FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J. — “Heeere’s Johnny!”
For just a few more days, horror fans and collectors alike can place their bids for a chance to own a piece of Hollywood history: a prop axe Oscar-winner Jack Nicholson wielded during the filming of the 1980s horror classic “The Shining.”
It comes with a high price: minimum bids are $50,000.
Gotta Have Rock and Roll Auctions, which sells pop culture and sports memorabilia, estimates the prop, believed to be made of foam, will ultimately sell for between $60,000 and $90,000. As of Friday afternoon, there were at least three bids for the item.
The axe is one of several Nicholson used during the filming of the Stanley Kubrick chiller. The film’s most famous scene features Nicholson hacking a bathroom door to pieces to get to his wife (played by Shelley Duval), whom he’s trying to kill.
If the axe is too pricey, the auction house has another “Shining” prop up for grabs. A screen-used knife from the film is signed and inscribed “REDRUM” by actor Danny Lloyd, who played Danny, the son of Nicholson’s character, Jack Torrance. The minimum bid is $1,000, and it’s expected to sell between $2,000 and $3,000, Gotta Have Rock and Roll says.
Two other axes from the Stanley Kubrick movie have fetched big auction prices. A different foam axe sold for $57,600, while a wooden axe went for $211,000, Forbes reports.
“The Shining,” based on Stephen King’s 1977 novel, was released in May 1980 and became what’s considered a masterpiece of the horror genre. It was recently named No. 2 on Time Out’s list of The 100 Best Horror Movies list — right between “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974) and “The Exorcist” (1973).
One person who has famously hated the film is King himself, who found it emotionally cold and too different from his book.
“It’s certainly beautiful to look at: gorgeous sets, all those Steadicam shots,” King told The Paris Review in 2006. “I used to call it a Cadillac with no engine in it. You can’t do anything with it except admire it as sculpture. You’ve taken away its primary purpose, which is to tell a story.”
A sequel film, “Doctor Sleep” (based on the King novel of the same name), was released in 2019 and features much of the original film’s iconography, including the door Nicholson hacks with the axe. King loved “Doctor Sleep” so much he said it even warmed his feelings toward its predecessor.
Bidding on both the axe and the knife end next week.