VENUS   RISING

By: Duba Leibell, Ken Ross & Kate Douvan

LOG LINE:

A thriller set in the L.A. porn world that forces DETECTIVE AARON HILL not only to solve the Venus Rising murders, but to confront and resolve demons from his past.

STORY OUTLINE:

The night of his murder, porn actor/producer MICKEY RONCHO watches an unedited scene from his VIRGIN VISTAS video series. He's had a long day, trying to find "girls" to cast in his next video, searching the strip clubs and streets for women who'd have sex with him on camera for $200. What a life, getting laid five to ten times a week and making a living from it! It bought him this house of his dreams. Sure, it's a pig sty, but who has time to live in it? After a long day, he just wants to settle down, watch a video and get drunk. Then, something strange happens -- the T.V. in the guest room comes on by itself. He hears the voice of that girl doing a sex scene with him -- what was her name? He can't remember... Unsettled, Mickey calls the cops. But it's too late. Minutes later, he's dead.

DETECTIVE AARON HILL, 32, is called to the scene. In a dark-humored way, he talks to Mickey's corpse as he sifts through the evidence. The most striking piece is a signature the killer left behind: written in blood on the TV set is the female symbol -- a cross with a circle on top.

Aaron reports to SGT. THOMAS WATERS that he thinks Roncho was murdered for one of two reasons: 1) It's a one-time act of revenge and the killer was covering his tracks by making it look like a cult murder; or 2) it's a bloody crusade against pornographers, not unlike those enacted by pro-Lifers out to get abortionists.

Then porn producer RAY WILLIAMS is murdered the next day. The bloody symbol of a woman is left again. The murders are odiously connected. But to what? To whom? Why? The questions reverberate in Aaron's head.

Aaron goes home that night, trying to block the case out. Really, he'd like to block out his entire life right now. The case, and the emptiness of his life overwhelms him. He wonders if Roncho was ever married, if any woman could ever fall for a guy like that? JENNIFER, Aaron's wife, left him last year, and he hasn't had much luck meeting anyone since.

The case is stalled until HALEY SILVER, 40, a news producer with the most confident, sensuous voice Aaron has ever heard, calls after she sees him making a statement to the press. She tells him that the symbol for woman is also the symbol for the goddess Venus and that a porn actress named VENUS ST. ROSE worked for both murder victims. Venus died two months ago from a heroin overdose at the apartment of male porn star, OTTO RESPONSE. Otto went missing a week later and hasn't been heard from since.

When Aaron finally meets Haley, she shows him hours of interviews she's been doing with people in the porn world. As Aaron listens to Venus' interview we realize that we've heard her voice somewhere before -- it was running in the killer's head as Mickey Roncho was murdered. Aaron asks Haley why she's interested in porn? She did a news piece on "Life After Porn," it intrigued her, so she decided to make a documentary on the subject.

The characters Aaron meets on the case all have something to say:

CRASH CONNOR, 25, sets his table every night, although no one ever comes over. He worries about the day when he can't "get wood" and can't work. The actresses like Venus St. Rose get all the attention, and he gets paid shit. He's pissed at the industry.

NIKKI DYLAN, 23, realizes that after five years in porn, her life is in ruins, and she'll probably never get out of the sex business. She blames men for her predicament and is glad someone has had the nerve to kill the leaders of the pack.

ANDY MARGOLD, 30, dreams about revenge against director, Sid Lavender (who shot Venus' last video, VENUS RISING). Sid sadistically humiliates Andy at every turn. Andy's glad the two other directors are dead -- less competition -- and hopes Sid will be killed so he can takeover Utopia Studios and turn it into a "real" film studio, making features someday.

DESIREE, 27, Venus St. Rose's lesbian lover has disappeared and is rumored to be dead, but is she ultimately found, living in terrible grief over her beloved's death.

Meeting Haley broke the case, but looking back, it almost broke one of Homicide's smartest detectives. With Haley as his guide, Aaron unravels the mystery of the killer's identity. But in doing so, he journeys through the bleak valleys of the porn world where he discovers that the actors and actresses who knew Venus are love-starved children, beaten and abused, alcoholic and drug-addicted, not the mythic sex performers portrayed on screen. "Damaged goods," porn director SID LAVENDER called them all.

The porn world both compels and revolts Aaron, whose own sexual self was damaged by a situation in his past which led him to unconsciously believe that female sexuality is dangerous. The VENUS RISING case forces him to confront his sexual demons through Haley, whom he falls in love with. Haley also has a secret past... In the seventies she had a brief foray in the sex business when she made a porn loop with her college boyfriend.

Together, Aaron and Haley unravel their souls as they work desperately to solve the VENUS RISING case. At the end of it all, they realize the killer was on a journey parallel to their own -- one of redemption and love.

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