Michael Jackson, Ackerman, and Chills

At Forry Ackerman’s memorial people were reminded that he made more than 200 cameo appearances in films. Doubtless the most-viewed cameo – by far! – was that of him sitting in a movie theater behind Michael Jackson during the “Thriller” music video.

Now Michael Jackson’s sudden and unexpected death has elicited worldwide response, with some of the most-widely reported public expressions taking inspiration from that famous video, and renewed attention to the “Thriller”-themed tribute performed by Filipino prisoners in 2007.

Others have taken less savory inspiration from the video, like those at a local outburst reported by the New York Times:

In Los Angeles, hundreds of fans — some chanting Mr. Jackson’s name, some doing the ‘Thriller’ dance — descended on the hospital and on the hillside house where he was staying.

David Klaus observes: “So, outside the house in which he was stricken, and the hospital where he was pronounced dead, his fans were dancing the dance he created for his role as a zombie, an undead creature come back to a shambling semblance of life, which had climbed out of its grave. Even setting aside the poor taste, that’s way too creepy for me.”