We all know at least one obsessive fan who spends their free time carefully planning Game Of Thrones viewing parties with thematically appropriate food, decorations, and nudity. That kind of unconditional, undying love is what makes fandom great. But every now and then, an especially ambitious fan embarks on a project so remarkable we're both impressed and horrified by the thought of how much time it must have taken.
So here's an appropriately huge article celebrating those who sacrificed a part of their lives to create something amazing, even if it's not terribly useful.
A person's home should reflect their interests -- that's why hunters put stuffed moose heads above the fireplace and meth addicts always have lots of meth sitting around. Neither of them are probably as dedicated as Alabaman Star Wars fan Barry Riddle, who transformed his living room into a recreation of the Battle of Hoth, a fictional battle more influential than most real battles.
Just off-camera is the family dog with its stomach cut open.
See those "special effects"? Those aren't Photoshopped in -- the explosions and puffs of smoke are painted cotton stuck on wires. It's the little details which impress your houseguests so much that they'd feel bad about asking where the fuck they're supposed to sit.
"Barry, I think your AT-AT went up my A-S-S."
Riddle crawled through The Empire Strikes Back frame by frame to ensure perfect accuracy. Because if you stick an AT-ST in the wrong place, people are going to make fun of you. He also consulted reference books, online sources, and OCD support groups in his half-year quest to turn his living quarters into one hell of a conversation piece.
Ask him who his favorite captain is and you get thrown out of his house Jazz-from-Fresh-Prince-style.
In case you're wondering: Yes, Riddle is happily married to a woman who doesn't mind living inside an FAO Schwartz, and his kids love it too, because of course they do. Look at how rad it is. If you're feeling inspired, Riddle made tutorials for anyone wishing to replicate his work. Such as people trying to convince their roommate to move out.
"Brent, we need to talk about the fact that you keep drinking my milk and turning
our living room into the Sistine Chapel of pop culture obsession."
We can all think of at least one joke on The Simpsons that eventually came true, whether it's Apple's struggles with autocorrect or the show running itself into the ground. But what we didn't anticipate emerging in real life was Homer's attempt at designing the perfect car, given that the whole joke was that it's a disaster which immediately ruins his half-brother's business.
20th Century Fox
Well, amateur racing team Porcubimmer made that monstrosity a reality over the course of several months in 2013. Taking a 1987 BMW Sedan, they added random fins, needless lights, a separate bubble seat for the kids, a bowling trophy hood ornament, an air horn that belts out "La Cucaracha," and an exterior Slurpee holder.
Car and Driver
Say what you will, but you'll never lose it in a parking lot.
The vehicle did much more than sit there and look stupid. It was entered into the 24 Hours of LeMons, where it came in fifth in a field of 150 (terrible) cars, which raced for over 14 hours in 100+ degree weather. Joke race or not, that's an impressive accomplishment for a 22-year-old cartoon car.
On a similar note ...
The 1980s were a time of enlightenment. A time when a show called Knight Rider explored the intricate philosophical relationship between man and sentient automobile. Even though the short-lived treatise was banished to the land of late-night lineups and bargain bin VHS sales, diehard fans have saved KITT from oblivion by building their own versions of the voluble vehicle that taught a young David Hasselhoff how to love.
Mike Barrion, a small business owner from the Philippines, managed to get his hands on a third-generation Pontiac Firebird Trans Am -- the same make as the real KITT. The $3,300 car was the first of many Knight-Rider-related expenditures that are estimated to have cost as much as a brand-new SUV.
Barrion spent over two years rebuilding every inch of the car, which had fallen into disrepair after 30 years of serving drunk cocaine dealers, like all Pontiacs do. Barrion ordered modified pieces from around the globe, including a handcrafted electronic dash that took almost a year to assemble. The end result is an indistinguishable recreation of KITT which plays the Knight Rider theme and dispenses authentic quips.
"Don't you have anything better to do, Michael?"
What's even more remarkable is that Barrion isn't the only person to do this. Chris Palmer spent three years tricking out his '91 Pontiac for the exact same purpose. Both owners are exceedingly sociable, offering strangers the chance to sit in their dope whips and reminisce about a simpler time, when we thought talking cars were the future of law enforcement.
Turns out it was just shooting people.
Harry Potter is the source of a staggering amount of fan art, fanfiction and purposely ignorant retellings, so it wasn't surprising when a bunch of college kids from Michigan put on a musical parody and uploaded it to YouTube. What was surprising was that, despite the tiny budget and the fact that it was apparently filmed with a sophisticated waffle maker, it became a viral hit. That's in large part thanks to the talent of Darren Criss, who would go on to join Glee as Blaine (as if we needed to tell you Gleeks that) based on the strength of his performance.
Co-star Joey Richter also appeared on the show, and songs like "Granger Danger" proved catchy enough to inspire other musicals. The collective has had multiple soundtracks hit the Billboard chart, although Me And My Dick tells a slightly different story than the one about the boy wizard. Their Potter threequel even featured Luna Lovegood played by her original actress, Evanna Lynch, because she loved the parody so much.
In addition to Glee, Darren Criss went on to star on Broadway in Hedwig And The Angry Inch and How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying (in a role previously held by, in proof of a vast conspiracy, Daniel Radcliffe). Makes the fact that only three people showed up to your college improv show make you feel pretty shitty, huh?
And while we're on the subject ...
When Nick Acosta finished all the Harry Potter books, he decided that there were more stories to be told. Instead of turning to musical theater or sex-fueled fanfiction, Acosta decided to make a documentary about the Battle of Hogwarts. If you need a refresher, that was the climactic conclusion of the franchise, in which all the main villains -- and a good chunk of the heroes -- were killed off in kickass magical combat. The same way we hope to go out one day.
The documentary is set 20 years later, and features interviews with supporting combatants like Ginny Weasley, Luna Lovegood, and Dean Thomas. It's surprisingly nuanced; the "children" of the heroes show off their ignorance of the conflict to demonstrate how quickly living memory fades into history, and one of the villains insists that they were merely following orders in a Nuremberg Trials parallel. Honestly, it makes our Demise of Thundera documentary look rather shitty.
All the best documentaries use strategic lens flare.
The 33-and-a-half-minute film was made with a $2,000 budget over 10 months. To make the scenery authentic, Acosta flew to the Harry Potter theme park in Universal Orlando to film footage of Hogwarts and the village of Hogsmede, although we're honestly a little surprised that he didn't build his own Hogwarts. Even more impressive are the recreations of Harry Potter's moving and talking photographs, which we assume were made with actual witchcraft.
Moving pictures? That'll never catch on.
The impressive camerawork and fake British accents wouldn't look out of place airing on the BBC after an analysis of the Eurozone. It's a brilliant love letter to the franchise, although it does make a glaring omission by failing to explain why and how the technology-eschewing wizarding world even filmed a documentary. How do you explain that, Acosta? How do you explain that?
"What is this sorcery you use?!"
Knitting, Super Mario Bros. 3, and skydiving go together like peanut butter, Plato, and Latvia, in that they don't in the slightest. But they've all taken up a significant portion of the life of skydiving champion Kjetil Nordin -- a name and title so manly that just by reading it, you've grown a bit of stubble. Nordin was inspired to recreate SMB3's World One map in yarn, for reasons that are known only to him and the birds he communes with on his descents.
Don't get distracted by the mystery of his living room toilet paper.
The complex design required constant changes in yarn color, complicating a task that took a solid 800 hours of knitting, or about 177 runs through SMB3. A good chunk of that time was spent looking for exactly the right colors -- a lesson Nordin learned when he got halfway through the castle moat and realized the blue he was using was too purple. Purplish? Purply? It was wrong.
'Cause weird colors in the Mushroom Kingdom are simply unheard of.
Most people would shrug their shoulders, roll with it, and call it a creative decision. Nordin spent a week replacing it with a more accurate blue. He's currently looking for a way to preserve his masterpiece, even though it would obviously make for the world's greatest security blanket.
Really, we can't think of a more laborious video game fan project. Well, aside from this next one ...
Alexander J. Velicky
Skyrim is an epic fantasy adventure that allows fans to slap Macho Man's face and voice on a dragon. There are thousands of fan mods, ranging from new weapons to more realistic horse vaginas. But one mod called Falskaar goes so far above and beyond that lumping it in with the rest almost seems disrespectful.
Alexander J. Velicky wanted to work for the developers of Skyrim, but he was 19 and had no degree or relevant experience. So he spent over 2,000 hours making a massive and intricately detailed expansion, foregoing college and a day job to bring his baby into the gaming world.
Alexander J. Velicky
A map like this should count as quintuplets.
It's fully voice-acted, has its own soundtrack, is about a third of the size of Skyrim's world, and at 25 hours long, is only about eight hours shorter than Skyrim's main storyline. Not bad for a free download, especially considering how the developer, Bethesda, made fans pay for the ability to live in a house.
Velicky had help from over 100 people, but the vast majority of the work was his own. Why spend three weeks crafting a single epic dungeon, when most teenagers spend that kind of time playing games? In his words, "The best way to show Bethesda ... I should be hired is to create content that meets the standards of their incredible development team."
Unfortunately, Bethesda didn't give him a job. It goes to show that sometimes, no matter how hard you work, you have to settle for personal satis-- oh wait, the developers of Halo and Destiny hired the shit out of him. See, mom? Playing video games all day does pay off.
Akira is the incredibly influential 1980s anime that your college roommate wouldn't shut the fuck up about, and also the one cultural touchstone The Simpsons have somehow managed to avoid referencing, despite finding the time to parody Koyaanisqatsi several times. The Internet decided to do something about that, redrawing the original 2,146-page comic with Simpsons characters. The project is known as Bartkira, and at times, it's so faithful that it looks like the two properties crashed together at light speed and became one.
"Dude!" is a better line than "Hng?!"
As you may have surmised, Akira is about as far removed from The Simpsons as the Smurfs are from No Country For Old Men. A dark and incredibly violent sci-fi thriller about experiments into psychic powers gone wrong, it features scenes in which, well, things like this happen:
Everything's not coming up Milhouse.
Bartkira was crowdsourced to an army of talented and bored artists, who submitted individual pages influenced by their own style. The first half is available to read, giving you more than enough insight into how nuts this concept is.
Note: These styles are often horrifying.
So if you're ever wanted to see Ned as a badass, gun-wielding revolutionary, Krusty as a psychopathic motorcycle gang leader, and Apu get gunned down by the army while countless obscure Simpsons references are crammed into the panels, this is the series for the two of you who were nodding along to that sentence.
Skinner's been wanting to say that for a loooooong time.
Other fans recreated the movie trailer, which looks like it was snipped out of a particularly weird Treehouse of Horror episode.
The project launched in 2013, and is making steady progress which we want to encourage, because there's something about Milhouse becoming a giant blob that engulfs Samantha Stankey while Ralph Wiggum levels an entire city that really speaks to us.
"They taste like ... burning."
For most sports fans, the pinnacle of loyalty lies somewhere between buying every season's jersey and naming your firstborn after a great. But Don Martini's loyalty to the New York Giants lay closer to the kind of loyalty mafia members show the Godfather -- which we assume he is, what with that name.
Jerry McCrea/The Star-Ledger
Meanwhile, Eagles fans are still trying to figure out the latch on their tool kits.
The 75-year-old spent two years and 20,000 dollars on a scale model of Giants Stadium, with a level of detail meticulous enough to rival the Sistine Chapel, if Michelangelo and the Pope had been really into athletics. Martini memorialized the now-demolished stadium as precisely as his basement allowed. At 20 feet long and 17 feet wide, it features fighter jets flying overheard, tiny Gatorade jugs, and two mini-scoreboards that are playing Super Bowl XLII on an endless loop.
Jerry McCrea/The Star-Ledger
The jugs are full of the tears of Patriots fans.
His only regret is not having room to build 80,000 individual seats. He had to settle for a mere 65,000, the lazy shmuck.
Jerry McCrea/The Star-Ledger
If you're going to half-ass it, why even bother?.
Alec Garrard, a fan of models, religion, and stylish sweaters, has spent the past 30 years constructing an absurdly accurate recreation of Herod's Temple, that religious place you've definitely heard of, but probably couldn't explain what makes it so important. He's spent 33,000 hours on the project so far.
Letter of Repentance
In his free time, he cosplays as Godzilla.
The first three years were spent in research. Garrard dismissed all the models of the site in museums as rubbish, which by elderly theologian standards constitutes a serious diss. His 1:100 model was made with, among other materials, countless tiny clay bricks and tiles baked in his own oven.
Letter of Repentance
"Now you, son of man, get yourself a brick, place it before you and inscribe
a super-detailed model on it. Like, just go freaking all out."
Then there are the 4,000 itty-bitty visitors, with sculpting and painting them into period-appropriate clothing taking three hours a pop. Garrard claims that 32 of them are different versions of Jesus, and no visitor has been able to identify them all. Which sounds like Where's Waldo crossed with one of those weird Star Trek episodes about temporal tomfoolery. To give you a sense of how detailed Garrard's Herod's Temple is, visitors are issued binoculars.
Letter of Repentance
Note: Using light reflected off the binoculars to melt God's children is discouraged.
It's attracted the attention and approval of archaeologists and museum curators from around the world, and Garrad has shot down several offers to buy it. Money and temples? There's probably a Bible story about that.
Meanwhile, if you prefer your Biblical models to scale ...
What better way to remember the story of God's indelible wrath than by building your very own Ark, right down to the exact measurements ordained by the Big Man himself?
"Yo, God, when are you going to get with the times and abandon cubits for the metric system?"
The modern-day Ark, constructed by Dutchman Johan Huibers, was the product of a nightmare. In 1992, Huibers dreamed that the Netherlands had vanished underwater. To save his people, he started researching the next day. But construction wasn't complete until 2012, and, realizing that doom wasn't as impending as he had thought, Huibers turned salvation into capitalization. His $1.6 million project became a tourist attraction, complete with educational exhibits, a theater, live horses and kangaroos, a restaurant, and two amphitheaters for live events. Just as God had decreed.
Ark of Noah
"You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you.
And you are to make a breakfast nook, so you can have a little 'Noah time' in the morning."
Even the polyester replicas of the more exotic animals are impressive, with the elephant alone costing 11 grand. You can even get married on the Ark. Because nothing says good times and fond memories like a flood that annihilated mankind.
It's a good thing he added those camel droppings for authenticity, or people would accuse him of slacking.
There's a popular trend of recreating movies shot for shot with a budget of "whatever's lying around the garage." In 2009, Star Wars fan Casey Pugh took the concept to the next level by dividing A New Hope into 473 15-second clips that anyone could claim.
Nearly a thousand fans tackled the movie with wildly varied styles, including perfectly accurate costumes ...
Star Wars Uncut
"Use the force to defeat Voldemort, Gandalf."
... stop-motion animation ...
... and segments inspired by video games, anime, and Yellow Submarine.
Star Wars Uncut
"We all live in the deserts of Tatooine, deserts of Tatooine, deserts of Tatooine ..."
Characters are made of cardboard boxes, cats plays Jawas, soccer fields become the deserts of Tatooine, and Nissans become starships. Many scenes look like they were filmed by drunks who stole their costumes from junior high drama departments, others required serious effort, and all showed a level of ingenuity that contributed to the movie winning a freaking Emmy. And rather than bask in their glory, they did it all again with The Empire Strikes Back, which featured more impressive animation ...
... kids who look like they were forced into it at gunpoint ...
Star Wars Uncut
"Dad, for the last time, we're into the Hunger Games!"
... and whatever this is.
Star Wars Uncut
You know, that ... classic scene.
Then there's Our Robocop Remake, which saw 50 filmmakers of various skill levels team up to compete with 2014's official Robocop remake. Because "If anyone is going to ruin RoboCop, it's us." Guys, you added a dance fight. You didn't ruin it, you made it beautiful.
Unlike the dour, frowny remake, Our Remake embraced the franchise's satirical roots by becoming a full-blown comedy.
Our Robocop Remake
Of particular note is the scene in which Alex Murphy shoots a rapist in the penis. No expense was spared in a project that otherwise spared as many expenses as possible. It looks like Paul Verhoven made an extended tribute to exploding genitalia, when in reality, he didn't get around to that until over a decade later with Showgirls. WARNING: This clips contains incredible amounts of mutilated penis.
Finally, there's live-action Toy Story (they use real toys, not real people pretending to be toys). It was made by high school students Jonason Pauley and Jesse Perrotta (known to their friends as J2-P2), who spent two years recreating every scene.
It's so accurate that the original voiceover track syncs perfectly, and a side-by-side video makes the two films look almost identical.
The project required the help of 150 friends, family members, and random strangers whose houses matched those in the movie. They asked a trucker at a gas station if he'd help recreate Buzz and Woody's fight scene by almost running over Woody with his 18-wheeler, proving to teens around the world that approaching strange truckers will lead to nothing but good times. They also used three different restaurants to get Pizza Planet right. All while working on a budget of $1,000.
You'd think this sort of thing would earn you a visit from a few dozen Disney lawyers, but Pixar loved the remake so much that they invited the pair to their studio to hand out DVDs of it to employees.
Alyssa Feller doesn't have a fancy Twitter, but you can see her perform improv with Sick Puppies Comedy in Boca Raton, FL. Adam Koski would love it if a fan perfectly remade his short film. Laura H is a Slytherin and supports house equality. Follow her on Twitter.
For more totally insane but also totally useless things people created, check out 9 Extreme Versions Of Things You Loved As A Kid and The 7 Most Ridiculously Advanced Machines Built Out Of LEGOs.
Also follow us on Facebook to help us build our fan tribute to ourselves.