Michael Jackson’s Halloween (2017)

Although I absolutely love “Thriller,” I’ve never been one to associate Michael Jackson with Halloween, but apparently someone does. “Michael Jackson’s Halloween” isn’t just an animated special for the whole family, but it’s classic Michael Jackson. It has his music, it inspires individuality, and it further emphasizes Michael Jackson as something of a mythical figure that centered his life on defending children against sinister forces lurking in the shadows. Suffice to say “Michael Jackson’s Halloween” is a weird animated special, but it’s an oddly entertaining one that will work if you’re a Jackson buff.

His power and almost god-like appeal hasn’t worn down after his death, and here he’s depicted as something of an elusive avenger battling for innocence and freedom of expression. Thankfully, there isn’t an actor brought on to try to play the deceased artist’s voice, the writers do create symbolic representations of him through three Halloween oriented characters that are meant to be him in some form. And while Jackson isn’t voiced, the cast is packed with some a cast like Kiersey Clemons, Lucas Till, Jim Parsons, Lucy Liu, Alan Cumming, and Brad Garrett as Bubbles. Clemons and Till play Vincent and Victoria, a pair of teens that accidentally meet on Halloween night and, along with their dog Ichabod, end up at a mysterious hotel at 777 Jackson Street.

Named “This Place Hotel,” once inside the pair of teens are sent in to an adventure against various monsters attempting to capture them and make them a part of the prisoners of evil villainess and witch “Conformity.” The various villains are very much written in the Michael Jackson mold. They’re good people deep down being manipulated and exploited by an outside force we’re never fully informed on. The characters we meet here are traditionally bad guys but when we meet them, they’re really just entities that want to make music, and be themselves. They are forced in to doing something else thanks to a powerful villain anxious to take advantage of the kids.

It’s the same themes that ran through Michael Jackson’s infamous movie “Moonwalker.” The short TV movie is teeming with Jackson music as the producers opt for only his music. Save for the inexplicable (albeit brief) inclusion of “Torture” from The Jacksons (sans Michael). “Michael Jackson’s Halloween” might end up being an oddity of the Halloween season that seems to have fine intentions with its morals about innocence, and being yourself. Though it might mainly appeal to hardcore Michael Jackson buffs, I recommend giving it a try.