Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made is written by Alan Eisenstock but its Eric Sala and Chris Strompolos’ story of their cinema love affair with Steven Spielberg (or Spielburg, a joke you will understand once you read the book).
People always complain about the quality of a favorite book translated into a theatrical movie. This goes in the opposite direction as it’s a written story about two boy’s adventures creating a fan movie about their favorite movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark. Of course it would be ideal to be able to view their movie but this book does a good job explaining the circumstances surrounding the creation of all the memorable scenes in the movie as well as how their friendship evolved over a seven year period.
Stating the obvious, fans of Raiders of the Lost Ark will enjoy this story, as well as people pursuing careers in the film industry. I’m sure there were copyright reasons for not including screenshots as a photo inserts into this book but visual aids would have increased the reading experience. However, I’m truly impressed by what Eric and Chris were able to do and their dedication to completing their fan film.
In 1982, in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, Chris Strompolos, eleven, asked Eric Zala, twelve, a question: “Would you like to help me do a remake Raiders of the Lost Ark? I’m playing Indiana Jones.”
And they did it. Every shot, every line of dialogue, every stunt.
They borrowed and collected costumes, convinced neighborhood kids to wear grass skirts and play natives, cast a fifteen-year-old as Indy’s love interest, rounded up seven thousand snakes (sort of), built the Ark, the Idol, the huge boulder, found a desert in Mississippi, and melted the bad guys’ faces off.
It took seven years.
Along the way, Chris had his first kiss (on camera), they nearly burned down the house and incinerated Eric, lived through parents getting divorced and remarried, and watched their friendship disintegrate.
Alan Eisenstock's Raiders! is the incredible true story of Eric Zala and Chris Strompolos, how they realized their impossible dream of remaking Raiders of the Lost Ark, and how their friendship survived all challenges, from the building of a six-foot round fiberglass boulder to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.