This is a comparison between the Theatrical Version and the TV Version. Both versions are included on the Us Blu-ray released by Shout Factory.
Janice Starlin's cosmetics company is making less and less money ever since their advertisement concept is revolving around the CEO looking juvenile. The older Janice gets, the harder this becomes. Dr. Eric Zinthrop reaches out to her, claiming to have found a youth serum made from wasps. At first she reacts quite critical, yet when he demonstrates the serum on two guinea pigs, Janice is convinced and offers Zinthrop a laboratory and fundings. Janice is the first human test object – successfully. Her employees are very surprised. Over time, however, Janice realizes that there are unwanzed sideeffects and one night she turns into a wasp woman who is out for human blood.
The movie was pretty obviously inspired by The Fly. Roger Corman made The Wasp Woman somewhat of a female counterpart that has to take the consequences of desperately wanting to stay young. As was typical for Corman, the movie was shot on a shoestring budget. Most of the time, the audience has to sit through a lot of dialog inside of office buildings while the monster aspect takes place pretty late and is a rather short sidenote. While the movie poster makes us expect a gigantic monster with the body of a wasp and a woman's head, the movie actually depicts it the other way around. Only Janice's head – portrayed by Susan Cabot in her final movie role – turns into an insect while the rest stays human. Without a doubt, the movie cannot deliver what it promises. Still, it touches upon a few topics that are still relevant such as the search for eternal youth. Overall, it is a timeless low budget classic.
The Wasp Woman hit the theaters with a runtime of roughly 60 minutes, designed to satisfy the at the time very popular Drive-In mark. When the movie later was supposed to be shown on TV, it was considered to be too short. Therefore, Jack Hill was called in to shot new material. Right after the opening credits there is a new scene of Zinthrop losing his job since his employer thinks of his experiments as bogus. These additional details about Zinthrop actually fit in quite well with the rest of the movie. The second extension follows later in the movie when Hellman talks to his colleague on the phone. During a montage we see that two men are driving through the city to look for Zinthrop. Since the movie is set in New York, yet the scenes were pretty obviously shot in Los Angeles, they look quite misplaced. Additionally, the ending of the scene was taken out of the TV Version. The Theatrical Version actually includes some more dialog between Hellman, Janice and Mary.
By now, the movie can legally be watched on Youtube. The image quality is bad, yet it is an option to give you a first impression of the flick. Fans should rather stick to the US Blu-ray released by Scream Factory. It not only includes both versions but is also the best release of the movie regarding the quality.
Theatrical Version: 61:08 min.
TV Version: 72:58 min.
The TV Version shows new scenes right after the opening credits. Dr. Zinthrop walks around wearing a beekeeper outfit. He hears a humming and spots a wasp nest hanging in a tree. He uses a smoke pistol on the bees and calmly talks to them. He breaks off the branch with the wasp nest and puts it inside a suitcase.
Beekeeper Alvin examines honeycombs. Zinthrop comes in and tells him that he spotted a wasp nest. Alvin says that he should rather be careful with wasps yet Zinthrop ignores the warning since he apparently has quite good knowledge of wasps.
A car drives up. Mr. Barker gets out and greets them. He goes over the deliveries with Renfro. Barker is very happy due to the great amount and praises Renfro. Barker asks Renfro what he thinks about Zinthrop. Renfro responds that Zinthrop is a crazy man. Barker says that he hasn't heard about Zinthrop's experiments with Gelée royale for a while. He decides to go to him.
Alvin tells Barker and Renfro where they can find Zinthrop. Renfro realizes that there are some wasps flying around and suspects Zinthrop to be the reason for it. The two of them walk on.
Zinthrop examines some samples when Barker comes in and calls for him. Zinthrop leaves the room. Zinthrop says that he is close to an important breakthrough – the extraction of Gelée royale from a queen wasp. Barker is a little angry since the fundings have not lead to any results yet. Zinthrop wants to show him how he managed to slow down aging. As a demonstration he leads him to a corral with two dogs – an older and an (apparently) younger one. Zinthrop says that the dogs are both the same age yet the smaller one is regularly injected with Gelée royale. Renfro says that Zinthrop is crazy. Barker comments that something like this is impossible and that he pays Zinthrop to extract Gelée royale from bees. Barker fires Zinthrop and tells him that he will one day find the place he fits into. Zinthrop goes to his wasps and tells them that he will find a place for them. From a test tube he gives them some food and says that there is a lot of work to do.
TV Version: 10:18 min.
In the Theatrical Version Helmann hangs up. Mary suspects that Zinthrop plans to blackmail Janice. Hellman would rather have Lane and Cooper show up since they might have some more information. Mary wants to call them. Then, the movie fades to the next scene.
The TV Version instead shows scenes of Hellman's colleagues driving around looking for Zinthrop.
Theatrical Version: 29 sec.
TV Version: 2:02 min.