Jake Van Dorn (Scott) is a prosperous local businessman in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A single parent, Van Dorn is the father of a seemingly quiet, conservative teenage girl, Kristen, who inexplicably disappears when she goes on a church sponsored trip to California.
Eventually, Van Dorn learns that his daughter ran away and has entered the world of pornography in Los Angeles. The story is an odyssey of the upright and uptight Van Dorn as he journeys through the seedy world of pornography in California. Having no luck with the authorities, Van Dorn retains the services of a strange private detective, played by Peter Boyle, to locate his daughter.
Fed up with no results from the PI, or the police, a desperate Van Dorn ends up posing as a porno movie producer in the hopes that he will unearth information about his daughter. Along the way, he enlists the aid of a sometime porno actress/hooker named Niki, played by Season Hubley. The two form an uneasy alliance as Nikki helps Van Dorn navigate his way through the maze of smut from Los Angeles to San Diego and to San Francisco, eventually discovering that his daughter may be in the hands of a very dangerous porn player who deals in the world of "snuff movies".
|George C. Scott||Jake VanDorn, alias Jake DeFreese|
|Peter Boyle||Andy Mast|
|Dick Sargent||Wes DeJong|
|Leonard Gaines||Bill Ramada|
|Dave Nichols||Kurt (as David Nichols)|
|Gary Graham||Tod (as Gary Rand Graham)|
- "Turn it off! Turn if off! TURN IT OFF!" - George C. Scott as Jake VanDorn
- "Nobody makes it. Nobody shows it. Nobody sees it. It's like it doesn't even exist." - Peter Boyle as Andy Mast
Writer-director Schrader had previously written the screenplay of Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver and the films share a theme of exploring an unseen subculture. One major criticism of the film at the time was that it utilizes the same sensationalistic elements of sleaze that it is attempting to criticize and comment upon.
- Berlin International Film Festival
- Nominated Golden Berlin Bear - Paul Schrader
In Popular CultureEdit
George C. Scott's dramatic screams of "Turn it off!" have become a popular sound drop on the Opie & Anthony radio show and a recurring riff on Mystery Science Theater 3000.