Spooky Empire, the annual thriller and horror convention, has announced the reunion of the cast of “Sixteen Candles” with the attendance of Molly Ringwald, John and Joan Cusack, and Anthony Michael Hall during their convention at The Hyatt Regency Orlando. [Read more…]
By Andy Guinigundo
I suppose it’s fitting that someone who loved amusement parks so much, mostly Disney, has been appearing in various ways at various attractions since his death in June. No, I am not implying that Michael Jackson has been “haunting” various attractions. However, tributes have been prominently attempted and sometimes executed at various theme parks.
Legoland California often has Lego displays of current events displayed in the Carlsbad, California park. Soon after Jackson’s death, they planned a tribute display. In fact, Legoland asked fans to vote for their favorite version of the Lego MJ. About 24 hours before the grand unveiling, the display was cancelled. Sources reported that the Jackson estate stopped the display. You see the different Michaels here.
Kings Island in Ohio attempted a more macabre tribute to several recently dead celebrities. In addition to Michael Jackson, there was Heath Ledger, Steve McNair and Farrah Fawcett. Some of the celebrities were depicted as skeletons set up in scenes reminiscent of their deaths. The scenes that were to be part of the “Halloween Haunt” were deemed too inappropriate not only in conservative Cincinnati, but nationally. Kings Island ended up taking these scenes out and apologizing for the incident.
May still happen:
Soon after Jackson’s death, fans of Disney’s Captain EO clamored for the 3D movie’s return. Traffic to sites like YouTube saw heavy traffic to videos featuring Captain EO. In classic Disney denial fashion, CEO Bob Iger announced at the D23 Expo – “there are no plans to bring back Captain EO, but we are looking at it”. Personally, I would seriously take a good long look at the surviving film before rushing into a revival. 23 year old 3D special effects may not be very special.
Last weekend on Oct. 24, dancers at Six Flags parks in North American joined other locations around the world in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for number of simultaneous Thriller performers in an event dubbed “Thrill the World”. Six Flags dancers comprised some 3,100 of the planned 10,000. It was announced a few days ago that there were 22,923 dancers in 32 countries. Additionally, $85,000 was raised for charity. The Thrill the World event coincided with Six Flags’ “Fright Fest”, their yearly Halloween event.
Oct. 27 was the world premier of the new Michael Jackson movie, “This is It!”. To commemorate the event, Madame Tussauds Hollywood provided a Michael Jackson wax figure valued at $350,000 that was featured at the Universal CityWalk Cinemas in Hollywood. The one-night only event allowed fans the opportunity to pose with the figure for pictures. The wax figure is dressed in an outfit that was to have been featured on the “This is It!” concert series. The figure was created at Madame Tussauds London with input from the pop star himself. When he is not gracing the red carpet, he can be seen daily at Madame Tussauds Hollywood.
A recent tribute was also held right in Orlando during Spooky empire’s Zombie Walk. Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was reenacted along International Drive by the Rich Weirdoes and Cheryl Sington’s Dance Warehouse. Sington was one of the original dancers in the “Thriller” music video with Michael Jackson. John Landis, director of the “Thriller” video, was also on hand.
In another Orlando tribute, don’t be surprised if a “Thriller” dance breaks out the next time you’re dining at the Hard Rock Cafe in Universal CityWalk. The staff took it upon themselves to learn the dance and sometimes perform it when the song happens to play in the restaurant. More details can be found here.
• Andy Guinigundo is the author of the Out of The Loop column in “Orlando Attractions Magazine”. Out of the Loop keeps you up-to-date with attraction news outside of Central Florida. Andy lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife and three daughters. He grew up frequenting theme parks around Ohio and making trips to Orlando with his family. While for most of the year, he’s out of the Orlando loop, he tries to visit Florida at least once a year.
Hollywood director John Landis, best known for his films Animal House, The Blues Brothers, and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” music video, was one of the special guests at the Spooky Empire “Ultimate Horror Weekend” 2009.
After he watched a “Thriller” reenactment performed by the Rich Weirdoes and original “Thriller” video dancer Cheryl Sington’s Dance Warehouse group, we had a chance to ask Landis a few questions:
As part of Spooky Empire’s “Ultimate Horror Weekend” 2009 in Orlando, two impressive reenactments of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” took place in the parking lot of Friday’s Front Row on International Drive.
Enjoy the full first performance here:
The above show was performed by the Rich Weirdoes and Cheryl Sington’s Dance Warehouse. Sington is one of the original dancers from the “Thriller” music video. The opening ceremonies were put on by the Deadite Empire.
A little while later, “Thriller” music video director John Landis showed up to watch the second performance featuring more of the children from The Dance Warehouse:
Director John Landis takes photos of the “Thriller” performance.
Landis poses with the “Thriller” performers, Cheryl Sington’s Dance Warehouse and the Rich Weirdos.
You can find plenty more photos from the Spooky Empire “Thriller” reenactment and zombie walk in our photo gallery.
Zombies invaded Orlando today – International Drive to be exact. Today’s Zombie Walk and Thriller Dance kicked off Spooky Empire’s “Ultimate Horror Weekend.” The event runs through Sunday, Oct. 11 at the Wyndam Orlando Resort. The zombie walk and opening ceremonies were put on by the Deadite Empire.
If you missed the walk, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered with the photos below and some upcoming videos. Plus there’s still time to see the next two days of movie screenings, exhibitors and lots of big and not-so-big name celebrities. For more information visit Spooky Empire’s Web site.
Here are some featured photos from the event. Scroll all the way to the bottom to see all 100 in our Photo Gallery.
Zombies in Love.
Before the walk began, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was performed a couple of times, once for Director John Landis. He directed Michael Jackson’s original “Thriller” video.
Landis snaps a picture of the zombies in action.
After the dance, Landis took some pictures with the performers. Here he points to one of the original dancers from Michael Jackson’s video.
Next up was the actual walk. Passing cars were cautious of the invading hoard.
I think the parents in this passing car had some explaining to do.
Some drivers weren’t so lucky as they tried to get through.
After the walk, the Horror Weekend began. One of the biggest attending stars this weekend is Shannen Doherty. [Read more…]
Don’t be surprised if a “Thriller” dance breaks out the next time you’re dining at the Hard Rock Cafe in Universal CityWalk.
Dustin, an engineer at the Hard Rock, started dancing around whenever Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” would play in the restaurant, attracting a lot of attention as he emulated Michael’s moves. Some of the wait staff were interested in learning the dance, so Dustin started giving lessons. So if the song happens to play, the next time you’re dining at the restaurant, you’ll be in for a show.
Marketing and Promotions Manager Jeff Jones said there are no scheduled performances, the song just plays on random days and random times. But if you’d like to guarantee seeing the staff dance in person, they’re still practicing for an upcoming special performance. “The only guaranteed performance will be Oct. 2,” said Jones, “when we present Classic Albums Live featuring Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’. The staff will join the Classic Albums Live band on the title track.”
One of Hard Rocks managers has posted a couple of videos showing the staff and Dustin doing the dance. The first shows the wait staff dancing without Dustin’s help and the other shows Dustin all decked out and dancing with the staff.