5.7/10
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56 user 36 critic

Crimewave (1985)

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

Gross USA:

$5,101

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$5,101
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

At another time, the crew spent a week filming on a Detroit street after dark, directly under a nursing home, with huge wind machines blowing for long hours. One evening a glass bottle with a note in it crashed to the ground from an upper floor. The note inside read, "The noise is keeping me awake all night long and I am getting sick. I am dying because of you." See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

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 »

Alternate Versions

The Chinese region-free DVD from Panorama Entertainment is uncut. It presents the film with the extended sequence with Arthur and Nancy from the Japanese laserdisc, the "get away from the fucking window!" line omitted from the Japanese laserdisc and the Vic's overpass warning and Arthur's subsequent pre-death speech omitted from the Region 2 DVD, all intact. The film itself is titled "The XYZ Murders" in the opening credits sequence, with a small player-generated subtitle proclaiming "AKA Crimewave". See more »

Connections

Referenced in Swallowed Souls: The Making of Evil Dead II (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

William Tell Overture
Composed by Gioachino Rossini
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Much better than I expected
27 August 2001 | by Dan_HarklessSee all my reviews

I hadn't heard anything good about this film, and its obscurity didn't lend much credence to the theory that it was any good, but it seemed impossible to me that coming from Joel & Ethan Coen, Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, and Bruce Campbell, that it could be totally lacking in quality.

And indeed it isn't. I'm surprised this film isn't more popular in the cult world. There's plenty of trademark Coen Bros. dialogue, Sam Raimi crazy camera moves (indeed, in this sense this film is more entertaining than his recent sedate mainstream work), and Bruce Campbell charming cheesiness. I wish someone would release this out-of-print film on DVD so more genre fans would have the opportunity to check it out.

I guess one problem people might have with the film is that they're trying to watch it as a straight comedy. From this perspective, I guess the film is at best uneven. But the film's purpose is as much to pay tribute to vanished 30s and 40s movie conventions as it is to make you laugh. This is fun, because while the Coen Bros. keep returning to that time period in their movies, this is the only time they really play with the *film* style of that period -- their other views on the past are filmed through a modern lens (figuratively and literally). Likewise for Raimi, who hasn't had much other opportunity for this beyond some "Three Stooges" schtick in the "Evil Dead" series. The only other film I've seen that pulls off this kind of tribute is Richard Elfman's brilliantly quirky "Forbidden Zone" (which admittedly does it better). Both films, for instance, feature the classic wipe consisting of a black circle that closes in on the shot, ceasing contraction for a moment to frame an actor's face as they do a final take, and then contracting the rest of the way to a black screen.

I guess one thing that might have lifted this movie to greater heights would have been if Bruce Campbell had been allowed to play leading man Vic as was originally intended (but disallowed by the studio, per Bruce's excellent autobiography "If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor"). While Reed Birney competently plays the fumbling pipsqueak (and actually brings a more poindexterish quality to the role than Bruce physically would have been able to), he just doesn't have the charisma to really pull you in. Oh well -- Renaldo "The Heel" is a classic Campbell character, so there's some consolation there.

A parting note is that Arlon Ober, a primary composer of the brilliant score to the "Robotech" series, provides a wonderful score here as well, one of only 11 he's done, per IMDb. Almost worth seeking this out just for his great, fun score (the ending credits song is especially smile-inducing).


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