CBS Films has announced that principal photography has begun on "Winchester," a film based on the Winchester mystery house in San Jose, California and the legacy of the Winchester family.
Billed as a "supernatural thriller," the film stars Academy Award winner Helen Mirren as Sarah Winchester, the key figure in the construction of the home and its strange layout.
Legend says that Sarah believed she was haunted by the spirits of everyone killed by the Winchester repeating rifle. After her husband and child passed away, Winchester was plagued by the voices of countless souls, angry and upset over their passing. It was the heyday of spiritualism and according to reports of the time, a medium from Boston purportedly channeled Mr. Winchester and told Sarah to leave her home in New Haven and travel west. There, she should continuously build a home for both herself and the restless spirits who were victims of the Winchester rifles.
Other sources claim that Sarah believed that her family fortune itself was cursed by the ghosts of those killed by the rifles and only by building the home, could she quiet the spirits.
As to the movie version of the story, according to a press release for the film:
"The film follows the story of firearm heiress Sarah Winchester (Mirren), who was convinced that she was haunted by the souls killed at the hands of the Winchester repeating rifle. After the sudden deaths of her husband and child, she threw herself into the 24 hours a day, seven days a week construction of an enormous mansion designed to keep the evil spirits at bay. But when skeptical San Francisco psychiatrist Eric Price (Clarke) is dispatched to the estate to evaluate her state of mind, he discovers that her obsession may not be so insane after all. WINCHESTER will take audiences inside the labyrinth-like house that is believed to be one of the most haunted places in the world."
The Winchester Mystery house is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a California Historical Landmark. Tours of the home are available, more information available at the official website: