Last year, Topless Robot looked at the 9 Greatest Fan Films Ever Made. In the time since that list was published, there have been countless more fanboy-created films and faux trailers that have made many a dreary day and lonely night bearable for nerds the world round (there’s been a bunch of truly shitty ones too, but those are worth analyzing at another time). So in honor of these masterpieces of homemade cinema, it’s only fair to give some love to another batch of flicks that chronicle the low-budget adventures of movie, TV and comic icons. Because there are so many worthwhile fan films, you’ll notice that this Daily List has nearly twice the amount of entries as its predecessor. Who says you can’t find a good value these days? Now throw on some crappily crafted Spock ears, set up a green screen in your garage and check out 16 more of the greatest fan films ever made. It’s copyright infringetastic!
16) P-Nuts: The Movie
Steven Ricks made a name for himself in the fandom community by creating a series of documentaries that explore the production of The Prisoner (the original series, not the tepid AMC version). Risking incurring the wrath of Rover, he also shot a series of goofy spoofs that poked fun at the show and Patrick McGoohan. The best of which was this live-action version of a Prisoner fan comic. Equal parts What’s Alan Watching? and Doctor Who: The Curse of the Fatal Death, P-Nuts is a goofy, if somewhat dated tribute to a TV masterpiece. It may seem hokey now, but for old school Prisoner fans who initially saw this through the tape-trading circuit and at conventions, it remains pure bliss. Want proof? Jump to the 2:20 point in the above video and bask in the comedic glow of Puppet McGoohan.
15) World’s Finest
Even with Christopher Nolan shepherding Zack Snyder’s Superman film, this is probably the closest we will get to a Batman/Supes cinematic team-up. Sigh.
14) Tron: Reboot
Disney is currently at work on a Tron animated TV series. At this point there is no word on exactly what the show will be about. Ideally, the folks at the House of Mouse would hire the guys behind the Tron: Reboot online shorts and let them further explore the hilarious potential of the franchise’s computerized world.
13) Street Fighter: Legacy
Jean-Claude Van Damme can eat it, ’cause there’s a new Street Fighter in town. His name is Joey Ansah, and he created a tribute to Capcom’s franchise that is awesome, sincere and slightly goofy (the holy trinity of traits that all worthwhile fan films should have).
12) G.I. Joe: Battle for the Serpent Stone
Note: This G.I. Joe film features neither accelerator suits nor the lips of Snake Eyes. Thus, it is well worth killing 15 minutes at work watching. Now you know… and knowing is yadda yadda.
11) The Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special
Working under the assumption that if Star Wars can merit a holiday special anything can, Simon Leberecht’s 2002 Lobo fan film has DC’s antihero hired by the Easter Bunny to kill Santa Claus. It seems that the rabbit wants a bigger piece of the holiday pie, something he’ll be able to get his furry paws on if St. Nick is out of the way. In typical Lobo fashion, things don’t go as planned, and the ending plays out like a version of A Christmas Story in which Ralphie blows his head off. In short, The Lobo Paramilitary Christmas Special is grim and full of unpleasantness. Which sums up the holidays in general.
10) Blackstar Warrior
If Black Belt Jones was mashed up with Star Wars the result would be this Black Dynamite-esque spoof that puts Bespin’s chief scoundrel in the spotlight (something only L. Neil Smith’s Lando novels did previously). Sadly they didn’t feature Calrissian punching uptight Imperials or fucking his way through hyperspace.
9) Batman: City of Scars
Think Chris Nolan has a monopoly on cinematically exploring Batman’s demons? That’s not the case thanks to this 30-minute epic. When The Joker breaks free from Arkham Asylum yet again and embarks on a killing spree that hits too close to home for Batman, the Caped Crusader nearly goes off the deep end. Father-and-son filmmakers Aaron and Sean Shoenke do everything right here, from the mood of ennui that permeates the piece to fine acting from all the key players (who knew that the Ventriloquist could be so quietly menacing?). The Batman/Alien/Predator team-up fan flick Dead End has all the flash, but there is no finer low-budget exploration of the Dark Knight’s demented mind than City of Scars.
8) Marvel Zombies
Zombie Hulk, FTW.
7) Saturday Morning Watchmen
Admit it, this is no more far fetched than those two 1970s Scooby-Doo cartoons that featured Batman and Robin teaming up with the Mystery Incorporated gang.
6) Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation
It’s a heartwarming tale that sounds downright Spielbergian, three childhood pals see Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981 and become so enamored with it that they decide to do their own shot-for-shot remake. Against the odds, the kids complete the flick and soon face the pressures of the real world. Years later, the filmmakers — Eric Zala, Jayson Lamb and Chris Strompolos — have their work rediscovered by fanboys and the rights to their story optioned by Hollywood (cue the booming John Williams score). Without the aid of a big budget or any non-practical effects, the trio created an adaptation that is as much of a celebration of childhood as Raiders is a tribute to action-packed movie serials.
5) The Doctor Who Anime
A rare example of a fan project being better than the real thing, Paul “Otaking” Johnson’s Doctor Who anime is far superior to the Infinite Quest and Dreamland official Who toons… and it’s not even completed yet. The ongoing project aims to give Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor an animated makeover (along with several of his most notorious adversaries). Admittedly, featuring an incomplete film on this list is a bit of a stretch. But come on, it has animated Daleks!
4) Star Trek: Phase II
Star Trek: The Motion Picture began life as a proposed sequel series that would’ve been called Star Trek: Phase II. Seeing no point in wasting a good title, filmmakers James Cawley and Jack Marshall decided to rechristen their New Voyages series of shorts under the name. What separates the pair’s work from that of other fans with digital video cameras is that they have enlisted A-listers from Trek‘s history, including Denise Crosby (playing yet another relative of Tasha Yar, natch), Walter Koenig, Grace Lee Whitney and the always amazing George Takei. Above is a trailer for Takei’s installment, “World Enough and Time.” Oh my indeed.
3) The Avengers Pre-Make
Also known for his ’60s cartoon-style Marvel Zombies faux opening credits, Ivan Guerrero has also created similar “pre-makes” of The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark, but the easter eggs packed within this video (Peter Parker, Skrulls, etc.) and stylish editing that brings to mind the culture-jamming madness of Craig Baldwin’s Tribulation 99: Alien Anomalies Under America give this pre-make a slight edge over Guerrero’s other works.
2) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Daleks
I’m still not quite sure why the BBC is wasting their time making a Dirk Gently series when they should be developing a Hitchhiker’s Guide show starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb as Arthur and Ford. For now I guess I will have to pass the time downing Ol’ Janx Spirit and watching this amazing recreation of Rod Lord’s animation from the 1981 Hitchhiker’s mini-series that tips its hat to Douglas Adams’ work on Doctor Who (I don’t even care that the narrator sounds way more like the guy from the Tanqueray ads than Peter Jones).
1) The Han Solo Adventures
As fun as this video — a project from Orlando’s DAVE animation school — is, it reiterates that Star Wars can still be great as long as George Lucas isn’t around. That’s kind of a bummer, so we should take some solace in the fact that these types of fan films are thriving even if Han and company aren’t.
Chris Cummins is a pop culture writer and Archie comics historian who has contributed to The Robot's Voice, Den of Geek US, Philebrity, Geekadelphia, Uproxx, and Unicorn Booty. He is the co-producer and co-host of Nerd Nite Philadelphia, and is regularly involved in producing and hosting New York Super Week events. In 2014, Chris began Sci-Fi Explosion, a mix of live performance, trivia and funny clips celebrating the weirdest in science fiction that regularly travels around the United States. He wrote the introductions to the compilations Archie's Favorite Comics From The Vault and (with Paul Castiglia) Archie's Favorite High School Stories. You can find Chris on Twitter at @bionicbigfoot and @scifiexplosion.