2 Hollywood Film Directors That Helmed Music Videos For Michael Jackson

Posted on: 7 August 2016

Michael Jackson created some of the most memorable music videos in music history. One unique thing about his videos was that he often hired Hollywood film directors. Unlike some less powerful musicians, Michael Jackson had the power and money to get large Hollywood players and have them work with him on his music videos. Below are two famous Hollywood directors that worked with Jackson.

John Landis (Thriller and Black or White)

While many people consider Michael to be a fickle person, he and Landis apparently got along well enough to work together twice. The first time was on the iconic and groundbreaking music video Thriller. Michael possibly saw Landis's film An American Werewolf In London, and liked the style. The video for Thriller features Michael transforming into a werewolf, and then a parade of zombies dancing in the street.

Almost a decade later, the two men collaborated again. This time the music video was for the song Black or White. It was another impressive video. It starts off with child star Macaulay Culkin playing his music too loudly in his bedroom. His father, plated by Cheers star George Wendt, yells at him to turn it off. Culkin then amps up a guitar, and in an homage to the opening of Back To The Future, he blasts it loudly and sends Wendt shooting through the roof and into the sky. The video then switches to Jackson dancing across various tableau's around the world, including Egypt, India, and China. The finale of the video caused controversy at the time when several models of different races stood center frame and morphed into one another as they sang.

Martin Scorsese (Bad)

Jackson tapped Raging Bull and Taxi Driver director Scorsese to film Bad. The full-length 18-minute video is not often showed. The segment with the dancing in the train station is the excerpt that gets played. The full-length video shows Jackson returning from boarding school on a bus, then taking a subway to his home in the inner city. He encounters old neighborhood friends and acquaintances, including a gang leader played by Wesley Snipes.

Snipes and his crew taunt Michael, saying he is a weak college boy. He has enough and tells them to follow him to the subway station. He approaches an old man and is going to rob the man, but at the last minute reneges and tells the man to run. Snipes yells at Jackson, telling he isn't down with the gang anymore, and that he is not bad. Jackson erupts into a furious rage, screaming that it is Snipes who isn't bad.

This sets off the main part of the song. There's lots of dancing around the train station, of course, and posturing. Eventually Snipes and his crew back off after Jackson's character convinces them that he won't be turned back to crime even though they are both bad.

You can learn more interesting facts about Michael Jackson in books like the Michael Jackson American Master book.