The Zombie Costumes Were Made From Clothes Picked Up At A Salvation Army
Well, they had to cut corners on the budget somewhere!
As co-designer Kelly Kimball explained in the
documentary: "They told us we had to have a lot of dead people, so we went down to the Salvation Army and bought a lot of old suits and things, as-is -- they had holes in them. We took [the clothes] home and wrecked them! We dunked them in water, we rubbed them on the ground, we slashed them up with razor blades. Then we laid them out to dry, and bugs crawled in them, and I don't know . . . maybe some bugs are still in them! [laughs]"
Jackson himself with a big fan of the Salvation Army. The singer loved rummaging through the store for "
," and often made sure to visit various second-hand, thrift shops wherever he traveled.
Michael Jackson's Red Jacket Sold For $1.8 Million
The iconic jacket, designed by Deborah Nadoolman-Landis (director John Landis' wife), sold for an absurd amount of money
at an auction in 2011.
Nadoolman-Landis -- who had also designed Indiana Jones's jacket in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" -- elaborated on her iconic "Thriller" design in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal
"When it came to Michael’s jacket, there was a tremendous amount of thought that went into it," she said. "I had sketched different looks, but I found ultimately once I came across the jacket with the V with the extended shoulders -- that was it. It’s graphic and structural, and I wanted a good silhouette. The V in the jacket really echoes the pyramidal shape of the choreography."
As for the jacket's color, Nadoolman-Landis said she picked a bright red to stand out against all the fog and the "black, white, beige, gray, brown" zombie costumes on set.
"His pants were just white jeans that I dyed red to match the jacket. The socks and the shoes were his own."
The designer added: "Michael was elegant. I worked with David Bowie, who was also that same body frame, again very, very slim. Fred Astaire was a 36 regular; Michael was a 36 regular. David and Michael and Fred Astaire -- you could literally put them in anything, and they would carry themselves with a distinction and with confidence and with sexuality."
MTV And Showtime Helped Pay For The Video
With "Thriller," both Michael Jackson and director John Landis wanted to reinvent the "theatrical short" by creating a 14-minute, two-reeler musical with a big budget and a Hollywood director. However, such an ambitious idea did not go down well at Jackson's record label, CBS, who refused to pay for it.
"Music videos were new in 1983 [and] were used to sell records,"
. "When Michael decided to do the 'Thriller' video, the album had already become the biggest-selling album of all time. So nobody would give us the money, because the 'Thriller' album had already been so successful! Michael said he would pay for it, but I wouldn't let him." (Jackson previously paid $150,000 out of his pocket for his iconic "Beat It" music video.)
"['Thriller'] ended up costing $500,000 -- still enormous money at that time for that kind of thing."
George Folsey, Landis' partner in the venture, suggested they make a documentary, to be called The Making of Michael Jackson's 'Thriller.'
"We sold that hour to a brand-new thing called cable television and the Showtime Network, which at that time had only three million homes as subscribers," said Landis. "They paid a quarter of a million dollars for the rights to show it exclusively for, I think, ten days."
When bosses at MTV saw it, they were furious and immediately called the "Thriller" director.
"'How can you do that?!' they asked. We said, 'OK, you
give us the money.' And they gave us another quarter of a million to show it for two weeks, and that [covered] our costs!"
"Thriller" Pioneered The "Making-Of" Genre
In 1983, Jackson's record label, CBS, refused to pay the "Thriller" music video's $500,000 budget. To make ends me, director John Landis did a deal with the new cable network Showtime, who handed over $300,000 for the video and a proposed documentary that Landis would oversee, too. (The rest of the budget came from MTV.)
The subsequent 45-minute Making of Michael Jackson's 'Thriller'
doc established the genre
, anticipating the "extras" that now accompany almost every DVD release.
However, at the time, said Landis, "we used to call it 'The Making of Filler'. It turned out very well, but the truth is that it's filled with scenes from 'American Werewolf' because I owned them, and anything else we could find to fill up the time.
"When we found we were still six minutes short, we decided to put in pieces of the video itself. In fact, it's very effective, but at the time I thought, 'This is shameless!'"
... It Also Basically Created The Home Video Market
After director John Landis and co. sold "Thriller" and its making-of documentary to cable TV... a company called Vestron arrived on the scene.
Vestron offered to distribute The Making of Michael Jackson's 'Thriller'
as a $29.99 "sell-through" video on VHS and Betamax, a pioneering deal of its kind. (Most videos were then sold for far higher prices -- anywhere from $80 to $100 -- to rental stores, rather than directly to consumers.)
"You have to remember, back in those days none of us realized quite was home video was going to become," said Landis' then business partner George Folsey. "The studios treated it pretty much the way they treated television in the '50s and '60s, with total disdain. They had no idea that the home video business was going to save Hollywood -- it never crossed their minds."
The Making of Michael Jackson's 'Thriller'
went on to become the best-selling musical on VHS ever, worldwide.
"Thriller" Was Screened In Theaters So It Would Be Eligible For An Oscar
"Thriller" never received an Academy Award nomination, but the video was screened before Disney's re-release of "Fantasia" for a week in Westwood, California just so it could be eligible for a short film nod.
Many A-list celebrities turned out for the premiere at the 500-seat historic Crest Theatre: Diana Ross, Warren Beatty, Prince, Eddie Murphy.
"I’ve been to the Oscars, the BAFTAs, the Emmys, and the Golden Globes, and I had never seen anything like this," remembered director John Landis.
Ola Ray looked for Jackson before the lights went down and found him in the projection booth. He told her that she looked beautiful, but refused her entreaty to come sit in the audience. "This is your night," he told her. "You go enjoy yourself."
Landis warmed up the audience with a new print of the Mickey Mouse cartoon "The Band Concert.' Then came "Thriller," with its sound mix cranked up to top volume. Fourteen minutes later the crowd was on its feet, applauding and crying, "Encore! Encore!"
Eddie Murphy shouted, "Show the goddamn thing again!
" And they did.
It Lost The Top Prize At The MTV Video Music Awards
"Thriller" was nominated for Video of the Year at the first-ever VMAs in 1984, but it lost to The Cars' surreal clip for "You Might Think."
MTV later declared "Thriller" the Greatest Music Video Ever Made.
But It Became The First Music Video Ever Inducted Into The Library of Congress' Film Registry
Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, each year, the librarian of Congress names 25 films to the registry that are "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant," to be preserved. The library then works to make sure that a copy of the film is at least preserved by a film, television or recording company, and then tries to obtain a copy to keep in the Library of Congress, where it is available for research purposes.
In 2009, Jackson's "Thriller" became the first music video to enter the archives
"I think it is a recognition of how much they changed the music industry in the '80s, and we thought it was important to represent that," said Stephen Leggett, the coordinator of the National Film Preservation Board. "We picked ['Thriller'] because it was most iconic from the era."
Noting the "lavish" production values of the "Thriller" video, librarian of Congress James H. Billington
added, "Music videos up to that time had been basically people singing a song to a camera. ... Anybody who saw this film at the time had it become part of their DNA."
This seemed like an appropriate post for today, haha. Happy Halloween, ONTD!
Read more at ONTD: http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com...#ixzz2AvqVq2Og