Five Fan Films (Almost) Better Than the Real ThingS

The upcoming Michael Gondry comedy starring Jack Back and Mos Def Be Kind Rewind features no-budget recreations of films like Back to the Future, 2001: A Space Odyssey, RoboCop, and Ghostbusters. In fact, their RoboCop looks better than the original film did. Jack Black really nails Peter Weller's robo-monotone. That got us thinking about all those fan-made films out there on the internets. Here are the top five fan films that didn't make us lose our lunch.

  • The Starship Exeter: This Star Trek fan-made series comes from the heart of Austin, Texas, and looks like it was filmed alongside the original series. From the sets all the way down to the smallest props, its got the looks. The acting can be slightly hammy at times, but whoever said Shatner wasn't pure pork?

  • Time Distortion: If you can manage to build a replica of the TARDIS, then you've done 95% of the work required to make a Doctor Who fanfilm, mostly because the special effects budget for the BBC back in the day was probably about ten bucks. For the whole season. Kevin Hiley and buddy Jonathan Miles made an audio version of this story when they were both 13 years old, and 13 years later, they made a live-action version that captures the cheese, camp, and charm of the original Doctor Who.

  • Troops: 1977's Hardware Wars was the first-ever fan film that poked fun at the Star Wars universe but this one takes the cake as far as making something new out of something old. It's Cops with Stormtroopers, what more do you need to know? Oh, and it's hilarious. It helped spawn other Star Wars-themed comedy fanfilms like Trooper Clerks and Pink Five.

  • Batman: Dead End: While the Star Wars and Star Trek universes normally receive the most attention from aspiring fanfilmers, Batman has had some pretty decent entries as well. The best of the bunch is this 2003 short film that wowed director Kevin Smith and artist Alex Ross. It inspired other Batman fanfilms like Grayson, about an adult Robin trying to find out who killed Batman (excellent) and World's Finest, where Batman teams up with Superman.

  • Indiana Jones: The Adaptation: This is probably one of the most inspiring stories of labor, love, and fandom. Three twelve-year-old buddies saw Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981, and starting making a shot-for-shot remake with a camcorder. It took them seven years to finish it, and it premiered in Texas on the big screen in 2003. Producer Scott Rudin bought the rights to their story, and art house comic book favorite Dan Clowes is writing it.