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The “Thriller” House

Oct 28th, 2010 | By | Category: Michael Jackson Locations

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Today, in honor of Halloween, I thought I’d blog about what is arguably the most famous haunted house of all time – the Victorian-style residence that was featured in the 1983 music video “Michael Jackson’s Thriller”.  Even though I’ve actually already blogged about this location once before (way back in December of 2007 when I first started my site!), because I mixed it in with a post about Halliwell Manor from Charmed which is located on the same street, I thought it was about time that the “Thriller” house was given proper recognition with its very own post.  Especially since my dad recently transferred our VHS recording of “The Making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller” onto a DVD so that we could finally watch it again, being that neither of us has owned a working VCR in about five years time.  I used to watch the “Making Of” special almost weekly as a child and was absolutely ENTRALLED with it.  And I am very happy to report that over twenty-seven years later, the behind-the-scenes special is JUST as enthralling.  :)   I wish the Jackson family would release it on DVD as I’d love to have a copy that wasn’t taped off of television.

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In real life, the property is known as the Sanders House and it was originally built in 1887!  Yes, you read that right – the residence is over 123 years old!  It was commissioned by a man named Michael Sanders who ran a storage warehouse in Los Angeles at the time.  The Queen Anne/Eastlake-style home boasts 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, and 3,532 square feet of living space – which I was shocked to discover as the residence looks to be much smaller from the street.  The property was originally a single family residence, but has since been converted into a duplex-type dwelling, and has been undergoing an extensive restoration project for the past decade.  In 1971, the home was declared a cultural historic monument and the entire 1300 block of Carroll Avenue, where the “Thriller” house is located, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  You can see some fabulous historic photographs of the “Thriller” house and its neighboring homes here.  And you can read a more in-depth write-up on the history of the Sanders House on fave website Big Orange Landmarks here.

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I was only at the “Thriller” house for about ten minutes yesterday and no less than three different groups of fellow stalkers showed up to take pictures of the place while I was there – and it was in the middle of the day no less!  Simply amazing!  I was really hoping that the “Thriller” homeowners would have decorated their abode for Halloween, but as it turns out they are not currently very thrilled about the publicity that their property’s famous history generates.  According to a SUPER nice neighbor whom I spoke with while I was stalking the place yesterday, shortly after Michael Jackson passed away in June of last year, a deplorable fan stole the mailbox from the “Thriller” house and the homeowner is still pretty upset about it – especially being that the mailbox was the original one which was installed when the residence was first built over 123 years ago!  I can’t even believe that a person would have the audacity to not only trespass on someone else’s property, but to then steal something from that property while doing so.  It is people like that who give us harmless stalkers a bad name and it makes me madder and madder the more I think about it.  Not only did that thief sour the residents on the magic of owning and living in the “Thriller” house, but they also destroyed part of a historic landmark in the process.  UGH!  Don’t even get me started! 
 
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The super nice neighbor also informed me that the 1300 block of Carroll Avenue is THE place to be on Halloween.  One year he counted over 2,000 trick-or-treaters knocking on his front door alone!  Halliwell Manor from Charmed (pictured above) is already decked out for the occasion, but the neighbor said that all of the houses on the block – not just the famous ones – typically have lines of about twenty to thirty people standing out in front of them all night long.  Amazing!  I would SO love to stalk the neighborhood on Halloween, but I already have plans to spend the holiday in Santa Barbara this year.  Ah well, there’s always next year.
 
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Only the exterior of the “Thriller” house was used in the filming of the music video.
 
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All of the interior scenes were shot on a soundstage somewhere in Los Angeles.
 

You can watch the video “Michael Jackson’s Thriller” by clicking above.

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The “Thriller” house was also used as the residence of Finn (aka Reynaldo Rosales) in the Season 4 episode of Charmed titled “Size Matters’”.

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And fellow stalker Angela from Florida alerted me to the fact that the dwelling was also used as the residence of Madam Serena (aka Zelda Rubinstein) in the 1989 movie Teen Witch. It is quite ironic that the house belonged to a woman named Serena in the flick, as the star of Teen Witch was none other than Robin Lively – real life sister of Blake Lively, who plays the famous Serena van der Woodsen on TV’s Gossip Girl.

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  :)

Stalk It: The house from “Michael Jackson’s Thriller” is located at 1345 Carroll Avenue in the Angelino Heights section of Los Angeles, just a few miles north of Downtown.  The Halliwell sisters’ house from Charmed is located two doors east of the “Thriller” house at 1329 Carroll Avenue.  And Holly’s Nashua house from the “Employee Transfer” episode of The Office is located just around the corner at 1347 Kellam Avenue.  If you stalk any of these locations, please, please do not trespass and, for God’s sake, do NOT steal, touch, or destroy ANYTHING while there!

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11 comments

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  1. andrea says:

    I live in East Los Angeles, and I drive by twice (or more) on a daily basis by the brick wall, in which they filmed the dance part of Thriller ( zombies dancing) . I feel really lucky that I am able to see it everyday. BTW its on 3600 block of Union Pacific and the zip code 90023

  2. Malinda says:

    Teen Witch was my favorite movie growing up! I’m a dork, I still love it. To know Thriller also used that house makes it even better!!

  3. Jessica says:

    Lindsey this has to be one of my favorite posts of yours !! It’s amazing to me that the current owners wouldn’t keep up the house more. I mean, it is after all an iconic piece of pop history !! Your posts always amaze me !! :)

  4. Davidete says:

    Love it!!

    All the Carroll Avenue is incredible beautiful, in fact, this is not (by far) the most beautiful house of the street (although OF COURSE is my fav!). It’s true it has an ENORMOUS tree that makes it so different from the others, but in the end, there are several houses really INCREDIBLE.

    When I was there, I took several pictures, and just in that same time the owners came in their car… I made all possible for not being annoying for them, who (I must say) didn’t care or say anything at all.

    By the way, talking about Thriller video, these days has been edited one book about the making of the video, with LOTS AND LOTS of unseen (and believe me when I say unseen!) pics from the making. Even the cover is an incredible lenticular picture that worths the book for itself! It’s ‘Michael Jackson: The Making of “Thriller’, of Douglas Kirkland. Don’t know if I can put a link to Amazon, if not, you can remove it Lindsay ;)

    http://www.amazon.com/Michael-Jackson-Making-Thriller-Days/dp/193323198X/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1288284986&sr=1-5

    Thanks for today’s post, it’s my best Halloween present!!

  5. Lavonna says:

    Why is the roof on the Thriller house in such bad shape? Hum….


Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Jagger says:

    [...] SAFE HOUSE 1345 Carroll Ave, Los Angeles, CA [...]

  2. [...] I preferred the look of the place in its run-down state, most likely because it reminded me of the “Thriller” house.  Unfortunately though, I do not have any photographs of it from that time [...]

  3. [...] and it was originally built in the Queen Anne/Eastlake style (much like the “Thriller” house that I blogged about yesterday) in 1904 and is Los Angeles’ 602nd historic cultural monument.  The dwelling, which currently [...]

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