Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' screens in 3-D at Venice

Director John Landis arrives for a photocall of his 'Michael Jackson's Thriller 3D' during the 74th Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Monday, Sept. 4, 2017. (Claudio Onorati/ANSA via AP)

Director John Landis says he is still upset by Michael Jackson's death, but a Venice Film Festival screening dedicated to "Thriller" is a chance to celebrate the musician's life

VENICE, Italy — Director John Landis said Monday that he is still upset by Michael Jackson's death, but a Venice Film Festival screening dedicated to "Thriller" is a chance to celebrate the musician's life.

An enhanced version of the landmark Landis-directed music video, "Michael Jackson's Thriller 3-D," is screening alongside a behind-the-scenes documentary that has never been shown in cinemas before.

Landis told reporters in Venice on Monday that Jackson's death aged 50 in 2009 was a tragedy for his family, his friends and the world.

"Truly great performers are rare, and he was brilliant — and a tragic figure, I think," Landis said. "I was horrified, and I'm still upset about it.

The 14-minute "Thriller" video, released in 1983, stemmed from Jackson's love of Landis' film "An American Werewolf in London" and the King of Pop's desire to turn into a monster onscreen.

Landis says modern technology has let him remix the sound and improve the visuals while converting the film to 3-D, so audiences can now "experience it the way Michael wanted you to."

"My only disappointment is that Michael is not here to see it and hear it, because I think he would love it," Landis said.

Landis says the accompanying backstage documentary shows Jackson "happy and joyous" and at his creative peak.

"It's a celebration of Michael I didn't expect, and very emotional for me," he said.

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