10 Famous Actors Who Got Big Breakthroughs in Horror Movies

10 Famous Actors Who Got Big Breakthroughs in Horror Movies

Every actor has to start somewhere, and it seems that a lot of famous faces land their first roles in either good or, more likely, bad horror films. From future scream queens to Oscar winners and household names, it seems every actor appeared in an obscure or low-budget horror movie early in their careers.

Perhaps warding off evil spirits and running for their lives is the perfect way to prepare for stardom; after all, it certainly can’t hurt.

Jamie Lee Curtis — ‘Halloween’ (1978)
With Halloween Ends currently cutting a sizable chunk out of the box office despite its middling reviews, it’s only right to start with the original scream queen herself, Jamie Lee Curtis. The actress was just nineteen when she first appeared as Laurie Strode, an iconic and beloved role that she would continue reprising it for over four decades. Though Curtis has recently stated that she is now done with the character, we will always have her remarkable performances to look back on and celebrate.

Kevin Bacon — ‘Friday the 13th’ (1980)
Although he has gone on to enjoy an incredibly successful career, Kevin Bacon often returns to the horror genre, perhaps to pay tribute to the genre that helped catapult him into the star he is today.

Bacon had just four credits to his name when he landed the role of Jack in Friday the 13th, one of the most iconic horror films of all time. The film spawned countless sequels and launched Bacon to stardom. Most recently, Bacon played a villainous counselor in They/Them, a horror film that failed to live up to its exciting premise.

Jennifer Aniston — ‘Leprechaun’ (1993)
A year before she became an integral part of Friends, one of the most successful TV shows of all time, Jennifer Aniston rose to stardom as Tory, a young girl trying desperately to stay out of the clutches of a murderous leprechaun (Warwick Davis). Leprechaun isn’t exactly scary, but there are a number of inventive kills and strong performances from Aniston and Davis.

It appears that it’s one and done in the horror genre for Aniston. She has yet to return to the genre and appears more committed to taking on comedic and drama-focused roles.

Johnny Depp — ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ (1984)
Long before sailing across the seas as Captain Jack Sparrow or giving children a tour around his chocolate factory as Willy Wonka, Johnny Depp introduced himself to audiences in the classic horror film, A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Long before sailing across the seas as Captain Jack Sparrow or giving children a tour around his chocolate factory as Willy Wonka, Johnny Depp introduced himself to audiences in the classic horror film, A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Patricia Arquette — ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors’ (1987)
Patricia Arquette is an Oscar-winning actress best known for her remarkable performances in Boyhood, True Romance, and the hit TV series Medium. Before she was held in such high regard, however, she faced off against Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) in the horror sequel A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.

Dream Warriors is considered one of the best Elm Street sequels, and Arquette’s role alongside the returning Heather Langenkamp is one of the key reasons for its success. Perhaps Arquette will return if Langenkamp gets her to wish for one more Nancy vs. Freddy film.

Amy Adams — ‘Psycho Beach Party’
Psycho Beach Party is an anomaly of a film. Designed as a spoof of 1960s beach party movies mixed with slasher tropes, the film follows Chicklet, the first girl surfer at Malibu Beach. Chicklet’s alter ego, Ann Bowman, occasionally makes an appearance, which usually correlates with the murder of a beachgoer.

Amy Adams’ career has gone from strength to strength in recent years, seeing the sensational actress nominated for a staggering six Oscars while also appearing in beloved superhero and Disney films too.

Leonardo DiCaprio — ‘Critters 3’ (1991)
It’s hard to believe that Leonardo DiCaprio, one of the world’s most decorated and celebrated actors today, got his start in Critters 3. Though he is now an Oscar winner, even young DiCaprio cannot rescue the third entry in the Critters franchise.

The film sees the tiny aliens who like nothing more than to eat human flesh descend on an apartment block in Los Angeles. Despite the movie’s poor critical reception, an additional four Critters movies have been made over the years. Though DiCaprio is yet to reprise his role

Chloe Grace Moretz — ‘The Amityville Horror’ (2005)
The horror genre has been good to Chloe Grace Moretz. After making her first film appearance in The Amityville Horror, the young actress has gone on to appear in an additional eight horror films, some of which were great and some of which were not.

The actress, who is currently starring in the new Amazon Prime series The Peripheral, has delivered memorable performances in Carrie, Shadow in the Cloud, and Greta, to name just a few.

Sarah Michelle Gellar — ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ (1997)
1997 was a tremendous year for Sarah Michelle Gellar. Not only did she land the leading role in the smash-hit TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but she also met her future husband on the set of I Know What You Did Last Summer, a criminally underrated horror movie.

The film follows a group of teenagers who find themselves the target of a hook-handed killer seeking revenge for their horrific actions the summer before. Sarah Michelle Gellar will soon be returning to the realm of supernatural TV in the upcoming Wolf Pack.

Neve Campbell — ‘The Dark’ (1993)
Though we’re still reeling from the devastating reveal that Neve Campbell will not be reprising the role of Sidney Prescott in the highly-anticipated Scream 6, we can at least take some comfort in the fact that Campbell has a long and varied history in the horror genre.

Three years before she endeared herself to horror fans by becoming one of the most memorable final girls of all time in Scream, she appeared in a supporting role in The Dark. The Dark is by no means a great film, but it showed the world Campbell’s potential to be a scream queen: potential she definitely lived up to.

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