This review should have been on my page long before this, but I have to admit that a certain amount of prejudice kept me from including it. I'm referring here to the music video Thriller, starring Michael Jackson. I think that I had been automatically dismissing it as "not a zombie film," but lately I decided to examine what exactly made me think that.
Was it because it was short? At 13 minutes, it certainly is short for a zombie movie, but there are other short zombie movies out there, and there are longer ones where all the interesting stuff takes place in about that time span. Was it because it was musical? Well, that doesn't make me discount Sound of Music as a movie. Thriller has a plot, a director, actors, everything that makes a zombie film, so really, I have no good reason not to include it.
So, on to the review. Thriller was, in my opinion, the best music video ever. It was made back when music videos were still being explored as a medium on MTV, and it reached a height that hasn't been duplicated since. Of course, I haven't even watched MTV since they took Beavis and Butthead off the air, so maybe I've missed some, but I doubt it.
John Landis, of American Werewolf in London fame, directed the video, and starring were Michael Jackson, Ola Ray, Vincent Price, and a whole bunch of dancing zombies. It starts out with Michael and Ola watching a horror movie also starring Michael and Ola (but not the same Michael and Ola watching the movie), and Ola (in the theater) gets scared. They walk home through a cemetery, and as the sepulchral voice of Vincent Price chants about the funk of 40,000 years, the dead begin to rise. Michael suddenly becomes a zombie himself, and they move into one of the most creative dance numbers I've seen.
Thriller was funny, clever, creative, and spooky, and every time I saw it on MTV, I sat and watched it through. It has it's share of tips of the hat, from The Return of the Living Dead Part II to the South Park zombie episode. This may be tough to track down, but even if you aren't a Michael Jackson fan, watch it if you get the chance.