When I moved to California in 1988 I quickly noticed signs for the Winchester Mystery House in nearby San Jose. I’m pretty sure I took the tour right after I arrived then again and again whenever I had visitors stay with me. The tour is a bit expensive and a little disappointing. The guide recites the tale of how Mrs. Winchester felt haunted by the spirits of people killed by the rifle that bore her name. Her solution was to build a massive house that was under continuous construction day and night. There was no architect and no master plan so oddities like stairways to the ceiling and doors to nowhere fill the house.
The movie Winchester does a very nice job of telling the story of the house and Mrs. W. The movie depicts the events that occurred when the board of directors from the Winchestor Corporation sent a psychiatrist to evaluate her ability to continue running the weapons manufacturing company. He spent a few days in the house and of course had a few frightening encounters before making his recomendation. Actually seeing the familiar grounds filled with construction workers and servents was a more complete experience that just hearing the guide talk about it and was one of the highlights of the film.
Winchester takes the position that Mrs. Winchester actually was able to see spirits and they really were out to get her. That opens the door to a bunch of typical haunted house shenanigans. Plenty of things that go bump in the night including the ghost of a pissed off Confederate soldier. When Mrs. W. states that the gun manufacturer is responsible for what people do with the gun, the movies seems ready to take an anti-gun stance. No worries, eventually a guy with a gun drives off the ghost by shooting it. My favorite effect was when the room full of rifles levitated, cocked and aimed at the good Doctor. The whole shindig wraps up when the evil spirit causes the 1906 San Francisco earthquake that actually did happen and actually did damage the mansion.
Winchester features my favorite non sexy actress, Sarah Snook as Mrs. Winchester’s niece. Now I’m not saying Ms. Snook is unattractive or anything, I’m saying she takes roles where being drop dead gorgeous isn’t the point. Check out her incredible performance in Predestination. It’s the ultimate time travel paradox movie, much more so than The Terminator. Last season , we ran Jessabelle and it too was well received. We at the House of Stuff hope to see more horror movies from of this talented actress … and maybe a little skin too.