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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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

When Vic is on the stairs reading his 'how to' book, his ladder is folded up and leaning on the wall behind him; before Renaldo shows up, it is open and standing away from the wall, and then it is gone after Renaldo leaves. See more »

Quotes

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

Spoofed in Scream 3 (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

William Tell Overture
Composed by Gioachino Rossini
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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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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

Gross USA:

$5,101

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,101
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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