L.A. Thrills The World

So I was (moon)walking through my neighborhood the other day when I came upon this sign that caught my normally jaded L.A. eye:

Now, telephone poles all over Los Angeles are plastered end-to-end with open-call casting fliers and adverts looking for (ahem) “dancers.” That’s nothing new. But I’d never seen signage like this.


This was an invitation to participate in Thrill The World, an event to set the world record for the biggest global execution of Michael Jackson‘s iconic, zombie-rific “Thriller” dance. With Halloween just around the corner and Jacko’s wacko, werewolfy “Thriller” video celebrating its big 25th anniversary this year, Thrill The World 2008 was sure to be a thrilling occasion indeed.

I opted not to attend any of the advertised Thrill The World practice sessions, since I was too afraid I’d confuse the complex “Thriller” choreography with that of “Billie Jean” or “Bad” or “Beat It” and mistakenly launch into a West Side Story-ish knife fight or a gang-battle on rollerskates…or maybe I’d expect pavement tiles to illuminate under my footsteps and get confused/disappointed when they remained dim. However, I still made sure to attend this past weekend’s L.A. Thrill The World dance-off (one of 93 simultaneous “Thriller” routines that took place on Saturday, October 25 worldwide, from Texas to Australia to Hong Kong to Britain).

The Los Angeles Thrill The World event went down most thrillingly at the Hollywood & Highland mall–and witnessing 100 or so eighties Halloween zombies, staggering groaningly and grotesquely past all the unsuspecting tourists and upscale shoppers, was a thrill in and of itself:

So it turned out all that practice paid off for the undead Hollywood hoofers who attended the aforementioned advertised rehearsals. Here they are in all their yellow-contact-lensed, facepainted glory, expertly shamon-ing their way across the Hollywood & Highland courtyard:



The more advanced Jacko dancers did their part to thrill the onlookers as well, with this funk-of-40,000-years homage to the “Thriller” video’s Vincent Price-narrated cemetary scene:


Sadly, even though Michael Jackson himself was spotted lurking around Los Angeles only two days earlier, he disappointingly was not at the mall on Saturday to show his support. Or maybe he was there…who knows, he might have been incognito, wearing one of his famous face masks, blending in quite well and going unnoticed among all the attending freaks and geeks and ghouls:

As for the part Britain played in the record-setting Thrill The World extravaganza, I must sheepishly admit that the zombie-dancers in Hollywood, supposedly the Entertainment Capital Of The World, were easily out-Thrillered by the participants in Liverpool. Here are the Liverpudlian zombies doing their part:

And the Liverpool zombies had to dance in the rain, while the L.A. zombies shamoned under much more pleasant and sunshiny (if less spooky, less Halloweeny) conditions. So apparently Jacko’s song is true: No mere mortal can resist the evil of the “Thriller.”