Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Michael Jackon’s ‘Thriller’ Music Video Turns 40, Usher and More Reflect: Watch

Michael Jackon’s ‘Thriller’ Music Video Turns 40, Usher and More Reflect: Watch

Michael Jackon’s groundbreaking ‘Thriller’ music video has been an essential Halloween screening for decades running. On December 2, 1983, the music video was released, propelling it to become a cultural phenomenon. It has since earned its place as one of the greatest music videos of all time. Jackson’s most prolific look is likely his iconic red leather outfit from the video.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the acclaimed short film, Showtime will premiere a documentary titled Thriller 40. The film offers an exclusive look into the creation of the best-selling album and its accompanying short films. Featuring never-before-seen footage and insightful interviews, viewers will enjoy an unparalleled behind-the-scenes experience. It will be available to stream on Showtime, Paramount+, and MTV starting December 2nd.

Usher, Mary J. Blige, Mark Ronson, Misty Copeland, Maxwell, and renowned “Thriller” video director John Landis, among others, are interviewed for Thriller 40.

Thriller, Michael Jackson’s sixth studio album, was released on November 30, 1982. The album produced seven top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, including two No. 1 hits: “Beat It” and “Billie Jean.” With eight Grammy awards and RIAA certification at 34 times platinum, Thriller has sold over 100 million copies worldwide.

Michael Jackon Hestitated Over the Release of the Video to ‘Thriller’

The release of “Thriller” to the public is a winding tale. Initially, Epic Records hesitated to release it as a single, as they believed it couldn’t measure up to other hits like “Billie Jean” and “Beat It.” However, despite their reservations, the impact and success of “Thriller” proved them wrong.

However, in 1983, a promoter named Frank DiLeo proposed that Jackson should release a third music video for the album when sales started to decline. Interestingly, he even suggested that the music video should have a somewhat eerie atmosphere.

They enlisted director John Landis, fresh off the success of the horror comedy An American Werewolf in London. Landis brought with him the already legendary make-up effects wizard Rick Baker. The award-winning werewolf transformation in An American Werewolf in London was devised by Baker. Of course, we would design a similar transformation for Jackson, turning him into a Werecat and Zombie at different points in the video.

Surprisingly, once the video was completed, Jackson suddenly became anxious and desired its destruction. At that time, he was a devoted Jehovah’s Witness and worried that the church might excommunicate him due to the video’s content. Of course, this led to an opening caption that further enticed viewers to what they were about to witness. “Due to my strong personal convictions, I wish to stress that this film in no way endorses a belief in the occult.”