Ghosts – also known as Michael Jackson's Ghosts – is a 1997 short film – or, alternately, a long-form music video – starring Michael Jackson and directed by Stan Winston from a story written by Jackson and Stephen King.
The video runs 39:31, and first aired on 9 May 1997. On 8 December 1997, SMV Enterprises released the movie on VHS.
The Maestro lives alone in a creepy-looking mansion on top of a hill, overlooking the town of Normal Valley. Occasionally, he entertains the local children with scary magic tricks. One of the children tells his mother, who alerts the town Mayor ; he in turn organizes the townspeople to go to the Maestro's mansion and force him out of town. Some of them show reluctance to do so, but are pressured into joining the Mayor on his crusade.
On a stormy night they go to the Maestro's mansion (which instead of a numbered address, is addressed "Someplace Else") holding flaming torches. When they arrive at the mansion, it is guarded by a large gate. They peer in through the gate, and by the haunting look of the mansion, have second thoughts about entering. The children assure the parents that the Maestro has done nothing wrong, and ask that they leave him alone. But the Mayor remarks, "He's a weirdo. There's no place in this town for weirdos!"
The front gate opens, frightening the townspeople, who make their way to the front door, which also opens by itself. The inside of the mansion appears to them even creepier than the outside, and the parents re-assure their children (and themselves) "there's no such thing as ghosts." They make their way into the house, and once they are all inside, the front door slams shut and locks itself.
Two more large doors swing open revealing a large, darkened dance hall. Hesitantly, the townspeople make their way to the dance hall, where they are greeted by The Maestro who makes a scary yet comical entrance. The Mayor angrily confronts him, calling the Maestro "strange," "weird," and a "freak," and telling him that he's not welcome in their town. The Maestro defends himself, and in response the Mayor threatens, "Are you going to leave, or am I going to have to hurt you?"
To this the Maestro replies, "You're trying to scare me, aren't you?...I guess I have no choice; I have to try and scare you." He then makes a series of funny faces, which the Mayor calls "ridiculous" and "not funny". In a change of tone, the Maestro asks, "Is this scary?" and pulls his face sideways before pulling his face down and stretches his mouth. Then he continues to stretch his face more, ultimately pulls off his face to reveal his skull and laughing maniacally. The frightened townspeople run for the doors, which the Maestro shuts with his magical powers, then smashes his skull with his fists, revealing his normal head.
The Maestro then introduces his "family" of ghouls who, along with the Maestro, perform an extended dance routine which alternately impresses and scares the townspeople. During this sequence, the Maestro's acts include ripping his clothes off to reveal a skeletal body; possessing the Mayor and making him dance; and transforming the Mayor into an ugly, horrific demon while remarking, "Who's the freak now? Freaky Boy, Freak circus freak".
After his performance ends, the Maestro asks, "Do you still want me to go?". While the townspeople respond "no", the Mayor vehemently says "Yes!" The Maestro quietly agrees by saying, "Fine...I'll go." He falls, and after smashing his hands and face into the floor his face and body violently start to crumble into dust on the floor, which is then blown away by the wind. The townspeople are saddened by this, and somewhat sorry to see him go. The Mayor however thinks he has come out victorious and heads for the doors saying, "I showed him." When he opens them he finds a monstrous-looking Maestro-demon head which says "HELLO" and terrifies him, and he runs away scared.
The townspeople then turn back to the now open front doors to see the Maestro standing there, laughing. He asks if they all had a good time, and the townspeople realize they did. They figure he isn't so bad after all and make peace with him. The story ends with one of the children asking with a vicious look on his face, "Is this scary?"; he grips his lower face, and the camera moves to a long shot of the mansion while terrified screams are heard.