Did you know that there is a plan afoot to make a new feature film based on ‘Thriller,’ by Michael Jackson? Neither did we, but a rights package is being fought over that would allow a studio to further exploit the posthumous popularity of Michael Jackson and his music. The result might be a new Thriller directed by…the guy who made High School Musical? John Landis has got to be rather irritated right now.

Deadline says that Thriller has Jeremy Garelick (The Hangover) attached to write and Kenny Ortega attached to direct. The site says the story is based in ” the song’s folklore, involving Vincent Price and the town he grew up in.”

Lest anyone needs a reminder, there’s already a great Thriller film. It is fourteen minutes long, directed by John Landis, and is among the best music videos ever made. It may have done more to make zombies iconic than all the movies of George Romero put together.

With all due respect to Kenny Ortega, the idea that the guy who directed the High School Musical films, Hocus Pocus and This Is It might direct a new version of Thriller is… well, not troubling, but just a bit absurd. We might hear about script ideas for this movie that will make it sound a lot more appealing, but it’s going to take a lot of evidence to convince that Kenny Ortega is the man for the job.

GK Films is reportedly negotiating for the rights package, but three other outfits are involved as well: Fox 2000, Mandate/Lionsgate and Summit.

Here’s the original Thriller, because it remains a great way to spend fourteen minutes.

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