Teenage Crime Wave is another 1950s juvenile delinquency B-movie.
Our story begins with a doughy old man hitting on a young woman, Terry Marsh, in a bar. She lures him to be mugged. Unfortunately, an innocent girl by the name of Jane Koberly is brought along on a blind date with Al, one of Terry's gang.
The mugging, performed by Terry's boyfriend Mike Denton, goes off without a hitch at first, and Mike and Al get away. Jane and Terry are caught by the police, cuffed and stuffed in prison.
Because Jane wouldn't talk about what she knew (the only one she really knew beyond a first name was Terry), she's fingered as an accomplice in the court system, and her parents are too busy being ashamed to help her out. Before long, Jane and Terry are on the way to the reformatory.
But lo! Mike has been tailing the prison van, and frees them, wounding the prison matron and killing the driving officer. But since Mike didn't kill both cops, a description is sent out, and the gang must hole up in a farmhouse. There, they take two farmers, and later their war-hero son, hostage — but they can't call Al for help because the farmers' phone is on a party line, and anything suspicious anyone says will be overheard by someone who might tell the cops.
Can Jane prove her innocence? Can Mike and Terry's Bonnie and Clydelike rampage be stopped?
Teenage Crimewave contains the following tropes:
- Asshole Victim: The mugging victim is a middle-aged man who spends his whole scene creeping on (allegedly) a teenager.
- Ax-Crazy: Terry really could've done better than a short-tempered, trigger-happy lunatic, which she realizes far, far too late. Mike is just jumping for the chance to kill somebody.
- Can't Get Away with Nuthin':
- Presumably Terry, Mike and Al have gotten away with petty crimes many times before; but when Jane unwittingly accompanies them on their latest spree, a cop catches her and Terry at the sight of the mugging, almost immediately.
- One that's plot-crucial: During the jailbreak, Mike kills the driver, incapacitates the matron and hides the car, thinking this will give them enough time to get to their remote hideout. Less than an hour later, the car is found and the matron has a description of the getaway car, forcing the gang to hole up in a nearby farmhouse.
- During the attempted getaway at the climax, Mike wants to take a shortcut through town. No sooner are they in the city than they are spotted by the cops. Even Terry points out the logical oversight.
- Character Filibuster: A newsman reports on Terry and Jane's jailbreak, then slips into a lecture about how something needs to be done to counter the threat of juvenile delinquency.
- Closed Circle: Everyone's trapped in the farmhouse for most of the movie.
- Death Equals Redemption: Terry is gunned down but before dying she informs the police that Jane was innocent the whole time.
- Depraved Bisexual:
- Terry may be this. Mike's her boyfriend but she leers at the picture of Jane in a bathing suit and makes suggestive comments.
- Some of Mike's reactions to Ben might also suggest this.
- Eviler Than Thou: Terry is perfectly willing to hurt others to get what she wants, but she is also perfectly willing to not inflict harm when she feels it's unnecessary. Mike, on the other hand, is positively itching for a reason to shoot somebody. Anybody. Any reason.
Guard: (addressing women wrapped in towels) This is the shower room.
- The first thing that happens after Terry and Jane are arrested is them being sent to shower.
- Later, as our cast watches the crime report on TV, the mugshots of the fugitives are shown. For some odd reason, Jane's photo is of her modelling a bathing suit.
- Guilt by Association: Jane goes on a blind double-date which turns into a mugging (which she doesn't participate in but was just there); and on the strength of that alone, she is sent to jail and juvie hall. The judge handing down Jane's sentence even tells her explicitly that her being at the scene of the crime and in the company of the criminals is enough to convict her since Jane herself refused to testify in her own defense.
- I Have No Son!: Jane's parents pretty much disown her at the sentencing hearing. The father, at least, comes around midway through the film.Mother: You've sinned, and you'll pay for your crimes!
- Informed Ability: Ben, the decorated war hero, is not much more effectual against Mike or Terry than his elderly parents.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Al, the guy who tried to rape Jane, is stopped by police on his way to the farmhouse. He pulls a gun when they try to inspect the car and they shoot him in the head.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Jane's dad joins the police in their search, having realized that by not helping Jane, she's gotten deeper in trouble.
- Out-Gambitted: Ben allows Terry to seduce him, then snatches her gun from her. Unfortunately for him, her gun is empty, and she has a spare. Which is loaded.
- Pinball Protagonist: Jane plays pretty much no part in the proceedings, except for one scene where she is able to talk down an enraged Ben from risking his and his family's lives attacking the Ax-Crazy Mike. It makes more sense after the jailbreak, where they bring her along only because she could finger them; but the blind date cum mugging that got her into this mess? Since she didn't do a thing to assist in said mugging, there is absolutely no reason for her to have been there at all except to get arrested and kickstart the plot.
- The Schlub Pub Seduction Deduction: This movie does it twice; the first successfully, the second failed miserably. The second can count as an inversion, since it was Ben that attempted to turn the tables on Terry, who started the seduction.
- Then Let Me Be Evil: Downplayed; when Jane's parents sever ties with her, she goes over the Despair Event Horizon, but she never stops being a good person.Jane: Well, if you don't care what happens to me, then I don't care what happens to me.
- Vulnerable Convoy: Mike ambushes the prison van taking Terry and Jane to the reformatory: killing the driver, wounding the prison matron, and freeing the girls.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Possible; when Jane and Terry are caught by a policeman at the initial mugging, Terry fakes a limp and seems to act like she too was a victim. It doesn't work.
- Wrongly Accused: Jane, culminating in her freakout while listening to a radio report of her "sins". A dying Terry testifies Jane's innocence to the police at the end of the film.