21 Actors Whose Careers Began in Horror Movies
1. Tom Hanks’ acting career took off with his first role as Elliot in the slasher film “He Knows You’re Alone” in 1980. This was followed by starring roles in movies like “Splash,” “The Money Pit,” “Big,” “The ‘Burbs,” and “Turner & Hooch.”
2. Jennifer Aniston made her debut in the horror movie “Leprechaun” in 1993, playing the character Tory Redding. A year later, she gained widespread recognition for her role as Rachel in the hit TV show “Friends.”
3. Paul Rudd appeared in the horror film “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers” as Tommy Doyle, just two months after the release of his breakthrough movie “Clueless” in 1995. In fact, “Halloween 6” was filmed before “Clueless.”
4. Patrick Dempsey’s first movie role was in “The Stuff” in 1985, where he played “Underground Stuff Buyer #2.” Two years later, he gained fame for his role in “Can’t Buy Me Love.”
5. Kevin Bacon, after his initial appearance in “Animal House,” starred as Jack Burrell in “Friday the 13th” in 1980. Four years later, he achieved stardom with his breakout role in “Footloose.”
6. Julia Louis-Dreyfus made her movie debut as Jeanette Cooper in the 1986 film “Troll.” This came after her time on “Saturday Night Live” and before she landed the iconic role of Elaine on “Seinfeld.”
7. Leonardo DiCaprio’s first movie role was as Josh in “Critters 3” in 1991, which was a direct-to-video release. Two years later, he gained critical acclaim for his performance in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.”
8. Regina Hall, after appearing in “The Best Man” and “Love & Basketball,” landed the role of Brenda Meeks in the horror-comedy “Scary Movie” in 2000. She went on to appear in four more films in the franchise.
9. Skeet Ulrich’s breakthrough came in 1996 when he starred as Chris Hooker in “The Craft.” Later that same year, he also appeared as Billy Loomis in the horror film “Scream.”
10. Neve Campbell’s first movie role was in “The Dark” in 1993, playing the character Jesse Donovan. Three years later, she gained widespread recognition as Sidney Prescott in the “Scream” franchise.
11. Matthew McConaughey was cast as Vilmer Slaughter in “The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre” right after filming “Dazed and Confused.” However, the movie’s release was delayed until 1995, two years after “Dazed and Confused” hit theaters.
12. Similarly, Renée Zellweger appeared in “The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre” as Jenny after a small role in “Dazed and Confused” in 1993. Both movies were filmed in Texas, where Matthew and Renée were cast.
13. Adam Scott’s first movie role was as Jacques in “Hellraiser: Bloodline” in 1996. He later gained recognition for his roles in “The Aviator,” “Party Down,” and “Parks and Recreation.”
14. Eva Mendes made her debut in the horror film “Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror” in 1998, playing the character Kir. Three years later, she gained acclaim for her role in “Training Day.”
15. Anya Taylor-Joy’s acting career began with her role as Thomasin in “The Witch” in 2015. She received critical acclaim for her performance and went on to star in films like “Glass,” “Emma,” and “The Queen’s Gambit.”
16. Hilary Swank’s first movie credit was in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” in 1992, where she portrayed Kimberly Hannah. Two years later, she achieved widespread recognition for her breakout role in “The Next Karate Kid.”
17. Sophia Lillis made her debut as Beverly Marsh in the 2017 adaptation of “It.” Her work in the film marked her breakthrough role, and she later appeared in projects like “Sharp Objects” and “It Chapter Two.”
18. Patricia Arquette’s first movie role was as Kristen Parker in “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors” in 1987. Following this, she starred in critically acclaimed movies such as “Lost Highway,” “Ed Wood,” and “Flirting with Disaster.”
19. Bruce Campbell’s first major movie role was as Ash Williams in Sam Raimi’s “The Evil Dead” in 1981. He continued to portray the character in subsequent films, solidifying his partnership with Raimi in the horror genre.
20. Jamie Lee Curtis made her film debut as Laurie Strode in John Carpenter’s “Halloween” in 1978. Her work in the film earned her the title of “Scream Queen,” and she went on to appear in other horror movies and additional “Halloween” films.
We couldn’t include everyone in this post. Are there any other actors who started their careers in horror movies that you love? Let us know in the comments below!