Horror fans consume a slew of famous films and television shows and plays each October, the better to jump-start the startles that come part and parcel with the month ending in Halloween.
But what about the stories and songs that have become more participatory, beyond the passive viewing? Theatre companies regularly revisit "Dracula" and "Frankenstein" but only one newer stand-out sees even avowed non-performers join the show.
That's "Thriller," which is still the newbie on the Halloween classics scene, having first made its mark via the Michael Jackson-led, John Landis-directed video nearly 33 years ago. So instantaneous was its success that schoolkids back in 1982 could be seen doing the "claws up" move days after its MTV debut, and so lasting is its legacy that groups regularly come together to dance today.
What to do, where to go and what to see
Make that zombified groups; you have to rock your undead make-up if you're going to fully encompass the graveyard chic of the pop culture stalwart. And you can, at various spots around Southern California, as "Thriller" fans gather and groan to pay haunting homage to the modern classic.
Thrill the World: "Thriller" has a strong flash mob streak, as in fans'll pop up, looking well-coffin'd and ready to shake it, in the most surprising places. Thrill the World is a globe-big event that serves as a focal point for local groups that want to learn the dance and then show off their moves somewhere in public. This 2015 date for this dastardly doing? Saturday, Oct. 24. Find your nearest zombies here.
E.P. & L.P.: The West Hollywood-based, Asian-cuisine favorite is hosting a Halloween night party on the rooftop, and "Thriller" is the theme. No word if guests'll break out into the dance, but a full-on cemetery and graveyard will pop up on top of the restaurant, lending those chiller-thriller vibes to the night.
Swerve Studio: Millions know the "Thriller" moves but only a few performers can say they appeared in the video. Dancer Kim Blank did, in full, straight-from-the-grave make-up, and she leads an annual seminar in all of the precision moves, and shares a few fun anecdotes from the set, too. (Disclosure: The "Thriller" dancer is a pal to the writer.) Reserve your spooky spot at the West Third studio, then growl along with one of the Original Ghouls. Date: Saturday, Oct. 24
Angelino Heights: The Victorian abode seen in the video was not back-less backlot construction; it is a real house, in historic Angelino Heights at the edge of downtown. LA Conservancy runs a walking tour of the neighborhood on the first Saturday of each month, but you can quietly toodle by the "Thriller" house before then -- find it on Carroll Avenue.