No doubt there’ll be many attempts to spook us between now and October 31, but anything starring Dame Helen Mirren is bound to be a cut above the rest.
The Dame plays real-life heiress Sarah Winchester in Winchester: the House that Ghosts Built, which isn’t due out in theaters until early 2018, but got its first trailer yesterday (October 24) in time for Halloween.
Whoa! Yep, that’s suitably terrifying.
The story behind the film is a sad one. Sarah was the wife of William Wirt Winchester of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, makers of the Winchester rifle, who left Sarah a $20.5 million fortune and nearly 50% of the company when he died.
Worried that she’d be plagued by the spirits of everyone who had ever died at the hand of a Winchester rifle (quite a few, given this was the 1880s and the Civil War was still a recent memory), Sarah set about building a house in northern California to contain them. Though “house” might be understating it. The build, which was never finished, continued for decades and resulted in a sprawling house with multiple floors and hundred of rooms.
The ghoulish residence is now known as the Winchester Mystery House, which you can actually visit and see for yourself the doors and staircases that go to nowhere, the dead-end passageways, windows overlooking other rooms within the house, and all the other fantastic oddities that were designed either to trick ghosts or simply extend the construction process.
It’s long been considered one of the world’s most haunted houses, and is therefore ripe for the horror movie treatment. The presence of Dame Helen suggests there’ll be more to this film than spooky ghosts and jump-out-of-your-seat moments, however: it also promises a harrowing portrayal of a woman plagued by guilt and grief who lost her grip on reality.
Winchester opens in theaters on February 2, 2018.
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