10 Facts About Why Thriller Is The Greatest Video Ever Made
I remember the exact day that Michael Jackson’s video for “Thriller” was released. It was December 2nd, 1983. I rode my bike to my friends house because we didnt have cable. There was a light drizzle as I rode through the alleys to his house; I was so excited I could hardly stand it. I was 12 and the biggest video event of our lifetime was about to go down on MTV. As I got there, his mom had pizza ready for all Jonathan’s friends that had come over, all 9 of us. We gather around his 18″ TV monitor and counted down as the clock turned to zero and the epic 14 minute short movie started. We were spellbound. Thank you MJ for making something that I know share with my kids.
10. Thriller or Filler
The video came in Costing $500,000 dollars to make, making Thriller was the most expensive video ever made. Jackson and Landis had a vision for the video but they had to come up with the money themselves. Solution: Get MTV and Showtime to pay $250,000 each for the rights to show the 45-minute The Making of “Thriller.” Later, Landis nicknamed the stretched-out documentary “The Making of Filler,” due to all the stretched out edits he had to make to fulfill his side of the bargain.
Your favorite MJ album came within a hairs-length of being called Starlight.God that would have sucked! Michael Jackson’s working title for the album was Starlight before songwriter Rod Temperton came up with “Thriller,” and thank goodness he did! Temperton also wrote “Baby Be Mine” and “The Lady in My Life” for Thriller (and earlier, had penned “Rock with You” and “Off the Wall” for Jackson).
8. Jehovah Would Not Approve
Michael Jackson’s faith was challenged by the dark theme of Thriller. Thus the opening title card was made: “Due to my strong personal convictions, I wish to stress that this film in no way endorses a belief in the occult” Jackson felt it was necessary to put out the disclaimer due to his being a Jehovah’s Witness.
7. Say What?
“In adolescence, youngsters begin to grow hair in unexpected places and parts of their anatomy swell and grow,” said director John Landis. “Everyone experiences these physical transformations in their bodies and new, unfamiliar, sexual thoughts in their minds. No wonder we readily accept the concept of a literal metamorphosis.”
So for the record, Michael Jackson was discovering puberty when he turned into that Werewolf.
6. Who was that Babe?
Jackson’s “Thriller” costar was a struggling actress named Ola Ray. Her “acting” career didnt really take off but she did make an appearance on Cheers and in Beverly Hills Cop II. At the time she was more notable for her sexy layout in Playboy.
5.A Zombie named Fred
Hollywood dancing legend Fred Astaire was a huge fan of MJ’s dancing and attended a “Thriller” rehearsal. Rumor has it that Michael wanted Astaire to be in the video but Fred didn’t want to go through the long make-up process.
4.The Thriller / Beat It Connection
Thriller Choreographer Michael Peters also appeared in Jackson’s “Beat It” video (where he played gang leader dressed in white, with sunglasses and a mustache).
3. Dance of the Walking Dead
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest group of people doing the “Thriller” zombie-dance routine is an astounding 13,597 participants in Mexico City, Mexico, on 29 Aug 2009.”
John Landis revealed that the motivation behind making the Thriller doc was nothing more than vanity. “The reality is, it was a vanity video. Everything that happened on Thriller happened because Michael wanted to turn into a monster. None of it was planned. I want to make that clear, because there was a course taught at the Harvard Business School on Thriller and it was complete bullshit.”
1.Vincent Fucking Price
Horror-film legend Vincent Price (House of Wax, Edward Scissorhands) had a small but resounding role in the project when he recorded his spoken word. We all know how it goes, but did you know there was more that didnt make the final cut?
Yeah, my mind was blown too! Here’s the whole verse that got cut: “The demons squeal in sheer delight / It’s you they spy, so plump, so right / For though the groove is hard to beat / Yet still you stand with frozen feet / You try to run, you try to scream / But no more sun you’ll ever see / For evil reaches from the crypt / To crush you in its icy grip.”