A sneak peak at the video for ''Scream'' -- Can a big budget guarantee Michael Jackson success?

By A.J. Jacobs
Updated June 09, 1995 at 04:00 AM EDT

If John Travolta can put talking-dog movies behind him, maybe Michael Jackson can make a comeback after all. Already, trailers promoting the singer’s HIStory album have appeared. The biggest test will come on June 15, when the $7 million (yes, you read the cost correctly) video for ”Scream,” the album’s first single, debuts on MTV. ”Even people who don’t like Michael Jackson will be curious to see that video,” says Lee Chesnut, a vice president of VH1. Costarring Michael’s sister Janet, ”Scream” was shot recently on a tightly guarded soundstage on the Universal lot — but EW managed to infiltrate the set. Here’s what we learned.

— The video follows the two famous siblings as they roam through the dark corridors of a huge spaceship.

— To create the effect of dancing on the ceiling, Fred Astaire-style, Michael climbed into a device resembling a hamster wheel.

— Michael smashes Ming-style vases with an oversize racquetball racket and brings statues to life by pointing at them.

— The former Jehovah’s Witness first appears on screen meditating on a cushion that’s floating in the pool of a Zen garden.

— Janet and Michael play the ’70s videogame Pong on a movie-theater-size screen.

— When Michael performed, the set sometimes had to be cleared. When Janet belted out her lyrics, the crew was allowed to watch.

— Michael almost hiked the video’s cost by $1 million when he declared that he wanted to be shown flying. Then he thought better of it. Even the King, it seems, has his limits.