PE: What was your first exposure to Thriller?
Ernest Dickerson: My first encounter with Thriller was in the early 60's when the show first started running in 1960. I guess I first started hearing about it in '61 when people started talking about it. I tried watching it a couple of times but it was too scary for me. The only episode I watched all the way through was "The Grim Reaper" and it scared the living shit outta me! I missed most of the climax because I had my hands over my eyes half the time. When I was a kid I did not like skeletons. No skeletons, no way!
PE: Had you seen it again since?
ED: Over the years, that episode stayed in my mind. I didn't see it again until several episodes of Thriller were released on laser disc. And I loved it.
PE: How did you become involved with the Thriller DVD project?
ED: I got involved with the DVD through David Schow and Tim Lucas. David asked me if I had a favorite episode and I told him it was "The Grim Reaper". He then asked me if I wanted to do the commentary for it. Then Tim told me he was coming to California to do the commentary, so I was in.
PE: Did you consider other episodes for commentary?
ED: The only episode I knew well enough to give a cogent commentary on was "The Grim Reaper". I didn't have the time or the resources to cram for any of the others.
JS: Turning to our obligatory questionnaire, what's your favorite Thriller?
ED: I haven't seen them all yet, but my favorite Thrillers are "The Grim Reaper," "Pigeons From Hell" and "The Cheaters."
JS: What aspect of Thriller turns you on?
ED: What turns me on the most about Thriller is that, at it's best, it is Weird Tales for TV.
JS: What aspect turns you off?
ED: Not much turns me off except that, being TV, quality isn't easy to maintain.
JS: What word best describes Thriller?
ED: The word that best describes Thriller for me is: KARLOFF!
JS: If Hell exists, what episode of Thriller would you expect to see shown on a continuous loop to people who arrive at the fiery gates?
ED: I think hell must be a subjective experience. So whatever the worst, most boring episode is, for whoever, that on a loop would be shown. You guys can probably figure which one that is.
Be sure to check out Ernest's commentaries on "The Grim Reaper" and "The Premature Burial."