10 Celebrities Who Got Their Start in Horror Movies – Collider

Although many horror films don’t come with an all-star cast or a blockbuster budget, they often perform well. In Hollywood, all actors begin their careers in some way, whether it be television, commercials, or movies. In many cases, many A-list celebrities received their start in horror films

Many of those same actors have become world-famous and have garnered numerous nominations and awards. While some actors may not embrace their horror roots, many celebrities still celebrate their beginnings in the industry.

Johnny Depp – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

A Nightmare on Elm Street introduced audiences to Johnny Depp, who would go on to star in films such as Edward Scissorhands and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

In the film, Depp played Glen, the boyfriend to Heather Langenkamp’s Nancy Thompson. Glen has one of the film’s most gruesome death scenes as he is pulled into his mattress in a dream where his blood shoots back into his room. This was accomplished by constructing a “rolling” set that would allow the blood to flow around the room.

Kevin Bacon – Friday the 13th (1980)

Similar to Depp, Kevin Bacon’s death scene in Friday the 13th was nothing short of iconic. Before starring and becoming famous for Footloose, Bacon played Jack, who was preparing to be one of Camp Crystal Lake’s summer camp counselors.

Bacon’s character is killed by Mrs. Voorhees she stuck a needle up Jack’s neck. This was accomplished by Tom Savini, who constructed the practical effect.

Jamie Lee Curtis – Halloween (1978)

The daughter of film legends Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, Jamie Lee Curtis was mostly shielded from horror films by her mother. In 1978, Curtis was chosen by John Carpenter and Debra Hill to play the role of final girl Laurie Strode in Halloween.

After the release of Halloween, Curtis went on to star in a couple of Canadian horror films, and then ultimately decided to move on to different genres. However, Curtis would return to the role at different points in her career. With the release of Halloween Kills in 2021, Curtis has portrayed Laurie Strode across six different decades since the 1970s.

Jennifer Aniston – Leprechaun (1990)

The original Leprechaun movie was released in 1990 and starred a then-unknown Jennifer Aniston in the lead role. Aniston played Tory Redding who moves into a North Dakota farmhouse with her father. Unbeknownst to them, a leprechaun is locked in a crate in the basement and is accidentally freed.

The film received mostly negative reviews, and Aniston has maintained a poor perception of the film. In a 2019 interview, Aniston and her then-husband Justin Theroux had re-watched the movie, and that Aniston was “embarrassed” by it. However, Aniston did admit that the film has its “cult fanbase.”

Paul Rudd – Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

In 1995, Paul Rudd’s first two films were released. One was the hit Clueless, and the other was Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers. Rudd played Tommy Doyle, who was originally played by Brian Andrews in the 1978 film, who couldn’t be located for this film. After surviving the 1978 attack with Laurie Strode (Curtis) and Lindsey Wallace (Kyle Richards), Tommy became a recluse, as well as obsessed with Michael Myers.

Although it was believed that Rudd didn’t like the film, he has publicly stated that he had a positive perception of the film. In 2020, Rudd was approached to reprise his role as Tommy in Halloween Kills but was unable to sign on to the project, citing scheduling conflicts with Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Rudd did, however, give his blessings to Anthony Michael Hall, who ended up with the role.

Patricia Arquette – A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)

While the original A Nightmare on Elm Street started the career of Depp, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors launched the career of Patricia Arquette. Although Arquette’s most notable roles include performances in True Romance, Ed Wood, and The Act, Arquette starred in the film as Kristen Parker.

Kristen is admitted to a psychiatric hospital where she bands together with the other patients, as well as Nancy to battle Freddy. In one notable scene, Kristen is nearly swallowed by Freddy when he turns himself into a giant worm. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 is considered one of Arquette’s best roles, and the best film in the franchise.

Tom Hanks – He Knows You’re Alone (1980)

He Knows You’re Alone marked the first-ever appearance for Tom Hanks in film. The movie follows a serial killer, known for murdering brides-to-be.

Though Hanks didn’t have a large role in the film, producers decided to omit his death scene due to the fact they liked him so much. The film is said to be inspired by the success of Halloween (1978).

Renee Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey – Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994)

Although Renee Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey starred in films before Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, the film launched both actors’ careers. Zellweger starred as Jenny, whose friends abandon their prom and come face-to-face with Leatherface, as well as Vilmer, played by McConaughey.

The movie’s release was pushed back due to the pending release of Zellweger’s other film, Jerry Maguire, which became a hit. Meanwhile, it was rumored that McConaughey’s agent put pressure on the studio not to release the film theatrically. In 2016, Zellweger stated how grateful she was to have gotten the role.

Brad Pitt – Cutting Class (1989)

Cutting Class was Brad Pitt’s initial major break in Hollywood. In the film, Pitt portrays a stereotypical “dumb jock” named Dwight, who is thought to be the killer running rampant in the school. Pitt’s character is nearly murdered, but he escapes.

The movie received very negative reviews for its silliness. However, even though Pitt is only third-billed in the film, other reviews noticed his future A-list potential.

Leonardo DiCaprio – Critters 3 (1991)

Before receiving worldwide acclaim for ‘90s movies such as What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (also starring Depp!), Romeo + Juliet, and Titanic, Leonardo Dicaprio’s first starring role was in Critters 3. Dicaprio starred as Josh, part of a family of three who unknowingly transports Critter eggs, which hatch at their destination.

The film received a direct-to-video release and received negative reviews, its only claim to fame being the film debut of DiCaprio.

NEXT: 10 Horror Movies That Were Supposed to Be Bad, But Were Actually Good


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About The Author

Omar Azimi
(7 Articles Published)

Omar Azimi is a writer from the Washington D.C. metro area, who has experience in journalistic writing. Mr. Azimi graduated from Old Dominion University with a bachelors degree in Politican Science. Furthermore, Mr. Azimi spent time at the University of California, Los Angeles’ campus where he successfully completed courses in Reporting and Writing and Media Law & Ethics. Mr. Azimi’s passion lies in entertainment writing—television, the movie industry, and the industry as a whole.

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