Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Thrill of It All

This year De of the Dead made my bloody valentine by gifting me with the 25th Anniversary edition of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, which includes a DVD featuring the complete 13-minute mini-horror film that first taught me to love zombies and dance poorly.

The video is still amazingly fresh and effective (probably in part because we’re not used to seeing a Michael Jackson that resembles a human being with a real nose, let alone one that’s wolfed out or been zombified), and features what I to this day consider to be one of the top three “corpses coming out of the ground” sequences of all time (the other two appear in Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things and the original Return of the Living Dead).

But a true acknowledgement of “Thriller’s” legacy is really not complete without recognizing some of the masterpieces the video inspired, all of which are now preserved forever (or until the FCC goes all Orwell) on YouTube:

The Michael Jackson Original
Co-starring the voice of Vincent Price and a girl I always thought was Tootie from The Facts of Life.

The Indian Version
This is easily my favorite “Thriller” knockoff, if not for the weird “chicken variation” on the signature “creep” dance, then for the muffled mystical voice at the beginning that makes it sound like the paunchy lead is being turned into a monster by the ride operator on the Tilt-A-Whirl.

The Lego Adaptation
Amazing. Someone buy these guys some space sets so they can remake Moonwalker.

The CPDRC Inmates Version
You’ve got to wonder how they decided who would play the girl.