Meyersdale, Pennsylvania resident Ryan Shaffer is an independent artist who also runs his own business called Horror Express Studios. This one man operation recently created a very impressive (and heavy) 1:12 SCALE PET SEMATARY MODEL (measuring 40 x 30 inches and featuring light and sound), based on the classic scene from the 1989 adaptation. Shaffer spent three months researching and building this stunning creation and recently sat down with me to share his method with our readers.
The graveyard measures 3 and a half feet long by 2 and a half feet wide, has blue LED lighting in the dead fall and Church’s eyes also light up lime green! A kid’s piano is also a feature and has a button that, when pressed, plays the entire 3 minute opening credit theme music.
“Some of the most difficult items made for this would have to be the large Styrofoam rocks along each side of the dead fall,” says Shaffer. “Also the white iron gate at the entry archway. I made that out of metal clothes hanger. I had to cut, bend and braze all the pieces together in order to make it and it actually swings open and shut just like it should.
Of the 100 individual handmade, fabricated pieces, the artist says: “the only items that I purchased was a bird cage, metal wagon, glass fish bowl, small dollhouse shoe and the cat for church. I still had to make modifications to all of those bought items. Everything else, I made by hand out of various items like clothes hanger, craft sticks, abs plastic sheet, sheet metal, Styrofoam, etc.”
To say a project like this is a huge endeavor is an understatement, and clearly no easy task. A stickler for detail, Shaffer felt the need to consult a crew member for guidance on the design.
“I had reached out to Carlene Hirsch who was the Lead Greens on all exterior sets for the film and was a pleasure to work with,” he says. “She had sent me some of her personal photos she took back then of the set and it really helped with the reference. Often times when there was an object that I couldn’t make out what it was, she was kind enough to tell me. So I have to give her a special thank you for that! “
“Pet Sematary is one of those films where you are waiting for a happy ending that never comes,” adds Shaffer. “It’s a tale of loss and sadness. It has a way of dragging you into a dark place where you don’t want to be and it’s terrifying. When we visit the cemetery with Jud taking the Creed family there to show them where the path leads, I can feel the broken hearts of all the children that made it. So many key elements that show how much love they had for their pets. It’s just a powerful feeling when you actually stop and look around and think about what that place represented. I just wanted to show the appreciation that I have for it by recreating it as accurately as possible.”
Ryan Shaffer is going to be recounting his build in a short documentary that he will be putting out at a later date. The future looks very bright for Ryan Shaffer, his passion for horror and ability to recreate his visions on large scale or small is more than evident. Look for his newly released JAWS Homage, “Amity Island Welcomes you” billboard sign dioramas, complete with a sandy beach base and Chrissie Watkins arm and watch for future killer collectibles from this here and now horror artist.
Keep watching Ryan Shaffer’s Horror Express Studios Facebook account for all upcoming releases and projects, or to get in contact for commission work, and stay out of the Sematary!