5.8/10
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56 user 34 critic

Crimewave (1985)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Crime, Horror | 25 April 1986 (USA)
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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.

Director:

Sam Raimi

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Louise Lasser ... Helene Trend
Paul L. Smith ... Faron Crush
Brion James ... Arthur Coddish
Sheree J. Wilson ... Nancy
Edward R. Pressman ... Ernest Trend
Bruce Campbell ... Renaldo 'The Heel'
Reed Birney ... Vic Ajax
Richard Bright ... Officer Brennan
Antonio Fargas ... Blind Man
Hamid Dana Hamid Dana ... Donald Odegard
John Hardy John Hardy ... Mr. Yarman
Emil Sitka ... Colonel Rodgers
Hal Youngblood Hal Youngblood ... Jack Elroy
Sean Farley Sean Farley ... Jack Elroy Jr
Richard DeManincor 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 April 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The XYZ Murders See more »

Filming Locations:

Detroit, Michigan, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,571, 27 April 1986, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,101, 31 December 1986
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul L. Smith's voice was dubbed in by wrestler Dick Afflis, AKA Dick The Bruiser, during post-production. Bruce Campbell states this in his commentary. 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

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 »

Alternate Versions

The region 2 DVD version is missing some seconds of Arthur's death scene. Vic no longer warns him of an impending over-pass, and Arthur's speech before he dies is cut completely. See more »

Connections

Spoofs 1941 (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

Cherish
Written by Terry Kirkman
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A wonderful mess
9 February 2005 | by Super_Fu_ManchuSee 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).


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