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Crimewave (1985)

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.


Sam Raimi





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


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


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Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

7 May 1986 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Ola de crímenes, ola de risas See more »

Filming Locations:

Detroit, Michigan, USA See more »


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,571, 27 April 1986, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,101, 31 December 1986
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Disowned by director Sam Raimi, incensed at not being allowed to use Bruce Campbell and having editor Kaye Davis and composer Joseph LoDuca removed by the producers. See more »


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


Vic Ajax: Hello, Colonel. How are you this evening?
Colonel Rodgers: Adequate. One mother-lovin' hell of a storm comin.' Know how I can tell? Steel plate
Colonel Rodgers: in my head. Yes sir, Korea was no picnic.
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Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

When Helene Trend is looking out the window watching Donald Odegard in the office, Ernest Trend in the theatrical version yells "Get away from that fucking window!". The Japanese version omits that line. See more »


References The Godfather (1972) See more »


Written by Joseph LoDuca (as Joe LoDuca)
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User Reviews

Weird little cult flick...no Evil Dead, but entertaining in it's own silly way
17 January 2006 | by The_VoidSee all my reviews

Finally seeing Crimewave now means that I have seen (and enjoyed, mostly) all of Sam Raimi's feature films. I'd been searching for this flick for a while, and was therefore delighted when it happened to come on TV! I'm glad it did, too, because if it hadn't, I'd have bought it (probably quite expensively), and I wouldn't say that this film is one that I'd be happy with purchasing. I see Crimewave as an enjoyable experimental film for the talented Evil Dead director and star. Sam Raimi implements several of his clever camera angles into the proceedings, and this bodes well with the over the top comic style of the rest of the film. Similarly, Bruce Campbell does what he does best; in a role that is an interesting prelude to his way over the top turn in The Evil Dead's sequel. The plot is all over the place, and starts off with a man on death row, protesting his innocence. His story is then told through flashbacks, and we find out that he really is in the innocent party in a story that features a couple of maniac rat catchers, a beautiful woman, a suave 'heel' and seemingly no end of madcap events.

The screenplay was written by two of modern cult cinema's biggest icons; Ethan and Joel Coen. Hot off their success with Blood Simple (which, incidentally, I didn't like much); this was the second film to feature the brothers' as writers. Despite them having the writing credit, this really doesn't feel like a Coen Brothers film; and that is testament to Sam Raimi's direction. Raimi perhaps goes a little bit too over the top at times, and the film does almost feel like a series of slapstick sketches threaded together by a thin plot. We get treated to some of his early directorial skill, with several really well implemented scenes; my favourite being the one where we see one of the rat catchers kicking a door in from both the inside view and on a TV screen showing the security camera. The unknown cast is decent enough, but it's only really Bruce Campbell that stands out, and that's more because of his later performances than because of prowess here. Still, it's always fun to see Bruce in a movie, and that remains true here. On the whole, this is a good film; but I'd only really recommend it to Raimi/Campbell fans, and people that will appreciate that it's more of a prelude to greater things to come than a great cult flick.

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