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Michael Jackson's iconic 'Thriller' video turns 35 on Sunday

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 01:39s - Published < > Embed
Michael Jackson's iconic 'Thriller' video turns 35 on SundayFred AstaireFred AstaireJohn LandisJohn Landis

Michael Jackson's iconic 'Thriller' video turns 35 on Sunday

ROUGH CUT.

NO REPORTER NARRATION.

Michael Jackson's iconic music video 'Thriller' celebrates its anniversary on Sunday (December 2), 35 years after the video became an overnight sensation and changed

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Michael Jackson's iconic 'Thriller' video turns 35 on Sunday

ROUGH CUT.

NO REPORTER NARRATION.

Michael Jackson's iconic music video 'Thriller' celebrates its anniversary on Sunday (December 2), 35 years after the video became an overnight sensation and changed the way the music industry operated.

The video was directed by John Landis just after sales started slipping of the album 'Thriller' after a year on top of the charts.

Jackson proposed the idea to Landis and together they mostly self-funded the project.

It marked the first time a music short film was produced, it had the biggest budget for any music video in history at the time and sales of the video and the already successful album sky-rocketed.

"It was an international sensation.

It was overwhelming.

It was kind of like 'Jesus'.

Boom," Landis told Reuters.

He added: "Michael probably knew but none of us thought it would have that kind of impact." Landis was first approached by Jackson in a middle of the night phone call by Jackson while he was staying in London.

While Landis, still to this day, has no idea how Jackson knew how to get hold of him, the pair chatted and came up with a plot for the video.

"He wanted to turn into a monster.

He loved the movie I'd made with Rick Baker called 'American Werewolf in London'.

He wanted to turn into a monster.

I mean, the only real disagreement we had was I told him he couldn't turn into a four-legged monster because it would be too hard to dance," said Landis.

Jackson didn't just play one monster but two.

He transformed into both a were-cat and a zombie in the short film, courtesy of award-winning special effects make up artist Rick Baker.

Numerous iconic celebrities visited the set during its few days of production in October 1983, including Marlon Brando, Fred Astaire, Rock Hudson and Jackie Kennedy Onassis, which made the experience surreal for Landis.

Jackson tragically died in 2009 from a cardiac arrest in June 2009 after becoming intoxicated on prescribed drugs.




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