Hammer Plans Winchester Mystery House Feature

In the first deal of its kind, the San Jose, California based Winchester Mystery House considered the “world’s most haunted house” is authorizing Hammer, an Exclusive Media company, the use of its unique property for a feature film based on its legendary story. Hammer has optioned all rights to develop and produce the feature film with Imagination Design Works (IDW) and Nine/8 Entertainment, it was announced today by Simon Oakes, Vice-Chairman of Exclusive Media and President & CEO of Hammer, and Guy East and Nigel Sinclair, Co-Chairmen of Exclusive Media.

Production on the supernatural horror film currently in development will be overseen by Exclusive Media’s Tobin Armbrust, President of Worldwide Production and Acquisitions, and Shira Rockowitz, Director of Development and Production. Brett Tomberlin and Antonia Lianos will produce for Imagination Design Works, Inc along with Andrew Trapani and Brian Gilbert for Nine/8 Entertainment.

“The Winchester House has a rich and compelling history. The story behind how it was built has attracted a great deal of attention over the years and we are excited to bring that mythology to film,” said Tobin Armbrust. “We are also thrilled, and terrified, that the House has allowed us to film on the premises.”

“We are extremely excited to be partnering with Exclusive Media to bring the story of the Winchester Mystery House to a global audience. For many years, the mystique and history of this unique venue, and its owner Sarah Winchester, could be experienced only by those visiting the site. Now, with a film shot in and around the House, Sarah’s spirit will be brought back to life, and the audience will see first-hand this stunning and bizarre house,” said Brett Tomberlin, President, Imagination Design Works.

The Winchester Mystery House has a startling history and attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists annually. Popular belief holds that Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester Rifle fortune, was convinced she was haunted by the spirits of those killed by “the gun that won the west.” Following a Medium’s advice, Sarah built a massive house in Northern California to appease the spirits. For the next 38 years, she never stopped building believing that if she continued, she would live forever, and if she stopped, she would die. Known as the “house built for the spirits,” there have been many inexplicable ghost sightings and to this day, visitors share their terrifying stories of having been in the presence of these departed souls who continue to roam the grounds of the intricate and enigmatic house.

Imagination Design Works, Inc. organizes the famous “Fright Nights,” a special ticketed event held at the Winchester Mystery House during the month of October, providing a true Halloween experience to visitors.

Andrew Trapani of Nine/8 Entertainment previously produced The Haunting in Connecticut for Lionsgate. Released in Spring 2009 and starring Oscar Nominee Virginia Madsen, Haunting opened as the #2 film in the U.S., generating over $23M at the box office in its opening weekend of release and is now amongst the top grossing films in Lionsgate history. Trapani also recently produced The Chosen One, an animated film for the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.

Upcoming projects include executive producing the TV series, “Wallace,” based on the life of Scotsman William Wallace, created and written by Mick Davis, the original supernatural thriller Candle, and a biopic about famed auto-maker John DeLorean. Trapani began his entertainment career as a video game designer and producer for Crystal Dynamics, Inc where he oversaw the development and production of some of the first Sony Playstation games.

Brian Gilbert most recently produced Warner Bros. Premiere/Cartoon Network’s “Scooby Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster” and “Scooby Doo! The Mystery Begins.” His past film credits include the horror film Wrong Turn starring Desmond Harrington, Eliza Dushku and Jeremy Sisto released by 20th Century Fox and nominated for Best Film at the Sitges Catalonian International Film Festival, as well as The Deaths of Ian Stone starring Mike Vogel, Jaime Murray and Christina Cole released by After Dark Films. Gilbert is also executive producer alongside Trapini on “Wallace” and produced as well as directed The Chosen One.

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