Helen Mirren promotes her new horror movie Winchester

Helen Mirren is an incredibly prolific actor, having explored almost every genre of storytelling imaginable. She has won almost every acting award, and now is moving onto a new movie. Just don’t call is a horror film!

“I don’t categorize this as a horror film,” Mirren told io9 in Los Angeles earlier in the week. “I categorize it as a ghost story. I think there’s a real difference between the two. And I think ghost stories have had a long and rather noble history in filmmaking.”

The film is based on the true story of Sarah Winchester, widow of William Winchester. He ran the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. Once she gained ownership of the company, she began doing renovations to her mansion in San Jose, California in strange and unexplainable ways. The construction lasted for almost 40 years.

“No one knows why she built that house,” Mirren said. “No one knows why two Shakespeare quotes are on stained glass panels there. You read those two quotes and you can’t quite figure out what she’s trying to say. So the whole thing is full of mystery, and of course that’s fabulous for our story.”

The movie follows the popular line of thinking that Winchester believed she was cursed due to all the deaths attributed to her husband’s guns. That hook, a ghost story with some political subtext, is one of the main reasons Mirren got on board with the film.