When I first walked into Rick (Baker’s) studio, it was like a museum of horror, all these faces, I was so amazed by it.
There was one that was just a head that was split open, all these organs were pushing out, all his brains. It was disgusting, but it was brilliant. I think that he’s an incredible artist.
I actually started make-up when I was 10. I made up all my friends in the neighbourhood and usually they were pretty ghastly make ups, third degree burns, gashes and wounds… I wasn’t allowed in a lot of houses when I was a kid (laughs).
The biggest challenge for this film was getting the amount of work we needed to have done, done in the time that we had.
At one point there’s around thirty different zombies that we created. We had twenty make-up artists all putting appliances on zombies. It’s the largest make-up crew I’ve ever had.
I did Beat It with Michael Peters and I choreographed portions of that as well.
So I told John Landis, I want Michael Peters to work on this thing. And so we got together and we did certain steps and we finally ended up agreeing on the piece.
We have eighteen professional dancers, we have four pop lock dancers, I was looking for people who would really get off on what we were doing.
When they walked into the studio on the first day I said look, this is not a glamour gig, it’s going to be uncomfortable make-up and dentures in your mouth and twelve hours of being really weird looking. They said 'I love it.'
Michael is quite amazing to me.
He’s working with people that have studied this for a great portion of their lives and he’ll walk into a studio and you purely give him the rhythm of a step, and he just does it.
It’s really wonderful to watch, because it’s an innate gift that he has. He’s a dancer in his soul.
Quincy Jones said on the set of Thriller: “This is going to be the Citizen Kane of videos.
"I think it’s going to be the most revolutionary thing in the history of videos. It’s a new art form, but I think this is leading the way.”
He was right. Thriller is still listed in the Guinness Book Of Records as the Most Successful Music Video and MTV to this day rates it as the Greatest Music Video ever made.
But more than that, Thriller is a part of pop culture like no music video before or after it.
There isn’t a filmed medium invented that hasn’t paid homage to it.
Whether it's in horror movie spoofs like
Return Of The Living Dead II
, stop-motion TV shows like
, awful reality TV shows like Big Brother (who staged the dance as a task in Series 9) or fan videos on YouTube,
will be watched, discussed and copied forever.
When people saw the Sex Pistols, it made them want to play. When people see
, it makes them want to dance. It’s a fine legacy.
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