Have you ever played a board game and wished you could outrun a masked killer instead of just buying up some plastic houses or sinking somebody's battleship? Perhaps a masked killer from an iconic and beloved franchise? The folks behind the Stop The Killer game series have got you covered. Having collaborated with Fright-Rags to produce officially licensed board games of slasher classics like Silent Night, Deadly Night and My Bloody Valentine, they've now set their sites on producing a board game based on the original Halloween II.
The game will follow a similar format to previous Stop The Killer series titles. With Silent Night, Deadly Night, "The objective of the game for all players is to simply try to stop Billy from getting to the orphanage, and that's it. Everyone is on the same side, but everyone is also in jeopardy because let's face it, no one is safe in a horror movie," explains Stop The Killer creator Anthony Masi. "It's fun gathering weapons, entering Kill Zones, and getting around obstacles to try and land on Billy's space and go to battle." For Halloween II, the players will, of course, have to navigate their way through Haddonfield Memorial to escape from Michael Myers through a series of dice rolls and strategic moves.
But the Stop The Killer series isn't just producing a Halloween II game. With an upcoming crowdfunding campaign launching on June 14, Stop The Killer's Anthony Masi has created a mega-commercial for the board game that also serves as a companion piece to the franchise. I had the pleasure of being on set, and the production was more like a film production than a traditional commercial.
As Masi explains, "What started out as a small trailer turned into something much more ambitious with four actors and an eleven-person crew, and it got fairly expensive. But I really believed this trailer could be something special, and since Universal approved the script, we were essentially filming an official Halloween mini-movie."
Written and directed by Matt Russell, the commercial is set in Haddonfield Memorial on the same night as the first two Halloween films, as The Shape stalks the halls searching for Laurie Strode. It follows the timeline of Halloween II exactly, with an affectionate level of detail that's a true testament to how much passion the Stop The Killer team has for their projects. These are officially licensed games, and they consult with the filmmakers themselves. When they worked on the My Bloody Valentine game, the team consulted the film's director George Mihalka, to meet the highest standard possible.
With Halloween II, they've gone above and beyond to prove their love for these titles to the fans with easter eggs and subtle references that would rival an MCU flick. As someone who had the privilege of serving as a production assistant on the shoot, I can personally attest that one of the first things done on set was adjusting all the clocks to line up with the chronology of Halloween II, with the commercial taking place only minutes before the movie's climax.
The commercial even makes a direct reference to characters referenced but not seen in Halloween II and fleshes out some plot points, which makes the commercial an even more exciting prospect for Matt Russell. "There are quite a few references to characters and events from the film itself, but my favorite is definitely getting to feature Julie, who is mentioned in the movie but never seen. Not only do we learn that the habitually late Nurse Karen is relieving her for the night, but we also get a hint as to why she may have embellished that story about having seen Michael Myers. I thought it would be a great little Easter egg for the die-hard fans like myself," he says. Russell also personally wrote up a "daily issue" of Haddonfield's local paper to be used as a prop, given out to the cast and crew after the shoot.
Michael Myers is now played by Lito Velasco, a professional cosplayer who inspired a viral meme years earlier as The Shape. "[Lito]was the first person we cast because he is the greatest Michael Myers cosplayer I've ever seen," said Russell. "He knew exactly how to emulate Dick Warlock's distinctive performance as The Shape."
The cast is rounded out by Los Angeles actors Jesse Gallagher, Jaley Hoyt, and Kevin Medlin, who were chosen from over 700 applicants. Masi and Russell credit their eleven-person crew for delivering such an ambitious project on a short deadline, particularly Director of Photography Kelvin Kataria and Assistant Director Michael Joseph Smith, who filmed the six-page commercial in a one-day shoot. But you would never know they were working on such a limited schedule, with the cinematography and set design perfectly evoking the stylish, atmospheric tone of the original films.
After their crowdfunding campaign, Stop The Killer will develop their next licensed game based on another iconic slasher. But which one? They're not saying just yet. But Masi promises they're "Making that announcement at the end of July, at [their] booth at the Midsummer Scream Convention in Long Beach, California." Until then, you have all of their current games to tide you over. You can also look forward to their upcoming novelization of Silent Night, Deadly Night this December. I would recommend their novelization of My Bloody Valentine, but it sold out almost immediately. All the while, they continue to develop new games. Even Matt Russell can't believe how busy Anthony Masi keeps himself with all these projects.
"He did all of that while also finalizing the board game design, organizing the Kickstarter campaign, setting up the next few Stop the Killer products, and juggling several other projects! In the words of Dr. Loomis, 'This guy— This man is— He's not human!'"