cover image Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made

Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made

Alan Eisenstock, with Chris Strompolos and Eric Zala. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-00147-4

Fans of all things Indiana Jones will enjoy this new book by journalist and author Eisenstock (In Stitches, with Dr. Anthony Youn), who details the story of the film Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation, a shot-by-shot remake of the Steven Spielberg classic that was started in 1982, the year after Raiders’ release, by three 12-year-old friends—Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala, and Jayson Lamb—in the backyards and basements of their Ocean Springs, Miss., homes. Eisenstock details the daily process, which resulted—after seven years and only $5,000—in a 100-minute film that successfully turned suburban Mississippi woods into Amazonian rainforests, Boy Scout uniforms into Nazi costumes, and fiberglass into the famous giant boulder that chases Jones at the beginning of Spielberg’s film. Eisenstock relies heavily on the recollections of Strompolos and Zala, recreating long dialogues that are often too detailed but just as often quite funny. Eisenstock also details how the trio’s friendship bitterly crumbles over time. But he also provides a sympathetic look at the film’s triumphant rediscovery in 1992 by director Eli Roth and Harry Knowles, who proceeds to screen it to enthusiastic audiences at cult film festivals, leading to the trio finally meeting Spielberg and to the future possibility of making a movie based on their youthful venture. (Nov.)