Thriller

  • Directors: John Landis
  • Producers: George Folsey Jr
  • Writers: John Landis, Michael Jackson
  • Genres: Horror, Romance, Short, Thriller, Music
  • Actors: Michael Jackson, Ola Ray, Vincent Price

It is the late 1950s. A teenaged Michael and his unnamed date (Ola Ray) run out of gas in a dark, wooded area. They walk off into the forest, and Michael asks her if she would like to go steady. She accepts and he gives her a ring. He warns her, however, that he is “different”. A full moon appears, and Michael begins convulsing in agony â€“ transforming into a horrifying werewolf. His date shrieks and runs away, but the werewolf catches up, knocking her down and begins lunging at her with his claws.

The scene cuts away to a modern-day movie theater (exteriors filmed at the Palace Theatre in downtown Los Angeles[9]), where Michael and his date â€“ along with a repulsed audience â€“ are actually watching this scene unfold in a movie called “Thriller” starring Vincent Price. Michael’s date is scared, but he is clearly enjoying the horror flick (part of the dialogue of the unseen film contains Landis’ signature line “See you next Wednesday” before the audience screams again). Frightened, his date leaves the theatre. Michael hands his popcorn to the stranger next to him, and catches up to her, smiling and saying “It’s only a movie!” Some debate follows over whether or not she was scared by the scene; she denies it, but Michael disagrees.

After the credits, when they concurrently show the zombies dancing again, the disclaimer humorously states, “Any similarity to actual events or persons living, dead (or undead) is purely coincidental.” Landis’ An American Werewolf in London likewise offered this disclaimer. After the warning the zombies dance back to the grave then another zombie comes into view and gives a horrifying grimace to the camera that freeze frames before blood runs down the screen and the screen turns to black.

The Wiz

  • Directors: Sidney Lumet
  • Producers: Rob Cohen
  • Writers: Joel Schumacher, William F Brown
  • Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Musical, Family
  • Actors: Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross, Mabel King, Theresa Merritt, Thelma Carpenter, Lena Horne, Richard Pryor

A Thanksgiving dinner brings a host of friends and family together in a Harlem home, where a 24-year old schoolteacher named Dorothy Gale (Diana Ross) lives with her Aunt Em (Theresa Merritt) and her Uncle Henry (Stanley Greene). Extremely introverted, Dorothy has, as her aunt teases her, “never been south of 125th Street”, and refuses to move out and move on with her life.

While cleaning up after the dinner party, Dorothy’s dog Toto runs out the open kitchen door into a violent snowstorm. Dorothy succeeds in retrieving him, but finds herself trapped in the snowstorm. A magical whirlwind â€“ the work of Glinda the Good Witch (Lena Horne) â€“ materializes and transports the woman and her dog to Oz. Upon her entrance into Oz, Dorothy smashes through an electric “Oz” sign, which falls upon and kills Evermean, the Wicked Witch of the East. As a result, Dorothy frees the Munchkins who populate the park into which Dorothy lands; the Munchkins had been transformed by Evermean into graffiti for “tagging” the park walls.

Dorothy soon meets The Munchkins’ main benefactress, Miss One, the Good Witch of the North (Thelma Carpenter), a magical “numbers runner” who gives Evermean’s powerful silver slippers to Dorothy. However, the frightened Dorothy desperately wants to get home. Miss One urges her to follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City and find the mysterious “Wiz” who Miss One believes holds the power to send Dorothy back to Harlem. The good witch and the Munchkins then disappear and Dorothy is left to search for the yellow brick road on her own.

Upon arriving back in Emerald City, the quintet take a back door into the Wiz’s quarters and discover that the Wiz is a “phony”. The “great and powerful Oz” is actually Herman Smith, a failed politician from Atlantic City, New Jersey who was transported to Oz when a balloon he was flying to promote his campaign to become the city dogcatcher was lost in a storm. Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion are distraught that they will never receive their respective brains, heart and courage, but Dorothy makes them realize that they had these things all along. Just as it seems as if Dorothy will never be able to go home again, Glinda the Good Witch appears and implores Dorothy to find her way home by searching within and using her silver slippers. After thanking Glinda and saying goodbye to her friends, Dorothy takes Toto in her arms, thinks of home and the things she loves most about it and, after clicking her heels three times, finds herself back in her neighborhood. A changed woman, Dorothy carries Toto back to their apartment and closes the door.