This weekend, a group of dedicated individuals attempt to break a truly thrilling record.
28 years ago, Michael Jackson first sported his red leather jumpsuit, spooked his movie date and eventually transformed into a bug-eyed zombie choreographer. Directed by 80’s icon John Landis (“National Lampoon’s Animal House” and “American Werewolf in London”), the 14-minute video for Jackson’s blockbuster title track, “Thriller,” debuted in 1983.
The video was a smash hit with critics and fans alike. The following year, Jackson and co. took home the MTV Video Music Awards for Best Overall Performance in a Video, Best Choreography and Viewer’s Choice, as well as the Grammy for Best Video Album and Best Video. In 1999, MTV voted “Thriller” as the greatest video ever made. In 2009, the year of Jackson’s death, it was inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress — making it the the first music video to ever receive this honor.
Arguably no other video has made such a massive cultural impact on our society, and Thrill The World — an annual attempt to break the world record for the largest, worldwide simultaneous “Thriller dance” — is evidence of the video’s magnitude. Showtime is 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29 — when The Seattle Thrillers will represent our city by re-enacting the iconic moves in Occidental Square.
The Seattle Thrillers have rehearsed for the better part of 10 weeks at Renton’s Rockin’ Horse Dance Barn, and are set to bring their moves to one of the city’s oldest and eerily spooky neighborhoods. Founded by Ines Markeljevic of Oakland, Thrill The World set its first Guiness World Record in 2006.
The Seattle Thrillers are guided by Louisiana transplant Sheri Kinley, who encourages her zombies to exercise and entertain through dance and charity. The proceeds from last year’s boogie went to the Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Rumor has it, Sheri might have mixed up this year’s event — and rigged the “Thriller” zombie dance to roll into “Beat It,” another MJ video classic.
The original dance set a benchmark in modern group dancing. Sheri and her zombies plan to bring the same energy to the table in Pioneer Square this weekend. Seattleites beware: when “darkness falls across the land, the midnight hour is close at hand… No mere mortal can resist the evil of the Thriller.”