Danger In Moscow

"Danger In Moscow" is a fan-made music video for a dark Michael Jackson sleeper, "Stranger In Moscow." ("HIStory: Past, Present & Future." 1995) Based on a chilling interpretation of the tone and lyrics, this music video presents the '95 ballad as Jackson's premonition, his warning to the world of a looming danger that would eventually become known as the U.S. prescription opioid crisis.

  • Martin Washington
  • Martin Washington
  • Martin Washington
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Music Video, Short
  • Genres:
    Docu-drama, Suspense-thriller, Action
  • Runtime:
    6 minutes 56 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    November 19, 2019
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Docs Without Borders Film Festival
    Nassau, DE
    United States
    August 23, 2020
    North American Premiere
  • Il Varco International Short Film Festival
    Spoltore, Abruzzo
    Italian Premiere
    Official Invitation
  • Philadelphia Independent Film Festival ROKU Channel
    Philadelphia, PA
    United States
    Official Invitation
  • Carmarthen Bay Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    World Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Beyond the Curve International Film Festival
    Paris, France
    April 23, 2021
    French Premier
Director Biography - Martin Washington

A long-time patron of the arts, Martin was known to frequent live stage performances with his parents in the early 1980’s, as a toddler.

“I remember watching 'The Wiz,' live on stage when I was two or three years old. Even then, I was more interested in the behind-the-scenes mechanics that helped to tell the story than in the actual story itself. I remember the resolve in my heart when I decided for myself that the only way this Wicked Witch could have melted into the ground was if her dress was covering a large hole in the stage floor; and if the hole was rigged to lower her through it, but not the dress." (Washington, Martin. “Danger In Moscow.” OnTheSceneMagazine.com)

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Shortly after Michael Jackson’s passing in 2009, I began to hear one of his songs in a new way. I began to hear a forewarning in "Stranger In Moscow" ("HIStory: Past, Present & Future." 1995) that I had not previously considered. The dramatic ballad had suddenly seemed to relate to much more than just a bad stay at the Russian capital. In fact, the more closely I listened, the more I could hear a frantic crying out for help in a desperate fight for hope. And though I was certainly not the only one to hear his plea, I was nonetheless moved to share with the rest of the world my striking, new perspective on the message of this masterpiece.

So, emboldened by a sense of duty to see how this idea might play out onscreen and to share that vision with music fans and critics across the globe, I ventured to write a screenplay that would depict the song as I had now perceived it -- as a pleading distress call that had covertly prophesied a perilous future.

For the open-minded viewer, I offer a sort of graphic translation -- a syncopated illustration that visually unpacks some of the song's veiled expressions, like certain drifty transitions, moody tones and ambiguous references. All of which are perhaps but subtle clues to a blaring alarm -- an alarm that for too long has been muffled by a thick sugar-coating of sweet melody and harmony.