5.8/10
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Crimewave (1985)

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

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

During the filming, Bruce Campbell had Sam Raimi's 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 gutted and substituted it for the "stunt car" in the chase sequence, but Raimi noticed before the scene was filmed and had the car restored. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Vic Ajax: [after Nancy nearly got run over by the Exterminators] You maniacs! I've never seen anything like that... are you All right?
[Tries to open the door for her]
Vic Ajax: Oh, you've got the key!
Faron Crush: [the car backs up, and Crush comes out] One more thing child... don't you *ever* call me a maniac!
[Punches Vic in the face and bursts into maniacal laughter]
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

The Japanese laserdisc version features a longer scene with Arthur Coddish and Nancy. When Vic comes back from getting more suds for Nancie's dress. In the theatrical version Vic does not go back into the apartment because he finds Helene Trend out in the hallway tied and gagged. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Hudsucker Proxy (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

William Tell Overture
Composed by Gioachino Rossini
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Let's See the REAL Cut of This!
2 February 2008 | by Captain_ObviuosSee all my reviews

The first of two cinematic collaborations between Sam Raimi and the Coen brothers ("The Hudsucker Proxy," on which Raimi was Second Unit Director, is the other), this hilarious movie could have, SHOULD have, been a lot funnier. The story behind why it ISN'T is just as wacky as the flick itself:

After the unexpected success of "Evil Dead" in 1982-'83, Embassy Pictures, which had released "Escape From New York," among others, contacted the young Sam Raimi about possibly directing a comedy written by two up-and-comers named Joel and Ethan Coen. Raimi read the riotous script and was eager to put it on film, keeping in close contact with the Coens so he could capture the zany spirit of the script intact. Operating on an extremely tight budget, and with constant interference from the studio, "The XYZ Murders" (the film's original title) was finished sometime in 1984 -- and promptly shelved. Never liking or understanding the humor of the movie, the executives at Embassy (being pressured to find a hit because the studio was floundering) told Raimi, "No, this is another one of your CULT movies, we don't WANT that." (These are not, by the way, my words; this is all from an interview in "Fangoria" Sam Raimi did in 1985 or '86. **EDIT 2018: the interview is in issue #64, 1987, page 33**) So, the studio, trying to keep afloat, re-edited the final cut of the movie, releasing it as "Crimewave." It did not, of course, work, as Embassy Pictures went bankrupt that same year, but not because of this film -- Embassy was finished long before they released this, actually.

If there was some way Raimi and the Coens could, I wish they would go back to this movie and either remake it or re-release it in its intended form. "Crimewave" was good, but you could tell it had been butchered (which gave it its uneven tone). In the "Fangoria" interview, Raimi confessed he regretted the way "The XYZ Murders" turned out -- so why not re-do it now that he can probably do anything he wants (thanks to the "Spider-Man" series)?

What a shame that a struggling movie studio took a great, unique, funny movie and turned it into a curiosity. I'm sure, as we all know, THAT never happens anymore.


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