I’m going to be honest right here and right up front. I didn’t “grow up” with Thriller. It’s only been in recent years that I’ve been such a huge fan of the song and the music video (the full version).
If ever there was a way to condense Halloween, and the spirit of the aforementioned, into 14 minutes, the Thriller music video would be the way to do it.
First of all, it’s directed by John Landis, the director of the best werewolf movie ever made. There is no argument to make. You can bring up Ginger Snaps and The Wolfman and Dog Soldiers or even one of the Underworld movies if you’re a goddamn lunatic who prefers leather and Kate Beckinsale to balls-to-the-wall fear, but An American Werewolf in London is the best werewolf movie ever made. Done. Period. Fullstop. Stop arguing. I’m tired of it. You can see his directorial touch in the scenes at the beginning of the music video, when Michael Jackson turns into a werewolf. John Landis equals Halloween awesome.
Second, I’m going to describe a scene to you: Zombies dance a choreographed dance around their leader who wears a black and red leather suit. This scene, which should have been ludicrous and absurd, is iconic. It has become embedded into our pop culture in a way that shrieking violins and opaque shower curtains have. Sometimes, zombies just have to dance.
Third, Vincent Price. For the 50’s and 60’s, Vincent Price was the voice of horror. No-one is arguing with me. And, if they are, they’re just being difficult. He was the spooky voice that meant a murderer seeking vengeance was nearby or the Invisible Man’s return was close at hand. You cannot have Halloween without Vincent Price and Thriller had Vincent Price.
If you want to kick off the season right, watch the full version of Thriller.