Zombie madness: Events to make you stumble and dance like the undead

Kristin D'Agostino

Two upcoming Halloween events celebrate the B-grade brand of spook seen running rampant in movies like “Night of the Living Dead.”

A dance event at Salem State College on Saturday offers locals the chance to learn to dance like Michael Jackson and his backup zombies from the “Thriller” video. Participants will try to earn a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most people dancing around the world. Organizers, who hope to have 190,000 people dancing simultaneously, say so far 13 countries and 99 cities are signed up.

Just what’s so special about the “Thriller” dance video? Well, besides the fact that the 13-minute video features a charmingly normal version of Michael Jackson, it is approaching its 25th anniversary and was recently recognized by the Library of Congress for being one of American musical culture’s most significant recordings.

“[The video] had a real impact on pop video dance music from that point on,” says Salem State’s Karen Gahagan. “It’s a self-contained story with a movie-like atmosphere.”

The event is intended for older children and adults and begins at noon with registration and a two-hour dance lesson. Those who want to get a head start on mastering dance moves are encouraged to visit for a free video tutorial.

Residents are encouraged to don their spookiest zombie costumes and come down to dance with friends and family. Mayor Kim Driscoll may be attending, and prizes will be awarded for the best costumes.