“For seven years Funky Zombies in 6 continents across the globe have been breaking down the barriers and time, space and place to perform the greatest dance on earth – Michael Jackson’s Thriller – to raise awareness and funds for humanitarian causes. The world dances the routine at exactly the same time to honour the greatest entertainer of all time.” – from Thrill the World’s Facebook page.
Energy ran high as the Jacksonville’s Thrill the World chapter gathered yesterday at 3 p.m. at Intuition Ale Works (720 King Street) to dance Michael Jackson’s Thriller dance (from the music video) at the same time as people across the world. Click here to watch the video. The event attempts to set a world record. The Jacksonville chapter contributed 47 registered participants. Funds raised in Jacksonville support Hubbard House, a local provider of safe haven for domestic violence victims.
Participants practiced with instructional videos on Thrill the World’s website and met up for several run-throughs before the big day, and it showed. Jax’s zombies looked great and danced great too. Woodley Special FX was on hand before the show to transform average Jacksonvillians into the walking (and dancing) dead.
According to Wikipedia, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album, which released near the end of 1982:
- ranked at #20 on “Rolling Stone” magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list (in 2003);
- was listed by the National Association of Recording Merchandisers at #3 in its Definitive 200 Albums of All Time; and
- was listed #1 album on “Best Albums of the 1980s” by Slant Magazine.
Jackson’s extended music video (13 minutes, 43 seconds) for the song Thriller, directed by John Landis, was the first music video inducted into the National Film Preservation Board’s National Film Registry of “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films” (according to Wikipedia). Besides the dance performed by Thrill the World, the video contains a mini-werewolf story (starring Jackson and Ola Ray), a movie within a movie, and a vocal reading by horror icon Vincent Price. The video is credited with being the first real merger of filmmaking and music video, and, according to Wikipedia, the “most influential pop music video of all time.” Click here to watch.
Next year will be the eighth year for Thrill the World, and the Jacksonville organizers are already poised to do it again in 2013. That means a whole year to practice, so put on dancing shoes and strike a zombified pose.