While Michael Jackson was no stranger to making horror music videos, such as his epic videos “Thriller” and “Ghosts,” it appears there was another long form music video made by Jackson with a horror theme, penned by no other than Stephen King himself. Unfortunately, instead of becoming popular, this one faded away into obscurity, until now.
The video, “Is It Scary?” was originally meant to go along with the soundtrack for Addams Family Values, with King writing and horror director Mick Garris at the helm. But as happens in Hollywood, things didn’t go exactly according to plan, and the song ended up being dropped from the soundtrack. The song and video then ended up on the back burner with special-effects icon Stan Winston slated to complete it until it became the inspiration for the video and film short for “Ghosts.”
Garris, meanwhile, moved on to direct the TV miniseries of King’s famous book, The Shining, according to Blum House. No, that’s not the one with Jack Nicholson, but if you haven’t seen it, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Anyway, fans of Michael Jackson now have previously unreleased footage of the King of Pop thanks to the wonders of the Internet and YouTube, albeit in slightly rough form. According to comments on his Facebook page, Garris was as surprised as fans to see the video.
“I never guessed that this would ever be made public, but it seems to be everywhere now! I so wish we had been able to make this as it was intended.”
The released footage lacks some of the special-effects and the final editing but features Jackson making plenty of silly faces for a group of adults and children touring through a haunted mansion. That shoulds sound familiar, as the same premise was re-shot for the even more ambitious horror video by Jackson called “Ghosts,” running almost 40 minutes in its final edit.
“This was a REALLY rough early cut we did when I was directing this Michael Jackson film when it was called ‘IS THIS SCARY?’ (Three years later, it was greatly expanded and retitled ‘Michael Jackson’s GHOSTS’). It was before we ever got to the intended songs, as we never shot those. It was originally planned as promotion for ‘ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES.’ Stan Winston was in charge of the makeup and visual effects, and took over as director when I went off to make ‘THE SHINING.’ I have no idea how this got out, but it’s fascinating to revisit it all these years later. It became, and remains, by far the most expensive music video ever made. The original script was by Stephen King.”
“Is it Scary?” lasts more than 12 minutes, with Jackson not even making an appearance until around the halfway mark in the video, which is essentially a short horror film. Many fans were excited at getting some fresh material from their idol and proved that they are as devoted now as ever.
An entire analysis could be written on this, and it still wouldn’t begin to describe his genius. https://t.co/M6fWoTWrfL
— andjustice4MJ (@andjustice4some) May 7, 2016
Garris has worked with author Stephen King on many projects over the years, but if you’re wondering about the connection between him and Michael Jackson, Garris actually served as one of the zombie extras in Jackson’s “Thriller” video. He’s not one of the dancing zombies, but near the end, you can see him over Michael Jackson’s right shoulder as a small crowd of zombies comes in for the kill when they have their victim cornered.
Here’s the original version of “Is it Scary?”
To see “Is it Scary?” come to full fruition as the horror short film video “Ghosts,” check out the clip below.
[Photo by AP Photo/Cliff Schiappa, File]