A truly distinctive horror-movie prop is up for grabs next week—but it’s likely that Stephen King won’t be one of the bidders.
The Prop Store in London, England, will be holding an auction next week for hundreds of items, according to the Hollywood Reporter, including some that appeared in classic movies. There’s the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch from the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, for example, and a Stormtrooper helmet form the original 1977 Star Wars film. But for horror-movie—and horror-novel—fans, the pièce de resistance is the ax wielded by Jack Torrance (extravagantly performed by Jack Nicholson) in the Stanley Kubrick-directed 1980 film of King’s 1976 novel The Shining.
The image of the Jack chopping down a bathroom door of the Overlook Hotel with this ax is a memorable one—in a film with a lot of memorable images. (That bloody elevator!) However, many readers may not be aware that the ax was a new addition to that movie. In King’s novel, Jack wields a very different item: a croquet mallet, or more precisely, a mallet for a croquet variant known as roque: “It was Jack and yet not Jack. His eyes were lit with a vacant, murderous glow; his familiar mouth now wore a quivering, joyless grin. He had the roque mallet in one hand.”
It’s one of many changes that Kubrick made for the movie. Indeed, King was notoriously dissatisfied with the film adaptation, and he later wrote the script for a 1997 TV miniseries of The Shining that was more faithful to his original text. That said, one doubts that auction attendees would have forked over the $36,000 to $60,000 for a roque mallet, as auctioneers are expecting them to do for the famous ax.
And by the way—that bloody elevator? It’s not in the book, either.
David Rapp is the senior Indie editor.