Thriller (viral video)

Thriller (viral video)

"Thriller" is a YouTube remake of Michael Jackson's original "Thriller" music video [ [ - Thriller] ] by prison inmates from the Philippines has become a popular viral video.cite news |url= |title=Philippine jailhouse rocks to Thriller |date=2007-07-26 |publisher=BBC News | accessdate=2007-08-17] [,,2136222,00.html Guardian Unlimited, Jailhouse rocks: Philippine inmates' Thriller routine an internet hit] ] [ NPR: Filipino Inmates' Video Is a 'Thriller' on the Web ] ] [ Reuters Video, Jail house rockers are big hit] ]

The video was uploaded to YouTube by Byron Garcia, a security consultant for the local government, who is also credited with starting the program of choreographed exercise routines for the inmates.

On December 19, 2007, Time Magazine placed the inmates' Cebu Thriller as 5th in the list of chosen 10 "most popular viral videos" of the year. Time's stated description of the prisoners was: "Orange-jumpsuited accused murderers, rapists and drug dealers paid homage to Michael Jackson's Thriller in a dance performance filmed at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in the Philippines (CPDRC)." [ [ GMA NEWS.TV, Cebu dancing inmates video makes Time list] ] Thus, on December 27, 2007, Vice Mayor Michael Rama, acting mayor of Cebu City, noted the inmates’ request to be in the Sinulog Festival as Sinulog Foundation executive director Ricky Ballesteros informed the former of the possibility of CPDRC’s participation. [ [, Cebu mulls 'Thriller' inmates participation in Sinulog] ] [ [ Sunstar, Inmates’ dance area limited] ]


Author-creator Byron Garcia is the brother of Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, GSIS General Manager, Winston Garcia, and Congressman Pablo John Garcia. Their parents are Deputy Speaker Pablo P. Garcia and Judge Esperanza “Inday” Fiel-Garcia, who had 8 children (4 sons). [ [ Profile, Pablo Garcia] ] [ [, Pablo John Garcia: Following in his father's footsteps] ]

Garcia originally wanted to introduce a program at Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) where inmates would exercise for an hour each day. He saw waves of prisoners in the exercise yard and thought it looked good.

He introduced an exercise program where the prisoners marched in unison, starting out with marching to the beat of a drum, but moved on to dancing to pop music; he began with one of his favourite songs, Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)". He chose camp music such as "In The Navy" and "Y.M.C.A." by The Village People, so macho prisoners would not be offended at being asked to dance.

Garcia's first upload of prisoner choreography was the Algorithm March [ [ YouTube - Algorithm March with Prisoners ] ] , but this was almost entirely ignored. "Thriller" was uploaded on July 17, 2007 [ YouTube, "Thriller" (original upload)] .


"Thriller" became an instant hit, reaching as much as 300,000 views per dayFact|date=July 2008 (with 18,112,432 views, 48,744 ratings and Text Comments 38,401 Text Comments, as of September, 2008Fact|date=July 2008). A performance of the routine at Cebu City's Founding Day celebrations resulted in a donation of 1.6 million pesos. Each inmate received 1000 pesos. [ [ GMA NEWS.TV, 2007: The year Pinoys became YouTube darlings] ]

On October 6, 2007, Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal visited CPDRC for the first time, and the prisoners performed six dances for him, as part of the celebration of the Prison Awareness Month; the Archbishop noted, "It was a marvelous show of discipline. If only they had practiced that (discipline) in their lives, they wouldn’t be here.” [Jujemay G. Awit, [ Cardinal urges: Know more than inmates’ dances] , Sun.Star Cebu, October 07, 2007.]

Garcia is currently teaching the inmates "Together in Electric Dreams" by Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder, which will be presented to his sister, the provincial governor Gwendolyn Garcia, on her birthday in October. [cite news | url = | title = Cebu inmates going for another YouTube hit | date = 2007-08-12 | publisher = GMA NEWS.TV | accessdate = 2007-08-17] [ [, 'Thriller' prisoners prepare to make 'Electric Dreams' come true] ]

Starting April, 2008, Cebu provincial inmates' live dances attracted many visitors. After the 2 hour monthly program (done on a Saturday), visitors can have their pictures taken with the prisoners and buy souvenir prison shirts. [ [, Philippines' dancing jail; everyone wants to go inside] ]

Abuse claims

The British Channel 4 Documentary "Murderers on the Dancefloor" broadcast in January 2008 portrayed life in the prison. The program showed various inmates praising Byron Garcia, the founder of the initiative - many of whom had tattoos praising Mr Garcia. However, it also featured an anonymous ex-inmate who claimed Mr Garcia employs certain prisoners to beat prisoners who refuse to dance. Garcia was filmed in the documentary holding an American M4 Carbine, saying, "This is an M16 M4 rifle, and it can make people dance", before aiming the gun at the cameraman. This statement was acknowledged as a joke by the narrator. His Youtube account, however, states any accusation that any form of abuse goes on as part of the program is false, and the program serves the purpose of reforming the inmates.

Presentations / Dances

* "Algorithm March" (Japanese Song)
* "Bebot"
* "Canon in D" (rock version)
* "Crank That (Soulja Boy)"/"U Can't Touch This"
* Dayang Dayang
* "The Hustle" -- marching and line dancing versions
* "Gloria"
* Gregorian Chant
* "Hail Holy Queen" from "Sister Act"
* "Hare Hare Yukai" from "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya"
* "Holding Out for a Hero"
* "I Will Follow Him" from "Sister Act"
* "Jumbo Hotdog"
* "Jump'
* "Low"
* "Macarena"
* "Radio Ga Ga"
* "Rico Mambo"
* "Together in Electric Dreams"
* "YMCA"


Crisanto Nierre plays Michael Jackson's role in the video. He is pleased that his relatives worldwide have seen his performance. The openly gay inmate Wenjiel Resane plays the role of Michael Jackson's girlfriendFact|date=May 2008.

"Dancing for Discipline"

The "Thriller" video inspired a short documentary by young filmmaker Pepe Diokno, entitled "Dancing for Discipline". The documentary is a pointed examination of the cultures of power in Philippine systems, with telling interviews of Byron Garcia and inmates Wenjiel Resane and Crisanto Niere. In a column for the Philippine Star Diokno writes, "Jails are a microcosm of society, and in them we can clearly see how the cultures of power and patronage play. This is what "Dancing for Discipline" is about." [ [ Notes from the field:Dancing for Discipline] ]

The film was funded from a grant by USAID through the Asia Foundation, and is part of a series of short films about Philippine jails, entitled "Rock the Rehas". The three other films in the series are "DokumenTADO: Rock the Rehas" by Tado Jimenez, "Buhay Looban" by Lourd de Veyra, and "1048:2261" by Gang Badoy. [ [, Prison break] ] These premiered on November 25, 2007, in Makati, Philippines, with Philippine Supreme Court Justice Reynato Puno in attendance, hailing the effort.

ee also

*Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center
*Discipline and Punish


External links

* [, "Thriller" (original upload)]
* [, Prisoners get down to 'Gloria']
*imdb title|id=0088263|title=Thriller (1983) (V)

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