http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_MuUcxHATo - music video to Thriller
Thriller – genre: Horror, this is a linier story based music video/ short film about all the night-time creatures that come out at night “who terrify their victims.” And is the first hit song that was accepted all year round unlike many songs that were only really popular/ universal around the time of Halloween. Making it very popular for people into pop music, horror films etc.
I chose the music video to Thriller because I believe it to be one of the best music video of all time, being able to turn a simple song into practically a short horror film, appealing to a wide audience, lovers of Michael Jackson/ pop music in general and horror/ horror spoofs. Costing around $500,000 its one of the most expensive and longest music videos ever made. It has succeeded in being able to relate the words to the action on the video (for example on the lyrics “door slam” we hear what we believe to represent a door slamming and the action by Michael Jackson of slamming a door.) and the music video’s ability to not make zombies a joke, as they move/ dance not like cliché zombies, where the audience is forced more into taking the music video seriously. The idea of making this music video into a short film, giving it a clear structure, trying to communicate to its audience
Set in the 1950’s where a couple of teens are out in the forest on a date. And as the teen Michael Jackson give her the ring and tries to tell his girlfriend something “different” about himself, he turns into a ware-cat and starts chasing his girlfriend. It then cuts to the inside of the cinema- where it’s all just a film, and as Michael Jackson and his girlfriend leave the cinema and only at this point does the song start at 02:58 as we see an establishing shot of the outside of the cinema. So far the video has given more of an impression of a horror movie with use of tensions building shots, each getting closer to the characters. And by using natural diegetic sounds of the area the characters are in at the beginning helps create an insecure atmosphere. Also the mise-en-scene of the first section in a cliché setting, in a dark scary forest with the odd bit of mist for a “spooky” atmosphere. 41 seconds quiet orchestral music starts to build, adding to the tension and becomes a lot louder when we see view of the full moon.
The song maintains a horror aspect throughout. After Michael Jackson has finished singing the verses, whist he’s walking/ dancing alongside his girlfriend it cuts to a grave-yard where we see a mixture of long and close shots of the dead coming to life and over the top we hear a man’s voice the tone/ depth of the voice adds a dis-comfort to the listener/ viewer:
“Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize y'alls neighbourhood
The foulest stench is in the air
The funk of forty thousand years
And grizzly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom
And though you fight to stay alive
Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the thriller”
There are lots of quick cutting shots during the dance sequence and close ups and general camera movement mainly focussing on Michael Jackson, cutting to the beat of the music and keeping in sinc with the dancing zombies and as the chorus starts the cameral is nearly always on Michael Jackson (still in view of surrounding living dead) this is mainly to keep interest on the singer, to keep the record labels happy, create an image that people will then become familiar and interested in.
To conclude for the moment (until my teacher gives me some more feedback on this etc.) I like this music video for its use of techniques to create its intended “spooky” horror atmosphere; set in a dark misty night, the use of orchestral music at the beginning, crescendoing t build tension. And we as the audience are almost lead into false security several times by the way it cuts to different shots like the cinema, and at the very end of the video when the girlfriend wakes up all of it. And by using a series of close shots and moving and focusing on Michael Jackson it portrays to us his pop image.