June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson: 1958-2009

From Wikipedia:

Michael Jackson's Thriller is a 13-minute music video for the song of the same name released on December 2, 1983 and directed by John Landis who also co-wrote the screenplay with Jackson. The mini-film music video was broadcast on MTV three weeks before Christmas 1983. It was the most expensive video of its time, costing $500,000, and Guinness World Records listed it in 2006 as the "most successful music video," selling over 9 million units.

Thriller was less a conventional video and more a full-fledged short subject or mini-film; a horror film spoof featuring choreographed zombies performing with Jackson. The music was re-edited to match the video, with the verses being sung one after the other followed by the ending rap, then the main dance sequence (filmed on the 3600 block of Union Pacific Avenue in East Los Angeles) to an instrumental loop, and finally the memorable finish: the choruses in a "big dance number" climactic scene.

During the video, Jackson transforms into both a zombie and a werecat (although makeup artist Rick Baker referred to it as a "cat monster" in the "Making of Thriller" documentary); familiar territory for Landis, who had directed An American Werewolf in London two years earlier. 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"), with Michael Jackson. The video also contains incidental music by film music composer Elmer Bernstein, who had previously also worked with Landis on An American Werewolf in London. The video (like the song) contains a spoken word performance by horror film veteran Vincent Price. Rick Baker assisted in prosthetics and makeup for the production.

Jackson, at the time one of Jehovah's Witnesses, added a disclaimer to the start of the video, saying: “Due to my strong personal convictions, I wish to stress that this film in no way endorses a belief in the occult.”


1 comment:

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