#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-

MJ thriller message

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. 

Michael_Jackson's_Thriller_title_card[1]

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.

Así-luce-Ola-Ray-35-años-después-de-Thriller[1]

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!

image[1]

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!

mj-popcorn[1]

#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. 

gif[1]
thriller-michael-jackson[1]

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

14490842053131[1]

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.

tenor[1]

Cue the shot of the moon…so good!

michael-j-fox-teen-wolf[1]

151113101345-01-tbt-michael-jackson-thriller-restricted-super-169[1]
151113102245-05-tbt-michael-jackson-thriller-restricted-super-169[1]
151113102545-08-tbt-michael-jackson-thriller-restricted-super-169[1]
ec27f9_49f5e2be1f844bc890369c54024a7748~mv2[1]

 

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-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

R.I.P to the G.O.A.T- Mr. Michael Jackson

Just an extra segway today…I had to pay tribute…

o0500037413283404892[1]

 

bad-badder-the-bad-world-tour-billie-jean-michael-jackson-19013348-873-955[1]There is no one that can touch what he’s done. The legacy he’s left through music. I’m not talking about the rumors or the hateful stories that plagued and continue to plague his bright light. None of us know the full truth. But I am simply talking about talent, about drive and striving to be the best, never settling. That’s what he was about. That’s what matters. His music is what matters. His music is timeless, it bridges gaps between all generations. My mom grew up with The Jackson 5, and I grew up listening to his music in the house, knowing and loving the same. And I know my kids will know what good music is too. You can’t deny the intro to “Billie Jean,” or the feeling of needing to strut as

MAY 15 1988  Jackson, Michael - Ind.

The Way You Make Me Feel” starts. But behind the fancy melodies and instrumentals is always a message he was trying to tell. In songs like “Heal The World” and “Earth Song he speaks about wanting to make the world a better place. He reinvented music videos with his 14 minute mini movie “Thriller,” making music videos a place to tell the stories behind the lyrics. All of that is his legacy and that is what makes him the Greatest Of All Time. What makes him a Legend. 6 years…Wow, it never gets easier to believe. I remember when it happened I literally just graduated High School and I remember thinking it was some kind of cruel media joke. But I know his music lives on! RIP King Of Pop no one does it better. ❤ #RIPmj #MichaelJackson #KingOfPop #GOAT #BADDESTintheBizz

giphy[1]

* I do not take any credit for any images, gifs, or videos used.*

-<3-

michael_jackson_tributeember___by_the_joking_horse-d34jhyk[1]

michael-jackson-quotes-sayings-originality-success

My Top 5 Favorite Michael Jackson Videos

Michael_jackson_panther_dance 38971-michael_jackson_jpg_630x461_q85 michael_jackson

#5: You Rock My World

 Clocking in at over 13 minutes, another gangster related mini movie was born. And I’m ok with this. This was the first single off of Michael’s last album Invincible, while he was alive to record and release new music himself. To be quite honest this album had not been as well received as all his previous ones. But I have to say that I really enjoyed it. There are songs from that able that I adore, and that I think should be recognized more. You Rock My World, is another guy chases girl only this time Chris Tucker lends a hand brings the funny. I can count 3 jokey shout outs on Chris’ account to Michael’s previous hits….”That girl’s a pretty young thang…I don’t know I got a bad feeling about this, I think we should just beat it…this girl is dangerous.” To me this video proved that Michael still had it. Although his game could use a little work, “Hey! Come here.”  Michael just because you cat call at a girl, don’t mean she’ll come running. Just Sayin’. 😉 But props for always wanting to save a “damsel in distress.” It’s all about wanting to keep her safe. Then at the 3 minute mark…something magical happens, Michael’s silhouette takes the stage and the original song is started off as an a capella. It’s a beautiful thing to hear the shuffle of his feet as he throws out each move and the snapping of his fingers. You know another legendary dance routine is about to take you over. Brace yourself for the king.

#4: Black Or White

Oh hey Macaulay Culkin….kids and their loud music. Parents just don’t understand. The guitar in this song is unbelievable and gives me goosebumps. It don’t matter if you’re black or white. It’s simple. We are all equal. That’s the message here. “I’m not gonna spend my life bein a color.” And Having been scrutinized for his ski color change, Michael set the record straight. [disclaimer: Michael was said to have bleached his skin due to a skin condition] But never the less this video is incredible and sends a great message. I love the ending where all the faces of people of all different genders, race, color, looks, shapes, sizes, change and morph into one another! Bravo Michael. Message received.

#3: Smooth Criminal

Clocking in at nearly 10 minutes, Michael delivers again. In his typical fedora and suit,  only Michael Jackson could flip a coin from across the room into a jukebox and kick start a song. 😉  “Annie are you ok?” And we set off into yet another record making dance routine. The famous MJ lean (no hands ma!) What I love about Michael videos most is that every video follows a specific plot line. I’m a sucker for a gangster squad storyline. You are thrown into this world and you believe it. You are a part of it. And every disagreement, every fight, is fought through dance. And it’s a beautiful thing. Each video has coined us an epic and trademark dance move/ moves.

#2: The Way You Make Me Feel

“GO ON GIRL! ” This video is actually such a favorite of mine it just misses the #1 spot. If there was no Thriller this would be it. But then again no one wants to live in a world where Thriller doesn’t exist! Ok so let me break it down for you. Not only is this song probably my favorite Michael Jackson song…(that’s saying a lot!) but the storyline of this video is just SO GOOD. Basically it’s a guy chasing a girl. Girl passes him up and he screams “HEYY!!!” (my favorite part) You knock me off of my feet now baby, HOOOO!” and then the lion/tiger growl cues and the beat starts and Michael begins his strut and conquest of getting the girl. It is so so good, that I can’t take it. And the silhouetted dance break is badass.

#1: Thriller

Directed by John Landis. Greatest music video of all time. I love how it tells a story. It goes from a movie date to them basically living in their own movie. It breaks the barriers between reality and fantasy. The makeup is still kick ass and attests the stand of time. Those zombie dancers could easily be seen on the zombie phenomenon The Walking Dead. Even though effects and horror have come such a long way, and some may say this video is a mirrored cheap version of a mini horror movie. This video came out in the 80’s which means the cinematography, costume design, and makeup done in this were all cutting edge and broke the mold. If you ask me, I still get slight chills when watching this video or even just hearing the song, and when Vincent Price’s laughing cackle shrieks out at the end, and we see Michael turn around with those yellow cat like eyes. Ugh SO GOOD. Love this video! Your skin just crawls. It’s a video that makes you scared one second and want the dance the next. The dancing is the coolest routine I’ve ever seen and the song is just…well let’s put it this way…. This video is complete proof of why Michael Jackson is considered the greatest entertainer of all time. Thriller is the longest music video (clocking in at about 14 minutes long) which started the mini movie music video trend both for Michael and future artists.

[See Justin Timberlake’s What Goes Around…Comes Around]

*The thing about Michael’s videos is that there’s always a story. there’s always a build up. They start slow, hit you with a climax then resolve the issue at hand. So many videos these days are rubbish because it’s all big booty girls who are half naked grinding on a pole. There’s no storyline, no intrigue, no cinematic dreamery. Music is such an amazing outlet and how beautiful it is when you can see it being bright to life. The video for a music video should always match the message in the song.*

Random Bonus Video…because it’s just too good to leave out!

A haunted house gone wrong. Stephen King was involved in the story writing…which I never knew and that makes so much sense now that I think about it.  In this creeper Halloween special Michael lives in an old creaky creeper mansion, and when neighbors come over to complain Michael challenges those who call him a freak. I remember watching the making of this with my family. We were all gathered around the tv and were completely amazed. It was a big special and video release, just in time for Halloween. This is a legit film short. Coming in at over a half an hour. Michael reinvents his level of creativity and the barriers he will cross to achieve it. Fun Fact: Michael plays “Michael” and the overly judgmental guy in a suit and several other characters!

-<3-

Remembering Michael Jackson

michael-jackson

Today marks the 5th Year Anniversary of Michael Jackson’s Death. Till this day I almost still feel like michael-jackson-tell-all-bookit’s a cruel joke. And what’s even sadder is that out of the two major things that happened that day, (his death and my high school graduation) the former is what actually always comes to mind first on this day.

Michael JacksonI’ve always found it odd when they called the date someone passed away an Anniversary. Aren’t Anniversaries causes for celebration; as in a wedding anniversary, or the anniversary of a couple’s first date or first kiss, or first whatever. It’s usually a celebration of love. But when someone passes, the love or adoration or respect of their craft you once had for them doesn’t just go away. And it never will.

So I guess Anniversary is a fitting term. Because despite rumors or speculation or hearsay, I choose to believe at the root of it we are all human beings trying our best. And I’d like to think we all have good in us. So let’s not mourn that he’s gone, let’s celebrate all he’s left us with. Let’s celebrate what a true talent he was and still is.

I’ve said my piece about Michael’s passing and his 38971-michael_jackson_jpg_630x461_q85legacy many times. The world is missing out on having his true presence with us everyday. But he lives on, in music. So I wanted to remember him today, on this 5 Year Anniversary of his passing first by Rocking my MJ “Off The Wall” tee but more importantly through sharing his music hence broadcasting the impact he’s had on the world through that music.

 

images

img1507A

 Michael_Jackson_Quotes-411-Picture-Sayings michael-jackson-quotes-sayings-originality-success

*Here are some of my favorite MJ songs/music videos/performances*

The Way You Make Me Feel (an all time favorite)

Smooth Criminal (that lean move though)

You Rock My World (“Chris your kickin’ with the wrong leg” ;))

Thriller (Cinematically Brilliant…P.S. Zombies <3)

*Michael Jackson’s music videos were always crafty in telling a story.

The 13 minute “Thriller” video paved the way for the mini movie music video trend. *

Michael_jackson_panther_dance

Dirty Diana

P.Y.T.

Wanna Be Startin’ Something

Rock With You

Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough

You Are Not Alone

Leave Me Alone

Human Nature

Speechless

michael_jackson

*And last but not least Michael Jackson being a legend…as he performs Billie Jean*

Chills guys, I have chills (and it’s summer)

You-Aint-Seen-Nothing-Yet-And-The-Best-Is-Yet-To-Come

Rest in Peace Michael.

*King of Pop*

*Greatest of all time.*

-<3-