8763 Wonderland Avenue is the address where a violent mass murder took place on July 1, 1981. A friend of mine had recommended the movie Wonderland when I lived in the Los Angeles area in 2009, and I had to add it to my list of “Haunted Hollywood” locations to visit. I drove to the house alone, and it was scary enough winding through Laurel Canyon, an area of Hollywood where $100k cars weave around corners at cocaine-induced speeds. But I finally made it to Wonderland Avenue, where, other than the occasional speeding car, the neighborhood seemed relatively peaceful. However, the thought of what happened at that house in 1981 brings chills…
One of the main characters in this true story is John Holmes, a very popular porn star in the 1970’s, best known for his extreme penis size. Like many in Hollywood, Holmes was heavy into partying and drugs, and he rolled in dangerous circles. Another major player in this legend is Eddie Nash, owner of several Los Angeles nightclubs and high-end cocaine dealer with a mafia boss mentality.
John Holmes frequently partied at the Wonderland house, and his friends who lived there, also big into the cocaine business, convinced him to participate in robbing Eddie Nash. Since Holmes also frequented Nash’s home to buy drugs, he had access to unlock a back door and leave it open for the robbers to enter later. Holmes unlocked the door the evening of June 28, 1981, and on the morning of June 29, four of the friends (Holmes not with them) drove to Nash’s house and three of them entered Nash’s home, detained and humiliated Nash and his bodyguard, and proceeded to rob the mogul. They also threatened to kill the two, but they did not follow through.
Nash suspected Holmes’ involvement in the robbery, so the next day, Nash’s bodyguard beat Holmes until he confessed the names of the others involved. Then the morning of July 1, 1981, Nash’s people charged into the Wonderland house and proceeded to bludgeon everyone in the house with lead pipes. Two of the robbers were present, and they were beaten to death, along with the girlfriend of the third robber and another innocent girl. The wife of one robber was present and beaten, but she survived. The third robber was not at the house at the time of the massacre, but he contacted police to turn in John Holmes and Eddie Nash.
A bloody handprint showed evidence that Holmes was at the Wonderland house, and the prosecution argued that Holmes was getting revenge because the robbers hadn’t given Holmes a fair cut of the money they had stolen from Nash. Holmes’ defense argued that Holmes had been threatened and forced to be present at the massacre against his will. John Holmes was eventually acquitted, and then he died of AIDS in 1988.
It wasn’t until 1990 when Eddie Nash and his bodyguard were charged with the Wonderland murders. Nash paid off a juror, and ended up getting off on by a hung jury and then an acquittal. Nash’s bodyguard died in 1995, and then Nash was arrested again in 2000 on charges for his other crimes, such as drug trafficking and money laundering. Nash stands by his story that he ordered his people to enter the house to retrieve his stolen property, but he had nothing to due with the murders.
There are several books written about Holmes and the Wonderland murders story, and you can read more details on TruTV.
If you’ve never seen the Wonderland movie, Val Kilmer does an excellent job of portraying John Holmes, and the murder scene will make you cringe. Kate Bosworth plays Holmes’ girlfriend in the movie, and Lisa Kudrow plays his wife.