"It’s my first time here. I wanted to come to - you know you don’t go to Comic Con without going down on the floor and seeing it all, and so the way I came up with doing that was Spider-Man." - Daniel Radcliffe at the 2014 SDCC
Hammer Opens The Winchester Mystery House Spierig brothers prepare for a haunting
Winchester. So much to answer for. Haunted mansion connoisseurs will be aware of the sprawling and bizarre Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. Its doors are now set to be opened by Hammer, in a new film, simply titled Winchester, to be written and helmed by Daybreakersdirectors Michael and Peter Spierig.
The strange true story of the house began in 1881 with the death of gun magnate William Wirt Winchester (he of Western favourite the Winchester Rifle). He left his entire immense fortune to his wife Sarah who, from 1884 until her own death in 1922, undertook continuous building of what can politely be called an “architectural curiosity”.
Reaching seven stories at one point - although the 1906 earthquake reduced it to four - Sarah Winchester’s redwood construction went ahead without the benefit of an architect to plan it. It has 40 bedrooms, two ballrooms (one unfinished), 47 fireplaces, 17 chimneys and two basements. But there are also many creepy oddities like doors and staircases (with uneven risers) that lead nowhere, and windows that overlook other rooms. Legend has it that Sarah was told to build it by a medium channelling her husband. According to that version of the story, the house was supposed to be recompense: a home for all the ghosts of people killed by Winchester guns.
It’s long been an inspiration for writers and filmmakers: Stephen King’s TV series Rose Red is based on it, for one example. Hammer’s film, however, will be the first time the house has actually been used as a location. “We can’t wait to see what the Spierig brothers unearth as they delve in to the mysteries of Sarah Winchester and her infamous haunted house,” says Hammer’s Tobin Armbrust. “As the first feature film ever shot inside the Winchester Mystery House, we are excited to have these fantastic filmmakers bring their unique vision to the table.” Let’s hope the production doesn’t find itself under a curse…
Armbrust and, of course, Hammer honcho Simon Oakes are among the producers, and shooting is set to start early next year. The Spierig brothers’ latest sci-fi thriller Predestination (starring Ethan Hawke, as did Daybreakers) is released here on August 28.