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Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made

by Alan Eisenstock (Thomas Dunne)

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Over seven summers in the 1980s, a couple of kids named Eric Zala and Chris Strompolos painstakingly recreated Raiders of the Lost Ark in its entirety on Super-8 film, utilizing crude homemade special effects and a cast of neighbourhood kids. The often-tortured production is lovingly chronicled in Alan Eisenstock’s book, which plays out like a period coming-of-age tale—the film was plagued by production difficulties (uncooperative locals, out-of-control pyrotechnics, the logistics of building a giant fake boulder) and personal crises (parental divorce, a romantic triangle that nearly destroyed the filmmakers’ friendship). By the film’s completion, Zala and Strompolos were barely speaking to each other, but the final chapters reveal how the two were reunited when their movie became an internet sensation in the early 2000s. Eisenstock suggests that, for Zala and Strompolos, the adventure of growing up was far more perilous than anything their hero Indiana Jones ever faced.

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