Eerie real-life twist that buried Michael Jackson film that Stephen King wrote

It was a creepy case of art imitating life when the King of Pop teamed up with the King of Horror 30 years ago.

That’s what happened when Michael Jackson enlisted Stephen King to work on a short film tentatively titled “Is This Scary?” In it, the “Thriller” singer would play a man in a mansion who has to defend himself against an angry mob of townspeople accusing him of scaring their children.

“People in this town felt that this person on the hill was weird and strange and scary,” says King in “Think Twice: Michael Jackson,” a new podcast available on Audible and Amazon Music. “And the kids were kinda like, ‘Yeah, we sorta dig this guy!’”

But in an eerie twist, 12 days into shooting “Is This Scary?” — on Aug. 23, 1993 — news broke that the late music legend was under investigation for allegedly molesting a 13-year-old boy. The production was brought to a halt, and the short film was never finished (although a similar plot was revisited by Jackson in 1996’s “Ghosts”).

“What’s most amazing about it to me is that Michael was moved to make this film before anyone had ever accused him of sexually molesting children,” says Leon Neyfakh, who co-hosts “Think Twice” with Jay Smooth.

Stephen King was presented the National Medal of the Arts by President Barack Obama at the White House in 2015. WireImage

“Is This Scary?” was conceived by Jackson as a “spiritual sequel” to his epic 1983 “Thriller” video. But, Smooth adds, “he wanted this one to be even scarier.”

The project was originally part of a promotional deal that Jackson had struck with Paramount Pictures for 1993’s “Addams Family Values.”

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“Michael’s idea was to shoot a short film in the Addams Family mansion and to feature cameos from some of the characters,” says Smooth. “Paramount would then play the promotional spot in theaters as an extra for fans.”

Jackson turned to King — who had written horror classics such as “The Shining,” “It” and “Pet Sematary” — to write the treatment and bring his scary vision to life.

Stephen King was enlisted by Michael Jackson to write a treatment for a short film tentatively titled “Is This Scary?” PA Images via Getty Images

“I was known as the horror guy, the master of horror,” says King, “and he said … ‘I want to do the scariest video that’s ever been done. And you’re just the person to do it.’ ”

While Jackson had been working to change his “weirdo narrative” — as Smooth describes it — earlier in 1993, he was now embracing it.

As King explains, “What he wanted to say was, ‘Strange isn’t bad, and people who think strange is bad are expressing a kind of herd mentality, a mob mentality.’”

To that end, actors in the “Is This Scary?” mob hurled insults at Jackson to get him riled up in the confrontation scene, calling him names such as “freak” and “freaky boy.”

Michael Jackson’s “Ghosts” short film featured a similar plot to his “Is This Scary?” project that he shot in 1993. Collection Christophel / Alamy Stock Photo

“Michael wanted something visceral enough that he would react to it, and the camera would catch him being almost physically injured by what I was saying, a deep psychological wound,” says “Is This Scary?” actor Troy Evans.

“We come around to take 57 or something, you know, and I said, ‘You f – – king bleached freak — stay away from my son!’ ”

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But even that failed to make Jackson snap. “I had no idea where to go from there,” says Evans.

Finally, though, Jackson exploded at a comment that is not revealed: “Know what you can do for me? Kiss right here! Kiss right here! … Go to hell! Every last one of you … Is this scary?!”

“It’s an amazing thing to listen to,” says Neyfakh of hearing an enraged Jackson in that footage. “Michael Jackson as you never really heard him before — lashing out viscerally at all the people he imagined were rejecting him, ridiculing him as a weirdo or a creep.”

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