Modeling the maze from Kubrick's film 'The Shining'
February 27, 2015 9:24 AM   Subscribe

How Adam Savage became obsessed with building a scale model of the maze from Kubrick's film The Shining. The Making Of and The Making Of The Making Of (both SLYT).

The bit where I got sucked in was where he started talking about the different layouts of the maze that are visible in the film.
posted by carter (45 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
 
I sometimes think it might be nice to have the focus necessary to be obsessed by anything.
posted by aramaic at 9:33 AM on February 27, 2015 [13 favorites]


Do you realize how many mefi posts can start with "How Adam Savage became obsessed with building..."?
posted by Lord_Pall at 9:40 AM on February 27, 2015 [12 favorites]


I was wondering if there was anything in the Kubrick archives about this.
posted by carter at 9:41 AM on February 27, 2015


MeFi's own Adam Savage.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:48 AM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I haven't had a chance to watch the video yet but the thing that first struck me when I saw this was "Where the hell is he going to keep it?"

I know he has rows and rows of display cases in his cave/workshop but this seems like it would require its own table. And then it will just get dusty and OH GOD WHY DO I STRESS MYSELF OUT THINKING ABOUT THIS STUFF?

Perhaps I should watch the video; maybe they talk about that.
posted by bondcliff at 9:50 AM on February 27, 2015


Don't worry bondcliff, It's gone to Mexico to become part of the traveling KUBRICK exhibit. I won't get it back for a couple years. THEN it's time to stress. Though it would look nice on a wall...
posted by asavage at 9:53 AM on February 27, 2015 [52 favorites]


Well, if you need to find a home for it I'm sure I could clear some space in my living room.
posted by bondcliff at 10:01 AM on February 27, 2015


How Adam Savage became obsessed with

...is the name of his show after Mythbusters if anybody has a clue.
posted by eriko at 10:03 AM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Youtube is blocked at my work, so I haven't watched this. Having watched Room 237, I wonder how if any continuity errors Adam finds were intentional things seemed to do Kubrick just to mess with people. Yeah, I know some of the stuff in the movie is way out there, but some of it is rather interesting as well.

Although some of that has been here on the Blue before.
posted by Badgermann at 10:15 AM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I totally want to wander through a Minecraft version of this now. Well done, asavage! I love that you took the time to include repair pieces and instructions.
posted by BurntHombre at 10:21 AM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I totally want to wander through a Minecraft version of this now.

The clock is probably now ticking. I wonder how long it will take before that is done?
posted by Brockles at 10:37 AM on February 27, 2015


I can't help but wonder about whoever built the maze that was originally in the exhibit. is it just some maze they found, or did they actually get someone to build it? If it's custom, was it some intern who actually did their best within their abilities, or was it some guy who was just like, "fuck it, it's a maze, right? Who's this Cube Rick guy again?"

Either way, how does this person feel when none other than Adam Savage comes along and just grinds out as near to perfection as can be achieved? I guess the closest analog I can come up with for how I'd personally feel (as the semi-hapless intern anyway) is if Maxime Bilet did his own version of one of my recipes. Or Bruce Lee kicking my ass.
posted by cmoj at 10:45 AM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is delightful! Nice find!
posted by mochapickle at 10:47 AM on February 27, 2015


Wow. Never stop making this kind of stuff, Adam.
posted by tocts at 10:57 AM on February 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


That is completely bonkers and also awesome.
posted by rtha at 11:09 AM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I can't help but wonder about whoever built the maze that was originally in the exhibit. is it just some maze they found, or did they actually get someone to build it?

Well, according to the interviewees in the documentary Room 237, Kubrick himself would have designed the maze and overseen each step of its construction, making sure that every inch and angle of it that eventually appeared on screen was in perfect thematic harmony with his grand design, down to the placement of the smallest leaf.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:21 AM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I totally want to wander through a Minecraft version of this now.

Someone on the old MeFi-related Aporkalypse server was building the Overlook Hotel at one point. I wonder if they ever got around to the hedge maze? There would probably be screenshots somewhere if they did
posted by Hoopo at 11:23 AM on February 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


God, I love everything about this....
posted by ouke at 11:39 AM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, according to the interviewees in the documentary Room 237, Kubrick himself would have designed the maze and overseen each step of its construction, making sure that every inch and angle of it that eventually appeared on screen was in perfect thematic harmony with his grand design, down to the placement of the smallest leaf.

I'm talking about the maze in the museum exhibit which is apparently neither the actual model in the Overlook, nor a close facsimile of the model, map, or aerial shot shown in the movie, according the the FPP video.
posted by cmoj at 11:49 AM on February 27, 2015


I wondered about the original maze in the exhibit, too. What kind of guidance was the original builder given? If someone commissioned me to build a replica Overlook hedge maze, I would get totally obsessive and analyze screen captures from the film like ASavage did (ask me about my half-built Boba Fett suit, started before there were encyclopedic web sites dedicated to Star Wars builds! I spent hours looking at every "making of Star Wars" book I could find.)

But I think there plenty of people, especially ones with a limited budget and/or deadline who wouldn't obsess any further than "Ok, so they want a green rectangular hedge maze about yea big."
posted by usonian at 11:52 AM on February 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think you nailed it Usonian. I took care not to disparage their work because of exactly that reason. Tight budgets, tight timelines, and sometomes things are just requested to be "good enough". It'd be expensive to pay someone skilled to spend a solid month building a perfect replica. Quite expensive. But I don't begrudge the original maker.
posted by asavage at 11:57 AM on February 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


That seems most likely to me too, usonian. I don't want to sound like I'm casting aspersions either. Hell, I've been the props guy starting to obsess about the details of some clock or chest that's supposed to be period correct but had to be told, "it only has to be good enough!"

But, I guess, having been that guy, I have to wonder about that anonymous guy in this instance. In fact, that maker was probably smart and experienced enough to realize just how much work and cost it would be to do it this way and so, well, not do it this way.
posted by cmoj at 12:15 PM on February 27, 2015


I haven't had a chance to watch the video yet but the thing that first struck me when I saw this was "Where the hell is he going to keep it?"

I have the same feelings about the really huge LEGO sets. Sure, I'd love to have and build the four foot long Super Star Destroyer, but where am I going to put the flippin' thing afterwards?
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 12:21 PM on February 27, 2015


There's a show on the History Channel called Museum Men that is about a company that builds museum displays. I can imagine they are the kind of people you call for this kind of thing. And if your time or budget is a little short, you might get somewhat less screen accurate results.

(Speaking of which, that was a pretty darn disappointing show, since it was history-oriented, not maker-oriented. I guess it makes sense seeing what channel it's on. But they were much more interesting as makers than as historians.)
posted by smackfu at 12:28 PM on February 27, 2015


Where to keep it? Easy. It would look neat with a sheet of safety glass over it, as a dining table.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:34 PM on February 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'd turn it into a coffee table, with a couple of axes and handles added and some marbles you could drop in...
posted by Poldo at 12:48 PM on February 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


It's kind of the perfect size for a mouse.
posted by bondcliff at 12:50 PM on February 27, 2015


I think Adam would lose his mind if that beauty got covered in mouse piss
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:00 PM on February 27, 2015


A robot mouse.
posted by bondcliff at 1:03 PM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am a little confused after watching the video. Dad Adam seek to build a model of the actual maze from the location itself, or a copy of the maze that Jack Nicholson is looking at in the hotel? Or is it something else?

Whatever it is, it is really neat. Thanks for obsessing for me (us)! Are you building a model of the hotel next?
posted by 724A at 1:07 PM on February 27, 2015


Two game modes:
1. Poldo's tilt labyrinth game concept with the ball modeled as a curled-up frozen Jack.
2. Maze chase: affix magnets to the base of the Jack and Danny figurines. Place Danny and Jack at maze entrance. Two players hold magnets to underside of table to drag figurines through a manic race for freedom. It's a basketcase of bludgeoning fun for the entire family! You can't get away Grandma--I'm right behind you!
posted by prinado at 1:10 PM on February 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


Very cool -- amazing work, asavage.

SLYT stands for "single link YouTube," so a post with two YouTube links is not a SLYT, right? And each one need not be labeled a SLYT, since a link can only go one place. /pedant
posted by me3dia at 1:21 PM on February 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


724a - I was thinking about that. Maybe it's actually more a reproduction or a scale model of {the scale model of the fictional Overlook Hotel maze that appears in Kubrick's The Shining}, where the actual fictional maze itself did not exist as such as a full-scale film set. Or something like that. Maybe this needs a simulacrum tag.
posted by carter at 1:44 PM on February 27, 2015


It's pretty close to the one he looks at in the house, including the base. The scene in question.
posted by smackfu at 1:50 PM on February 27, 2015


724a - Adam does define what he's building: a model built from the map of the maze outside the entrance to the maze, in the style of the maze that Jack Nicholson is looking at in the hotel (until he looks closer and sees his family in yet a different, larger symmetrical maze). The mapped maze is chosen because it is the only one which we see completely.

So to catalog our mazes:
1. The maze that is shot in during the outdoor shots.
1a. The maze that is shot in during the winter (indoor) shots. This is mostly the same parts as 1, reassembled inside a studio.
2. The model maze that Jack Nicholson looks at.
3. The maze that Jack Nicholson sees his family in, which is much larger and mirrored both up-down and left-right.
4. The map of the maze on the kiosk outside the entrance to #1.
4a. The model maze that Adam constructed from #4 in the style of #2.
5. The model maze of uncertain provenance currently in the exhibit.

Have I missed any?
posted by wotsac at 2:13 PM on February 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think I have it. Regardless, it is really neat and what I also appreciate is that it is a labor of love.
posted by 724A at 3:11 PM on February 27, 2015


I gasped when asavage said the words: "Monterrey, Mexico" … "Holy crap and randomness, I though, Adam Savage just mentioned my home town!!!"
posted by Omon Ra at 3:41 PM on February 27, 2015


Does anyone want to see my replica bear costume?
posted by benzenedream at 4:08 PM on February 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Adam Savage is a gentleman and a scholar.
posted by homunculus at 5:45 PM on February 27, 2015


As a sometimes maker/fabricator, this gives me much visceral pleasure, but I really want to know more about the rationale behind choices.
...
Why on earth did he chose to not faithfully reproduce the magazine stand/gift shop? I just don't get it. For all the hours he spent on the layout and durability, he either chopped up an existing model piece, or completely ignored the original roof angle, facade, and overall appearance.
Also curious as to his material choice.. The flocking looks great from a distance, but the Brillo looking material the first exhibit maze was made from does a great job of suggesting the texture of topiary. Maybe he experimented with that same stuff? Flocked Brillo? I guess we'll be seeing more BTS.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 6:19 PM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm talking about the maze in the museum exhibit which is apparently neither the actual model in the Overlook, nor a close facsimile of the model, map, or aerial shot shown in the movie, according the the FPP video.

I work in a production environment, so I'm inclined to note that there is all sorts of stuff that gets created for a production that isn't featured in the production, but which was still important to creating the final production.

So another range of possibilities not yet mentioned is that that mysterious museum maze predates the final maze model used in the movie.
- Perhaps it was the original maze prop built to fill out the room in the background, so accuracy and detail was unimportant, just get the general shape and color and do it without taking an eon. But then at some point it was decided that the maze model should be in the foreground of that shot with Jack Nicholson and suddenly the prop wasn't up to that (unexpected) task, and a better model was needed?
- Perhaps it was a maquette, or physical "preliminary sketch", used to test a style or try out a method or communicate an idea, before embarking on the final model?

Who knows, but if the provenience is unknown then there is no reason to assume it can't have been a genuine part of the movie production.
posted by anonymisc at 6:26 PM on February 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also curious as to his material choice.. The flocking looks great from a distance, but the Brillo looking material the first exhibit maze was made from does a great job of suggesting the texture of topiary. Maybe he experimented with that same stuff? Flocked Brillo? I guess we'll be seeing more BTS.

In the video he's pretty concerned with durability as well as looks, and ruled out using foam on that basis. Which is also why he used screws instead of wood glue, and build a custom steel mounting frame for transport.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:29 PM on February 27, 2015


I originally thought about using foam, but just before I started it, i got word that they'd be happy to have it in their exhibit, and thus had to make it bulletproof. I wish there'd been an easier way to do it. I bought some filter sponge of a couple different grades but it would NOT travel well.

anynymisc, I'm pretty sure it was made as a display for the show itself.
posted by asavage at 9:43 PM on February 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


Thanks for this, carter. I enjoyed that first video much more than I thought I would. There's something enormously appealing about obsessive behavior when the person, at the same time, is quite cheerful about the whole thing.

As Jimmy Buffett sang, many years ago, "We need more fruitcakes in this world."
posted by LeLiLo at 10:07 AM on February 28, 2015


completely ignored the original roof angle, facade, and overall appearance.

Is the original the model in the movie, or the full size building in the movie?
posted by smackfu at 11:18 AM on February 28, 2015


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