Review: Michael Jackson “Thriller”

 

Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize y’awl’s neighborhood
And whosoever shall be found
Without the soul for getting down
Must stand and face the hounds of hell
And rot inside a corpse’s shell

It would be a crime to have a site dedicated to excellence in music videos and not discuss one of, if not the most iconic music video of all time. To this day Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” remains as the most celebrated music video in popular culture. From the bright red leather jacket to the zombie dance breakdown, elements of this music video are still being replicated and built upon. Premiering on MTV back in 1983, the 13-minute clip helped in the breaking down of racial barriers both on MTV and radio at large. Along with this, “Thriller” also proved that the music video was a credible art form and one to be taken seriously. Directed by comedy and horror film director John Landis (American Werewolf in London), “Thriller” parodies many of the B movies in the  horror genre of the 1950s. In fact the opening of “Thriller” takes place in a movie theatre as Michael and his date are seen watching a horror flick of the same name. Frightened by what is taking place on screen, his date leaves the movie theatre soon to be followed by Michael. Making their way home Michael teases his date and assures her that it’s only a movie. However, as they make their way past a graveyard, things take a more sinister turn. With a chilling narration form Vincent Price, ghouls and zombies alike rise from their tombs in the earth below to corner Michael and his date in a misty alleyway. What happens next is arguably the most memorable dance routine in music video history. While a group of dancing zombies sounds comical on paper, Jackson and choreographer Michael Peters were able to strike a fine balance resulting in a mesmerising dance routine. With outstanding cinematography, costume design and of course the dancing, it’s no wonder why this video has great replay value and has stood the test of time. In fact, since it’s upload to VEVO in 2009, the video has accumulated over 237 million views, 32 years after it’s original release.

Making of “Thriller”

 

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