Crimewave (1985)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Crime  |  25 April 1986 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 4,021 users   Metascore: 34/100
Reviews: 54 user | 33 critic | 4 from

A pair of whacked-out cartoon-like exterminator/hitmen kill the owner of a burglar-alarm company, and stalk the partner who hired them, his wife, and a nerd framed for the murder, who tells the story in flashback from the electric chair.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Helene Trend
Faron Crush
Arthur Coddish
Ernest Trend
Renaldo 'The Heel'
Vic Ajax
Richard Bright ...
Officer Brennan
Blind Man
Hamid Dana ...
Donald Odegard
John Hardy ...
Mr. Yarman
Emil Sitka ...
Colonel Rodgers
Hal Youngblood ...
Jack Elroy
Sean Farley ...
Jack Elroy Jr
Richard DeManincor ...
Officer Garvey


A pair of whacked-out cartoon-like exterminator/hitmen kill the owner of a burglar-alarm company, and stalk the partner who hired them, his wife, and a nerd framed for the murder, who tells the story in flashback from the electric chair.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Extermination is not just a business. It's a way of life.


Comedy | Crime


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

25 April 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Broken hearts and broken noses  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


During the filming, Bruce Campbell had Sam Raimi's 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 gutted and substituted it for the "stunt car" in the chase sequence, but Raimi noticed before the scene was filmed and had the car restored. See more »


While the majority of the exterior shots were filmed in Detroit, towards the beginning of the film, the night time distant shot of the city (in red glow) right before the storm hits, is clearly Chicago, as the Sears Tower is quite prominent in the shot. See more »


Girl in bar: You're cute.
Renaldo the Heel: Keep talkin', baby. Maybe you'll tell me something I don't already know.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the credits, we see the box (with Mrs. Trend inside) in Uruguay. See more »


Spoofs The Terminator (1984) See more »


Written by Joseph LoDuca (as Joe LoDuca)
See more »

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User Reviews

Let's See the REAL Cut of This!
2 February 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The first of two cinematic collaborations between Sam Raimi and the Coen brothers ("The Hudsucker Proxy," on which Raimi was Second Unit Director, is the other), this hilarious movie could have, SHOULD have, been a lot funnier. The story behind why it ISN'T is just as wacky as the flick itself:

After the unexpected success of "Evil Dead" in 1982-'83, Embassy Pictures, which had released "Escape From New York," among others, contacted the young Sam Raimi about possibly directing a comedy written by two up-and-comers named Joel and Ethan Coen. Raimi read the riotous script and was eager to put it on film, keeping in close contact with the Coens so he could capture the zany spirit of the script intact. Operating on an extremely tight budget, and with constant interference from the studio, "The XYZ Murders" (the film's original title) was finished sometime in 1984 -- and promptly shelved. Never liking or understanding the humor of the movie, the executives at Embassy (being pressured to find a hit because the studio was floundering) told Raimi, "No, this is another one of your CULT movies, we don't WANT that." (These are not, by the way, my words; this is all from an interview in "Fangoria" Sam Raimi did in 1985 or '86.) So, the studio, trying to keep afloat, re-edited the final cut of the movie, releasing it as "Crimewave." It did not, of course, work, as Embassy Pictures went bankrupt that same year, but not because of this film -- Embassy was finished long before they released this, actually.

If there was some way Raimi and the Coens could, I wish they would go back to this movie and either remake it or re-release it in its intended form. "Crimewave" was good, but you could tell it had been butchered (which gave it its uneven tone). In the "Fangoria" interview, Raimi confessed he regretted the way "The XYZ Murders" turned out -- so why not re-do it now that he can probably do anything he wants (thanks to the "Spider-Man" series)?

What a shame that a struggling movie studio took a great, unique, funny movie and turned it into a curiosity. I'm sure, as we all know, THAT never happens anymore.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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