Fan Film, Fan Films

The Warriors Fan Films: Can You Dig It?

In the spring of 2007, the late, great fan film fanzine, Fan Films Quarterly, asked me to help judge a contest for the best fan flick based on Walter Hill’s 1979 feature film, The Warriors. Back in the day, the movie, about a New York City street gang that has to get to its home turf before the cops and rival gangs kill them, was incredibly controversial for its violence and gritty depiction of the Big Rotting Apple of the 1970s. Today, though, it looks pretty campy, and is less violent than a typical episode of The Sopranos.

In the intervening years, the flick has become a cult favorite, gaining fans all over the world—and plenty of them have made their own tribute movies to The Warriors. As a result, when FFQ held its contest, six movies were entered. The judges were asked to watch the movies and rank them from 1 to 6, with 1 being the best and 6 being the least favorite.

When I sent FFQ my rankings, I wrote comments about each one, which were never used in the zine, so here for the first time anywhere are some of the mini-reviews I wrote up; I’ll run the last three tomorrow. I’ll wait until the end of tomorrow’s blog post to reveal the rankings I gave—and who actually won the contest. Watch the batch of them and see if you can pick who won!

by Ryan Horror

I enjoyed this one a lot. The filmmakers really understood the original film and what made it work. Although their production didn’t have the camp of the original, it was still an interesting idea for a short, with a plot that was ‘believable’ in the context of the Warriors’ universe.

On the downside, there were a few plot inconsistencies, like why did all the gangs have a truce with each other but not the Warriors? Also, why did they bring the girl along at the end when she just tried to whack ‘em with a chair?

More importantly, the level of violence against the women was pretty surprising. Even when they were shot at in the original film, the Warriors weren’t as savage towards women as these guys, and that was rather underwhelming. While I realize that standards of what constitutes a bad ass have gotten more extreme in the last 28 years and they wanted to portray the Warriors as the baddest of ‘em all, the Warriors are supposed to be underdogs and heroes, and there’s nothing heroic about beating up women, period.

Putting that aside, however, the production value was solid, it was well shot and lit (and you can never get enough of those two values in a fan film), and the vibe matched the original. For me, this was the winner.

by Brandon Gonzales

I liked this one a lot—I can see why they put it at the top of the page. It’s exuberant and silly in places, but they clearly had a lot of fun making the movie. I liked the fight in the washroom, and the backstory was clever, explaining why there was only one Warriors vest.

Warriors Then & Now
by Joe Barbarisi
[Editor's Note: This movie is apparently no longer online---sorry]
I really LOVE fan-made documentaries. Both docs in this contest have something to offer fans of the original movie, and both have some drawbacks.

For this one, it has the benefit of capturing a historic moment, when The Warriors was screened outdoors in New York City and much of the cast was reunited for the event. That’s a unique thing to have captured, very special. Also, the documentary appears to have captured the beginning of a race(?) between various groups pretending to be the gangs in the movie, and that’s possibly unique—hard to know since there’s no info given.

That was ultimately my frustration with this movie—great shots, and some true right-place-at-the-right-time footage, but I often didn’t know what I was looking at. I wish there was some narration or at least some screens of text telling me what was going on.

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