The Making of Michael Jackson's 'Thriller'
- Photo: Douglas Kirkland © 1983 Optimum Productions/Courtesy Filipacchi Publishing/.10 of 11
Director John Landis on the making of the "Thriller" music video:
"He was in his mid-twenties, but he was like a gifted 10-year-old. He was emotionally damaged, but so sweet and so talented."
The purpose of making "Thriller," in Landis's mind, was "to give Michael some balls. The making of the video 'Thriller' -- it was nobody's brilliant idea. I took the job to direct Michael Jackson's landmark music video because I saw it as a chance to resurrect a genre that had once been a Hollywood staple. It was a great opportunity to bring back the theatrical short. Music videos were new in 1983, and MTV was just two years old. At that time the videos were used to sell records and when Michael decided to do the 'Thriller' video, the album had already become the biggest-selling album of all time. It ended up costing $500,000 -- still enormous money at that time for that kind of thing. Nobody would give us the money because the album had already been so successful. Michael said he would pay for it, but I wouldn't let him. He was still living with his parents in Encino, behind a supermarket."