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Tag Archives: David Hasselhoff

The latest in a series of writers recommending under-appreciated films available to stream highlights a schlocky late 70s Star Wars rip-off

When the Emperor of the First Circle of the Universe (that is, Christopher Plummer, in a patent leather suit beneath silver armor, a cape and oven mitt-like gloves) wants to calm his worried son (David Hasselhoff) during a climactic moment, he steps forward amid a room full of warriors and slain robots and bellows: Imperial Battleship stop the flow of time!!!

It is an apogee of trash brilliance unrivaled anywhere else in the galaxy.

The Star Wars big bang created a universe that is still expanding, but never was the fiery scream of that first eruption felt more furiously than in the late 1970s. Producers far and wide hitched their fortunes to the Millennium Falcons hyperdrive, to varying measures of financial and artistic success.

It got Star Trek (the far superior of the two franchises) back into business, with the curiously terrific Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979 and begat Battlestar Galactica in 1978, Flash Gordon in 1980 and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century in 1979.

But these are the more respectable titles. On the lower budget shelf came Battle Beyond the Stars (penned on assignment by John Sayles), Galaxina (starring Playboy playmate Dorothy Stratten) and one of the all-time pieces of junk, Italys Cosmos: War of the Planets.

In the middle of all this is something that demands further study. Mixing low-budget schlock with genuine design brilliance is Starcrash. Produced at Romes Cinecitt Studios in 1978 and distributed by Roger Cormans New World Pictures, Starcrash was directed and co-written by future Dario Argento collaborator Luigi Cozzi (credited as Lewis Coates)

In addition to Plummer (only in a few scenes, whispering his ludicrous lines with a true thespians straight face) and Hasselhoff (dashing, and wielding a cheapo green lightsaber) is a nervous police robot with a wacky American Southern drawl, a goon named Thor with green makeup on his face (but not his neck), and the real reason this movie is as remembered as it is: Caroline Munro.

Munro, already known for appearing in Hammer Studio films, the Ray Harryhausen Golden Voyage of Sinbad and as Bond villainess Naomi in The Spy Who Loved Me, is Stella Star, a bikini clad smuggler with Patrick Nagel-like makeup and eternally blown-out hair. Though her voiced is dubbed by Candy Clark (Plummer referred to her accent as one you could coot with a fookin knife when I asked him about Starcrash in a recent interview), her charisma still blasts through the screen. Yes, it is absurd that all the men are wearing spacesuits or typical high fantasy gowns, but she wears her various skintight, fabric-light outfits with confidence and verve. She is a vision of vertices, a striking image on her own, but even more so against the primary colors of the various interplanetary interiors and spaceship bridges of the film.

At her side is Akton, played by former child preacher (and subject of an Academy Award-winning documentary feature) Marjoe Gortner. Resembling a lovechild of poultry magnate Frank Purdue and Foreigners Lou Gramm during his Jukebox Hero peak, Gortner is a baffling pick as a leading man, but he does have access to cool, neon-like laser magic and a red-and-black rubbery outfit.

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The Baywatch star might be used to being ferried about by talking cars but nothing could prepare him for a night out in Blackpool

Hi, David. Are you a fan of (now defunct) Kansas City instrumental prog-rock band, David Hasselhoff on Acid?

Im a big fan. My attorneys said: This is horrible. I had a listen and said: No, its fucking great. I used to host a TV show in Sweden called David Hasselhoff: En Svensk Talk Show. It was a proper talk show with a band and everything. Id sing a lot of Ace of Bass and Roxette songs. We had a competition, looking for bands to cover my song Looking for Freedom (1). One band came back with this heavy metal version; it was awesome. Then I got invited to close this rock festival in Austria, in front of 100,000 people. I had to come out after Iron Maiden. I thought: Theyll probably fucking throw rocks at me, because my stuff is cheesy German pop. But they loved me.

Did you really once turn up to a night in Brixton just because someone gave you a flyer with your picture on it?

Absolutely. Some guy handed me a flyer that said The Hasselhoff Scandal and said: Will you come? So I said: Hey man, this is hysterical, watch out, I might. I took my buddy, who is my hairdresser. I said, Now were going to go to Brixton. Were either going to get our asses fucking kicked or Heres what we do: we dont talk; we wear dark glasses; we wear long coats; and we just walk in. I had no idea what I was walking into. We walked in and I just thought: Holy shit, where am I? Everyone was going: The Hoff! The Hoff! I walked on stage and I said: Hi. Its my party, and sang Jump in My Car (2). The whole place erupted. I hung out with the local guys and said: Be careful what you wish for, cos the Hoff sees everything.

The Hoff rocks Looking for Freedom on German TV in 1989

Youre currently fronting a campaign in which youre aiming to record the perfect holiday pop song. What makes you qualified to sing that?

I sing one of the most famous songs in the world The Theme from Baywatch (3). Of course, I didnt originally sing it Jimi Jamison did but when I start singing [sings] Ill be ready and the drums kick in, everybody goes berserk. I was in Nottingham recently and all the guys took off their tops. It was the last day of school (4), so I got the girls to take off their tops too. I got into a lot of trouble with my girlfriend, now fiancee. She said: What did you do? I told her: I just said: Lets get naked. I dont know why it came out. And they did. I think people just like me because Im the Baywatch guy. Was the Baywatch guy. In my heart I still am. I did this advert for Cumberland Farms in America, which is like a 7/11 store in America. Over here it would be like a Tesco or a Sainsbury. They had these life-size cardboard cut outs of me on a surfboard drinking a coffee outside of their stores: 560 of them were stolen. Thats how much people still want a piece of me.I went down to an Essex 80s night. It was just a nutcake. The whole place was David Hasselhoff movies. Every horrible movie Ive ever done. Every horrible Baywatch. Every cool Knight Rider. They just played 80s music and everybody was happy, man.

Why do you say horrible Baywatch but cool Knight Rider? Is that how you see it?

There were some Baywatches that were pretty tacky. I had to shock an eel in one. We called it Eel Nio. Its the warming effect that is taking over the word right now. The reason we have all these weather changes is El Nio. Its a weather phenomenon that starts in Mexico. Usually it just hits California, but now its hitting around the world, which is why the weather you have over here is so bizarre. We did a show called Eel Nio where, to kill this eel, I had to use a defibrillator to shock it. So some of the Baywatches were pretty out there. I thought Knight Rider was very cool. Even though it has a talking car, I never played it as a corny situation. I played it as real. Thirty years on, its all come true. Ive driven in the Google self-driving car. It picked me up at the airport and said, Take your hands off the wheel, and it drove me to my hotel. Self-driving cars, scanners, blueprints, its all coming true. That cars going to be a reality soon. In the next 10 years youre going to have self-driving cabs all over London. Theyre going to bring them to London first.

Dont you own some sort of copyright/patent on self-driving cars?

No. I was just a hired hand. I was the one who brought the humour to the show. It wasnt very funny in the beginning. I said: This is funny. Its like its his horse, its like his dog. Hes got to talk to this thing like its a person. Have some fun. Have him differ with me. Make him a computer but he doesnt understand anger, he doesnt understand emotion.

Watch clips from Knight Rider

Were you ever worried KITT was going to revolt and take over the human race, like most robots seem to do (5)?

Oh no. I dont think so. I think people are burned out on that; the world of movies is so full of special effects. Its good to be doing Baywatch again. I just got done doing the Baywatch movie. I was in Savannah with the Rock and with Zac [Efron]. I did a cameo and some surprises.

No problem still squeezing into your speedos then?

I never wore speedos. That was what was so funny. I dont think Id be caught dead in speedos. The only people I know who wear speedos are either in a water polo team, or Germans. They call them marble bags over there. They make them so small so you can swim fast. But we never had speedos on Baywatch. The only time you ever wore speedos was a lifeguard competition because thats what they are for for swimming fast. Im synonymous with the beach. I live 15 minutes from Malibu. I go to the beach almost every day to just chill, man, and get away from the rat race of London.

Do you go to the beach in the UK?

Are there beaches here?

Well, theres Blackpool

Thats not a beach. I dont think I ever saw anybody in the water. If they did, they didnt make it out.

Congratulations on your engagement to Hayley Roberts (6). Are you going to move to Wales?

Well probably get a place in Wales. Or maybe more like Bath. I love Bath. Its frickin awesome. Ill always keep the place in LA. I cant exist over here with this weather. People become complete youve got to go to the bar every day, because theres nothing else to do. So Ill stay away from the booze and get to the sun.

Quick Welsh test! Whats the national flower of Wales?

Its a poppy, isnt it? Or a sunflower or something.

No. Its the daffodil, David.

Thats the same thing. Isnt it?


1 That one Hasselhoff performed on the Berlin Wall that time, helping to reunite East and West Germany.

2 Got to number three in 2006. What were people thinking?

3 Im Always Here. Come on, you know the words

4 By school he means university, before you call the police.

5 See Skynet (Terminator), and HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

6 Hasselhoff popped the question to Hayley, 37 years his junior, in May this year.

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