VENICE, Italy (AP) – Director John Landis said Monday that he is still upset by Michael Jackson’s death, but a Venice Film Festival screening dedicated to “Thriller” is a chance to celebrate the musician’s life.
An enhanced version of the landmark Landis-directed music video, “Michael Jackson’s Thriller 3-D,” is screening alongside a behind-the-scenes documentary that has never been shown in cinemas before.
Landis told reporters in Venice on Monday that Jackson’s death aged 50 in 2009 was a tragedy for his family, his friends and the world.
“Truly great performers are rare, and he was brilliant – and a tragic figure, I think,” Landis said. “I was horrified, and I’m still upset about it.
The 14-minute “Thriller” video, released in 1983, stemmed from Jackson’s love of Landis’ film “An American Werewolf in London” and the King of Pop’s desire to turn into a monster onscreen.
Landis says modern technology has let him remix the sound and improve the visuals while converting the film to 3-D, so audiences can now “experience it the way Michael wanted you to.”
“My only disappointment is that Michael is not here to see it and hear it, because I think he would love it,” Landis said.
Landis says the accompanying backstage documentary shows Jackson “happy and joyous” and at his creative peak.
“It’s a celebration of Michael I didn’t expect, and very emotional for me,” he said.