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Fort Lauderdale Thrills the World -- Maybe

This Saturday night at around 8:30 local time, the world will be attacked by zombies. They'll look like the ones in the video above. It's part of Thrill the World 2009, the global attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the largest simultaneous performance of Michael Jackson's "Thriller." An estimated 10,000 to 50,000 zombies from more than 400 events in 42 countries are expected to crawl from the crypt and bust a move in honor of the late King of Pop.

But no Eighties-era dancing drama is complete with some rule-harping wet blankets who just might stop the music.

Fort Lauderdale's Beach Place is the site of the Broward County performance, for which 150 MJ admirers have been rehearsing since August. The A1A mini-mall is requiring that dancers pay a $300 insurance deposit against liability.

"Our biggest crisis is coming up with the money," organizer and dancer, Marisa Cutaia, tells me. "Times are tough. Right now, we've raised only $75 toward the insurance deposit."

If they can't raise the money, months of planning will be for naught. The group even arranged for an appearance by the self-proclaimed "Prince of Pop," Michael Jackson impersonator, Omar Rajpute, who is making the trek all the way from L.A. to take part in the historic festivities.

If the public pitches in to raise the money, spectators will be in for a real thriller: dancers in full costume and Night of the Living Dead makeup, plus a whole lot of MJ swag.

Donations to help Fort Lauderdale Thrill the World can be made at to [email protected]. Every penny will to the fund for insurance. All contributions over the $300 needed will be donated to Dizzy Feet Foundation.

Any member of the public with a good foot (or two left feet) can participate. Just learn the dance and show up looking cadaverous. Or you can rehearse with the assembled troupe at Pro-Am Dance Studio in Pompano Beach.

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Nicole Rodriguez

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