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Crimewave (1985)

 -  Comedy | Crime | Horror  -  25 April 1986 (USA)
5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 3,658 users   Metascore: 34/100
Reviews: 53 user | 32 critic | 4 from Metacritic.com

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 | Horror

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 April 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The XYZ Murders  »

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Vic cries "Tally-Ho!" before jumping from car to car. Sam Raimi later had heroes yell "Tally-Ho!" before jumping in two later films: Army of Darkness (1992) and Spider-Man (2002). Vic asks Nancy if she'd like to "have lunch some evening". Raimi reused this joke in "Spider-Man" in a scene between Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Officer Garvey: Where'd ya get the Negro, Butch?
Jack Elroy Jr: Elevator.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in The Quest for _____ (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
A wonderful mess
9 February 2005 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Sam Raimi followed up the superb video nasty 'Evil Dead' with this; 'Crimewave' (AKA The XYZ Murders), a hugely enjoyable screwball slapstick comic book of a film, with not a few homages to The Three Stooges and classic Looney Tunes cartoons.

The plot is loose and largely an irrelevant excuse for madcap chases, crazy caricatures and playful one-liners. Sam Raimi shows just as much enthusiastic visual spark as in 'Evil Dead', despite a fraught production. The Coens' script is inventive, funny and faster than a speeding bullet, showing some of the flair that would present itself in 'Raising Arizona'.

Although the central performances of nerdy lead man Paul Smith (who looks like he walked out of a Troma film) and (comparatively bland) heroine Louise Lasser are adequate and entertaining (particularly Smith's 'Ren & Stimpy' style expressions), it's Bruce Campbell who steals the show in a small role as Renaldo the Heel. I'm a huge Bruce fan, from the 'Evil Dead' flicks, to 'Maniac Cop' and even the more recent 'Bubba Ho Tep'. 'Crimewave' sees him at his most OTT, his sleazeball best ("So I'm a heel! So what of it?"). He should have been cast as the lead, all things considered, but the studio interfered. The man is 10 times Jim Carrey and far more charismatic; it's a shame he never hit the mainstream, but he will always been the darling of the cult film circuit.

Overall the film is bizarrely satisfying, genuinely funny and fittingly playful in direction, writing and performances. While it may not be the most elegantly composed film, it's miles above the other bland films of the desperate film decade that was the 80s. Perhaps not one for the average film fan, but for guys like me it's an absolute treat. Well worth seeking out on the elusive Chinese DVD (try ebay).


12 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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