Would you believe that StarCrash, the ridonkulous space opera starring Caroline Munro and David Hasselhoff, was even campier before it was edited for U.S. release? The masterful new 2-DVD set includes loads of deleted scenes, including this batshit supervillain moment.
The utterly essential Shout Factory release, created as part of its new Roger Corman Cult Classics series, includes half an hour of deleted and extended scenes from StarCrash. Granted, it's only about five minutes of new footage, reinserted in its proper places, but it's still a masterclass in cheese. Many of these are scenes that Corman himself thought were too ridiculous to inflict on U.S. audiences — so they were left out of the U.S. release, which is almost certainly the version you've seen before.
There's more of Elle the twee cowboy robot, more of David Hasselhoff telling Elle and Stella to save the universe, more of the evil Count, and loads more of the space battles and pew-pew-pew shootouts, including one or two bits that were considered too graphic for a PG-rated film in the U.S. Most of all, Elle gets some great dialogue, including a bit where he talks about getting "turned on," and one bit where he says, "Look! Amazons! On horses!" He also gets to call a giant metal woman "You big broad." It just goes on and on.
There's also the film's original English text crawl, which was cut from the U.S. release as well. It was written by Cozzi, who was not a native English speaker, and the words get so bunched up you can barely read them. Apparently this was a galaxy that had not discovered kerning:
The features on this release are splendid all around — there's a long featurette on the making of the film's special effects, which profiles Italian animator and cartoonist Armando Valcauda, who dreamed of being like his idols Douglas Trumbull and Ray Harryhausen. That feature includes rare drawings, and footage of model spacecraft being zoomed on a hidden track, against a black backdrop with holes punched in it. (It's like watching the making of 1970s Doctor Who!) There's an interview with Munro, which goes on for over an hour (!) and a new interview with Cozzi himself, the director of so many of your favorite schlock epics. There's also black-and-white footage of the making of the film, and a gallery of stills, behind-the-scenes photos, posters, and more. And: A copy of the film's original screenplay! After you've savored this gem, you can read the script to try and figure out how it was done.
Most of all, it's worth getting this 2-DVD set just to be able to appreciate StarCrash fully, with a nice restored print — this film is really the pinnacle of spaghetti space opera, and even though it was in production when Star Wars came out, it still borrows heavily from George Lucas. It's among the best of the many Star Wars knockoffs of the late 1970s. This is science fiction at its most unabashedly ludicrous — to see what I mean, check out this clip we posted a couple years ago of Hasselhoff's lightsaber battle with stop-motion androids. This new release is the closest we'll get to a Criterion Collection release for this masterpiece of trash cinema.