While a lot of horror movies today are reaching for a fork-full of the CreepyPasta, 2018’s Winchester is determined to draw from real-life sources. Namely the seven Story, late Victorian, Queen Anne-style house from hell known as the Winchester Mystery House. The construction of this mind-boggling mansion was begun in 1884 by Sarah and William Wirt Winchester, of the Winchester Rifle fame. William died shortly into the construction, and Sarah continued building for another nearly forty years until her death in 1922.
But why continue building for so long? And especially with no master plan or blueprints? Sara Winchester believed very strongly that the spirits of those killed with Winchester brand guns would haunt her family and seek their vengeance in their household. And thus, tried to befuddle the spiteful specters with stairs that lead to nowhere, doors that open to nothing, windows that don’t open and three elevators that don’t really go where you’d expect. In total, there are 160 rooms, six of which are kitchens alone.
With a history such as this, it’s really a surprise that it hasn’t gotten more media attention. It seems that most of its representation is done through documentary or shows featuring the exploration of the paranormal. However, there have been fictionalizations of the house in comic books, novels and a single short film by a French director. 2018’s Winchester will be the first feature-length depiction of the house as we know of, aside from Rose Red, which was a mini-series depicting another fictionalized version of the house.
Helen Mirren, seen here as Sara Winchester, looks as though she could scare any ghost out of her home with just a glance. But what would one expect from a woman who has played all the most important queens of England, as well as a few spies? From the trailer alone, it looks as though she’s going to be the one to carry the film with a strong performance. That isn’t to say the remaining cast members won’t do well, but they certainly didn’t stand out in the brief moments with them that we’ve seen. Expect Winchester in theaters February 2, 2018. Just in time for Groundhogs’ Day, I guess.