Helen Mirren's New Horror Movie Is Based on a True Story, and the Trailer Is Truly Disturbing

“Do you believe in ghosts, doctor?”

Winchester: The House That Ghosts Built is one part true story, one part ghost story, and 100% Helen Mirren performing the hell out of a horror movie. What else is there to say? The movie, which comes out early next year, just released its first trailer, and it’s even creepier if you know it’s centered around a true story.

Winchester is based on the real-life story of rifle heiress Sarah Winchester, who built a 160-room mansion after the death of her husband in 1881. She built the 24,000-square-foot home, which had doors and staircases leading to nowhere. It’s unclear exactly why she did it; she may have built the home as a way to remember her late husband, or as a way to keep carpenters and other workers employed.

But according to Country Living, one out-there theory says Winchester built the house after talking to a medium, who recommended building a house big enough for the souls of everyone killed with a Winchester rifle. According to this theory, the house was so bizarre because she wanted to “confuse” the ghosts. This theory is clearly the one that made it into the movie, which features countless shots of scary ghosts and creepy Helen Mirren.

If you want to do more research before the movie hits theaters this February, you can actually visit the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. It’s open to tourists and is probably amazing to check out around Halloween. You know, if you dare.

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Megan Friedman

Megan Friedman is the former managing editor of the Newsroom at Hearst. She's worked at NBC and Time, and is a graduate of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism.