The Shining

Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have long made it known that Stephen King is by far the most inspirational writer for Lost.

In interviews, they cited the Dark Tower series and The Stand as two extremely influential works in constructing the Lost narrative.

Juliet’s favorite book is Carrie.

The white rabbit with an 8 stamped on its hind leg comes from King’s memoir On Writing.

So it should come as no surprise that Minkowski gives a brief reference to The Shining while on board the Kahana. King loved to have his characters in his other stories cite The Shining, so of course one of the Lost characters would do the same.

Minkowski brings up Jack Torrence from Stanley Kubrick’s film The Shining when Michael is nervously bouncing a tennis ball. In the famous scene from the movie, Jack calmly bounces a tennis ball off the wall over and over before attempting to murder his family. Not that taking out the overacting Shelley Duvall would necessarily have been a bad thing.

In various sources of Lost books, The Shining tends to be included because of this reference. However, I do not recall that scene in the book. Granted, I read it a long time ago, but Kubrick’s screenplay differed substantially from the book, so I doubt the tennis ball scene was in King’s original novel.

For the record, I loved the book. I really liked the 1990s TV miniseries (it stayed true to the book). I did not like Kubrick’s version. Sure, Jack Nicholson is worlds better than one of the brothers from Wings. But the TV miniseries as a whole is substantially better than the first movie, and I will argue anyone that disagrees. Stephen King himself thought the TV version was better, so I consider myself in good company.

Since it is only a minor reference anyway, I’m going to give The Shining a disqualification. It counts as a movie referenced in Lost, but not as a book.

Besides, even if I reviewed the book, I think we can take one lesson and one lesson only from Minkowski’s remark: dealing with the temporal displacement caused by the Island is a lot like being an alcoholic writer suffering from writer’s block while trapped in a haunted hotel for six months with no contact with the outside world and a family that you desperately want to murder. Plus bloody noses and possible brain aneurysms.

Sounds rough.

For more of my book reviews, return to my Literature of Lost series.


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