Former rock star and San Francisco nightclub owner Johnny Boz is found murdered in his bed. Detective Nick Curran is assigned to the case; he has a history of alcoholism and drug abuse although he is clean now. The prime suspect is Catherine Tramell, an attractive and manipulative novelist who had been seeing Boz for a while. Police psychiatrist Beth Gardner (who happens to be Nick's ex-girlfriend) is brought in on the case when it is discovered that Boz's murder was copied directly from one of Catherine's novels. Nick starts to get too involved and everyone seems to be a suspect.
In a small Southern American town, Paul, who is known for having sexual relations with every girl in town, falls in love with his best friend's younger sister who is a virgin. Paul must try to prove to everyone that this time he is in love rather than in lust.
Russell's avowed purpose with Whore was to avoid the glamorous depiction of prostitution common to such slick Hollywood products as Pretty Woman. As played by Theresa Russell (no relation to Ken), the eponymous character lives a hellish existence. Relating her story directly to the camera, Russell introduces us to her no-good former husband (Jason Saucier), her brutish pimp (Benjamin Mouton), and the kinkiest of her 'johns.' Her one true friend, a bag man named Rasta (Antonio Fargas), also saves her life, but not her soul.
When a flying saucer reportedly lands in rural Iowa, The Old Man (who runs a secret branch of the CIA), decides to investigate. He goes in person, accompanied by agents Sam and Jarvis, as well as Dr Mary Sefton, a NASA specialist in alien biology. They find that aliens have indeed landed and are planning to use their mind-control powers to take over our planet.
Medical students begin to explore the realm of near death experiences, hoping for insights. Each has their heart stopped and is revived. They begin having flashes of walking nightmares from their childhood, reflecting sins they committed or had committed against them. The experiences continue to intensify, and they begin to be physically beaten by their visions as they try and go deeper into the death experience to find a cure.