When I was a little girl, my mom and I came to America to visit my sister and brother, and our trip lasted for an entire year. The year was 1983, the year of Cabbage Patch dolls, My Little Pony, Scratch & Sniff stickers, head bands, Break Dancing, and of course Michael Jackson. In 1983 Michael Jackson had a great year as he released Billie Jean, Beat It and yes, Thriller. And here is my memory of this brilliant song and video.
My memory starts exactly as we were arriving home from a party one night, my mom, my sister, my brother and myself. I remember that my sister and brother were in such a rush to get home all night because "the show" was going to start at a certain time. Hurriedly they unlocked the door and ran inside the house, me following them, very curious to see what this thing was that they were so excited to watch. I remember hearing them say that this is the premiere of "the video", the first time that it will be aired on television and such an important event which cannot be missed. So I followed them and watched as my sister ran to the TV and pressed the power button.
What I saw next was far from what I had expected and what glued this memory to my brain. As the image came on the screen my eyes widened, my mouth opened and I froze. The video had started a few minutes before, and where we came in was precisely at the moment when Michael suddenly raises his head and looks up towards the camera, his eyes are yellow with a black line in the middle and wide open, his teeth are large, pointy and sharp, and with a monstrous voice he screams "GO AWAAAAAAAAY"! My heart jumped into my mouth as I screamed and ran to the bedroom, jumped in the bed, hid under the covers and started shivering/crying/moaning. This definitely was not how I had imagined my night would turn out. I can not recall what happened next, I certainly do not remember any one coming to my rescue as they were engrossed in the hot new Michael Jackson video, Thriller.
The next few days I vaguely remember holding my ears with my little hands and hiding in the kitchen with my mom as she was cooking, while my sister and brother watched the video on MTV over and over and over. I would complain to my mom that I am scared and she would ask them to turn down the volume to spare me (and herself). They would yell back angrily that they want to listen to the song and that I'm ruining this for them. I especially hated the ending where the continuous monstrous laugh echoed in the entire house. Maybe if I had a little warning and the image had not appeared to me in such a sudden form, my reaction would not have been so intense. Who knows?
Years have passed, my sister has not watched MTV in over a decade, my brother does not know who Jessica Simpson is, and I am not that little girl any more. But the funny thing is that to this day, when I hear the song Thriller, shivers run through my back as I become that little scared girl under the covers, waiting for the video to end.