Hollywood Careers Launched by Horror
By Scott Harris Posted Oct 30th 2009 05:28PM
Once again it's Halloween, and for most Americans that means two things sure to make you sick: candy and horror movies. They may not be good for you, but people just can't seem to get enough of either, which may help explain why so many of our most popular stars got their start in horror movies. Some of the best horror movies ever made have been low-budget flicks churned out to meet the ever-present demand for more horror, and in Hollywood, low-budgets mean unknown actors.
In honor of Halloween, here's our list of some of the Hollywood careers launched by horror movies. Because before they were famous, they had to make a living the old fashioned way: by shedding blood for our amusement.
Before he smashed box office records with 'Pirates of the Caribbean', before 'Edward Scissorhands', even before '21 Jump Street', Johnny Depp made his first on screen appearance as the doomed Glen in 1984's 'Nightmare on Elm Street'.
Two of today's biggest stars appeared together in 1994 for what was supposed to be the relaunching of a classic film franchise. Instead, 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation' turned into an epic disaster than Matthew McConaughy and Renee Zellweger would just as soon forget.
William Shatner has become an American icon for one simple reason: there's just nobody like him. Want proof? Check out his pre-'Star Trek' role in the 1965 black and white cult classic 'Incubus', which was filmed entirely in the made-up language of Esperanto. We'd like to see 'Saw' try to pull that off.
One of the best known "before they were stars" horror appearances belongs, of course, to Kevin Bacon for this gruesome death scene from 1980's 'Friday the 13th'. It's hard to stay in obscurity when your career has its own party game.
'Grey's Anatomy' star Katherine Heigl is well known for her outspokenness, even turning down award nominations for roles that she felt were sub-par. You can do that sort of thing when you're rich and famous, but back in 1998 she showed no such selectiveness when she decided to headline the low-budget horror farce 'Bug Buster'.
Jack Black has become one of those "you either love him or hate him" actors thanks to his over-the-top schtick that never dials it down below eleven. Now we've found a clip for everyone: love him or hate him, you're likely to enjoy this death scene from 1998's 'I Still Know What You Did Last Summer'.
Tom Hanks has become perhaps the most beloved figure in Hollywood, but even he dipped his toes into the horror scene back when he was just starting out. Here's a clip from 'He Knows You're Alone', a 1980 flick which in which Hanks helpfully explains why you should watch horror films in the first place.
No horror list would be complete without mention of the original scream queen herself, Jamie Lee Curtis, who vaulted to fame thanks in large part to her star making role in the classic 1978 slasher film 'Halloween'.
The year 1960 was a particularly good one for horror, as it gave the world Alfred Hitchcock's infamous 'Psycho'. Also debuting that year? 'Little Shop of Horrors', which was ignored at the time but is now a cult classic and which featured one unknown actor you may have heard of since: Jack Nicholson.
Finally, as a special bonus treat, we give you the sexiest man alive, George Clooney. 'Return of the Killer Tomatoes' is only nominally a horror movie, being a sequel to a spoof of horror flicks. Still, it's a good enough excuse as any to drop this footage of a somewhat higher voiced (and higher haired) Clooney from 1988.
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