When Aston Villa Fans Were Famous Thrillers

Remember that Lenny Henry Thriller Video?

For some reason the line “These guys are really frightening and they look as if they’re fans of Aston Villa” has stuck with me for about 20 years.

It was two years after Aston Villa had won the European Cup and months after Michael Jackson’s Thriller was the biggest album on the planet, that I first heard the line. It comes from the Lenny Henry Thriller spoof of the John Landis (American Werewolf in London) directed 13-minute video of Jackson’s Thriller.


michael jackson thriller video
Wacko Jacko Thrilling


Actually, until I revisited it today, I remembered the line as: ‘These guys are really weird, they must be fans of Aston Villa.’ Maybe it was my memory’s attempt at improving the writing of the Lenny Henry Thriller sketch, which was the epitome of mainstream BBC comedic humour of the 80’s.

The Villa-supporting zombies though remain a classic image and a pleasant surprise to Villans at the time. Oh, if only we had Twitter at the time.


lenny henry thriller aston villa
I’m sure these supporters harp on about when they saw Villa in the old Third division.

Check out the Aston Villa scarf waving zombies in the video below…at the 3.55 min mark. And for the younger generation, this is about as funny as comedian Lenny Henry got.



If nothing else, it’s a fancy dress idea for the last away game of the season…although, it’ll be hard to beat those traffic cones of last season.


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  1. Thanks MOMS, I saw it. My memory of that cartoon, was pretty accurate considering I hadn’t seen it for 33 years! 🙂

  2. Talking about Villa fans being depicted differently from reality, anyone remember the cartoon in the Sun (or the Star?), the day after Villa played Anderlecht in Belgium, and all the riots that ensued after we had secured a 0-0 draw there? Well England at the time were involved in the Falklands war with Argentina, and the cartoon depicted Villa fans parachuting down towards Argy trenches, resplendant with skinhead haircuts, swastikas on foreheads, and broken beer bottles in hands, with the ‘terrified’ Argy soldiers fleeing in all directions, exclaiming (in text below the cartoon) “Run away, run away, the English are dropping Aston Villa hooligans on us!”
    Typical of the London press at the time, they preferred to show the ‘hooligans’ as Villa fans rather than (at the time) the more thuggish and troublesome Chelsea and Spurs fans, that had caused mayhem in Europe also and more often.

    I’m sure a number of Villa fans were ‘proud’ at the time, to be shown as the ‘saviours of England’, but I saw it as more of a dig by Maggie Thatcher against football fans, and the press that perpetuated the myth of football hooliganism, in order to sell more papers. I was at that match in Anderlecht, and the problems were caused by the heavy handed Belgium police, and their English hating pro French fans! There was no trouble in Rotterdam (as the Dutch police and their people actually like the English, and especially as we were playing the Germans), and we were playing Bayern Munich!

    • Yes, I vaguely remember at the time the fall out in the press from the trip to Anderlecht. Also, I remember later on in the 1980’s when the press would slip English club away fans in Europe a few quid to start some trouble, so they’d have a story to report.

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