Michael Jackson's Thriller is a 1983 music video for the Michael Jackson song "Thriller", directed by John Landis and written by Landis and Jackson. It references numerous horror films, and stars Jackson dancing with a horde of the undead. Ola Ray co-stars as Jackson's girlfriend. The music video was released on December 2, 1983, just over a year after his sixth album, Thriller (1982).
Hoping to return Thriller to the top of the charts, Jackson hired Landis after seeing his 1981 film An American Werewolf in London. The pair conceived a short film with a budget much larger than previous music videos. It was filmed at various locations in Los Angeles, including the Palace Theater. A making-of documentary, Making Michael Jackson's Thriller, was produced to sell to television networks.
Michael Jackson's Thriller was launched to great anticipation and played regularly on MTV. It doubled the sales of Thriller, helping it become the best-selling album in history, and sold over a million copies on VHS, becoming the best-selling videotape at the time. It is credited for transforming music videos into a serious art form, breaking down racial barriers in popular entertainment, and popularizing the making-of documentary. The success transformed Jackson into a dominant force in global pop culture.
Many elements of Michael Jackson's Thriller have had a lasting impact on popular culture, such as the zombie dance and Jackson's red jacket, designed by Landis's wife Deborah Nadoolman. Fans worldwide re-enact its zombie dance and it remains popular on YouTube. The Library of Congress described it as "the most famous music video of all time", and it has been named the greatest video of all time by various publications and readers' polls. In 2009, it became the first music video inducted into the National Film Registry, as "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant".
Sound Effects Used
- Hollywoodedge, Gusts Heavy Cold Wind PE031601 (Debut, Note: This film, along with The Day After are the only two things that both make a debut.)
- Hollywoodedge, Single Frog Croak Cl CRT013001
- Sound Ideas, ANIMAL, WOLF - HOWLS, WOLVES 01 (Debut)
- Vincent Price Laugh