Universally regarded as a classic, Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window is one of the most engaging and groundbreaking films of its time. The immaculate masterpiece not only highlights the voyeuristic disposition of human behavior but allows viewers to participate through the eyes of its iconic character, L.B. “Jeff” Jeffries (James Stewart), a photographer who spends his whole day watching the actions of his neighbors. With the film just two years shy of its 70th anniversary, Funko is bringing the definitive film to its party game collection with a new collector’s item that will have fans experience the masterpiece through deduction and suspense in a creative tabletop of observational skills and deductive reasoning.
In an exclusive with PopCulture.com to chat about the game, now available to purchase in-store and at digital retailers, Funko’s General Manager Deidre Cross and game designer Dexter Stevens revealed that as mega fans of the film, bringing it to life in the form of a tabletop party game was not only “great fun,” but a no-brainer, especially as it was born amid the pandemic where many of us channeled our inner Jeff.
“If we think about the story, even for people who haven’t seen the original Alfred Hitchcock film, they know it’s so large in the Zeitgeist,” Cross told PopCulture, sharing how the film has become a pop culture staple in film and television since its debut in 1954. “It’s so big in the Zeitgeist. Even without knowing the film, you know it. We know it, we suspect something has happened, we’re all lurking, and actually when we greenlit the project, we were all at home in our houses in 2020, looking out the window, like ‘Hey, what’s going on over there?’ So we’re like, ‘Oh, this is perfect. This is perfect timing!’ We’re all trapped, we’re all bored. But, Alfred Hitchcock is such a master of suspense and it had always been a dream of ours to bring his storytelling to the tabletop.”
Through eye-catching packaging that features gorgeous artwork with a striking likeness to Stewart and Grace Kelly, the game from Prospero Hall studios finds players carefully observing strange clues and ominous patterns in the incidents going on in apartments across from them. Similar to the film, there are parties, knives, a saw, bickering, laughing, music and a mysterious trunk. For an estimated 40 minutes of gameplay, one player becomes “The Director,” while others take on the role of “The Watchers.” As the director provides clues to the watchers observing the apartment complex through the rear window of Jeff’s apartments, watchers must figure out which residents live in the four different apartments, what traits or “attributes” apply to their four residences and whether or not a murder has taken place in one of the four complexes. But has murder been committed or is the secretive, private world of neighbors planting dreadful doubt in your mind?
Stevens tells PopCulture to bring Rear Window to life for a Funko tabletop game, there was no doubt an approachable component needed to elevate its already pristine premise as Hitchcock’s eye and history for suspenseful filmmaking set the tone for the gameplay. “There’s a human element that was really needed for ‘The Director’ to the presence of the director and the presence of that suspense to be felt. There’s nothing like having a person who is able to listen to what everyone is saying at the table while they’re trying to solve a mystery,” he said, adding how some of the actions taken are deliberate in helping the game get along or to stir something up. “You can play with the people that you’re playing with and you get to play with the group that you’re playing with.”
Sharing how it took a year and a half to strategize and produce the cooperative, decision-making game, Cross says a lot of the waiting was dependent on licensing, which was first talked about in 2019 as the artwork played a major role in the tabletop’s conception. “It takes a long time to get all the ducks in a row and kudos to our amazing Funko licensing team — they are just awesome, and got us Alfred Hitchcock, plus Grace Kelly’s estate, plus Jimmy Stewart’s estate. All of these had to come together because we felt like those characters were also so important to see and have in this story,” she said of the beautiful illustrations both on the box and in the game that transports players to the 1950s with that Hitchcock nostalgia. “It was quite a long development and then as you see from the artwork in the game — how do you tell the story that we saw on the screen while also expanding that and making it both specific and vague in a way that it could be interpreted in a new way every time we play? So, just the specification for what the art might look like, that was months of development for the art and the gameplay and the testing of that content.”
With Funko going in a more creative, artistic direction than say their Ted Lasso Party Game that utilizes stills from the series, Cross said the reason they chose art for their game was the sheer fact of not wanting to play it “beat for beat” from the film. “We wanted every time you play it to be a discovery and then perhaps a little bit of mystery and some uncertainty about what was happening,” she said. “So that required us to expand the scope of the artwork beyond what Alfred Hitchcock shared on screen.”
Stevens adds if there were stills in the game from the movie, it would be way too literal for players. “It would maybe almost mislead a super fan who has seen the movie so many times,” he added, sharing how the illustrations work toward the player’s own inventiveness versus the preconceived notions constructed from the classic film. “There’s a little bit more left to the imagination, I think with the paintings that we have.”
The customizable experience can be played with three to five players but also works as a two-player game. For families looking to make it a more G-rated game, they can do away with the murder tiles. In such a case, the Director would work with the Watchers rather than against them, making the game easier too. The Rear Window Tabletop Game from Funko, is now available in stores and at digital retailers like Amazon, and features a director screen, a watcher screen, four-day boards, solution board, four-watcher placards, 70 window cards, 102 tiles, 45 tokens, a trunk box, four wooden cubes and instructions — most creatively spotlighted through a faux magazine-style featuring Jeff’s LIFE magazine snapshots. For more on Funko games and all things Alfred Hitchcock, keep it locked to PopCulture.com for the latest.