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Friday, July 08, 2005

Review: Crimewave VHS

In 1985, between Evil Dead and Evil Dead II, Sam Raimi directed Crimewave from a script by pals Ethan and Joel Coen. It died quickly and it was rumored Raimi and the Coens pretended Crimewave never existed. I don't know why because it's one funny ass film.

Raimi's cut was rejected and edited by the studio to make it less extreme and more widely appealing. Raimi rated his cut a C and the final cut a D. Oh, what I'd give to see the director's cut.

Crimewave is Blood Simple meets the Three Stooges in Detroit. The IMDB description sums it up quickly, "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." If this sounds like your kinda fun you should seek this out.

Bruce Campbell , more god than man, was rejected by the studio for the lead and ended up in a bit part. Reed Birney plays Vic Ajax and I think he's great. I can't imagine Campbell being effective in the part because Vic is a meek, small character. Sheree J. Wilson, a staple on Dallas and Walker Texas Ranger, plays the love interest. Louise Lasser is the biggest name attached to the film and she's very game to go through all the physical abuse.

The true stars of the show are b-movie legend Brion James and man-mountain Paul L. Smith, the exterminators who "kill all sizes". James' voice is a squeak and Smith's is Kermit the Frog as a deep baritone. The cigarrettes in the glove compartment bit should be taught in film schools as a textbook example of sadistic comedy. James laughs in agony while Smith laughs in evil pleasure. The laws of comedy physics dictate it doesn't get any better than that.


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