It’s sort of the anti-Toy Story. Since 2017, Wim Laroy has devoted himself to re-creating horror movies with the things he used to play with as a child.
“Something about the toys coming to life and doing unspeakable things to each other makes me like doing this so much,” Laroy says over email.
Now with his new all-LEGO stop-motion animated version of The Shining, he just may have built, brick by brick, his macabre masterpiece.
By day a lab technician, Laroy rekindled his childhood LEGO hobby back in 2012 when the company released its Lord of The Rings collections. It didn’t take long before he switched over to assembling his own imaginative creations, rather than coloring inside the lines. By 2017, he decided to start combining his old hobby with a new one: making stop-motion animations. There was one genre in particular he wanted to work with, too.
“A good horror movie gives me the feeling of dread but also comfort in knowing that these things won’t actually happen,” Laroy says.
It turns out that feeling of heightened unreality is only amplified when the spooky doings in a horror movie are carried out by LEGO. Laroy tackled horror classics like Nightmare on Elm Street and the zombie subgenre, along with newer hits like The Nun, a film that resides in The Conjuring universe. He had been wanting to make a tribute to his all-time favorite horror movie, The Shining, for a long time before he actually followed through.
Years ago, he made a LEGO construction of the Room 237 setting, before kicking it up a notch with an initial stab at a stop-motion version of the infamous bathtub scene. At the time, however, he couldn’t quite make it come together seamlessly. Following a recent re-watch of the source material, he was ready to take another shot at it. This time, he had built up enough experience with the form that he suspected it would come out much better. He was right.
This new version of The Shining, which he unveiled online earlier this week, spans some of the key scenes from the movie, including young Danny’s encounter with those creepy twin girls. Somehow, even in LEGO form, the quick cuts between Danny seeing the pair stand ominously in the hallway and then seeing them hacked into pieces on the carpet remains as harrowing as ever.
The project took about 50-60 hours spread out over three weeks, and about 10,000 LEGOs, to create. It was a labor of love, but that’s not to say the process didn’t have its challenges.
“Mostly, it came down to choosing the right pieces,” he says. “I made this movie only with pieces I already had in my collection, so I had to do with just what I had laying around. For instance, the famous carpet pattern in the hallway could have been more realistic, but with the pieces I had, it became a little more abstract. I went with clay for the bloody elevator scene also because I do not have thousands of red translucent pieces.”
Assembling, adjusting, and shooting thousands of tiny blocks for 70 hours may sound like the kind of thing that would drive a person to redrum, but it’s hard to argue with the results.
Have a look at a making-of video for Laroy’s LEGO version of The Shining below.