It was recently announced that for the first time in history, a music video is being named to the U.S. National Film Registry. In all fairness, it may as well be considered a film. Michael Jackson’s Thriller was not only played on tv, but was released theatrically on 35mm film. The video debuted on December 2nd, 1983 while “Thriller” wasn’t released to radio as a single until January 23rd, 1984. The album itself has sold over 100 million worldwide in the 26 years since its release. The video was helmed by An American Werewolf In London director John Landis, who also co-wrote the script for the video with Jackson. The effects in the video were created by Academy Award winning make up effects artist Rick Baker (who won for An American Werewolf In London). It also features a cameo by horror legend, Vincent Price.
“Thriller” was given this distinguished honor (being stored in a vault so when a Zombie apocalypse strikes, at least the next wave of inhabitants will know we had taste), for the fact that since its release it has been a pop cultural mainstay. The Library of Congress described the video as a lavish production that “revolutionized the music industry”. It also gave horror more mainstream appeal. There are other horror films entered in the registry; Frankenstein, Psycho and Freaks to name a few. The last time a horror film was chosen was John Carpenter’s Halloween in 2006.