Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Halloween Countdown (Day 17: Shamone)

I mentioned the following short film/music video in the first blog entry, as I thought it would be a fun choice to write about. Not to mention that it doesn't take long to watch, so it would make room to watch something else afterwards. Oh yes, there will be spoilers......and Michael Jackson, if you needed warning beforehand.

If you've never seen this short film (and I'm pretty sure most people haven't), here you go.

Okay, WHY did you pick this movie?

Besides the fact that it's short, as I mentioned in the aforementioned blog entry, I'm a fan of Michael Jackson's music. Regardless of what you thought of the man, or even if you didn't like his music, his music videos were inventive, creative, and memorable. Except this longform music video, with a story written by MJ himself and Stephen King. I did not make that up.

While I did enjoy the music, which contained the songs "2 Bad" (from the "HIStory" double album), "Is It Scary" and "Ghosts" (from the odds and sods/remix album "Blood On The Dancefloor: HIStory In The Mix"), the film itself was underwhelming, easily forgettable, and it didn't look that impressive in terms of choreography, set design, costumes, special effects, and story.

And now.....

It's still poor, but now the only thing I will remember it for, and this is going to sound bad, are the references to the child molestation charges and MJs view of the media in relation to this. This movie came out a couple of years after the charges and court case, so MJs career and reputation were hit badly. So this was an effort to reclaim his former glory with a longform music video that he probably thought the public thought would eat up.

Of course, it didn't turn out that way. The story is heavy with references to the "witch hunt" he endured during the case, as represented by the "angry mob". Which is a loose term, as it seems like the only one to get him is the mob leader (who you soon figure out who is behind the bad prosthetic make up), a group of cowardly parents, and their kids. The reason for this lynch mob because some of the parents found out from the kids what the reclusive MJ was doing to them in his's telling ghost stories.

So the mob leader confronts MJ about his weird behaviour and asks him to leave. He asks the rest of the mob whether they want him to leave, especially the kids, as he also asks them did they like that thing that he does, with the, you know.....I'm just paraphrasing here, but this the problem I had with it. The dialogue could easily be misinterpreted for comedic effect, thanks to the allegations MJ was faced with in real life. This doesn't do a good job in making the viewer forget that.

You'd think this is special FX, but then again, with all the plastic surgery over the years.....

Even if you took away the allegation charges and his "unique" fondness of children (read into that whatever you will), "Ghosts" is filled with many characteristics of his previous music videos, that it comes off as a parody, but nobody told MJ the joke.

The admiration the children have for him, the outlandish dance numbers, the pauses for silence and ambiance, mixed in with clicking fingers, and MJ screaming "hhhhhoooooooooo" every now and then, it just gets old very quickly. And because of the length of this video, it gets really, really boring. Especially when the dance numbers seem uninspired, and any attempts at humour (such as getting the mob leader to dance a la Wacko Jacko) just fall flat.

Mind you, I would love to have seen a "hooo-down" between MJ and Hacksaw Jim Duggan.

The movie can be summed up like this: angry mob go into mansion, MJ holds them hostage, ghosts start dancing around, scaring and amusing the crowd, MJ does his Jesus Christ pose in the middle of it, mob leader runs away. The end. Now, that's fair enough, and while it may not be the most intriguing or interesting of plot lines in a MJ video, it'll have to do. But it takes FOREVER to go through this dull Thriller wannabe mixed with a Disney haunted house.

There's too many breaks between songs and during them, the effects are nothing amazing visually, and there's nobody of any interest within the crowd, except focus on the mob leader and some ginger kid who I'm not sure even has a name. As for the rest of the mob and their children, they just stand there looking scared/bewildered/entertained, and you keep asking yourself why aren't they making a break for it by smashing one of the many windows in a hall.

As for the music, while I do like the individual songs, I just don't think they had the potential to be as memorable as the likes of "Thriller", "Bad", or "Smooth Criminal", even without the accompanying longform videos. So with a handful of, let's face it, album fillers, mixed with a generic, used up concept, "Ghosts" doesn't so much as scare you to death, but bore you to death.

And on a final note.....

While "Blood On The Dancefloor" was an unusual collection of remixes and new tracks, two of which appeared on "Ghosts", it also included this peculiar MJ track, which I really liked, especially the industrial rock feel to it, which would be reflective of my musical taste in years to come.

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