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

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Helene Trend
...
Faron Crush
...
Arthur Coddish
...
Nancy
...
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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 April 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Broken hearts and broken noses  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sam Raimi budgeted the film at $2.5 million, an amount the studio greenlit. But the calculations had not taken union fees and regulations into account, making the proposed budgeting and scheduling unrealistic. In addition, the crew were talked into spending three times the allotted money for one shooting location. The shoot quickly went both over budget and over schedule. At that point, the studio stepped in, with executives demanding cuts in the script, budget restrictions, layoffs, and their own supervision of the project. See more »

Goofs

The door leading to the "Parade of Protection" has a mail slot, but in an overhead shot, the slot is not there. See more »

Quotes

Vic Ajax: Hello, Colonel. How are you this evening?
Colonel Rodgers: Adequate. One mother-lovin' hell of a storm comin.' Know how I can tell? Steel plate
[clang]
Colonel Rodgers: in my head. Yes sir, Korea was no picnic.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Swallowed Souls: The Making of Evil Dead II (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

William Tell Overture
Composed by Gioachino Rossini
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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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