Say what you will about Michael Jackson, but no music video has ever come close to touching the pageantry of “Thriller.” The art of the music video feels like a lost one these days, so it’s astonishing to consider that John Landis came off of making four huge, enduring classics (Trading Places, An American Werewolf in London, The Blues Brothers, Animal House) to make a music video? A 13 minute music video? But his direction plus an amazing song plus iconic choreography plus Vincent Price elevate those 13 minutes above mere MTV fodder.
I don’t want to get too prissy about this little Britney Spears video. Obviously it was meant to be fun and funky. But it’s such a sloppy hybrid of lame jokes (“It’s Britney, witch”), low-rent effects and a thousand splendid accents that I can’t help but wrinkle my nose. Here’s Britney and BBC Radio 1’s Nick Grimshaw doing Vincent Price’s excerpt from “Thriller.”
I suppose we’re meant to be grateful that she looks healthy and as sane as anyone can look while riding a wee broom. And I am. I just wish they had left “Thriller” alone. Let’s remember a happier homage to MJ. You go Gollum!
Or, better yet, take 13 minutes to enjoy The Real Thing.
And if that reminder put you in the mood for more Landis, I cannot recommend his new book enough. It’s a must-have for horror lovers and film nerds.