56 user 34 critic

Crimewave (1985)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Crime, Horror | 25 April 1986 (USA)
2:24 | Trailer

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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.




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Helene Trend
Officer Brennan
Blind Man
Hamid Dana ...
Donald Odegard
John Hardy ...
Mr. Yarman
Hal Youngblood ...
Jack Elroy
Sean Farley ...
Richard DeManincor ...


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 | Horror


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)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,571, 27 April 1986, Limited Release

Gross USA:

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

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


An argument broke out near the end of the post-production between Bruce Campbell and the producers. Campbell argued that he and Sam Raimi had always closely been involved with their own film's editing, describing the behaviour of the producers as "nickel-and-dime-bullshit". One of the producers replied by calling Campbell an "asshole", commenting that the crew had gone severely over budget. See more »


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


Renaldo the Heel: Well, maybe I'm a heel.
Vic Ajax: Maybe I'm a guy who hates heels.
Renaldo the Heel: Maybe I'm a heel who hates guys who hate heels.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


References Evil Dead II (1987) See more »


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

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User Reviews

A in-your-face comedy that truly slipped under the radar
10 March 2005 | by See all my reviews

A nerdy security system installer gets himself in a mess of trouble, when he falls for a beautiful woman and encounters two bumbling- but malicious exterminators that one of his boss's Ernest Trend has hired them to eliminate his co-partner Mr. Odegard of an security business and Renaldo 'The Heel' who Mr. Odegard is secretly selling it to… but it goes horribly wrong.

The story starts out that Vic Ajax (Reed Birney) the bumbling security system installer is facing death row for the murders of the security owners and the stunning Nancy (Sheree J Wilson). This is when he recounts what did actually happen that night.

This was a better than expected broad comedy from director Sam Raimi, though he has disowned it because the studio took control of it especially since Raimi wanted Campbell as the lead man. The delightfully fun and noisy story is by Joel and Ethan Coen (Fargo, Raising Arizona, Miller's Crossing).

This is simply a real hammy and bizarre b-grade comedy that deserves cult status. It's filled with a lot of slapstick comedy, in-your-face humour, funny one-liners and over-the-top performances from Reed Birney, Louise Lasser, Paul L. Smith, Brion James, Sheree J. Wilson, Edward R. Pressman and the great and always hilarious Bruce Campbell as the sleazy Renaldo 'The Heel'.

The exterminators are played by Paul L. Smith, as the lumbering brute Faron Crush and Brion James as the squeaky voiced Arthur Coddish are truly out-there in a slapstick kind of way, though they might be funny- but on the other hand they are compulsively insane killers. The device that they made for electrocuting rodents- though they have to turn up the notch to men for this job, it's definitely eye catching when in use.

The direction is good, there is a lot of amusing situations with most of the outlandish action happening through the night, especially on Detroit's freeway and in the lively- but gloomy apartment building. Raimi superbly paces it, while the look of the film has some sort surreal mood to it, as the city has an apocalyptic feel to it with it's deserted streets filled litter and mist. The cinematography is typical of a Raimi film very sharp, yet quite inventive. While the style and the look of some of the filming techniques is very much from the golden age of films.

The Coen's script is filled with a great deal of wit and very satirical moments, mostly in the dark humorousness kind… with Bruce Campbell mostly having the best lines and funniest moments and the little boy in lift gave me a laugh. While the characters they created are extravagantly colourful and very cartoon-like, which makes it fun viewing.

My only complaints are the music score was too distracting and somewhat annoying at times, while the weird sounds effects weren't really needed.

Stick around at the end of the credits, as the film isn't entirely finished.

Overall this is a comical and quite funny film… that's if you enjoy that sort of humour.


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