Before the Internet came along to give people not only a place to post their fan films, but also an appreciative audience of fellow weirdos to watch them, only the most obsessed fan would go to the trouble of recreating their favorite movie. And if that movie included Nazis, dramatic explosions, and feats of derring-do best left to professional stuntmen? Only a crazy person would attempt that.
Make that two crazy people—Eric Zala and Chris Strompolos, the Mississippi teenagers who spent every summer from 1982 to 1989 staging a shot-for-shot remake of their favorite movie, Raiders Of The Lost Ark. The resulting film, known as Raiders: The Adaptation, has become an underground classic, in no small part because Zala and Strompolos really did recreate the entire film—yes, even the boulder scene—using nothing but their allowance money, some kids from the neighborhood, and a callous disregard for their own personal safety.
There is one sequence from Raiders that Zala and Strompolos weren’t able to pull off, however—the so-called “Flying Wing” scene where a Nazi strongman is chopped to pieces by a plane propellor. It’s apparently bothered them ever since, but now they have the opportunity to finish the film in the new documentary Raiders! The Story Of The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made. Raiders! documents not only Zala and Strompolos’ attempts to finally stage that last scene, but also tells the story of how Raiders: The Adaptation was made and how anyone outside of Ocean Springs, Mississippi came to see it, a story that unsurprisingly involves Aint It Cool News’ Harry Knowles. The world premiere of Raiders! will take place at SXSW in Austin, Texas next month.