Winter 2018 Bucket List

Thanksgiving has come and gone and now it is Christmas Vibes time! And every year I try to compile a bucket list. I notice they are probably super similar every year. But hey, these are the most festive things, and they all just put me in the Christmas spirit. Whether or not I get to all of them, is another story. But a girl can try!

I know technically we are still in Fall, but it definitely feels like Winter out- we got snow BEFORE Thanksgiving, so it’s hard to keep the Fall vibes alive. I think I did pretty good with my Fall Bucket List, so it’s time to move on…

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My Winter 2018 Bucket List 

Buy a new tree (we chucked ours last year, it was shedding everywhere, and it was fake!)

Decorate

Buy this year’s ornament

Christmas shopping (I’ve actually started already, which is a miracle for this sometimes last minute girl!)

Fun Christmas outfits (I’m in the market for some new graphic tees, ugly sweaters, pjs. I actually just ought a tee with a snowmen on it, that says- “Oh SNOW You Didn’t!” hahaha)

Christmas movies and cocoa in a Christmas mug (my aunt just bought me the CUTEST one! I can’t wait to use it. I have been watching Lifetime on a loop with their cute Christmas movies! And Elf was on last night, so got that in already!)

Buy a Poinsettia

See the Christmas lights

Christmas vibes in the city

Find and print recipes (In my Thanksgiving research I came across a White Chocolate Cranberry Cookie recipe, and I saved it. So that’s what I think I’ll make! It just seemed more Christmasy than Thanksgivingy.)

Church tree lighting

Best Friend Sleepover (my best friend and I have done this for as long as I can remember and even though she’s married now, we still make time for our best friend traditions!)

Visit my junior high school friends (We’re all adults now with busy lives and it gets hard to see each other but we’ve been trying to make it more of yearly thing! Thanks to social media I feel like we keep up pretty well, but nothing is better than seeing each other in real time. It’s like no time has past at all!)

Dinner Exchange with my other bestie (my other best friend and I usually get together to exchange over a nice dinner. It’s a good time! And there’s usually wine and we’re foodies so there’s that, lol.)

Watch the Rockefeller Tree Lighting on tv- I always miss it!

Send out Santa Mail for my favorite kiddies! (this is a tradition I started with my god daughter when she was born and now I do it for her little brother and for my new little niece!) 

 

What’s on your Bucket List this coming winter season?

Did I miss anything?

*I do not take credit for the image used.*

-<3-

 

 

 

Lifetime is stepping up their game

It’s been a minute, I know! After BLOGTOBER, the plan was to get back to my regular Monday, Thursday post schedule, but then NaNoWriMo started and that’s where all of my energy has been going. So please forgive me. I will be more on target once the NaNo craziness dies down. [More updates on that coming soon!]

With that being said, today’s post is a fun one!

You guys know, I’m definitely a Hallmark girl. I love the romantic movies and I love that everything some how magically ends up perfectly perfect at the end of every movie, bringing us that jolly holiday spirit movie after movie. But considering I no longer get the Hallmark channel. I have turned to Lifetime to fill that void.

Now yes, Lifetime is a bit different. It is known for it’s psycho stalker, terribly named “scary” films. But this holiday season they are seriously stepping up their game. In fact over the past few weeks I’ve watched so many of their Christmas movies and some of them I really loved!  4 Christmases and a Wedding is one of my favs, super cute! These movies kinda give me those holiday feels. 

There is also this other film, I don’t think it’s a Lifetime original- but it’s called Noel it was made in 2004 and stars quite a few big names like Susan Sarandon, Robin Williams, Paul Walker, Penelope Cruz, and Alan Arkin. It is an absolutely beautiful film. There are so many levels to it. And Paul Walker really is just so swoon worthy. RIP sweet Paul and  sweet Robin. 

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Lifetime also has some big holiday plans coming up in the next few weeks!

Take a look.

First up…The Christmas Contract Starring some of the OTH fam- Hilarie Burton, Robert Buckley, Antwon Tanner, Daneel Ackles, and Tyler Hilton!

The Christmas Contract Premieres this Thursday/Thanksgiving Day- November 22nd, @ 8 PM on Lifetime. Followed by a special talk show event- ‘Tis the Season- A One Tree Hill Cast Reunion @ 10 PM. Check your Local Listings! (Since, I couldn’t find the promo for the OTH special, I found this behind the scenes-compilation.) 

 

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Then next up, my favorite OTH girl- Bethany Joy Lenz starring in Poinsettias for Christmas! Also shout out to Julian’s mom from OTH too- Sharon Lawrence.

Poinsettias for Christmas Premieres this Friday, November 23rd @ 8 PM on Lifetime. Check your local listings!

For the full It’s A Wonderful Lifetime Movie Preview visit their site HERE!

I don’t know about you guys, but I am ready for the OTH love, and the Christmas vibes!

 

Happy Watching!

And Happy Thanksgiving Folks!

-<3-

*I do not take credit for any footage used.* 

 

NaNoWriMo Update- Days 1-5

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Day 1

Word Goal: 1,667

Word Count: 1,680

*Extra 13 words!

Day 2

Word Goal: 3,334

Word Count: 3,376

*Extra 42 words!

Day 3

Word Goal: 5,001

Word Count: 5,172

*Extra 171 words!

Day 4

Word Goal: 6,668

Word Count: 6,875

*Extra 207 words!

Day 5

Word Goal: 8,335

Word Count: 8,376 

*Extra 41 words!

 

Notes/Things I’m learning along the way:

My first 5 days of November NaNoWriMo, went surprisingly well. I have a notebook, I dedicated to Nano. Filled with summaries, plot points, dialogue pieces, character names and backstories, my daily word goal tracker, and other helpful tools for this month. I created Daily Reports to keep track of things- like how I progress, if I meet my word count goal, if I exceed it, the times I write, how long it takes me. I also keep track of any distractions that may have come up and where I left off (including character intros, and recurring ideas) and a note for maybe where I want to go next. So that when I pick back up for the next day, I wouldn’t have to re-read everything before.

I noticed that if I block out the hours of 9-11 AM, I can clock in my word count in about an hour and a half. I usually have my head phones playing some simple instrumental music, sitting at my kitchen table, and maybe making a cup of tea before. So far that’s my writing routine.

It has worked rather nicely for me and I am proud to say, I am making great progress, for this being my first “unofficial” go at NaNoWriMo!

I wanted to throw a quick update up here (it was supposed to go up yesterday) but things have been kind of crazy lately, so today it is!

For more day to day Nano updates follow me on Insta!

 

Happy Writing!

Is any one else participating in NaNoWriMo or taking on the 30 day

challenge on their own? How’s it going?

 

*I do not take credit for the images used.*

-<3-

 

 

 

#BLOGTOBER Recap

I blogged for the entire month of November. I started off strong. I usually do, and I had some blogs lined up and ready to go. But as the month went on it did become more difficult to post regularly. However, I made it work, just like I did for BLOGMAS! 

Having done that last year definitely made me more sure of myself going into this year’s month long blog adventure. 

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BLOGTOBER

Sure, there were a few times that I lacked the inspiration,  and some posts were fillers. Sometimes I had to search for prompts online to help stir up an idea. It happens to the best of us. Sure, there were times that I was rushing to post something before midnight. I didn’t always get my social media posts up on time either, but they did go up regardless. But each blog post went up on time! All 31 of them. And I am super proud. I also was consistent in posting to my blog social accounts, which is always grueling, but I had a bit of a system and made it work. 

For the most part this challenge made me stronger. It made me create a bit of a writing routine, it made me more in touch with needing to make time for my writing and learning to be sure to make it a priority. It’s definitely a balancing act, but I am working on it. 

There were various times I was visiting family and had to excuse myself to get a post up, or I had something going on and had to jot down a post on my phone notes for later. It was crazy. But I did it. I knew I wanted to, and that I would make it to my 31 day mark. I had much more faith and certainty in myself this time, than I did last year during BLOGMAS. 

So with that being said, I am onto my next writing venture- NaNoWriMo [See: BLOGTOBER DAY 31] I definitely believe I have more confidence in taking on this journey because I just gained all this writing motivation and routine building from BLOGTOBER. Day 1 was actually really good! Stay Tuned for updates on that.

See you Monday- MLW has now returned to it’s regular Monday/Thursday schedule. 

 

And if you missed any of BLOGTOBER…check out the recap below! 

***BLOGTOBER 2018***

BLOGTOBER Day 1- An Update & Announcing #BLOGTOBER

BLOGTOBER Day 2- My 2018 Fall Bucket List

BLOGTOBER Day 3- My Fall 2018 TV Schedule

BLOGTOBER Day 4- Fall Haul- Treats, Teas, & Décor

BLOGTOBER Day 5- Where to find the best Halloween Movie Marathons

BLOGTOBER Day 6- Witchy Reboots…

BLOGTOBER Day 7- Where to find the best Halloween Movie Marathons Part 2

BLOGTOBER Day 8- It’s October again…

BLOGTOBER Day 9- Pumpkin Picking with the Family plus mini Fall Haul #2

BLOGTOBER Day 10- Stranger Things Themed Party

BLOGTOBER Day 11- MLW Halloween Themed Shorts Collection

BLOGTOBER Day 12- A Cheesy Fall Poem 😉

BLOGTOBER Day 13- A Fall Memory

BLOGTOBER Day 14- Fall Themed Gift Basket Idea

BLOGTOBER Day 15- Jewelry Making Tutorial- Memory Wire Bracelet

BLOGTOBER Day 16- TV Shows to Binge watch in the Fall Season that will give you a little spook…

BLOGTOBER Day 17- Some Recipes for the Fall Season

BLOGTOBER Day 18- Fall Mix [Middle School/High School Edition]

BLOGTOBER Day 19- The Jack-o-lantern

BLOGTOBER Day 20- Fall Smoothie Recipe

BLOGTOBER Day 21- On Halloween Night- A Poem

BLOGTOBER Day 22- Love Potion

BLOGTOBER Day 23- Fangirl Report: J.T. Edition (Who else?)

BLOGTOBER Day 24- Fall Fashion- Concert Style

BLOGTOBER Day 25- “Head Over Heels”- An Original Short Horror Script

BLOGTOBER Day 26- “Head Over Heels”- Commentary 

BLOGTOBER Day 27- Creating this year’s Pumpkin Character

BLOGTOBER Day 28- Purple/Green/Black Rocker Chic Witch Costume Idea

BLOGTOBER Day 29- Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”- A Film Muse

BLOGTOBER Day 30- Fall 2018 Bucket List Update

BLOGTOBER Day 31- Exciting Announcement!

 

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-<3-

#BLOGTOBER Day 31- Exciting Announcement!

Day 31. I made it! I can’t believe I blogged everyday for a month! I feel so accomplished. I was due for this challenge, since I basically went on a 2 month hiatus over the summer. 

For today I intended on posting a Halloween themed short story. But I’m still in the mist of writing it, and it’s not super Halloween related so I figured rather than stress myself out all night trying to rush to finish it, I will just finish it when I can and post when it’s ready. My stories always end up being longer, than I ever anticipate. 

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However, as I mentioned in my Fall Bucket List-  I will be participating in NaNoWriMo. What, you ask? NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month.

It’s basically the month where writers challenge themselves to write about 2,000 words everyday for the entire month of November- clocking in at 50,000 words. Resulting in the idea that you will then have written the first draft of a novel in a month.

There is a whole community of writers who have been doing this for years. I am a newbie. I never even knew this was a thing. I’m not much of a reader, so I’m a bit reserved about writing a book. 

But I figured why the hell not? I love all different types of forms of writing and I’ve dabbled in many. Why not try a book? So often I doubt myself without actually giving myself the chance to fail or to learn something knew about myself. When you really break it down, I just love to tell stories. 

I wasn’t sure I could do BLOGMAS (Blog everyday for the entire month of December) last year, but I did it. Which gave me the courage to then conquer BLOGTOBER this year! And I was committed and here we are at Day 31! I learned about NaNoWriMo a few months ago, so I started to jot down a few ideas for a book. I have a pretty decent notebook full of charcters and plot points, dialogue lines, some research. I know I have along way to go, there is still some things I don’t know, but I just didn’t have time to really dive into planning, what with doing BLOGTOBER too. 

In hindsight, doing that is a bit of a bitter sweet notion at this point. Today, I am so relieved to be done, but I know tomorrow, I’m starting a whole new venture of writing everyday. However, BLOGTOBER was really good practice for that. I kind of started my own little writing routine, and now I’m excited to get into my new story for this book idea.

Granted I have my reservations, I know there are already a bunch of days that it will be difficult to write but, I’m just going to really give it my best go. I always identify with being a writer, but I don’t write as often as I should. So by accepting these challenges, I am willing myself to write. To be the writer, I want to be. To let people know, that, that is what I am. And to accept that as a part of my life. 

So often I let my writing slide, because I have other obligations. But I’m learning when to choose myself and my writing. I’m learning when I can let it slide and when I know I have to say no. I wrestle with the balance, but I will never be a writer if I don’t try. 

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to officially sign up with the NaNoWriMo site, so I decided I was going to just to this thing on my own, just for the first time. Then if I find I want to try again next year, then I will register and join the online community.

So here’s the plan- Tomorrow is Day 1. I plan to get up early and write for two hours, and hopefully clock my first 2,000 words in. I don’t really plan/plot out too much, when I write. I guess I’m a pantser in that sense, or a mix of both a plotter and a pantser.

I just started following this Author/YouTuber when I was doing some NaNoWriMo research, she explains the whole Pantser/Plotter thing really well in her How To Outline Your Book video. 

I will plan and construct a timeline, when I feel like things aren’t adding, up, time frames, and flashbacks. Things like that. That’s when I know I need to sus out some logistics and plan ahead. Other than I that I just go with the flow and see where the story takes me. 

So that’s what I’m going to do. NaNoWriMo here we come!

I’m coming for you November!

DISCLAIMER: Michelle Leigh Writes will return to it’s regular Monday & Thursday posting schedule. 

Happy Halloween Folks!

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And Cheers to a new writing adventure!
Wish me luck!

 

*NaNoWriMo images from the official site.

I do not take credit for those or for the video used.*

-<3-

 

 

 

 

#BLOGTOBER Day 30- Fall 2018 Bucket List Update

Earlier in BLOGTOBER I posted my Fall 2018 Bucket List. [SEE HERE] I love fall, I love getting into the spirit of the season, and I love me a good to do/bucket list. 

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UPDATE!

So as Halloween rolls in. I wanted to check my progress on my trusty ole to do list.

There were 14  or so items on the list, and I was able to check off a good chunk of those this month!

Pumpkin Picking. CHECK

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Decorate for Fall/Halloween/Thanksgiving. CHECK

My house is festive AF!
Pumpkin Carving. CHECK

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Buy pies, jams, ciders, and other fall drinks/treats. CHECK

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Trick or Treat with my niece…

After tomorrow…CHECK

Watch Hocus Pocus & Halloweentown. CHECK

Some things I added along the way- like watching tons of fun Halloween movies including House of Wax, and listening to spooky soundtracks like MJs Thriller on a loop.

Others like the JT concert was actually postponed til January- which hey is out of my control. But I am READY!

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I wasn’t able to get to the movies as I wished. But life gets busy, what can you do? I did buy a cheap copy of Halloween so maybe I’ll watch it tomorrow night.

I didn’t make it to Apple Fest again this year, because my family got super busy. But truth be told I was better off, since I ended spending quite a pretty penny at the little shop at the farm we went to for pumpkin picking.

Fall fashion has been a bit of a bust, I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t gotten a chance to swap out my summer clothes for my fall clothes. And because the weather has been so unpredictable I just never know. Let’s hope November is a bit more “fashionable. Lol.

My pumpkin party and wine & cheese party ideas didn’t happen this month but I’m hopeful for next. My best friend and I are trying to set up our pumpkin party. And to be honest, I’m dying to host a wine and cheese party myself! 

As for NaNoWriMo- I am still planning to do this, however it doesn’t start til Thursday so stay tuned for an update on that. November is going to be insane. But I am interested to see how this works. 

Fall isn’t over yet…November will be a time to conquer the rest…especially finding those Thanksgiving recipes and who knows maybe dye my hair purple? Haha. I know it costs a lot and it is a big commitment- I had my blue hair for ages. So when I do it, it has to be the right time. Stay tuned for that too!

Happy Fall All!

Did you get to check all the fall things off your bucket list? 

See you tomorrow for our final #BLOGTOBER POST! 

Working on a short story as we speak! The plan was to get half up today and the last half up tomorrow, but it’s taking longer to write than I expected. And it won’t be ready before midnight, so hang tight. Whether it’s done by tomorrow or night, I will still post it eventually.

 

*All images are my own.*

-<3-

#BLOGTOBER Day 29- Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”- A Film Muse

As a huge Michael Jackson fan, I know that all of his videos are very detailed and tell a story. But the true leader of the pact has to be the iconic, nearly 14 minute long, short film- Thriller.

Michael Jackson’s Thriller- A Film Muse

Although I was not born until the 90’s, this video was always a big deal around Halloween, I grew up listening to Michael Jackson. And I try to make sure to watch and listen to Thriller every Halloween season. It just puts you in the spirit. 

MJ’s message at the beginning-

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I read that Michael had said this video offended people, which he never intended to, and that he would never want to do something like it again. But even so, the legacy of it lives on and on!

Color theme is pretty instant upon the reveal of the title- black and red- just like his iconic leather jacket. 

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Michael Jackson’s Thriller is a music video for the Michael Jackson song “Thriller” released on December 2, 1983. It was directed by John Landis and written by Landis and Jackson. It was MTV’s first world premiere video. Voted as the most influential pop music video of all time, Thriller proved to have a profound effect on popular culture, and was named “a watershed moment for the [music] industry” for its unprecedented merging of filmmaking and music. Guinness World Records listed it in 2006 as the “most successful music video”, selling over nine million copies. In 2009, the video was inducted into the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, the first music video to ever receive this honor, for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant. The track was also listed at number one on “The Top 10 Halloween Songs” by Billboard. 

Co-starring with Jackson was former Playboy centerfold Ola Ray. The video was choreographed by Michael Peters (who had worked with the singer on his prior hit “Beat It”), and Jackson. Jackson contacted Landis after seeing his film An American Werewolf in London; make-up artist Rick Baker and composer Elmer Bernstein (who composed incidental music for the video) were also brought from the film to work on the video. The video (like the song) contains a spoken word performance by horror film veteran Vincent Price. “Thriller” was the third and final video for the Thriller album. The red jacket that Jackson wore was designed by Landis’ wife Deborah Landis to make him appear more “virile”. – All info Via Wikipedia.

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Summary [If you live under a rock and have never seen this masterpiece…Watch Before Reading the spoilers below!]

In the 1950s, Michael Jackson and a young woman (Ola Ray) run out of gas while driving in a wooded area. They walk into the forest and Michael asks her to be his girlfriend. She accepts. Jackson warns her that he is “not like other guys”, transforms into a werewolf, and attacks her.  In a modern-day movie theater, Michael and his girlfriend are watching the previous scene as part of horror film, Thriller. She leaves early, disturbed by the violence. As they walk in the street, Michael teases her by performing the verses of “Thriller”. In a graveyard, undead rise from their graves as Vincent Price narrates. The couple are surrounded and Michael becomes a zombie. He and the zombies dance to “Thriller”. Michael and the zombies chase his girlfriend into an abandoned house. She screams and wakes up, realizing it was a nightmare. Michael embraces her, but turns to the camera and grins, revealing his werewolf eyes. – Via Wikipedia

This video has everything. It has great music (that chorus! how can you NOT sing along), a killer dance break, a cool concept with a movie within a movie, dancing zombies, a werewolf transformation, young love, and that Vincent Price epic cackle at the end that will always give me chills…I mean what more can you ask for?

I love how they got the 50’s charcters to dress the part- the poodle skirt/letterman jacket/ and him asking her to go steady by giving her his ring. Then we see the 80’s inspired fashion in the current timeline. I love the red and blue hues in Jackson and Ray’s wardrobe. Blue hues are often used in horror. They match the spooky night sky and rolling fog, as they walk through the dewy streets while he serenades her. That whole sequence is probably my favorite because it’s cute and playful like something you’d see in a romantic comedy, and then shit gets real in a minute. Excuse the language. 😉 Jackson’s character is funny and a jokester, but when he turns, he turns! And instantly you feel like your worst nightmares are coming true…like your starring in a horror movie yourself. 

It has all the markings of a horror film, the carefully placed “scary movie” suspense music/sound effects, creatures closing in creating that claustrophobic feeling (those closeup shots are so good- they make you feel like you are right there in the film). And let’s not forget the overly dramatic actress, screaming. Ah- a true ode to horror. It is mentioned in the wiki research that they had specific horror films they used as inspiration through the creation of the short film- naming films like Phantom of the Opera, Night of the Living Night, and I Was A Teenage Werewolf. 

That toe touch!

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I love how you have to suspend reality and just trust the storyline. There is a bit of a confusion, because we are basically watching a movie within a movie. The way that this is set up is brilliant. You get a mini intro, a fake out, then cue the song’s intro as we pan onto the theatre sign, as the story continues. That shot of the movie theatre was done with a crane, I saw in the behind the scenes. Epic!

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#INCEPTION

So in the beginning we see a young couple walking through the woods and then the guy turns into a werewolf, but it ends up being a movie Michael and his girl are watching. Are we to believe that the whole rest of the short film is the real deal? When Michael turns into a zombie and busts a move, only to later chase his girlfriend into an old house and be revealed as his regular self again, telling her, “What’s the problem? Come on, I’ll take you home,” like everything is fine. Did you see that lighting change/setting change though? #MovieMagic Making us think that the movie scared the wits out of her and is making her think all of these creepy creatures are real and chasing her. But then we get that turn back of Michael revealing his werewolf eyes accompanied by Vincent Price’s Laugh and you see that suspending reality is a beautiful thing and you just watched a masterpiece. 

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I love that ending, even if it confuses me. Haha. I guess it wasn’t all in her head. 

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Don’t get me wrong, there are some cheesy moments here and there. But like I teach my kids in my film class, these graphics were groundbreaking for that time in film and video. We grow and we get better. And effects improve through the years, but you have to start somewhere. And this was an EPIC start! Paved the way.

This video is iconic and still to this day inspires other artists to push the boundaries of music television and storytelling. 

 

Behind the Scenes of Michael’s Werewolf & Zombie transformations, etc.

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Cue the shot of the moon…so good!

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For more BTS information watch the hour long Documentary-

The Making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller

LISTEN TO THE AUDIO

THRILLER LYRICS

READ MORE INFO ABOUT THE THRILLER VIDEO 

FYI Jackson did venture into horror again, in his 1996 musical short film- GHOSTS (running 39 minutes). This too was granted a documentary- The Making Of. Although I can’t find concrete info as to how it was released in the US, I remember watching this on tv with my family when I was a kid. I feel like it was a big Halloween special. It is so creepy, but so damn good. I can’t find the full version on YouTube but I linked a shorter version. This is a whole other Film Muse in the making, maybe next Halloween. 😀 

I’ll never understand how he could make a dance break scary?

Hats off, Michael. May you rest in peace. 

 

*I do not take credit for any images/gifs/music/lyrics/videos/BTS footage used.*

-<3-