Movie Review│Ghosts (short film)

1diJXqhCdd5xSL7WGu9YR2IQbKcDirector: Sam Winston // Year of release: 1997 // 38 minutes
Cast: Michael Jackson, Yasiin Bey…

Seen in October 2015 (and many times before that)

Log Line (from IMDb)

A Maestro is stalked by the Mayor of a small town. When he is forced to leave based on his potential, he puts on a show that the entire mob has to see.

My thoughts


In truth, I don’t care about Halloween. I’m French, so this is not something I grew up with (plus I hate dressing up, so there’s that). But, I do spend a lot of time on the internet, and it has taught me that October is the month for creepy/scary stuff. I don’t like horror films (I’m too much of a wimp), so I stay clear of those, but I’m okay with friendly ghosts.

If you’re looking at this poster and thinking “This is a Michael Jackson ‘movie’. It must be really bad”, well you are wrong my friend. Let me tell you that Stephen King himself came up with the story for this short film! And if you don’t believe me, watch the film, and stick around until the end credits, his name is there.

Let’s not kid ourselves, though, this is a glorified version of a music video. You see those quite a bit nowadays, but don’t forget that Michael Jackson was the one who invented the music video as we know it today.
This particular one features songs from both the History and Blood on the Dance Floor albums, with crazy good dance sequences (I can watch the one for 2 Bad over and over again. Don’t test me, I’ve done it). If memory serves, this short film was actually the first one to ever use motion capture (you know, that thing that is now widely used by Hollywood blockbusters such as LOTR, Avatar, Planet of the Apes and so on…). Like it or not, Michael Jackson was a pioneer in his field.

So this is the story of a man who lives as a recluse because the world thinks he is weird and doesn’t belong. People don’t understand him, so he must be evil, and they have to get rid of him. Hmm… Reminiscent of anything? If  you are a little bit familiar with the life of Michael Jackson, and the persecution by the media he was a victim of, you’ll definitely be able to see the similarities with the film.
But it doesn’t stop to Michael Jackson. Think of LGTBQ+ people for example, they are rejected because they are different, don’t belong and don’t conform to what society wants them to be (a.k.a. “normal people”, whatever that means).

In many ways, I think this film tries to spread acceptance. Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know, try to understand it before you make your ill-advised conclusions.

My rating:

I think Michael Jackson has been labelled a “freak” most of his life/career because people didn’t understand him and didn’t try to. With this short film, he plays on his own experience of being called a freak, and turns it on its head, trying to make people understand that it’s not because something is “strange” to you that it means it’s bad. Try to be open-minded and understand the world around you instead of trying to fit the world in the box of what you think it should be like.

Unfortunately, this short film has never been released on DVD. I own the VHS, but who’s got a VCR these days? Some pirate versions can be found on YouTube, but please, Michael Jackson Estate, do yourself a favour and release this on Blu-Ray!!!

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