Michael Jackson Thriller: What happened behind the scenes of the Thriller music video?

Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ performed at wedding party in Spain

Michael Jackson had a top album for more than a year when the decision was made to release Thriller as a single. While many would have expected it to have been released as the main single, it came much later, and soon the idea for a music video was conceived. Now some behind the scenes secrets have been revealed years after filming which gives fans a new take on the video.

Thriller was only released when competitors knocked the album off the top of the charts

Michael Jackson’s Thriller was never meant to be a single and was only released after the album had been out for almost a year.

However, albums by The Police and the Flashdance soundtrack had knocked it off the top spot in the charts, which galvanised a competitive Michael.

Record label Epic’s West Coast marketing executive Larry Stessel said of Michael, speaking to Vanity Fair: “He enjoyed being on top. He revelled in it. He didn’t like it when it ended.

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“It was all about the Beatles. He knew in his heart of hearts that he would never be bigger than the Beatles, but he had such tremendous respect for them, and he certainly wanted to come as close as he could.”

Eventually Michael got his wish as Thriller saw the album sales double and he broke the record for bestselling record of all time, a record which is yet to be beaten.

Michael Jackson hated horror movies

The music video shows Michael greedily eating popcorn and enjoying horror movies, but it turns out this is just an example of MJ’s great acting skills.

In fact, the pop icon was terrified of horror films thanks to a terrifying lesson from his father.

According to biographer J Randy Taraborrelli, Joe Jackson climbed into MJ’s room through the bedroom window while he was sleeping, wearing a scary mask and screaming.

The creepy move was intended to teach his children to close their window at night.

From then on, Michael was not keen on horror films, once saying: “I never was a horror fan. I was too scared.”

A Hollywood director had the idea for the short film

John Landis, the brains behind The Blues Brothers and An American Werewolf in London, came up with the idea of a longer movie.

According to Vanity Fair, he was contacted by Michael, who had reportedly seen the comedy-horror movie, and asked to do the music video.

However, John refused to make a music video, stating he would only do it if it was made into a short film, which would be narrative and could be released in cinemas.

To this, Michael agreed, and it started a long working relationship between them, with John also directing the Black or White music video.

Michael Jackson and co-star Ola Ray had a ‘fling’ on set

According to Ola Ray, who played Michael’s girlfriend in the music video, the pair got very close indeed.

Ola was a former Playboy playmate, who was a huge fan of Michael before even turning up at the audition.

Speaking to Vanity Fair, she admitted she had some relations with Michael, saying: “I had some intimate moments with him in his trailer…

“I won’t say that I have seen him in his birthday suit but close enough. What we had was such like a little kindergarten thing going on.

“I thought it was important for him to be around someone who would make him feel comfortable, and that was my main objective.”

Ola did admit to “kissing and puppy love” with Michael, though things turned sour years later when she sued Michael for royalties, which was settled out of court by his estate after he died.

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