
INT. BUS - DAY
A sigh of relief goes up from the adolescent conventioneers:
wheew! There are a few isolated cries of "We're on our way!"
A teenager instantly flips on his transistor RADIO to metal
ROCK. Once away from home, these kids, like all kids, are
the children of 1976. The old family glue doesn't hold. They
live in the world of rock and television.
INT. FACTORY - DAY
Workmen fashion table legs on a wood lathe. In another part
of the factory, laborers assemble chair frames.
Jake walks along the assembly line with MARY, a well-dressed,
attractive employee about twenty-five. They turn a corner
and step into a display area where a set features the Van
Dorn Co.'s new modular office designs.
Mary shows Jake the set for his approval.
Is this all the display space we can
I tried to get more, but this is the
limit. The De Vries line has the
Mary is a cool, efficient display designer. Jake studies a
patch of bright blue on the right wall.
What do you think of this... ah,
shade of blue, Mary.
I like it, Mr. Van Dorn.
Don't you think it's a little too...
Not really. But if you want me to
tone it down...
No, no. I wouldn't hire a display
designer if I didn't trust her taste.
Maybe we should bring in more of
that shade. Perhaps a stripe across
the back wall.
Gently, relentlessly, Jake manipulates Mary. He does not
wish to impose his taste on her but, through calculated
argument, will get her to accept his views. It's only a matter
of time before he wears her down.
No, that would be much too
Yeah, overpowering. That was the
word I was looking for.
(sensing his ploy)
Mr. Van Dorn, I've worked on the
color scheme for weeks. I think it's
What's that shade of blue called?
Pavonine. It's the same tint as the
stripe in the fabric.
Jake bends down and examines the chair.
Are you still going with that fella
that teaches at Grand Valley?
Yeah. He's a nice guy. Don't lose
him. Maybe we could tone down this
stripe a bit. It's a little...
Okay, Mr. Van Dorn, I think we could
knock that Pavonine blue a bit.
Are you sure it's all right?
Yes. I think it'll look better.
If you say so.
Mary watches him a moment and thinks.
Kristen went on that convention today,
Yeah. How did you know?
INT. JAKE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
Jake lies in bed, sleeping. Blue light falls across his face.
He is dreaming.
EXT. BELLFLOWER CHURCH - DAY
A row of church buses are parked in the lot of First Christian
Reformed Church, Bellflower, California.
They have come from the various other Christian Reformed
communities around the country: Zeeland, Michigan, Midland
Park, New Jersey, Sioux Center, Iowa, Ripon, California.
Clusters of youths sit on the church steps and spacious lawns.
INT. MEETING ROOM - DAY
A hand-lettered poster on an easel reads: "Today's Topic:
Doctrine -- Relevant or Old-Fashioned?"
A slight, pretty GIRL about fifteen stands up before the
discussion group. She wears an Elton John T-shirt and name
tag. She holds her Bible with both hands.
Even though the doctrinal standards
were written a long time ago, I think
they are more relevant than ever.
Especially in this age of
permissiveness and "anything goes..."
EXT. BELLFLOWER CHURCH - DAY
Kristen and Marsha stand near a tree. Kristen is wearing her
red sweater and jeans.
Nearby, a group of boys sit in a circle on the grass telling
jokes and listening to metal rock on a transistor radio.
You going to Knott's Berry Farm with
He asked me. You going with anybody?
I don't know.
You ever play Chicken?
You never heard of that?
Com'on, tell me.
Well, a boy goes like this, see.
Using her finger, Marsha traces a looping oval around
Kristen's right breast, starting at the neck, working down
to the midriff, and back up her left side.
What does that do?
Well, each time he comes in closer,
Marsha traces another circle inside the first one. She draws
a narrowing spiral around Kristen's breast.
He keeps coming closer until you say
"Chicken." Then he stops.
The girls giggle.
You and Jerry do that?
Mrs. Steensma steps out onto the lawn and calls to Kristen
Kristen, Marsha! Time for your
Oh, all right.
And put your name tags back on.
The girls pull their name tags out of their jeans and clip
them on as they walk back toward the church.
INT. TWELFTH STREET CHURCH
REVEREND VANTIL, a stately man about fifty, stands at the
pulpit. The front of the church is plain and stark, adorned
only by a large wooden cross.
The Christian Reformed Church is not one which believes in
emotional appeals or confessions. It is a religion of
scripture, creed and doctrine. Reverend Vantil, dressed in
black, addresses the congregation as if he were a businessman.
And his business is sin, guilt and redemption.
He speaks calmly and powerfully. The church echoes with the
weight of his words:
...our study of the Heidelberg
Catechism, reading today Lords Day
number one, question and answer one
Q: What is your only comfort in life
and death? A: That I, body and soul,
both in life and death, am not my
own but belong unto my faithful Savior
Jesus Christ. Q: How many things are
necessary to know to live and die
happily? A: Three: the first, how
great my sin and misery are; the
second, how I am delivered from all
my sin and misery; the third, how I
am to be thankful to God for such
Later. The CAMERA TRACKS UP the aisle as the congregation
rises to sing the doxology. Jake stands with his sister and
EXT. TWELFTH STREET CHURCH - DAY
The parishioners, fighting off the winter cold, work their
way to their cars.
INT. DE JONG HOME - DAY
Jake, Wes, Anne and Harold Jay pass dishes around the De
Jong's dining room.
...as soon as the service starts,
the ushers all go off to Big Boy's
and have coffee...
The PHONE RINGS.
I'll get it.
So that when someone like Mrs. Van
Dorn in a wheelchair needs some help
there's nobody there.
She walks into the living room. After a moment, Anne walks
back into the room.
It's for you, Jake.
Van Dorn excuses himself, walks into the living room and
answers the phone. His VOICE can be HEARD in the background
Well, I just hope I don't get old
and in a wheelchair and have to depend
on the ushers to help me out of
(to Harold Jay)
You would never let that happen to
your mother, would you?
Harold Jay nods and keeps eating. He's used to this.
A moment later, Jake, his face drained of color, walks back
into the room.
What is it, Jake?
Wes, Anne, come here a moment.
Wes and Anne step into the living room.
That was Mrs. Steensma calling from
They don't know. They were having
some recreation deal out at Knott's
Berry Farm and Kristen wasn't there
when they got back to the bus and
they couldn't find her.
Have they called the police?
Is Marsha there?
Yeah. She's quite upset. I'm going
to fly out today. They want me to
bring some pictures.
I'll come with you. Let me pack some
He starts to walk away.
EXT. L.A. INTERNATIONAL - DAY
A United Jet lands. Marsha's VOICE is HEARD from the following
INT. BELLFLOWER HOME - DAY
Jake and Wes sit near Marsha. Mrs. Steensma stands nearby.
...They have a ride called "The Great
White Knuckler", a roller coaster.
Last time I saw Kristen was standing
Why was she alone?
He looks at Mrs. Steensma. Marsha is hiding something: She
was off necking when Kristen disappeared.
Was she alone?
I told this to the policeman.
They had met an older boy earlier.
But she wasn't with him when I saw
She tried to give the officers a
description. It was nothing out of
INT. L.A. POLICE DEPARTMENT - DAY
DETECTIVE BURROWS, of Missing Persons, carries Kristen's
picture and a form Jake has filled out into the "Runaway
Room". Jake and Wes follow.
One long wall is covered with tacked-up snapshots of persons
(mostly young) the police are looking for. Each snapshot is
attached to a small form listing the missing person's name,
age, home and so forth. A sign above the photo montage reads:
"Have you seen this person?"
Burrows tacks up Kristen's picture on the Missing Persons
The boy your daughter was talking to
didn't work at the park. We've
interviewed everybody there.
But is she, has...
There's no evidence of any foul play
at present. I hope she's just a
There's something wrong here. Kristen
is not the type of girl to just up
I said I hope she's a runaway. Better
that than she just disappears like
so many others do. Sometimes they
turn up years later, sometimes not.
A lot of crimes go unreported,
unknown. These are realities.
What are you doing?
Two officers have been assigned to
the case. I can't keep them on
indefinitely, but we'll go through
EXT. DOWNTOWN - DAY
Another day, Jake and Wes, wearing different clothes, walk
with ANDY MAST, a private investigator, down an L.A. street.
They walk silently, Mast, forty, a stocky man in a wrinkled
suit, looks like he's been up all night. He probably has.
Mast motions to a coffee shop and they enter.
INT. COFFEE SHOP - DAY
Mast, slouching in the booth, sips his coffee.
Those cops, like all cops, are
intelligent enough, but they are
masters of de-ductive reason. That
is, you ask them what three and two
are they'll tell you five, but if
you ask them what five is, they go
blank. That's spec-u-lative reasoning,
and that's where I come in.
Well, what do they know?
Dogshit. Worse yet, they don't care.
So then, Mr. Mast...
...What do you have to offer?
Let me ask you a personal question,
a painful one. The first of many.
Tell me, was your daughter the kind
of girl to run around, to, ah, play
practical jokes, maybe?
Van Dorn answers him with a cold stare.
No, I didn't think she was. Let me
get the picture here. Let me guess.
She was an absolutely clean girl, a
model daughter, she never had
rebellious or impure thoughts, she
didn't fuck around...
If I was you, Mr. Mast, I'd watch my
Hey, I'm a private detective, Van
Dorn, you want to hire a choir boy
you can go back to Grand Rapids.
I've been to that scumbag town. It's
full of them.
Who's paying you?
As I was saying, I'll pick up the
thread. There's a number of ways I
can go. There's not much you can do
here. Stay if you want. Maybe it'd
be better if you went back home. Go
through Kristen's personal stuff.
Ask around, maybe she knew somebody
Look, I do this a lot. I work at a
minimum rate of $750.00 a week. It
may seem like a lot of money to you,
but it ain't. You could hire cheaper.
I suppose. But I'll tell you, Jake,
I'm like a little animal. When I get
my teeth into something I never let
go. If your daughter's here, I'll
track her down.
-- Jake sits at his desk, staring into empty space.
-- Jake looks through his wife's personal effects in the
bureau. The room is unchanged.
-- Jake, his arms folded, stands outside church. A fellow
parishioner is speaking to him; Jake doesn't seem to be
Mast's VOICE comes over a long distance connection:
Pilgrim, this is Andy. I'm in Phoenix.
Yeah, it looks that way. I don't
know why. I'm going south, then maybe
fly over to Nogales.
I think so.
Yeah, I picked up your check at
-- Jake gets out of his car and looks down the street of a
strange town. A nearby sign reads: Minneapolis National Trust.
-- Jake walks into a greasy spoon. Ahead of him, her back
turned, sits a girl who looks like Kristen. She turns as he
approaches; it is another girl, another runaway. He apologizes
and walks away.
OVER this SCENE, we HEAR Van Dorn's telephoned VOICE:
No, I was up in Minneapolis. Somebody
responded to my ad. Said there was a
girl who looked like Kristen there.
But it wasn't her. The police haven't
It don't look good. I don't know.
Maybe she's dead already.
EXT. DE JONG HOME - DAY
Spring has returned to Grand Rapids. The maples are in bloom
and the chairs have been set out on the long porch of Wes De
We HEAR Mast's telephone VOICE as Jake gets out of his car
and enters the house.
I took a side trip to Mexico City.
It was just a long shot, but it didn't
pay off. So I'm back in L.A.
Yeah, the money came on time.
INT. DE JONG HOME - DAY
Jake, carrying a wrapped present, walks into the kitchen.
Anne, Joe and John, sitting around the table, greet him as
he enters. A large birthday cake sits in the center of the
Jake says, "Hi, Sis," and nods to the others.
Marsha walks in, smiling when she sees her uncle:
(gives her present)
Happy birthday, Marsha.
EXT. DE JONG FRONT PORCH - DAY
Jake and Joe sit on chairs on the porch. Wes and Willem rest
on the rickety swing. All are drinking coffee, finishing
pieces of birthday cake and enjoying a fine spring Sunday.
Harold Jay watches quietly from the railing.
(sets down plate)
Spring's early. Without a frost we'll
have a good year.
Not as good as last.
Lord's been good to us.
Across the street, two junior high boys, pushing their bikes,
follow two female classmates. The girls dressed in tight
halters and shorts try to ignore them.
Never had to make a dishonest dollar
in my life. Never cheated an employee.
How could you? They're all your
The Lord got his share, too.
Joe gets up to refill his coffee cup. Wes turns to Jake, who
is watching the couples across the street.
How's your business, Jake?
You should come around more often.
You haven't been around for weeks.
Anne complains she doesn't see you
Jake, looking away, doesn't answer. Wes contemplates something
he's been planning to say.
You can't dwell on Kristen all the
time, Jake. Sometimes we can't
understand the Lord's ways. He is
testing you. You have to have faith.
Jake turns and looks back at Wes:
He looks away again.
INT. JAKE'S OFFICE - DAY
Jake is at his desk when the PHONE RINGS. He picks up the
Mr. Van Dorn?
Where are you? The connection sounds
I'm back in Grand Rapids.
In G.R.? Why?
Can you meet me in about an hour? At
the Pantlind Hotel?
I've got a meeting...
What are you paying me for?
I'll be there.
EXT. DOWNTOWN GRAND RAPIDS - DAY
Jake and Mast walk out of the Pantlind and walk up Monroe
Avenue. The heart of Grand Rapids, like that of many Mid-
western cities, is a ghost town. The major businesses have
one by one gone broke or moved out to the suburban malls,
leaving the core of the city to cut-rate stores, parking
lots and federally-subsidized government buildings.
This used to be a real city. I was
here about fifteen years ago.
Embezzlement case. It was always a
little religious for my taste, but
at least it was a city. With a
downtown and all.
What have you found out?
I've got some news. Your daughter's
all right. At least I think she is.
Where is she?
I don't know.
What do you mean?
Have you ever seen any, ah,
pornographic movies, Jake?
Do you know what a "hardcore" movie
That's like a stag film.
Yeah. You ever seen any of those?
They're legal now.
All over. Even here in Grand Rapids.
There's a little stall theatre up
It's closed now, but I'm borrowing
it for an hour. I think there's
something you'd better see.
INT. THEATRE - DAY
Jake is uncomfortably seated in the dingy thirty-seat theatre.
Mast walks back from the projection booth as the film starts.
He sits next to Van Dorn. We slowly TRACK INTO Jake's face
as the color drains from it. O.S. We HEAR groans and the
sounds of flesh on flesh.
We TRACK SLOWLY INTO the film itself:
A 16mm hardcore short on a simple, but classic theme -- rape.
Two young men force a young, unwilling girl to submit to
their desires. The girl -- Kristen -- nude, tries to get out
of a wrinkled bed but is restrained by the long arm of a
languid, long-haired nude youth. Another young man, wearing
only pink elastic shorts, steps into the frame and takes
Kristen into his arms.
The quality of the action is quite low; the young men posture
and overact in the manner of high school dramatics.
Occasionally, the action stops while the actors receive cues
from an off-screen director. Grunts and groans are dubbed
into the screen action.
Only Kristen's performance lends a note of credibility to
the proceedings. She is genuinely disoriented or frightened --
or both. She's not play acting.
For one frightening moment, Kristen, regaining full
consciousness, fights back, but the youth in pink shorts
slaps her into submission. Her eyes turn pleadingly toward
The first youth laughs and takes Kristen into his arms. The
youth in the pink shorts kneels on the edge of the bed and
instructs Kristen to remove his shorts. As she begins to do
this, the first youth fucks her from the rear.
As the film ends, Jake sinks his head into his hands, speaking
to himself. It's almost as if we're hearing his thoughts:
It can't be. Why me? What have I
Looking up, he says softly, then louder:
Turn it off.
Turn it off.
Turn it off!
Turn it off!
Only then does Jake realize that the film has already been
shut off and he's sitting alone in the quiet theatre.
Mast stands by the exit. Jake gets up and walks toward him.
Jake catches up with Mast in the small lobby.
Where is she?
I don't know.
Where did you get that film?
Jake backs Mast from one side of the lobby to the other.
I bought it at a store in L.A.
Who made it?
I don't know.
What do you mean?
Mast calms him down.
Wait. Slow down. A film like this,
16mm, cost two three hundred dollars,
sold outright, shown in peep machines,
maybe theatres, maybe not, is almost
impossible to track. 'Nobody' makes
it; 'nobody' shows it; 'nobody' sees
it. It's like it doesn't even exist.
What's it called?
It was called 'Slave of Love' when I
bought it. Next time it's sold, it'll
be called something else.
But the police...
The police? They know less than you
Do you think she's safe?
You like this, don't you. Showing
I hate it. But you gotta know, buddy.
A lot of strange things happen in
this world. Things you don't know
about in Grand Rapids. Things you
don't want to know about. Doors that
should never be opened. I've known
more about this sort of thing than a
man should. Don't ask me why.
Jake turns away.
I'm going back to L.A. today. I'll
track this film down, if I can. I'll
find her. But I can't make any
promises. I don't know what she'll
be like when I find her.
Jake, pale, looks away. Mast attempts to give him a comforting
embrace. Jake pushes him away.
INT. JAKE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
Van Dorn sleeps fitfully. Blue light falls across his
contorted body. He's dreaming again.
EXT. HOLLYWOOD MOTEL - DAY
A sleazy Santa Monica Boulevard motel.
INT. HOLLYWOOD MOTEL - DAY
A porn film is being shot in a tacky motel room furnished
with a pink circular water bed, a lime-brown shag rug, and
peeling red felt wallpaper. An oil painting of a seagull in
flight adds a touch of class.
The small set is crowded with technicians and onlookers. The
harried collegiate filmmakers wear scruffy jeans and T-shirts.
The onlookers, more refined, sport double knit suits.
Two girls and a middle-aged man lie on the pink satin sheets.
Beach towels protect them from the unheated water bed. One
of the girls, NIKI, has a long blonde wig and looks about
The makeup girl hurriedly dabs some last minute cosmetic on
the second girl's breast. A young man in a UCLA T-shirt pastes
up the peeling wallpaper above the bed.
Random VOICES ECHO around the set. The DIRECTOR, a student
filmmaker, tries to bring the set to order.
BILL RAMADA, 40, the Producer, watches silently from the
b.g. He's in charge here. He wears gabardine slacks and a
His Assistant, KURT, 25, stands by his side.
All right, kids, let's get back to
Actors, to your positions, please.
Niki, the SECOND GIRL and the Actor remove their towels and
form a contorted triangular position.
Can't you get this bed any warmer?
Bring another light over here.
My ass is freezing.
Your ass is always freezing.
The Second Girl coaxes her male partner into tumescence.
He's got it up.
The wallpaper's peeling again.
Forget it. Keep shooting.
Crouching, the Director approaches his actors.
All right, Niki, you come around
this way and swing your legs around
The Director pleads with outstretched hands. His acting
workshop courses have not been in vain. Lowering his voice,
he coaxes Niki into the proper mood:
All right, Niki, you're lying back
now, yes, just taking it easy, just
enjoying your body, yes, you're
thinking about your father, your
mind is open and free...
Mast walks into the rear of the room and looks around until
he spots Ramada.
Okay, now Bennie, you turn over and
lick her belly...
Ramada recognizes Mast as he walks toward him and motions
for him to follow.
They step into an adjoining room. The Director's instructions
drone in the distance.
Hey, piss-head, what brings you
You don't have to get uppity with
me, Bill. I remember when you was
running that car wash and couldn't
make it go. And what was that other
thing you tried? A Dairy Queen? Went
At least I improved myself. What's
Mast takes out a snapshot of Kristen. In the background the
Director yells, "Cut."
I want you to take a look at this
girl here. She's been in some porn
(looks at photo)
No, Andy. Don't know the kid.
Look again, Billy-boy. This is jail
bait. Could get you in a lotta
Nope never saw her before.
(calls to assistant)
Kurt, come over here. Don't use
underage kids. Wouldn't touch 'em
for all the cow shit in Mexico.
(as Kurt steps over)
You recognize this piece of wool,
Sorry couldn't help you, Andy.
How'd the shot go? They about ready
to start again?
You can come watch if you want, Andy.
Just don't hassle anybody.
Mast shrugs, tucks the photo in his pocket and follows Ramada
and Kurt back onto the set.
EXT. FACTORY - DAY
Jake leaves the factory in the middle of the afternoon, gets
in his car and drives off.
INT. BEDROOM - DAY
Jake walks into his bedroom, pulls a suitcase out of the
closet and throws it on the bed.
He is motivated now. A decision has been made.
He throws in his shirts and socks. A travel clock. Pictures
INT. DINING ROOM - DAY
Jake is on the phone. His voice is hard and determined.
This is Jake. I'm going out of town
for a while.
No, I don't know when I'll be back.
No, there's nothing wrong. Can you
keep things running?
EXT. L.A. INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT - NIGHT
United jet lands.
EXT. HOLIDAY INN - DAY
Van Dorn, dressed and ready to go, walks out of the Hollywood
Holiday Inn and over to the parking lot.
Checking a city map one final time, he gets into his late
model rented green Pontiac and drives off.
INT. CAR - DAY
Jake seems a new man; he's in charge now. To a man like Jake
Van Dorn, a man from the Midwest, a self-made man, all is
possible once you're in control. There are no ambiguities,
no conundrums, no labyrinths; only problems. And problems,
once understood, lead only to solutions.
All one needs is the will and the intellect to pursue those
Jake looks at the note pad on the seat. It reads:
14316 Chandler Blvd.,
Van Nuys, Calif.
He drives up Highland, past the freeway and over the hills.
EXT. MAST'S APARTMENT - DAY
Van Dorn parks in front of the Elite V Apartments.
Jake stops in front of the room, re-checks the number, and
There's no immediate answer. Hearing some commotion in the
room, Jake stops, listens. He peeks through the partially-
Inside, he sees Mast banging away with a TEENAGE GIRL on the
Jake is curious, then outraged. He tries the door. It opens.
Inside, Mast and his teenage companion scramble for their
clothes. The girl calls out.
TEENAGE GIRL (O.S.)
It's the cops, man.
INT. MAST'S APARTMENT - DAY
Jake strides into Mast's apartment.
Mast, his belt unbuckled, puts on his shirt. The Teenage
Girl, pulling a Grateful Dead T-shirt over her head, looks
at Jake and says:
Who the fuck is this?
Not pausing to speak, Jake pushes Mast against the sofa.
Reaching down, he pulls the detective up by the collar.
What are you doing? You son-of-a-
bitch! I've been paying you every
week for three months and you've
been out here...
Jake turns as the girl vanishes.
I ain't cheated you, Pilgrim. This
is research, damn it! That girl could
have told us something.
Research, my ass. I suppose these
are the 'extra expenses' I've been
paying for? And in the middle of the
Mast pulls himself away.
Oh, fuck off. You should stay where
Get out. Get out of here, Goddammit.
Mast picks up his shoes and says half-apologetically:
I'm only human, you know.
But this is my apartment.
Mast shrugs. There's no reasoning with Van Dorn. He pauses
at the door and looks back.
You prick. You ass-hole prick. You
can find your own Goddamn daughter
(stops; looks at door)
I'm not even smart enough to lock my
own fucking door.
Mast closes the door behind him. Van Dorn looks around the
apartment. It's calm now.
On the desk are Mast's briefcase and papers.
Looking through Mast's files, Jake finds pages and pages of
notes and information about his daughter's disappearance.
Names, places, dates. Lists of massage parlors, sex shops,
porn bookshops. The names of owners, managers, filmmakers,
Interviews with street girls, cops, landlords.
Plus snapshots of Kristen as she once was and 8x10 frame
enlargements from "Slave of Love," her hardcore film.
INT. HOLIDAY INN ROOM - DAY
Jake has spread Mast's papers and photographs across the
floor of his Holiday Inn motel room.
His collar open, his tie loosened, Van Dorn squats over the
notes and interviews. He studies his find. It includes:
-- sex ads from various local papers. Some are crossed out,
others circled, others checked.
-- a list of massage parlors and sex shops under the heading
"possible K was here."
-- An L.A. Times newspaper clipping about "Bill Ramada, L.A.
Porn Movie Mogul." It features a photo of Ramada on his way
out of court.
-- a sleazy porn mag article about "Parlor Girls: Hustling
EXT. LOS ANGELES - NIGHT
Van Dorn drives through the crowded streets of Los Angeles'
tenderloin. He cruises down Santa Monica, up Western, along
Hollywood and back down to Santa Monica.
He passes row upon row of garish adult bookstores, massage
parlors and porn theatres. He passes model shops, topless
bars, "erotic motels," and peep shows.
Teenage girls stand in the red neon shadows, calling out to
passing strangers. Drag queens and leather boys cruise the
sidewalks. Jet black pimps, sporting high heels and make
coats, stroll from one massage parlor to another. The sound
of Latin jazz comes from one doorway; soul disco from another.
L.A.P.D. black and whites patrol the streets. Occasionally,
a uniformed officer leans out to hassle a passing pimp or
He drives on. The sex shops have names like "The Sexual
Catharthis Center," "Pandora's Box," "The Institute of Oral
Love," "69 Club," "The Church of Spiritual Sexuality," "The
Participating Center of Sexual Experience," "Mother's Fun
Palace," "The Hot Box."
A zoo of lusts.
Jake looks at the seat beside him, checking Mast's list of
massage parlors and sex stores with the notation, "possible
K was here."
EXT. ADONIS BOOKSHOP - NIGHT
Van Dorn pulls to the curb and parks his car. Ahead is the
plexiglass lettered sign of the Adonis bookstore.
Jake locks his car, buttons his suit coat and walks toward
the bookstore. He hesitates a moment, then enters.
INT. ADONIS BOOKSHOP - NIGHT
Jake steps into the bookstore and looks cautiously from side
His expression is stern, withdrawn, as if suppressing some
physical pain. He finds nothing titillating about this world;
for him it is simply evil. Neither is he shocked. Has he not
been taught: "For every imagination of man's heart is only
An improbable assortment of men peruse the long racks of
pornographic books and magazines. A young MALE TELLER sits
next to a cash register atop a high counter. Below him, a
display case features sexual paraphernalia and films. A small
radio softly plays Muzak.
Fifty cents admission.
It's fifty cents admission. It's
applicable to a purchase.
Jake fishes in his pocket, comes up with a couple quarters
and places them on the counter. The Teller gives him a token
Van Dorn walks down one row and up another. The explicit
titles and magazine covers leap out at him: "Cropped
Crotches," "Teenage Obedience Lesson," "Mouthful of Cock,"
"Hogtie." Many of the magazine covers feature obviously
underage girls. He eases his way past a butch young man
looking at magazines in the gay section.
Screwing up his courage, Jake steps back to the counter.
He tries but cannot avert his eyes from the grotesque sexual
novelties in the case. Dildos, some small, some huge and
gross, looking more like instruments of torture than pleasure.
Stimulators, vibrators, spiked ticklers. Penis enlargers.
Leather paddles, whips, masks, rubber vaginas, fuck faces,
Do you have a, ah, film called 'Slave
What we got is just these here.
What you see.
It's a short film.
They're all about the same. You want
Jake looks momentarily at the boxes of 16mm film. A couple
titles read "Office Party," and "Butt Banger."
Van Dorn pulls a folded 8x10 out of his vest pocket. It's a
glossy frame enlargement from "Slave of Love" folded to reveal
This is from the movie I was talking
I don't know what you're talking
I wondered if you had ever seen this
film or this woman...
That girl? No, never saw her. I don't
I'm just trying to find...
Who owns this store?
I don't know. Look, man, if you're
looking for somebody maybe you ought
to see the cops.
I don't know nothing, man.
Jake, realizing he's getting nowhere, pockets his photograph
and turns to leave.
You don't want anything for your
The Teller places two quarters on the counter.
Here. Take your fifty cents back.
That's all right.
No, take it. I don't want your Goddamn
Jake places the token on the counter, takes his quarters and
walks back out into the neon night. The Teller turns to no
one in particular and says:
It's one of those Legion of Decency
EXT. WILD MARY'S - NIGHT
Van Dorn walks west on Santa Monica Boulevard. The entrance
to Wild Mary's is formed by the larger-than-life painted
rear view of a bent over woman. Her long legs flank either
side of the open passageway.
A young man in a cowboy shirt repeats monotoned litany to
Free information. Free information
inside. Come in and get free
information. Free information. Free
Jake pauses in front of the California Cowboy, then enters,
passing through Wild Mary's muscled thighs.
INT. WILD MARY'S - NIGHT
Jake walks into Wild Mary's and is greeted by a young woman
in a shift and bikini pants. Her name is BEATRICE.
Hello. My name is Beatrice. Have you
been here before?
What we offer here is nude body to
body contact on a bed in a private
room. It's twenty dollars a half
hour, thirty dollars an hour. Anything
else you desire may be discussed in
the privacy of your room. Tips are
allowed. We accept Bank Americard,
Master Charge and American Express.
I don't really want... 'body to body
That you may discuss with the girl
of your choice in the privacy of
A SECOND TEENAGE HOSTESS steps through a beaded curtain and
joins Beatrice and Jake.
I'm looking for a girl. Have you
ever been in a porno film?
Jake reaches for this folded photo but the Second Hostess
takes him by the hand.
Come back with me. I'm sure you'll
find what you want.
A THIN MAN walks into the room. He looks about 35 and carries
a small bag.
I called on the phone. You have a
Yeah. Did you bring your own
Yes, but I've never been here before.
I'm sure everything will be just the
way you want it. Twenty dollars half
hour, thirty dollars hour. Tips are
Let's start with a half hour.
The Thin Man gives Beatrice a twenty and walks off with her.
Jake, curious, follows.
Beatrice and the Thin Man step into the Domination Room: a
simulation of a Medieval dungeon. A large wood X-shaped cross
is bolted to one wall. There are straps for the client's
hands and feet. Instruments of torture hang from another
wall. A bare-breasted girl, wearing bikini pants and leather
chaps, sits lethargically on a folding chair. A mask of black
leather and buckles completely cover her face.
Beatrice notices Jake is following them.
You want to take a session?
Jake is dazed by what he sees. He wasn't even aware such
No. I don't think so.
You sure? We have regular sessions,
too. Only twenty dollars?
Jake turns and (like Lot from Sodom) walks away without
looking back. As he leaves, he passes the Second Hostess
attempting to communicate with two teenage MEXICANS.
The Second Hostess forms an oval with the index finger and
thumb of her left hand and passes the index finger of her
other hand through it in an obvious gesture:
Si. Sexo. Sexo.
EXT. STAIRWAY TO LOVE - NIGHT
Later that night. Jake locks his car and walks south on
Western toward Santa Monica Boulevard. Ahead, a continuous
row of massage parlors blend into neon.
Girls call out as he walks: "Come on in and get free
information," and "Want to have a good time?" and "Lonely?"
He stops by the Stairway to Love. Three girls stand just
inside the door. A sign in the window reads: "Come in --
Satisfaction Here." He enters.
INT. STAIRWAY TO LOVE - NIGHT
The First Hostess, FELICE, greets Jake as he enters:
Hi, you been here before?
The two other Hostesses gather round.
We offer Female Wrestling, that is,
nude body to body contact, with a
girl of your choice in a private
room. Twenty dollars a half hour,
thirty dollars hour. Any other
arrangements may be discussed in the
privacy of your room. Tipping is
permitted. We accept Bank Americard,
Master Charge and American Express.
Do you want to take a session?
I just want to ask some questions.
You may do that in the privacy of
Okay. I'll take a half hour.
Do you have any particular choice of
You'll be fine.
Jake gives Felice a couple tens. She in turn passes them to
the MANAGER, a 225 pound, blond-haired Malibu surfer. He
puts the money in a cash box and fills out a time sheet.
Jake eyes the Manager uneasily as Felice escorts him up the
"Stairway to Love."
INT. ROOMS - NIGHT
Felice shows Jake into a ten-by-ten cubicle. The walls are
barren; a bed-sized slab of foam rubber lies on the floor.
Wait a second. I've got to get a
He looks around the small room. Through the makeshift
pasteboard walls he can hear the SOUNDS OF OTHER COUPLES
Felice quickly returns with a sheet and spreads it across
the foam. She slides the door shut behind her.
You're still dressed?
Well, I want to...
Sit down. Make yourself comfortable.
My name's Felice.
Jake squats down on the foam, crossing his legs under him.
There's a girl I want to ask you
You're not Vice, are you?
Do you work for the Los Angeles Police
Department, or do you have any other
affiliation with any law enforcement
No, I don't.
I have to ask you that. If you were
Vice you couldn't deny it. You ought
to dress less square. You wouldn't
get hassled so much. Here, let me
help you get that tie off.
Felice reaches over to loosen his tie. Jake, self-conscious,
removes his tie.
Well, actually I wanted to ask about
this girl. I have her picture here.
Pull out your cock.
Cops aren't allowed to do that either.
A judge ruled that that was
entrapment. Don't ask me why. I guess
he figured the sight of a Vice
Officer's dong would make a girl
unable to stop herself.
No, Felice, I'm not a cop. In fact,
right now I've got as little respect
for the police as you do.
(pulls out folded
I'm looking for a girl. A runaway. I
need someone to help me.
Are you going to stiff me?
What do you mean?
Look, that twenty dollars you just
paid, I don't get any of that. That
goes to the guys that own this place.
I get two bucks an hour, minus ten
percent for a bail fund. I make all
my money on tips.
You want a tip?
Sure. What do you want? Tips can be
anywhere from thirty dollars to
What do you mean?
What do you want to tip me for? Look,
you got to spell it out. Whatever
you want, just say it.
I'll give you a tip. Here's forty
Jake digs out a couple twenties and gives them to her. Felice
tucks the bills into her bikini crotch and pulls off her
shirt top. Her breasts seem surprisingly pale and small.
Now, what do you want?
I said I just wanted to talk to you...
...about this woman.
I'm trying to find her. Do you know
Look, I don't know anybody. I never
seen her before.
Jake, previously upset, is now angered. Nobody tells him
anything, he gets nowhere.
I'm getting angry.
Wait a minute, that's going to cost
you more than forty bucks.
I'm getting angry. I want some
Where's the guy who runs this place?
He slides open the door and walks out. Felice pulls on her
shift and follows him.
Who is it? That blond guy? Where is
he? I'm going to talk to someone.
Where is he? Where's the bastard
that runs this shit hole?
The Manager, as if on request, steps to the top of the stairs.
His huge frame fills the hallway.
What do you want?
He's causing trouble.
I got a picture here. I want you to
tell me where to find this woman. I
been asking everybody. Nobody knows
Calm down, mister. You don't want to
get the cops in here do you? You got
I don't suppose you've ever seen
this girl before either? Her name's
Kristen, but I suppose you've never
Why don't you just go outdoors,
mister? Cool off.
Cool off, huh? How's this for cooling
He knocks a cheap print of a naked woman off the wall. The
frame crashes to the floor.
Hold it, mister.
What do you think of that? Or this?
Jake knocks over a small table. The Manager has had enough.
He grabs Jake's arm, wrenches it tight behind his back and
rams Jake's face into the wall. He forces Jake down the
stairway of love.
Jake struggles and kicks, but is no match for the larger
man. At the foot of the stairs, the Manager ejects Jake,
thrusting him across the sidewalk.
Jake rams face-first into a parked car. He staggers on the
sidewalk. His mouth and nose bloody.
He looks back. A black and white slows down. There's nothing
to be done. He moves on.
INT. HOLIDAY INN ROOM - DAY
Van Dorn, thinking, lies face up on the bed in his motel
room. He wears slacks and a white undershirt.
His face is bruised, his lip is swollen. An open First Aid
Kit sits on the lamp stand.
LATER. Jake slouches in a chair watching "Day of Discovery,"
a Sunday evening religious program. The chorus of wholesome
young people look like they've come from another planet.
A soothing, innocuous hymn. In the distance church bells
RING, as if signalling a call to action.
EXT. BEVERLY HILLS - DAY
The next day. Jake, now wearing a print sport shirt under
his navy jacket, strides down Camden. He has a plan.
He checks an office building address and enters.
INT. OUTER OFFICE - DAY
Jake stands as a SECRETARY says to him:
Mr. Ramada can see you now.
He thanks her and walks into Ramada's office.
INT. RAMADA'S OFFICE - DAY
Bill Ramada stands to greet Jake as he enters. His office is
expensively decorated in chrome and glass. A framed poster
from the New York Film Festival hangs on one wall.
Kurt sits on a plush white sofa.
Hello, Mr. Holcum. You look out of
breath. What's the matter? The
Is the elevator broke?
No. I walked up. Don't ride elevators.
My secretary said you wanted to
discuss a business proposition.
(as Ramada sits)
I'm interested in financing an adult
feature film. I was told you were
the man to come to.
Film making can be pretty expensive...
Jake has slipped into his business shoes. He's cool,
I've got fifty thousand dollars to
Why is it that you want to get into
Well, Bill -- mind if I call you
(as Ramada nods)
Let me be frank. I've made a lot of
money. I've got my own business in
Detroit. Rivets. I make rivets and
sell them to Fisher Body.
Well, rivets, you know, can get pretty
boring after a while. When my business
manager told me I should shelter
some money, I thought I'd try this.
What exactly do you have in mind?
I thought I'd invest in a film. I
want to sort of become involved in
the process of making a film, meet
the people who make films, learn how
In other words, you want to get laid?
It's cool. Why do you think I got in
the movies? How much poon do you
think you get in the car wash
Look, fifty thousand dollars buys a
lot of pussy. You can get your joint
pulled by beautiful girls every night
for the rest of your life for fifty
thousand dollars. So why fuck with
the movie business?
It's an investment.
If you want to watch when we shoot a
film, for fifty bucks, I let guys
stand around and watch. It's a lot
I thought you were a businessman.
Don't get me wrong. A couple years
ago, I woulda jumped at fifty thousand
dollars possible financing. But the
Lord's been good to me. I can now
finance any films I choose. Big ones,
small ones. Right now we're setting
up a two hundred thousand dollar
feature film. Live sound. I like to
keep my own money in my films. That
way you don't have to share the
profits. There's plenty of guys in
town that'll take it, though. But if
I was you, Mr... what was your name
...I'd just start my own business.
That's what I did. Get into kid porn.
That's big now. Why don't you come
around the set? Meet some people. If
you still want to invest, I'll ask
Sounds all right.
Okay. Keep in touch with my secretary.
Jake nods and turns to exit.
So long, Mr. Jake.
INT. L.A. FREE PRESS
The next day, Van Dorn waits in line to place a "Personals"
ad in the Los Angeles Free Press.
He wears an open sport shirt, slacks and loafers. Bit by bit
he's been going native. He realizes he isn't going to
infiltrate the pornography underworld looking like a furniture
dealer from Grand Rapids.
Even so, Jake's conventional dress sets him apart from his
fellow advertisers. The long line winds back and forth and
represents just about every possible deviation from the
American heterosexual norm: studs, butches, hookers, freaks,
cultists: misfits all.
The CAMERA studies the line: an attractive boy wears a studded
collar, a low-rider sports his colors, a diminutive girl
waits silently in her hari-krishna robe.
The line inches forward. Behind Jake, one woman tells another
about this great swinging party. Van Dorn takes some comfort
in the fact that the MAN in front of him, dressed in a
seersucker suit, looks pretty straight.
The GIRL AT THE WINDOW takes his ad:
MAN IN SEERSUCKER SUIT
'W/M, 35, 140 fastest tongue in west,
will demonstrate proficiency in all
dialects to females under 50. Looks
not imp.' That's all in caps, 'LOOKS
NOT IMP.' 'George Harper. P.O. Box
102, Alhambra, Ca., 91801.'
GIRL AT THE WINDOW
That's 'dial-a' what?
MAN IN SEERSUCKER SUIT
Di-a-lects. D-I-A-L-E-C-T-S. Like
The Man in the Seersucker Suit pays his fee and Jake steps
up to the window.
I'd like to place a 'Personals' ad
in the Free Press.
GIRL AT THE WINDOW
How many weeks?
GIRL AT THE WINDOW
The rate is a dollar per line, a
dollar and a half bold face.
Jake takes out a slip of paper and hands it to the Girl.
I have it here. Can you take this
The Girl takes the slip of paper and reads it back to him as
she fills in the advertising form:
GIRL AT THE WINDOW
'Film Producer' -- that should be in
caps, bold face.
GIRL AT THE WINDOW
'Film Producer seeks young men, 18
to 25, for hardcore film. Prior film
experience a must. Call Jake at
Players Motel. 777 Vine. 463-5671.
EXT. DARK ROAD - NIGHT
A small film crew sets up a shot. Ramada, Kurt, Van Dorn and
others, standing by a trailer, watch from the b.g. Jake's
floral rayon shirt is open to the third button.
The script evidently calls for "Dark Road -- Night" because
that's where the gaffer is arranging lights around a parked
red Mustang. A YOUNG ACTOR in a soldier's uniform waits in
the car. Niki and another actress, dressed as a stewardess,
stand on their marks near the front of the car.
Ramada and Kurt walk over to talk to the YOUNG DIRECTOR.
Niki, finished for the moment, walks back toward the trailer.
Niki picks a heavy coat out of the trailer, and wrapping it
around her, stands next to Jake. They watch as Ramada gives
the Director some last minute advice.
Are you the star of this picture?
You kidding? Three days work. I finish
The other girl is the star?
She thinks so.
What do you do?
I work with Ramada. We're doing some
Well, next time you talk to him,
tell him to pay his actresses more.
All right, girls, Niki! To your
Nice meeting you.
Niki throws off her coat and runs to the set. The Actor backs
the Mustang out of CAMERA range.
There is a pause, the Director calls: "ACTION!" and the
Mustang drives to where the two stewardesses, stranded, are
waving for help. The cameraman pans with the Mustang. The
Soldier opens his door, looks at the girls' car and offers
Kurt steps over to Jake.
The Soldier, looking at the stranded stewardesses, rubs his
We'll come in for a closeup here.
Niki unfastens the Soldier's belt and pulls down his zipper.
The Soldier leans against the car as Niki sinks to her knees
and opens his trousers.
EXT. PLAYERS MOTEL - NIGHT
The Players Motel is a "specialty motel." It offers "X-rated
movies, Closed Circuit Color TV, Water Beds." Rates are $10
a night, or $8 for two hours.
Most clients prefer the two hour rate.
Van Dorn pulls his rented Pontiac into the lot and parks in
the first available space.
Weary, he gets out of the car and heads for his room. He
passes a colored whore with a towering synthetic wig.
Further down the line of rooms, Wes De Jong sits slouched in
the front seat of his rental car, watching, waiting.
A prostitute wearing jeans and a shoulder bag, enters a
lighted room with her trick, a construction worker. He
unbuttons his shirt as she closes the curtains.
Wes sits up when he sees his brother-in-law shuffle past the
rooms, take out his key and open a door.
INT. PLAYERS MOTEL - NIGHT
Jake, not bothering to fully shut the door, steps into the
room, throws his key on the bed and plops down beside it.
He's emotionally and physically exhausted.
The decor is Vegas sleaze: tinted mirrors, red shag carpets,
felt wallpaper, pseudo-Louis Seize chairs and a plexiglass
chandelier. The large room has, at one end, a sitting area
with a sofa and chairs, and at the other, a water bed covered
with a black satin sheet. A large ceiling mirror is bolted
above the bed.
Jake, hearing a NOISE, looks up.
Wes, wearing a suit and tie, steps tentatively in. He surveys
the tawdry room. Jake just looks away.
What's going on, Jake?
Jake says nothing for the moment.
How did you find me?
I called every L.A. hotel. The Holiday
Inn gave this as a referral number.
Your office said you had no business
in New York, so I figured you had
come out here.
What's happening, Jake? What are you
doing? Nobody's heard from you. Anne's
worried sick. We didn't know if you
were dead or alive.
Jake stands and steps over to Wes:
Wes, do me a favor.
Leave me alone. Go home. Go away.
Wes starts to protest.
Just do what I say. Don't ask.
What is going on?
I think I've found a way to find
Kristen. I have a plan. But I have
to be alone.
You don't want to know.
(a beat; softer)
Now, Wes, leave, please. For me.
What will I tell the others? They
care about you.
Tell them anything you want. Tell
them I'm on a vacation, a business
trip. Tell them I needed a rest.
Tell them anything, just don't tell
Jake looks about the whorey room. His voice cracks a little.
...just don't tell them about this.
Jake escorts his brother-in-law to the door. Wes turns and
embraces him. Jake breaks the embrace and firmly pushes Wes
out of the room.
Jake closes and chains the door.
INT. PLAYERS MOTEL - DAY
The next morning. Jake has rearranged the furniture so that
the sofa directly faces the door. Van Dorn, wearing a blue
tie-dyed shirt with a sunburst on the front, sits in the
middle of the sofa. On either side of the sofa tall thin
lamps stand on end tables. A telephone, legal pad and travel
clock have been placed on the coffee table. Beside Jake rests
Mast's sheaf of notes and pictures. Behind him hangs an
iridescent poster featuring the sex signs of the zodiac.
He waits. There is a knock at the door.
A handsome STUD, about 22, wearing tight jeans, steps
cautiously into the room.
Jake? Mr. Holcum?
Jake checks the appointment schedule on his legal pad:
Pete? Come in.
Yeah. Peter Long. That's the name I
We're casting male roles in an
explicit sex action feature. The pay
is $100 a day. There'll be up to two
weeks work. You say you've had
I was in the Mitchell Brothers' film,
'Sodom and Gomorrah.' I don't know
if you saw that. I played Damon, the
slave of the Queen of Gomorrah.
Van Dorn's pretty good at this. He's given many job interviews
before. The phone rings and he answers.
Yes, this is Jake.
We're casting right now. Have you
had experience in hardcore films?
I can fit you in from 4:00 - 4:15
At the Players Motel, 777 Vine, Room
We'll see you then.
Van Dorn hangs up and looks through his sheaf of papers.
Pulling back a page of notes, he reveals the unfolded 8x10
glossy from "Slave of Love." He looks at the two young men
violating his daughter, then back up at Peter Long. Long is
neither of the men.
All right, Pete. I have your exchange
here. If we decide to use you, we'll
give you a call.
Long turns and exits. Jake checks his appointment schedule
then puts his hand to his temples. He has become the thing
he hates most: the procurer. Self-contempt fills his face.
TIMECUT: The next interviewee stands in front of Van Dorn.
He's a tall black man about 25. An ex-athlete.
You're not exactly the type we're
You mean I'm black?
No, just not the type.
What do you mean, not the type? Don't
you know who I am? I'm Big Dick Brown!
I've been in more porno movies than
you ever saw. I've worked with Harry
Reems. I've worked with Johnny Wad.
Not the type! I can come ten times a
day. I can keep it hard two hours at
a time. My cock is nine inches long.
I'm sorry, Mr. Brown. I'm sure you're
very good, but at the moment, I've
got nothing for you. If something
comes up, we'll give you a call.
Shit! You just don't want to hire a
nigger, that's all. I knew this was
a scam. I shouldn'ta come.
The Black Stud turns and storms out.
TIMECUT: An angelic, muscular boy about 19 stands in front
of Van Dorn. Jake looks weary.
I'm sorry, but you're just not the
type we are looking for. We had
something else in mind.
Don't you want to see my stuff, man?
(pointing to crotch)
You know, my stuff!
Jake nods with resignation.
The boy drops his jeans. Framed by firm, smooth, naked thighs,
Van Dorn looks at the angelic boy's "stuff." He nods.
TIMECUT: It's the end of the day. The last orange rays of
sun come through the window.
Jake, weary, looks up. A young man steps in from the fading
The young man looks about 21. His sun-bleached hair falls
just to his shoulders. A hippie who's hit the streets.
Jake looks at his 8x10 glossy, then back at the young man.
This is him. This is the young man in the pink bikini shorts.
This is the YOUTH from Kristen's hardcore movie, the one who
slapped her, the one who forced her face into his crotch.
We're casting for an explicit sex
I know. Word's out on the street --
word's also out you ain't really
That's not true, Mr...?
Jim Sullivan. Sometimes they call me
That's not true, Jim. In fact, I
think you're very close to the type
we're looking for.
Jim immediately becomes more compliant.
Oh yeah? I've done a lot of good
stuff. Shorts, features. No major
roles it's true. But good stuff.
That's what I wanted to talk to you
Jake reaches over and picks up the glossy.
I've seen you in some stuff. I like
your looks. I particularly liked you
in this film.
Jake shows him the glossy.
Oh yeah? I remember that. It was
made by some college kids.
It was called 'Slave of Love.'
God, I don't know what it was called.
I never saw it. I only got twenty-
five bucks for the whole Goddamned
I thought you were quite good in it.
I also like the girl in it. Really
thought she was good.
(points out Kristen)
I wondered if she was still around.
If she was still working.
Jim examines Kristen's picture. His expression sours.
Wait a minute. Look, I need the work
and I want to be in your picture,
but that is one bitch I will never
work with again.
Jim, nervous, paces around. He tries to explain.
Look, that was one freaky bitch, one
very, very freaky bitch. I don't
know what she was into, I don't know
what she was on, but I don't want to
have anything to do with her again.
Jake's face grows cold and mean as he listens to Jim's
description of his daughter's defilement.
(cups genitals with
Do you know what she did to me? Do
you know what she did to me, man?
That fucking cunt! I couldn't walk
for a week. My prick was sore and
red and chewed out. She was cra-zy.
I don't want to work with her again.
All the while Jim speaks, Van Dorn's long arm reaches slowly
for the lamp on his right.
His right hand locks around the base of the lamp. Still
listening, watching Jim intensely, Jake grips the balls of
his feet into the carpet.
Jake is beyond logic, beyond restraint.
He rises, lamp in hand. The cord pops out of the wall; the
bulb flashes out.
Reaching across the table, Van Dorn smashes the youth across
the face. The plaster lamp shatters; the shade flies off.
Jim reels backward.
Knocking over the coffee table, Van Dorn advances on the
dazed, bleeding youth.
Van Dorn pounds him again with the plaster stump of the lamp.
Van Dorn stops. He looks down at Jism Jim. The youth is barely
Realizing what he's done, Jake pulls Jim up by his collar
and drags him into the bathroom.
He hauls the youth into the large "erotic" shower. He pulls
the shower douche off the wall, and sprays Jim's face.
The battered youth opens his eyes. He's terrified. He's been
in kinky scenes before. He pleads:
Hey, stop, stop. I'll do anything
you want. It's okay. I can dig it.
You can do anything you want to me.
(full of rage)
Where is she? Where is the girl?
She's got a man. A white guy. Tod
something or other.
Where does he hang out?
I don't know.
Look, I know this chick Niki. She
works at Les Girls. She would know.
Van Dorn lets him go and starts to walk away. Looking back,
he sees Jism Jim struggling to his feet. Jake spins around
and punches him once more. Jism Jim tumbles back into his
shower. Jake walks off rubbing his red knuckles.
EXT. PLAYERS MOTEL - NIGHT
Jake throws his luggage into the trunk of his car and drives
EXT. LES GIRLS - NIGHT
Les Girls, a garish sexual supermarket, covers several
storefronts. Its fluorescent exterior stands open to drifters
and browsers alike.
Jake straightens his tie-dye shirt, and enters.
INT. LES GIRLS - NIGHT
Inside Les Girls is a glow of yellow and orange plexiglass.
The bright fluorescents bounce off the white linoleum.
Jake passes an arcade of peep shows and turns the corner.
On one side is a rotunda around which men stand in pay stalls
watching a pair of naked female dancers.
On the other side is a row of curtained "phone booths."
Jake walks up to a WOMAN with a coin changer around her waist.
I was told to meet a girl named Niki
LES GIRLS WOMAN
In one of the booths. Any of the
Jake starts over.
LES GIRLS WOMAN
It's five dollars for two minutes.
LES GIRLS WOMAN
Five dollars a token.
Jake fishes in his pocket and pulls out a ten-dollar bill.
He hands it to the woman.
Here. I'll take two.
The Les Girls Woman punches out two tokens.
Jake cautiously pulls the curtain aside and steps into the
The booth is divided by a floor-to-top glass partition. On
Jake's side of the partition is a pay wall phone. On the
other is an orange folding chair.
The sign on the phone reads "One token -- two minutes." Jake
puts a token in the phone.
Niki, the girl from Ramada's set, naked, steps into the other
half of the booth and plops down on the chair.
Jake picks up the receiver in his half.
Are you Niki?
Sure. Like in Mikey and Niki. Did
you see that picture?
Too bad. I wasn't in it.
Jake's eyes flash downward for a moment. No longer shocked,
he is saddened by the demeaning vulgarity of it all.
It's your money. You talk.
I'm making a film. Jim Sullivan's
going to be in it. He said you might
know where Tod is.
Do I know you? Weren't you on the
set the other night? With Ramada.
You making a feature?
Um-hm. Live sound.
Got any parts? I'm free. Not free-
free, but, you know, free. I don't
really do this.
Jim and I have been trying to run
down a girl.
(takes out glossy)
Do you know her?
He presses the picture against the stained glass partition.
You know her?
No. I saw her with Tod.
Do you know where she lives?
Do you know where she would be?
There is a CLICK and the phone goes dead. Niki says something
but Jake cannot hear her. She motions to the phone as she
gets up to leave.
Jake puts his second token in the phone and Niki sits back
Where is she?
Tod might know.
Last I heard he went to San Diego.
If we went there, would you be able
to find him?
You're not a film producer, are you?
How much do you make a week, Niki?
Jake uses his manipulative voice, the one he might use when
discussing a shade of blue in a convention display.
Are you a private detective?
Something like that. How much do you
Here? What a joke. There was some
detective asking about that girl.
This is just temporary. I once made
nine hundred in outcall.
I'll give you $700 a week, cash, if
you help me find this girl.
Half now, half later.
Make it nine hundred. That was my
Okay. My client pays for it anyway.
When do we start?
Tonight. When you get out, we'll go.
Why didn't you tell the other
This is different. This is nine
EXT. VAN NUYS DELL - NIGHT
Wes parks in front of a Van Nuys delicatessen and walks in.
INT. VAN NUYS DELI - NIGHT
Wes walks into the well-lit deli and spots Andy Mast sitting
alone with a glass and a bottle of beer.
A cross section of California types are scattered around the
room. A JUKEBOX plays country and western.
Mr. Mast? My name's Wes DeJong. I'm
Jake Van Dorn's brother-in-law. We
met out here a couple months ago
when he hired you. Your agency said
you might be here.
Mast motions for him to sit.
Ssh. I'm on a stakeout.
Mast looks down at the beer bottle.
I'm staking out this beer bottle.
Trying to find out if I'll finish it
or it'll finish me.
I'm worried about Jake.
I'm off that case. He fired me.
He didn't look good at all. Something
strange is going on. He's got himself
into some trouble. He wouldn't say
I'll tell you, that was an interesting
case. The Van Dorn girl. I've handled
runaway cases like it before. Usually
when you put the pressure on the
porn underworld for an underage kid,
she pops up in about a week. Everybody
denies ever seeing her, but there
she is at the airport with a prepaid
ticket home. Well, I put pressure on
all over town for this girl and it
stayed cold as ice. In fact, certain
people for this girl and -- nothing.
I guess I gave your brother-in-law
sort of a raw deal.
Mast spots a long-haired youth walking toward the juke box
and calls to him:
Hey, buddy, E-fifteen.
The kid ignores him and makes his selection: a rock song.
I want to rehire you. To find out
what's happening to my brother-in-
I've been on another case. All day.
I suppose I can move it over. Seven
fifty a week, plus travel expenses.
Do you really think Kristen is just
Mast thinks. A shadow crosses his face.
Maybe. Maybe not.
I also want you to protect my brother-
You have to understand. He can be
mean, self-righteous. He had a Vishund
once. Loved that dog. He came home
one day and the dog bit him. He took
that dog and staked him out in the
back yard. It was winter. Every day
he came home and watched that dog
until he froze. He's capable of doing
To his own daughter?
EXT. HIGHWAY - NIGHT
Van Dorn's car speeds through the California night. The
Pacific, moon-lit, stretches like a sinister plain.
EXT. SAN DIEGO MOTEL - NIGHT
Jake pulls into a freeway exit motel and parks at the office.
INT. JAKE'S MOTEL ROOM - NIGHT
Jake's suitcase lies open on the luggage rack. He pulls off
his tie-dyed shirt, folds it up neatly, and places it in the
He sits on the edge of the bed and undoes his shoestrings.
He removes each shoe as if it were an individual effort.
There's a KNOCK.
Jake looks through the blinds, unhooks the chain and opens
Niki, tugging up her jeans, scuffles in.
You actually paid for both these
rooms? I thought you were just going
to get a receipt for two, and kickback
the desk man.
Jake, awkward, puts a shirt on.
I thought you were going to bed?
Niki is street-wise. She can instantly interpret situations
which would stymie the average person; but, as if to balance
this perceptivity, she is often stymied by the ordinary.
In brief: she assumes Jake is paying her $900 a week not
only to help him but also to be his personal playmate.
Do you have any pills? Any Valium,
Librium? You know, pimps will sell
Valium at fifty cents a piece. Can
you believe that?
Niki sits on his bed, her legs folded under her.
You know Valiums pick me right up?
Take four or five and I'm wide awake.
Isn't that strange? Know what puts
me to sleep? Coke. I think I'm really
Niki removes her sweater and starts to pull off her Rorer T-
shirt. Jake motions for her to stop.
Niki. Calm down. Relax. Let's just
talk for a while. Then, later, you'll
go back to your room and we'll get
He sits on the bed beside her.
You have anything to drink? You want
to go out and get something?
I don't drink, but you can go out.
You don't drink?
(points to stomach)
Niki studies him for a moment, then says:
You're not a private detective either,
I didn't think so. I've fucked
detectives. Who are you?
I'm her father.
Her name is Kristen. She disappeared
a couple of months ago.
And your wife? Where's she?
Hey, don't worry about it. Your
daughter's around. We'll find her in
a couple days.
EXT. SAN DIEGO - DOWNTOWN - DAY
Jake's car drives through San Diego's "downtown," four square
blocks of adult bookstores, peep show and flop houses south
of San Diego's center. Uniformed soldiers from Camp Pendleton
and the Miramar Naval Station occasionally cross the wide
The Singapore Club, Lux Adult Movies, the Princess Rap Parlor,
Curious Books Shop, Sexciting Movies...
EXT. THE OKINAWA BAR - DAY
Jake and Niki walk toward the Okinawa, a hangout for working
girls, players and street people.
Niki, tugging up her jeans, walks next to Jake. She wears
her Rorer T-shirt; Jake a blue dress shirt.
(putting her arm on
Jim Rucker runs this place. He knows
where everybody is. It's a nice place.
Hires a lot of girls, but they don't
INT. OKINAWA BAR - DAY
Jake holds the door open for Niki as they enter.
The Okinawa is a credit to its namesake. A BLACK PLAYER,
sitting at the bar, stares absently at two girls playing
Niki, in her element, steps up to the bar.
(to Counter Girl)
Is Rucker here?
He'll be back in a couple hours.
Tell him Louise was here. I'll come
They turn to exit.
EXT. SAN DIEGO BEACH - DAY
Jake and Niki sit at a ramshackle picnic table at a park
overlooking the ocean. Several children play in the distance.
Niki finishes her Big Mac, crumbles the bag and throws it
away. She unwraps a Milky Way and she finishes her fries.
Jake watches with astonishment as she chomps her way through
a second candy bar.
You really shouldn't eat like that.
All that sugar. It's not good for
At least I'm a growing person.
You won't keep growing at this rate.
You know what I'm talking about.
You never met a working girl before,
have you? You think I like sucking
off guys all night? Maybe I do. So
You can't even say it, can you?
Okay. Sucking off. Now does that
make me as good as you?
You don't understand shit.
Okay, tell me. Why do you live like
Did you ever live in a room with six
people and you didn't have any money,
any food, any furniture? Have your
brother come out, his car break down,
he can't get a job? Your friends
stealing food, going through trash
behind a supermarket?
Is that the way it was with you?
No. But does it make any difference?
How did you get to be the way you
Jake doesn't answer.
Don't knock it. A girl can save up a
lot money doing this -- big money.
Then you're free. You can go off to
Europe, meet somebody, get married.
My girlfriend's going to buy her own
beauty parlor. Not me. I'm gonna
travel. 'Keep movin' that's my motto.
Would you rather work at Copper Penny
at a dollar-eighty an hour, having
every two-bit cocksucker able to
yell at you? I can make more money
suc... doing what I do for five
minutes than I can all week at another
You used to work at Copper Penny?
You and I, Niki, have very different
ideas about sex.
Why? Are you a sex fiend?
Neither am I.
But it's all you do.
How important do you think sex is?
We're just alike. You think sex is
so unimportant you don't do it. I
think sex is so unimportant I don't
care who I do it with.
Jake thinks. That sounds right. But it can't be right. He
looks away, then back at her.
You can never understand a person
like me. I am a mystery to you. A
middle class person, a Mid-westerner.
A man who doesn't pursue women. A
man who believes in social order. A
man who goes to church, believes in
God, and a man who, at the end of
his life, believes he will be
This is all unfathomable to you.
Fifty years ago, in art, the prostitute sought to justify
her life to the bourgeoisie. Now it is the bourgeoisie who
must justify himself to the whore.
I don't see why I must justify myself
to you. I don't care about the things
you do. I don't care what's happening
in New York or Los Angeles. I don't
care about movies or TV. I don't
care who's on Johnny Carson.
What do you care about?
I care about my daughter.
INT. OKINAWA BAR - DAY
Niki and Jake stand at the counter talking with JIM RUCKER,
an entrepreneurial type about 40.
You remember me. Louise? Rhymes with
(looks, then nods)
You working in San Diego now?
I'm still in L.A., but I'm looking
for Tod. I heard he was around.
'Was.' He and that shitheel Ratan
went down to T-J. Maybe I shouldn't
say that. Anyway, I hear he's back
in Frisco now.
Was he with a girl?
Niki starts to leave.
Keep in touch, baby. Got some good
stuff comin' up. Need you back, baby.
(as they exit)
And take good care of your friend
Jake turns back as Niki gives him a tug.
EXT. OKINAWA BAR - DAY
They walk toward the car.
They were here?
(her voice chills)
He was with Ratan.
What does that mean?
What does he do?
He deals in pain.
Is Kristen safe?
She doesn't answer.
Let's get a plane for San Francisco.
INT. L.A. POLICE MISSING PERSONS - DAY
DETECTIVE BURROWS walks back into his office. Mast, sitting
on the edge of the desk, is waiting for him.
Apparently your friend has gone into
Mexico. A Border Guard responded to
the APB. How does it feel to have
the L.A.P.D. doing your work for
You're going to thank me for this.
You know what the media's like. They
love this kinda shit. If that guy
goes off half-cocked and gets himself
hurt, you're going to have so much
bad publicity, you...
I heard you the first time. We had
nothing to go on with this kid. Just
Do you really think he's in danger?
If he has anything to say about it,
yeah. I've been asking a lot of
questions and I don't like the answers
I'm getting. He's made a lot of people
nervous, including some poor faggot
who thought he was going to be a
We aren't gonna arrest him for that...
Big threat. TV would ream you.
Keep me informed of what he's up to.
You help me, I'll help you.
Why don't people stay where they
INT. SAN DIEGO AIRPORT - DAY
Jake and Niki sit in a line of multi-colored plexi-glass
chairs in the Western Terminal of the airport. Niki munches
a pack of Chuckles while Jake, his elbows on his knees, looks
at the floor. Niki prattles on.
You know what your problem is? You're
a very negative person. You think
Jake tries to ignore her.
You have to believe in something.
What do they believe in -- the
Christian Reformed. It's a Dutch
Do they believe in reincarnation? I
believe in reincarnation.
They believe in the 'TULIP.'
What the crap?
It's an anagram. It comes from the
Canons of Dort. Every letter stands
for a different belief. T-U-L-I-P.
Like -- are you sure you're interested
Yeah, yeah, go on.
T stands for Total depravity, that
is, all men, through original sin,
are totally evil and incapable of
good. 'All my works are like filthy
rags in the sight of the Lord.'
Jake is charmed. He's never been called upon to explain his
beliefs to someone so totally ignorant of them.
Be that as it may. U is for
Unconditional Election. God has chosen
a certain number of people to be
saved, The Elect, and He has chosen
them from the beginning of time. L
is for Limited Atonement. Only a
limited number will be atoned, will
go to Heaven.
I can stop if you want.
No, please go on.
The INTERCOM ANNOUNCES a flight: Jake listens for a moment.
It's a flight to Mexico City.
I is for Irresistible Grace. God's
grace cannot be resisted or denied.
And P is for the Perseverance of the
Saints. Once you are in Grace you
cannot fall from the number of the
elect. And that's the 'TULIP.'
Wait, wait. I'm trying to figure
this out. This is like Rona Barrett.
Before you become saved, God already
knows who you are?
He has to. That's Predestination. If
God is omniscient, if He knows
everything -- and He wouldn't be God
if He didn't -- then He must have
known, even before the creation of
the world, the names of those who
would be saved.
So it's already worked out. The fix
More or less.
Wow. Then why be good? Either you're
saved or you ain't.
Out of gratitude for being chosen.
That's where Grace comes in. God
first chooses you, then allows you,
by Grace, to choose Him of your own
You really believe all that?
I thought I was fucked up.
I'll admit it's confusing from the
outside. You've got to see it from
If you see anything from the inside
it makes sense. You ought to hear
perverts talk. A guy once almost had
me convinced to let his dachshund
It's not quite the same thing.
It doesn't make any sense to me.
The INTERCOM ANNOUNCES Western Flight #601 to San Francisco.
EXT. TRAVEL LODGE - DAY
Jake's rental car pulls into a San Francisco Travel Lodge.
EXT. NORTH BEACH - AFTERNOON
Niki places a call from a phone booth. Jake watches the
passing denizens of North Beach.
The familiar sordid tableau is played out before his eyes:
massage parlors, peep shows, strip joints, sex shops.
(hangs up phone)
Tod'll meet you at the bookstore at
Eddy and O'Farrell tomorrow noon. I
told him you were a 'specialty'
Why can't I meet him now?
Niki, cocky, walks next to Jake. She is in her element. She
calls out to a pimp:
I hope your prick falls off.
Jake, surprised, turns away from the pimp's cold stare.
Why can't I meet him now?
Niki brazenly calls out to a strutting hooker:
Rot in hell, honey.
He's busy now.
Where does he live.
Just a second. It's my ass I'm
risking. You better do it my way.
These fuckers don't mess around.
Niki walks off. Jake follows.
EXT. TRAVEL LODGE - DUSK
Jake's rental car is parked outside his motel room.
INT. JAKE'S ROOM - NIGHT
Jake sits on the edge of his bed, studying the crease in his
His shirt is partiallly open.
Niki, swigging a Coke sits squatted atop the built in desk.
I must have been in more motel rooms
this week than in the rest of my
life. At least it feels that way.
I know what you mean. After a while
they all look the same.
They are the same.
Do you live in a house back in
Grand Rapids? Of course.
On your own land?
Just you and your daughter?
Look, I really don't know your
I wouldn't expect too much. I mean
about her coming back. Once a girl
gets into the life.
What makes you so sure?
(changing the subject)
You wife isn't dead is she?
Van Dorn surprised, turns around.
Why do you say that?
Just a guess. She ain't dead though
Jake shakes his head "no."
She left you right?
She was the one called Joanne. How'd
you find that out?
Just a guess. Did you have it good
with your wife? You know, sex.
Jake resents Niki's forwardness: what business of hers is
I don't blame you, Niki. Really I
don't. It's this culture, where
everything's based on sex, sold on
(starts to get angry)
...magazines, music, TV. It's
destroying everything. Buy this 'cause
of sex, use this 'cause of sex. Kids
think it's normal. They think they're
supposed to talk dirty, wear scanty
Don't get upset. I lied too. I don't
make no five hundred dollars a week.
Everything I make goes to Granville.
My man. 'Pimp.' I split 'cause he
don't treat me for shit. Thinks he's
so cool 'cause he's black. I once
tried to take my clothes but he says,
'You can't take 'em 'cause they're
my clothes -- I bought 'em.' Yeah,
with my fucking money...
Jake doesn't want to get involved with Niki's problems:
Look, Niki, this really isn't my
business. I don't know anything
So I guess we're both fucked, huh?
But at least you get to go to heaven.
I don't get shit.
The DOORBELL RINGS. Jake, suspicious, walks over to the window
and peeks out. Seeing someone he recognizes, he opens the
Andy Mast, woebegone and wrinkled as usual, stands at the
(looking at Niki
This is just how you found me once.
Jake slips outside.
EXT. TRAVEL LODGE - DUSK
What are you doing here?
I felt like such a shit, pilgrim,
after what I did to you -- not that
I did anything wrong -- that I kept
investigating, poking around. There's
some poor s.o.b. in L.A. with his
face all bent out of shape who you've
damaged his movie career. Lucky for
him, people don't look at his face.
Do the police want to arrest me?
Nah. They don't care about some faggot
hustler. They're more interested in
your daughter's health -- and yours.
Like I am.
Listen, pilgrim, you're way out on a
limb here. You don't know what you're
You sure as hell haven't been any
I'm sorry about that. Have you found
anything out? You've got to tell me.
Why don't you tell me something for
Who is Ratan?
Where'd you hear that name?
I just heard. Who is he?
Mast walks toward the swimming pool.
Mast looks at the still, blue surface of the pool. Jake steps
beside him. A tourist passes by with his two sons. Mast
thinks, then speaks:
You know, it's possible to buy
anything on this earth. You can buy
child whores, slaves. You can have
people raped, killed...
One of the men who supposedly arranges
such things is named Ratan. He usually
isn't in this country.
How'd you hear about him?
It's just a name.
Don't do anything more. I'll find
out what I can.
(nodding toward motel)
Does she know anything about this?
Who? The whore? No. She's just a
victim. A dime a dozen.
INT. JAKE'S ROOM - NIGHT
Jake sleeps in his Travel Lodge bed.
A jagged shard of blue light plays across his face.
EXT. EDDY AND O'FARRELL STREETS - DAY
Jake stands at the corner, then turns and enters the porn
INT. PANDORA'S BOOKS - DAY
Jake looks around.
Seeing no one he recognizes, he pays his admission fee walks
down a rack, picks up a copy of "Hot Twat," pages through
It's been over a week since Jake first stepped into a porno
bookstore. The change in his manner is striking. He now seems
at ease in the endless night-world of pandering and
A few moments later, a long-haired man steps up behind him.
The young man is wearing red alligator boots and a silver
and turquoise belt -- like the man in "Slave of Love." Tod
scrutinizes Jake a moment before speaking.
(under his breath)
Jake turns. Tod gives him some skin. Tod seems unattractive
at first, but the longer one looks at him, the more oddly
sensual he appears.
I hear you got money to spend.
(as Jake nods)
I hear you're interested in...
Do you work for the San Francisco
Police Department, or do you have
any other affiliation with any law
What you got in mind?
I want to meet Ratan.
What is that? A kind of chair? I
never heard of no Ratan.
I was told that there were certain
things that only Ratan could provide.
You're talking about real excitement?
Yeah. I heard you and Ratan just
came from Mexico. And that you had a
film of a girl being, ah you know...
Who told you about this?
I don't know no Ratan, but I may be
able to help you out. It's not me,
of course. Just helping out a friend.
It'll cost you five hundred bucks
for a single screening.
Is this with a girl named Kristen?
Um-hm. You got the five hundred?
Take it or leave it.
Meet me here today at seven o'clock.
With the money. Then we'll go see
Tod puts his hand on Jake's shoulder and smiles.
You ain't gonna ever have no thrill
INT. TRAVEL LODGE - DUSK
Niki sits on a bed watching a syndicated sitcom and munching
a Taco Bell enchilada.
She hears a CAR pull up and a man's FOOTSTEPS walks to the
She cautiously gets up to see who it is.
EXT. EDDY AND O'FARRELL STREETS - DUSK
Jake walks out of Pandora's Books behind Tod. They turn the
corner and walk out of sight.
EXT. JONES STREET - DUSK
Jake and Tod enter the "Hot Pink" massage parlor. A sign on
the front door reads: "Sex/Intercourse/Here."
INT. HOT PINK - NIGHT
Tod leads Jake past two girls into the back of the parlor.
Tod smiles to one of the parlor girls and touches the other.
INT. MASSAGE PARLOR - NIGHT
Tod ushers Jake into a barren "office" in the rear of the
A sheet has been tacked up at one end of the office. Across
the room, the projectionist, a boy about 15, stands next to
a battered old 16mm silent projector.
Two other men sit in the darkened room. One looks middle-
aged and decadent; the other, about 26, wears jeans, a western
shirt, and a beat up flight jacket. He's saved up several
years for this.
Jake sits in an empty office chair next to the other men.
Tod nods to the boy and he starts up the projector. A grainy
black and white image appears on the screen.
The projectionist punches a cheap cassette player which echoes
scratchy Mexican fiesta music through the room.
It's clear why the projectionist has chosen a Latin sound
track: the film is set up in a Tijuana flophouse.
On screen, a girl with long blonde hair and Kristen's build
sits on the edge of a barren double bed. She wears jeans and
a shirt. Her face is covered by a black leather mask. The
eye slits are taped shut.
A Cerveza poster of a half-naked Mexican girl hangs on the
wall behind her.
A young Mexican, stripped to the waist, walks over to the
girl. Taking instructions from someone off camera, he starts
to undress her.
The girl, unable to see her seducer, nevertheless submits to
Jake watches the screen from the shadows. The pale images
flicker across a metal filing cabinet behind him. Tod slips
out of the room.
On screen, the young Mexican has finished the girl. He turns
to the director for further instructions.
A man wearing a white suit walks into the frame. He flashes
a stiletto from his sleeve and stabs the young Mexican. The
girl, not able to see what is happening, turns her head
Jake watches in unbelieving horror. The young man in the
flight jacket is calm and dispassionate.
The young Mexican falls to the floor bleeding. The man in
the white suit bends down and wipes the stiletto on the
Mexican's pant leg.
The man in the white suit steps over to the girl and puts
one hand under her mask. He lifts his stiletto again. He
rips off the mask from the girl's face; it is not Kristen.
Jake is relieved. The faces of the others are full of
Jake's relief turns to horror at what he now sees. Blurred
images reflect against the metal cabinet behind him.
INT. TRAVEL LODGE - NIGHT
Mast, waiting for Jake, talks to Niki. The TV still plays in
You know Granville's looking for
My name ain't Niki. It's Pattica,
like in Attica.
Granville's looking for you anyway.
The guy who bought you that ring.
Well, he can just fuck himself.
She pulls off her ring and starts to hand it to Mast.
Keep it, honey. You're gonna need
it. I know that boy. He can make
life real tough for a working girl.
He'll string you out again.
Gestures to his veins.
You can fuck off, too.
You're taking a big chance.
I ain't ever gonna see him again
Oh no? What you gonna do? Get a job?
Niki, sullen, looks away. Then, defensive, she says what
she's been thinking.
Jake'll take care of me.
Who? Van Dorn? You must be kidding
yourself, honey. You think once that
guy finds his daughter he'll care
Niki looks away again.
A car pulls in front of the motel room. They both turn toward
Jake, weary and angry, walks in out of the night. Ignoring
Mast, he takes Niki by the arm and leads her out of earshot.
When Mast moves to overhear them, Jake turns and edges him
toward the door.
What happened, pilgrim?
Just leave me alone.
But I'm here to help you...
Jake ushers Mast out the door and chains it. Mast waits
outside as Jake returns to Niki.
Did you find out where she was?
Tod gave me the slip. I have to find
him again. Where does he live?
(sensing something is
Where is he?
I can't tell you that.
Taking Niki gently by the shoulder, Jake sits her on the
edge of the bed. He speaks in a calm, forceful, parental
Listen, Niki. My daughter's been
missing five months. I've gone through
a lot to find out what's happened to
her. I just saw a girl killed. I
will not let Tod slip out of my hands.
You have to tell me where he is.
But then you'll forget about me.
Where is he, Niki?
Jake starts to raise his hand.
Try a place called the House of
Bondage. It's a plain black storefront
next to Jane's. There are some
apartments in back.
Jake stands up and, taking Niki's head in his hands, kisses
her on the forehead.
I won't forget you.
Jake turns and exits.
EXT. TRAVEL LODGE - NIGHT
Jake passes Mast and heads for his car. Mast restrains him.
What are you doing, pilgrim? Where
are you going?
Jake tries to push his way past Mast.
Let me take care of this. I don't
want you to get hurt.
Jake pushes Mast aside. Mast continues to talk as Jake opens
his car door and gets in.
Don't do anything until the police
get there. Don't hurt that girl.
Jake turns his car and takes off. Mast hurries back into the
INT. TRAVEL LODGE - NIGHT
Mast heads immediately for the phone, talking to Niki as he
You've got to tell me where he's
Mast sits down and dials.
Hello, police? My name's Mast. Get
me Joe Klein in Vice.
Mast turns to Niki:
You don't know that man. He'll hurt
his own fucking daughter. I've got
to stop him.
You know about Ratan, don't you?
Niki looks on in fear and confusion.
EXT. EDDY STREET - NIGHT
Van Dorn walks down the garish neon strip past "Jane's
Pleasure House" to an unmarked black storefront. The door is
A light shines on a sign reading: "387 OPEN."
He walks in.
INT. HOUSE OF BONDAGE - NIGHT
As Jake steps through the barred black door, he is hit with
a wave of familiar smells: Human sweat, blood and sexual
The House of Bondage specializes in the three "disciplines:"
bondage, dominance and humiliation. It has four domination
rooms, each decorated in a different decor -- Babylonian,
Medieval, Louis Quatorze, prison motifs -- to satisfy a
variety of tastes.
Two dominants, dressed in black satin pants and shirts, sit
on the sofa. HOPE, wearing a black silver-studded collar,
walks over to Jake. Her voice is hard:
Hello. You want some information?
...the disciplines: bondage,
domination and humiliation.
I'm looking for Tod. Is he in?
I don't know no Tod.
What girls you got here?
My name is Hope. This is Faith.
(gestures to girl on
Charity's in back.
That's all you got, three girls?
Man, how many girls do you need?
I was told there was a real nice
girl here named Joanne. Quite young.
That's Charity. She's out back. She'll
be free in half hour.
Jake pushes her aside.
The girls watch with surprise as Jake marches through the
curtain toward the rear of the parlor.
INT. HOUSE OF BONDAGE - REAR - NIGHT
Jake steps down the corridor. A customer emerges from a room
and passes him.
He slides open one door: the Medieval Dungeon is empty. He
He passes the Louis Quatorze Room. It, too, is empty.
Hope calls from behind Jake:
Tod steps into the corridor in front of Jake. Tod squints to
recognize the intruder.
What do you want?
Do I know you from somewhere?
I want to know where my daughter is.
Her name is Kristen, or Joanne. She's
I don't know what you're talking
He starts to leave.
The police know about Ratan. They
know he's here with you. They know
Tod is taken aback, but tries not to show it.
Oh, yeah? Goody for them.
Tod starts past Jake, but Jake stretches out his hand.
Get the fuck out of here.
Tod tries to push past Van Dorn but Jake grabs his arms and
tries to twist them. Tod breaks free and Jake smacks him
across his forehead with his open hand.
You wait here. I'll find out where
You ain't goin' nowhere alone.
Jake is beyond reasoning. Tod looks around for an alternate
route of escape.
Tod ducks into the Prison Room. Jake follows.
Vertical bars cover the grey walls. Handcuffs and chains
hang from the bars. In the center of the room, a Harley
Davidson "Hog" is incongruously mounted, its front wheel
pointed skyward. Leather straps are attached to the
Tod skirts the Harley and pushes it toward Jake as he enters.
The huge 1200-pound machine crashes toward Van Dorn.
Jake jumps back as the bike bounces in front of him, then
starts for Tod.
Lowering his shoulder, Tod smashes through the thin pasteboard
wall. Jake, steeping over the motorcycle, pursues.
In the Louis Quatorze Room, Jake grabs Tod by the shoulders
and spins him around. Tod swings as he turns, hitting Jake.
Jake grabs Tod's legs as he falls.
They both crash through the next pasteboard wall into the
Tod breaks free, runs through the dungeon and bursts through
the last pasteboard wall. Jake pulls himself to his feet and
Where is she?
Hope and Faith, standing against the wall, watch as Tod and
Jake burst through the wall and dash out the front door.
EXT. O'FARRELL - NIGHT
Jake chases Tod out of the House of Bondage.
Van Dorn pushes one girl, knocks over another and catches up
with Tod at the corner.
He tackles Tod around the waist, rams him into a building
and turns him around.
Jake grabs the young man by his hair and pulls him down the
street. Tod yelps.
Passing a parking meter, Jake smashes Tod's head into it.
Tod's forehead cracks into the glass.
Tod, bleeding, protests:
That film was a fake! Everything's
When Tod doesn't immediately answer, Jake rams his skull
into the next parking meter. Tod, bleeding, dazed, struggles
to stay on his feet. Jake pulls him forward.
I know he's here!
Gripping his hair more tightly, Van Dorn drags him to the
next parking meter and smashes his head into it.
Curious bystanders watch Jake smash the youth's bleeding
head into the next parking meter.
Who the fuck knows? The Four Aces.
He goes there.
Van Dorn pulls Tod down the sidewalk toward the Four Aces.
INT. FOUR ACES - NIGHT
Van Dorn pulls the bleeding Tod into the Four Aces, a low-
life strip club.
A dozen solo patrons are scattered around the dimly lit bar.
On stage, a couple performs a routine sex simulation act to
a scratchy Barry White record.
EXT. HOUSE OF BONDAGE - NIGHT
Two police cars, dome lights flashing, pull up in front of
the House of Bondage. Mast's car pulls up behind them.
INT. FOUR ACES - NIGHT
A man wearing a white suit sits at a table with several girls.
He immediately recognizes Tod. This is RATAN. The man who
killed the young Mexican and girl in the film.
Ratan starts to rise. Jake drops Tod and heads toward Ratan.
A girl wearing a skimpy halter stands up between Ratan and
Jake. She turns and looks back at Jake: it is Kristen.
She is terrified. Kristen turns and runs away, stumbling
over a chair.
Ratan rushes toward the front door.
In the same instant Jake sees Kristen falling, Ratan fleeing.
Trying to get around Jake, Ratan flashes his stiletto forward.
A gash razors across Jake's upper chest.
Ratan's stiletto flashes forward: Jake's arm is cut. Jake
clasps Ratan and thrusts him backward.
EXT. FOUR ACES - NIGHT
The street fills with SIRENS, flashing light and police.
Mast rushes toward The Four Aces. Niki follows.
INT. FOUR ACES - NIGHT
Jake rams Ratan backward into the smoke-colored front window.
Ratan's back smashes through the plate glass. Ratan's feet
lift off the floor as he falls backward.
Sinking backward against the broken glass, Ratan swings his
stiletto at Jake.
Jake, protecting himself from the knife, flips Ratan over.
Ratan's chest and stomach rasp across the jagged glass.
Jake grabs Ratan's head in both his hands and forces it
downward onto the bottom edge of the jagged window frame.
He rubs Ratan's neck across the glass: every artery, vein
and capillary rip out of Ratan's neck.
Ratan collapses against the window frame.
TWO OFFICERS, guns drawn, rush toward Ratan's body. The Second
Officer pulls out his handcuffs, then realizes it will not
Jake turns and heads toward where he last saw Kristen.
The First Officer aims his gun at Jake and calls out:
Mast and plainclothes officer (Joe Klein), rush over and
instruct the Officers to ease off.
Jake walks across the now empty bar. Several tables are
Jake walks to the table where Kristen tripped. Following her
logical path, Jake walks into the women's rest room.
INT. REST ROOM - NIGHT
Kristen squeezes herself against the yellow rest room wall.
Trembling, she holds her twisted ankle and looks at her father
Jake takes off his torn coat and drapes it over his daughter's
shoulders. She tries not to look at him.
Don't hurt me.
Come on, Kristen. Let's go home.
He helps her up.
EXT. O'FARRELL - NIGHT
Flashing red and yellow lights illuminate the chaos:
-- Curious mobs press against police lines.
-- Ambulance attendants lift Ratan's body onto a stretcher.
-- The two officers handcuff a bloodied and confused Tod.
-- Police officers interview Hope, Faith and other by-
Mast walks over to Jake and Kristen. Niki watches from a
There's another one. Tod. In the
Mast watches the ambulance attendants cover Ratan's body.
Jake leads Kristen to a police car and places her in the
Jake sees Niki in the crowd. She is watching Jake and Kristen.
She knows she no longer has a place in his life.
He walks over to her.
Niki, maybe I can... There's probably
some way to...
Niki does what Jake cannot: she breaks the connection.
You got your daughter. I got my money.
So now fuck off.
Niki turns on her heel and walks into the neon darkness.
Jake walks back to Mast.
Andy, can you do something for her?
Go home, pilgrim. There's nothing
you can do. Forget this place. Start
Jake walks back to where his daughter waits for him.
The MUSIC turns into an orchestrated version of "Precious
As the MUSIC RISES we DISSOLVE BETWEEN:
-- Wes, Anne and Marsha welcome Kristen back in their home.
Anne embraces her tearfully.
-- Jake, back at work, talks to Mary near the lathes.
-- Niki, wearing white vinyl boots and a blonde wig, walks
the streets of Los Angeles.
-- Kristen lies sleeping peacefully in her bedroom.
-- Jake sleeps. Blue light falls across his face.
Slowly, burning through his face, the grainy black and white
image of a girl wearing a black mask appears. A hand reaches
down to pull off the mask.
Jake wakes suddenly from his dream, his screaming face double-
exposed with the terrified young girl's.