'Cause this is thriller

By Ruth Kinane
August 07, 2017 at 11:57 AM EDT
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Three years after it was announced that director John Landis was helming a re-release of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” music video in 3-D format, the updated version of iconic 1983 video will finally premiere at the upcoming Venice Film Festival — and it’s going to be even more thrilling than the original.

“I am so happy to have had the chance not only to restore but enhance Michael Jackson’s Thriller,” Landis, who worked with Optimum Productions on the newly restored video, said in a statement released Monday. “We took full advantage of the remarkable advances in technology to add new dimensions to both the visual and the audio bringing it to a whole new level. Even though Thriller was shot traditionally, I was able to use the 3-D creatively. Let me just warn you, there is a rather shocking surprise in there.”

“Michael Jackson made Thriller a rich theatrical experience: fun, funny, scary and wildly entertaining,” said John Branca and John McClain, Jackson estate co-executors. “No one before or since has made anything like it. Michael Jackson’s Thriller 3D is a modern day technical enhancement of his and John Landis’ original vision, and I think fans will love it.”

Along with the 3D video premiere at the Venice Film Festival, there will also be a screening of the Making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller documentary that aired on MTV and Showtime when the video first premiered in 1983.

Before Jackson’s death in 2009, Landis and Jackson’s estate became entangled in a five-year-long legal battle over who owned the film, delaying its re-release. The dispute has since been resolved, according to Jackson’s estate.

The Venice Film Festival begins Aug. 30. For now, relive “Thriller” above.

[Editor’s note: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that the 3-D version of the “Thriller” video was originally slated to be used as a backdrop during Jackson’s This Is It tour. In fact, it was not the “Thriller” video but rather a short film made by Kenny Ortega that was to be shown during the tour.]

Thriller

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