Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thriller Three-Way: Ernest Dickerson, Commentator

Ernest Dickerson is an acclaimed cinematographer (Do the Right Thing, School Daze, Mo' Better Blues, Malcolm X) and director (Juice, The Wire, ER, Dexter, Lincoln Heights). He is currently directing an episode of Frank Darabont's The Walking Dead for AMC.

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."

1 comment:

  1. And fine commentaries they are, too. Thanks so much for contributing to the project, Ernie!