Killer Careers: Actors Who Got Their Start in Horror Films [Infographic]

by |October 3, 2016
Categories: Horror, Infographics

 Killer Careers: Actors Who Got Their Start in Horror Films

Psst. Come closer. We want to fill you in on a little dirty secret of ours: we are completely obsessed with horror movies. Slasher flicks, zombie films, science fiction thrillers, and supernatural major motion pictures; we bloody love 'em all! Bring on all the gore, mangled monsters, blood-curdling shrieks, and perpetual paranormal hauntings because we can handle it. Sure, we watch through spliced fingers, but we wouldn't have it any other way. Seriously. There's something about being immobilized with fear that makes us feel so...alive.

So, being self-confessed creepy movie connoisseurs, we noticed one particular startling trend: whoa, so many baby-faced Hollywood A-listers appeared in our favorite old-school scary movies. Before these big league stars made big bucks at the box office, they could be seen dodging flesh-eating furballs and running from chainsaw-wielding psychopaths. Watching these cinema hall of famers hacked to bits on the big screen makes us giddy with delight, so we're exposing all the skeletons hiding in their horror movie closets. Spoiler alert: these stars won't be able to run away from our killer infographic.

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Killer Careers: Actors Who Got Their Start in Horror Films Transcript

 Did you know that Brad Pitt takes on a psychotic killer teen in the 80s movie Cutting Class? Have you ever seen Jennifer Anniston get her leg caressed by a revenge-seeking sadistic leprechaun? Down below, You'll find the names of some of Hollywood's most coveted actors and actresses and the horror movie that ignited their career, plus much much more. We hope that you find this information spine-tinglingly shocking!


Tom Hanks as Elliot

He Knows You're Alone (1980)

"Most people do to be scared. It's something primal, something basic.."

  • Survival Status: Lived
  • Horror Genre: Slasher
  • Threat: Ray Carlton
  • Next Big Role: Bosom Buddies (1980-1982)


Kevin Bacon as Jack Burrell

Friday the 13th (1980)

"Smoke? Don't smoke cause cancer?"

  • Survival Status: Dead—Arrow Through Neck
  • Horror Genre: Slasher
  • Threat: Pamela Voorhees
  • Next Big Role: Diner (1982)


Johnny Depp as Glen Lantz

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

"Well, I guess those people don't wake up to tell what happens."

  • Survival Status: Dead—Waterbed Mutilation
  • Horror Genre: Supernatural Slasher
  • Threat: Freddy Krueger
  • Next Big Role: 21 Jump Street (1984-1993)


Jennifer Connelly as Jennifer Corvino

Phenomena (1985)

"It's normal for insects. But am I normal?"

  • Survival Status: Lived
  • Horror Genre: Horror
  • Threat: Frau Brückner and Her Mutant Son, Patau
  • Next Big Role: Labyrinth (1986)


Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Jeanette Cooper

Troll (1986)

"Thanks? I think..."

  • Survival Status: Undetermined—Turned Into a Forest Nymph
  • Horror Genre: Dark Fantasy
  • Threat: Torok the Troll
  • Next Big Role: Seinfeld (1989-1998)


George Clooney as Oliver

Return to Horror High (1987)

"Could you tell me how to get out of here? I thought this was the way to the parking lot!"

  • Survival Status: Dead—Repeatedly Stabbed
  • Horror Genre: Comedy Horror
  • Threat: Principal Kastleman
  • Next Big Role: Er (1994-1999)


Brad Pitt as Dwight Ingalls

Cutting Class (1989)

"You can't talk to students like that."

  • Survival Status: Lived
  • Horror Genre: Slasher
  • Threat: Brian Woods, a Psychotic Student
  • Next Big Role: Thelma & Louise (1991)


Leonardo DiCaprio as Josh

Critters 3 (1991)

"They're getting bigger!"

  • Survival Status: Lived
  • Horror Genre: Sci-Fi Horror
  • Threat: Carnivorous Aliens
  • Next Big Role: This Boy's Life (1993)


Hilary Swank as Kimberly Hannah

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

"Get out of my facial."

  • Survival Status: Lived
  • Horror Genre: Comedy Horror
  • Threat: Lothos and his Acolyte, Amilyn
  • Next Big Role: The Next Karate Kid (1994)


Ben Affleck as Basketball Player #10

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

"It's all yours!"

  • Survival Status: Lived
  • Horror Genre: Comedy Horror
  • Threat: Lothos and his Acolyte, Amilyn
  • Next Big Role: Dazed and Confused (1993)


Jennifer Aniston as Tory Redding

Leprechaun (1993)

"He didn't get your ear. He just bit it."

  • Survival Status: Lived
  • Horror Genre: Horror Comedy
  • Threat: The Leprechaun
  • Next Big Role: F·R·I·E·N·D·S (1994-2004)


Renée Zellweger as Jenny

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994)

"If you're gonna kill me, then do it!"

  • Survival Status: Lived
  • Horror Genre: Horror Comedy
  • Threat: Leatherface, Vilner, and The Entire Sawyer Family
  • Next Big Role: Empire Records (1995)


Matthew McConaughey as Vilmer

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994)

"Get her Leather! We've got some more fun today!"

  • Survival Status: Dead—Airplane Propeller to the Dome
  • Horror Genre: Horror Comedy
  • Threat: Rothman
  • Next Big Role: A Time to Kill (1996)


Charlize Theron as Eli's Follower

Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995)


  • Survival Status: Dead—Impaled by a Plant Demon
  • Horror Genre: Horror
  • Threat: Eli and "He Who Walks Behind the Rows"
  • Next Big Role: Devil's Advocate (1997)


Gerard Butler as Burke

Tale of the Mummy (1998)

"The desert got the better of him."

  • Survival Status: Dead—Falls to His Death
  • Horror Genre: British-American Horror
  • Threat: Talos—Ancient Egyptian Tyrant
  • Next Big Role: Dracula (2000)


Chloë Grace Moretz as Chelsea Lutz

The Amityville Horror (2005)

"I just wanted to see daddy."

  • Survival Status: Lived
  • Horror Genre: Horror
  • Threat: Demonic Spirits Inside the Amityville House
  • Next Big Role: Kick-Ass (2010)


Elizabeth Olsen as Sarah

Silent House (2011)

"I think I found a way out..."

  • Survival Status: Lived
  • Horror Genre: Psychological Thriller
  • Threat: The House
  • Next Big Role: Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)




Well, have we swayed you guys to the dark side yet? Are you now browsing our selection of scary costumes to get some inspiration for Halloween? Are you currently cackling deviously while loading up your Netflix queue with such movies as “Return to Horror High” and “Friday the 13th”? Let us know which one of these actors or actresses made you gasp in utter shock. Better yet, do you know any more stars who got their big break after acting in a horror flick? Please inform us in the comment section below...or else we'll find you! (Hee hee, just kidding...)

Design Credit: Cody Petersen

Phillip Grace
Phillip Grace

Phillip Grace is a Horror Aficionado at, where he's always showing off his collection of horror movie props. Phillip frequently comes to work in elaborate and terrifying costumes—so don't take your eyes off him!

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