Michael Jackson’s thriller video is an iconic short film and music video. Known for his elaborate dance moves and vocals, the “King of Pop” Michael Jackson was sure to make this video a hit when it released in 1983. This film, like most horror movies in its time period, are set up the same with villains and heroes, although the ending may leave you to believe there is no hero at all.
It starts off with Michael and a young female broke down on the road. He tells her they are out of gas and at first she was reluctant to believe him, until they start walking. After a brief walk and some dialogue he told her that he is different. Soon after he turns into a werewolf the young female takes off running into the woods with him following closely. At this moment in the film the director cuts it back to reveal Michael and the same young lady in a theatre actually watching this happen in a horror movie. The woman leaves because she was scared and Michael follows her out. They start walking down the street as the actual song begins. With the lyrics of the song and the acting, you can assume that Michael is having innocent fun with the fact that the young woman was scared. When the narrator starts talking in the song, zombies begin to rise from the graveyard and trap them in a circle.
One of the most memorable parts of this music video happens when Michael turns to the camera and is now a zombie as well, with his new “friends” behind him. You can’t help but to smile when you see all the living dead doing a choreographed dance with Michael. The low lighting in the street and the make-up make for a good setting for what is happening. The song fits the music video very well and you really couldn’t imagine the end product coming out any other way. After the long dance seen, where even some of the zombies have solo dance parts, the young lady starts to run to an abandoned house.
At this point in the film you have seen a rollercoaster effect with the characters relationships. At the beginning you have Michael and the young woman together, then werewolf Michaels draws her away. Then as they walk down the street she is side by side with him until the zombie scene where she becomes fearful of him again. This leads to the ending of the film.
Michael and the zombies break into the abandoned house where the young lady was hiding. They tore down the walls and broke through the door to get to her. At this point all she can do is get to the couch and watch as she gets grabbed. Then she wakes up to Michael asking her what is wrong. They are back together again, but Michael ends it with the notion that he is a false hero by turning back at the camera with werewolf eyes again when he is walking her out.
This film shows a good view of a rollercoaster horror film as well as incorporating a good song into it. Most movies today are still made on the same concept that this short film is made on. Thriller is a good video for a variety of audiences to enjoy, then and now.
Courtney from Study Moose
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