1. All "Thriller," Some Filler--The video cost half-a-million dollars and at the time, it was the most expensive video ever made. But CBS Records wouldn't pay for a third video from "Thriller," and MTV had a policy of never paying for clips. Jackson and Landis funded their budget by getting MTV and Showtime to pay $250,000 each for the rights to show the 45-minute The Making of "Thriller."
2. Before songwriter Rod Temperton came up with "Thriller," Michael Jackson's working title for the album was "Starlight."
3. Michael Jackson's faith seeped in--The opening title card ("Due to my strong personal convictions, I wish to stress that this film in no way endorses a belief in the occult") was inserted due to Jackson's Jehovah's Witness faith.
4. "Thriller" is a coming-of-age story—Director John Landis said, "In adolescence, youngsters begin to grow hair in unexpected places and parts of their anatomy swell and grow. Everyone experiences these physical transformations in their bodies and new, unfamiliar, sexual thoughts in their minds. No wonder we readily accept the concept of a literal metamorphosis." In other words, undergoing a lycanthropic transformation was a safe way for Michael Jackson to experiment with puberty.
5. "Thriller" had a Playmate—Michael Jackson's "Thriller" costar was former Playboy Playmate Ola Ray. She also appeared on Cheers and in Beverly Hills Cop II, but her only other music video was "Give Me the Night" by George Benson.
6. Fred Astaire could've been a "Thriller" extra--Hollywood legend Fred Astaire was a fan of Jackson's dancing and attended a "Thriller" rehearsal. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis also spent time there. When they were filming at 3 A.M. in a bad neighborhood in east Los Angeles, she was hanging out in Jackson's Winnebago.
7. The "Thriller" choreographer was a "Beat It" gang member--Choreographer Michael Peters also did the dance sequences in Pat Benatar's "Love Is a Battlefield" and in Jackson's "Beat It" video. He won a Tony for his work on Dreamgirls and died of AIDS in 1994, at just 46 years old.
8. The appeal of zombie-dancing is global--The largest number of people doing the "Thriller" zombie-dance routine, according to the Guinness Book of World Records: 13,597 participants in an event organized by the Instituto de la Juventud del Gobierno del Distrito Federal at the Monumento a la Revolucion, Mexico City, Mexico in 2009.
9. There should not be business classes based on "Thriller."--John Landis on the motivations behind making "Thriller" and its huge financial impact: "The reality is, it was a vanity video. Everything that happened on 'Thriller' happened because Michael wanted to turn into a monster. None of it was planned. I want to make that clear, because there was a course taught at the Harvard Business School on 'Thriller,' and it was complete bullsh*t."
10. "Thriller" may have the ability to possess you--As a nine-year-old child, Cee Lo Green was so scared of "Thriller," he would run to his room whenever the video came on TV.
11. The video looks great even when it's rendered in Lego.
12. Vincent Price's "lost rap" is fantastic--When horror-movie legend Vincent Price recorded his spoken word, he did a whole verse that got cut. It went: "The demons squeal in sheer delight / It's you they spy, so plump, so right / For though the groove is hard to beat / Yet still you stand with frozen feet / You try to run, you try to scream / But no more sun you'll ever see / For evil reaches from the crypt / To crush you in its icy grip."