Crimewave (1985)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Crime  |  25 April 1986 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 4,019 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?


Although Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, and Bruce Campbell insisted that they had made the film as partners, the studio refused - because of the already ballooning costs - to pay for Campbell to stay in Los Angeles during post-production (although the executives later compromised). See more »


During the car chase, the body in Nancy's car is an obvious dummy. See more »


Renaldo the Heel: I've never seen you here before. I like that in a woman.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Featured in Leading Man with Reed Birney (2013) See more »


We Go Together
Music and Lyrics by Arlon Ober
Sung by Jonathan Beres & Katie Yanai
See more »

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User Reviews

prepare to live 80 marvellous minutes of absolute alienation!
28 September 2006 | by (Belgium) – See all my reviews

It is so strange how some films never seem to catch the attention of either the public or the critics. Most would rightly assume the reason being the lack of quality of the film in question, which is indeed often the case. But not so with 'Crimewave', at least not as far as I am concerned.

This film is so far out that most people never ever venture there and never will. There is scarcely anything normal about this film: even other Coen products pale into normality compared to it. And this is precisely the film's attractiveness. The situations, characters, dialogues and overall cinematographic language is absolutely unique. I cannot compare Crimewave with any other film out there, and I've seen thousands. Cartoonesque, surreal, utterly stupid, screamingly funny because not trying to be, the film boasts attributes I have not really encountered anywhere else, at least not in just the one film. Tex Avery cartoons may at times spring to mind, as may some films by French director George Lautner, or Bogdanovich' screamingly funny 'What's Up, Doc?' ... oh, and of course the equally terrific over the top romp 'Raising Arizona'!

Acting as well is so totally over the top that even just trying to take it serious, merely results in total incomprehension on the part of the utterly bewildered and bemused viewer. This film is totally about style inasmuch as even its substance is style.

The incredibly unreal atmosphere the film exudes is - apart from the aspects already mentioned - also due to the lavish use of alienatingly oversaturated colours: they marvellously complement the overall strangeness of the film.

I have seen this film dozens of times and have never had any cinematic blinkers on me and I still get warped and thrilled out of my human, mainly logical mind by everything this jewel of a film can and does throw at me, time and time again.

Approach it for yourself without prejudice, constraint or any other preconceived notion of what a film can, must, could or should be and simply enjoy 80 minutes of marvel!

14 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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