Michael Jackson: Thriller (1983)

PG  |  Video  |   |  Short, Horror, Music  |  2 December 1983 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 10,689 users  
Reviews: 48 user | 9 critic

A night at the movies turns into a nightmare when Michael and his date are attacked by a hoard of bloody-thirsty zombies - only "Thriller" can save them now.


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Credited cast:
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Thelma Davis ...
Zombie (unconfirmed)
Tiana Davidson 'Thelma' Davis ...
Narration (voice)
Dancer (as Suzan Stadner)


Michael Jackson and his date are watching a movie. They leave, and take a shortcut through the graveyard on the way home. Michael turns into a werepanther-type creature, and then later a zombie, as he gets down and funky in a tremendous dance scene to the tune of his song "Thriller." Written by Afterburner <aburner@erols.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Short | Horror | Music


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

2 December 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Michael Jackson's Thriller  »

Box Office


$1,100,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(5.1 Surround Sound) (L-R)


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The theatre seen in the movie is the Palace Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, where John Landis had earlier filmed The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977). See more »


When Michael and his girlfriend are walking by the cemetery, in the first shot (crane shot) the spotlights illuminating the set are visible. See more »


[first lines]
[a car slows down and stops near a forest. Its passengers, Michael and his girl, stare at each other]
Michael: Honestly, we're out of gas!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Scary Music by Elmer Bernstein. See more »


Referenced in Donga (1985) See more »


Performed by Michael Jackson
Featuring "Rap" by Vincent Price
Produced by Quincy Jones & Michael Jackson
Written by Rod Temperton
Synthesizers: Brian Banks and Greg Phillinganes (uncredited)
Trumpet: Gary Grant and Jerry Hey (uncredited)
Trombone: Bill Reichenbach (uncredited)
Sax and flute: Larry Williams (uncredited)
Mastering by Bernie Grundman (uncredited)
Recorded & Mixed by Bruce Swedien
See more »

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User Reviews

Without a doubt, the best music video ever made
11 February 2004 | by (Chicago, Illinois) – See all my reviews

The first music video I ever saw, Thriller, my mom told me that she took me home from the hospital and when we arrived, my sister had MTV on the TV and Thriller was playing, my mom said that I smiled. Silly I know, but I have loved Michael Jackson since that day, the music video Thriller inspired me to dance, still I have the dance memorized to this day. I even performed it for an audience 3 times! Words cannot describe the power of this song that makes you wanna sing and dance, but Michael of course had to raise the bar for MTV at the time by signing on American Werewolf in London director John Landis and directing the one, the only, Thriller.

Michael and his date, Ola Ray, run out of gas in a dark, wooded area. They walk off into the forest, and Michael asks her if she would like to go steady. She accepts and he gives her a ring. He warns her, however, that he is not like other guys, no really, not like the other guys. A full moon appears, and Michael begins convulsing in agony – transforming into a horrifying werewolf! His date shrieks and runs away, but the werewolf catches up, knocking her down and begins lunging at her with its claws. The scene cuts away to a movie theater where Michael and his date are actually watching this scene unfold in a movie called Thriller. Michael smiles but his date is frightened, and tells him she's leaving. Michael catches up to her, and says that it's only a movie, but she doesn't like his jokes on her and she starts walking away. Michael and his date then walk down a foggy street, and he teases her with the opening verses of Thriller. They pass a graveyard, where corpses suddenly begin to rise from their graves as Vincent Price performs his rap. Michael and his date then find themselves surrounded by the zombies, and suddenly, Michael becomes a zombie himself. Michael and the undead perform an elaborate song and dance number together, followed by the chorus of Thriller.

Thriller is arguably the best music video of all time, funny thing is people who wanna argue that is with other Michael Jackson videos, but what makes Thriller so special is the dance, the story, the effects, this at the time was the most expensive music video of it's day. Michael of course rose that bar again with his famous music video Scream and then again with Ghosts. But say what you will, Michael was the star of the 1980's, there was no celebrity like him, he loved the life, he lived it, breathed it and embraced it. Thriller is proof that he was willing to work to make the best and that's what we got with the legend that is Thriller.


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