Rarities #2: Michael Jackson Ghosts Box Set (1997)
This Deluxe Collector Box Set was released in 1997 as a limited edition release, to feature Michael Jackson's new "ground-breaking" mini-movie, Ghosts. The contents of the box set are listed and shown in the photograph below.
With Ghosts, MJ was trying to update his revolutionary Thriller video (or short film, as he likes to call it), hiring animatronics wizard Stan Winston (who did the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park and terminators in well, Terminator) to direct it and create the make-up for the film.
The King of Pop teamed up with the king of horror stories, Stephen King, to come up with the concept for the film. In it, MJ even plays 5 characters: the Maestro, Mayor, Ghoul Mayor, Superghoul and Skeleton.
The film itself is uninspired, and for all the pomp and pagentry that MJ had at his disposal compared to 1983 when he made the landmark Thriller video, Ghosts fails to match its predecessor in terms of the impact the video had on the pop music world.
Back then, Thriller revolutionised the music video industry and showed the world how videos are made. It gave birth to the mini-movie idea instead of just showing the singers miming to the lyrics of the song. It elevated music videos to a whole new level, to be taken seriously as an art form.
The songs featured in Ghosts (the title track, 2Bad and Is It Scary) are not as good as the single track, Thriller, and the dance here is choppy and not continuous, which frustrates me because I love MJ for his dance. So I was rather disappointed with the short film Ghosts.
That aside, I only bought this box set second-hand last year, having regretted not buying it first-hand when it was first released. As such, the box itself is not in superb condition, with a little wear and tear at the edges.
The programme booklet is lavish and glossy, and contains many photographs as well. The Blood On The Dance Floor CD really is an unnecessary addition to the box as it is commercially available outside. As for the video-cassette of the Ghosts short film, who watches VHS tapes nowadays anyway?! Besides, it is available on VCD now.
The real gem here is the limited edition minimax CD single, which includes the previously unreleased song, On The Line, written by Babyface. It is a decent ballad I must say, but it does not rank among MJ's great works. It also contains a remix each of Ghosts and Is It Scary. However, the cool part is that the underside of the CD itself is yellow instead of silver, so it is pretty nice.