A struggling actor (Craig Wasson) finds a job housesitting for a rich friend of another actor (Gregg Henry). While there he spies on a neighbor (Melanie Griffith) who has a naughty habit of doing a striptease every night. He becomes infatuated with the woman and decides he wants to meet her, taking to following her around wherever she goes. He begins to suspect she is in trouble when a suspicious Native American follows her around as well. He suspects she will be murdered.
John Travolta stars as Jack Terry, a sound effects engineer for cheapie horror exploitation flicks. When a producer deems the victim’s screams and wind effects used in their slasher film as substandard, Jack determines to capture new recordings. While outdoors, his tape captures audio from a nearby car careening off of a bridge and into a river after its tire blows out. Jack jumps to action to save a drowning woman (Nancy Allen) from the vehicle, but the driver dies, later revealed to be the presidential frontrunner, Pennsylvania Governor George McRyan. While listening to the tape, Jack hears a gunshot just before the blowout, suggesting it was no accident. It’s revealed that a photographer in the area (Dennis Franz) captured film of the incident, which Jack synchronizes with his audio, proving an assassin was the cause. The authorities and media want the proof, but an assassin (John Lithgow) seeks to silence Jack’s obsessive quest for truth. Brian De Palma writes and directs this potent political thriller.
Angie Dickinson stars as Kate Miller, a housewife so unsatisfied sexually that she often finds herself having vivid and wild sexual fantasies, with violent overtones. She has been seeing a psychiatrist, Dr. Elliott (Michael Caine), about her marital problems, and even makes a pass at him, although nothing comes to pass. Unable to resist the temptation, Kate has an afternoon fling with a complete stranger, only to end up the victim of a brutal and senseless slaying at the hands of a mysterious figure with a straight-edge razor. Only one person witnessed the murder, a spunky prostitute named Liz (Nancy Allen), who describes the perpetrator as a blonde woman in sunglasses. Meanwhile, Dr. Elliott begins receiving phone calls from one of his patients, Bobbi, a pre-op transsexual with homicidal tendencies, and Dr. Elliott’s stolen razor.