Horror Movies That Made These Actors Stars - /Movie (2023)

Horror Movies That Made These Actors Stars - /Movie (1)

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VonHunter Cates/January 26, 2023 6:03 PM EST

"Starring in a horror movie can't be that hard", you might be thinking. You just run around screaming while being chased by a grown man in a Halloween costume, right? Not so fast. Starring in a horror movie tests your mettle. Budgets are often cheap, you get paid in pizza, and the demands are greater than most six-figure movie stars could handle. However, many actors - especially young actors - find it totally worth it. Why? Because there are few emotions purer and more primal than fear. If you can connect with an audience in a horror movie, that could make you a star. If you're already a star, that could make you an icon.

Hollywood history is filled with countless actors who became movie stars starring in horror movies. Some were complete unknowns who became cult icons or household names in horror, while others were well-known actors whose lead roles were seen in scary pictures. No, not all of these actors became blockbusters (think Tom Cruise or Sandra Bullock) after starring in horror movies. However, they all became famous (or notorious). In fact, many are still associated with these roles today. Read on (if you dare) for a look at the horror movies these actors starred in.

Psycho - Anthony Perkins

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paramount movies

If you were a movie buff in the 1950s, you probably saw a lot of pictures of Anthony Perkins. At the time, Perkins was best known as Gary Cooper's son on Friendly Persuasion (for which he won anher only Oscar nomination) and as baseball player Jim Piersall in Fear Strikes Out. However, Perkins' cult status came from his most famous role: Norman Bates in Psycho. Alfred Hitchcock had a stroke of genius when he cast Perkins as Bates; No one would have expected that in 1960 the handsome Perkins would hold the title."Psycho."It would be like casting Adam Scott or Jim Parsons as Jeffrey Dahmer, except that even that wouldn't have the same effect.

Unlike audiences today, 1960s moviegoers weren't as conditioned by cinematic sleight of hand, even The Master of Suspense. And if you're thinking, "Wait, looks like Perkins was already a star," that's not the case. He was a respected supporting actor in an era when Hollywood had a clear hierarchy. Psycho made Perkins more than just a movie starNorman Bates, the first slasher villain and an icon who has inspired characters from Michael Myers to Hannibal Lecter.

The Exorcist - Linda Blair

Horror Movies That Made These Actors Stars - /Movie (3)

Warner Bros.

Warner Bro. gave top-notch treatment to William Peter Blatty's novel The Exorcist in the 1970s.It had a big budget for the time., $12 million, and starred Hollywood movie star Ellen Burstyn and Swedish superstar Max von Sydow. Obviously, WB wasn't just trying to make a quick buck. However, the most important role was the little girl Regan, who would be possessed by the demon Pazuzu. Director William Friedkin cast the 13-year-old for the role.Linda Blairfrom a field of hundreds of applicants. Blair had only appeared in two movies so far, but her performance as the stunning pea-soup-spitting innocent soul in The Exorcist earned her one.Oscar Nomination for Supporting Actress– and movie icon status.

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Linda Blair's career took off shortly after The Exorcist with a string of hit TV movies and the big budget hit."1975 Airport."Ironically, it was his return to Regan that ended his burgeoning A-list career, as Exorcist II: The Heretic was one of them.criticalecommercial bust. While Blair hasn't walked the difficult path from child star to adult movie star (few have), she is still a household name, especially among horror fans, which is more than many "fleeting" movie stars in the 1970s you might say.

Shark - Richard Dreyfuss

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universal images

Universal has taken on too many responsibilitiesSteven Spielbergshoulders of 27 years. the studiogave him $12 million for the filmPeter Benchley's blockbuster novel Jaws sent him to Martha's Vineyard and said, "Go make a movie." Think about it and try not to have anxiety attacks. Spielberg castOscar-nominated supporting actorRoy Schneider as Chief Brody and Robert Shaw - perhaps best supporting actor - as shark hunter Captain Quinn. For Hooper, the smart-city shark expert, Spielberg cast Richard Dreyfuss, best known for George Lucas' 1973 hit "American Graffiti." However, this film was primarily marketed by Ron Howard, who played Opie on the hugely popular The Andy Griffith Show.

There have been many actors who played teenagers in blockbusters and saw their careers go into immediate decline. Why didn't Dreyfuss suffer the same fate? Because he went to Martha's Vineyard to hunt sharks. what he got for aOscar for Best Actor. Yes, Jaws made a movie star out of Dreyfuss, although it should be noted that the real star that emerged from Jaws was arguably his director, Spielberg, who made him.highest-grossing director of all time.

Halloween - Jamie Lee Curtis

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Compass International Pictures

The first "Scream Queen" slasher was Janet Leigh in 1960's "Psycho". Unfortunately, Leigh's character took a fateful shower and did not survive. Seventeen years later, Leigh's daughter gave birth to a different breed of scream queen, the "Final Girl", in 1978's "Halloween". Jamie Lee Curtis' Laurie Strode is arguably the most famous final girl in the horror genre. and the most bankable character in the series. While "Halloween" is most associated with Michael Myers, the entries starring Curtis as Laurie Strode are by far the mostthe biggest box office hits. In fact, Rob Zombie's 2007 remake was the only "Halloween" movie without Curtis to break $50 million worldwide.

Obviously, Curtis' Strode isn't running away from nowhere, so obviously Michael Myers is an integral part of the series. Perhaps you can think of Strode and Myers as the Hall & Oates of horror movies; more or less separately, but great together? While Strode's horror hero status alone put Curtis on this list, she also became a movie star after this part. Curtis started the horror route with The Fog, Prom Night, Terror Train, and Halloween II before transitioning into less gory roles in the 1980s and 1990s. Still, you just can't say no to old roles (or paychecks) , so Curtis kept returning to the role that made her a star.

Alien - Sigourney Weaver

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20th century fox

To say that Sigourney Weaver came out of nowhere in 1979's "Alien" is an understatement. Although she was a respected stage actress, viewers probably only knew her as Woody Allen's big date in "Annie Hall." At thethe alien franchise, created them according to one of the 10 greatest movie heroes of all timeAmerican Film Institute. It all started in Ridley Scott's sci-fi movie, Alien. as Lieutenant Ellen Ripley emerged from Weaver as the sole survivor of the USCSS Nostromo after an attack by a Xenomorph.

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Weaver also emerged from the film as a major movie star, landing roles in the prestige film The Year of Living Dangerously and the blockbuster comedy Ghostbusters. In Aliens, Weaver returned to her starring role and evenreceived an Oscar nomination. It could be argued that it was Weaver's return to Ripley that had an even bigger impact on her career, as she followed Aliens with career-defining, Oscar-nominated roles in Gorillas in the Mist and Working Girl. However, that would be the same as saying that The Terminator didn't make Arnold Schwarzenegger a star, but Terminator 2 did. It was Weaver's debut as Ripley in Alien that established her as a different kind of female lead and a true movie star.

A Nightmare on Elm Street - Robert Englund

Horror Movies That Made These Actors Stars - /Movie (7)


Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger are in Mount Rushmore the villains of the slasher horror movie (they are only three because they killed the fourth). Of the three, only one can be mentioned: Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger. Not wearing a mask was clearly a good decision, wasn't it? However, it's not just the fact that you can see Freddy's face that made Englund more memorable. Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees are the strong, quiet guys, essentially unstoppable killing machines who emotionlessly mow down horny teenagers. In contrast, Freddy is a supernatural psychopath who takes pleasure in killing his victims. He's also kind of funny, in a "Do I need therapy to laugh at this?" Path. Essentially, he's a murderous cartoon character whose powers are virtually endless in the dream world.

Credit Englund, whose performance spawned New Line Cinema,"The house that Freddy built.“However, playing Freddy was a double-edged sword for Englund. For one thing, he's been typecast his entire career. Then again... he is fucking Freddy Krueger! Seriously, even if Englund doesn't wear the fedora and red sweater, he can still win any fan convention in the world. Robert Englund might not sell tickets or win awards playing King Lear (although that's great), but he became a movie icon like Freddy Krueger.

The Evil Dead - Bruce Campbell

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Bruce Campbell subtitled his book Confessions of a B-Movie Actor, which is fitting since Campbell is arguably the most iconic B-movie actor of all time (well, besides who he waselected president). Honestly, Campbell is more of a D-list actor. However, the guy is still a legend thanks to her formative role: Ashley Williams infrom the „Evil Dead“ franchises, better known to fans as "Ash". Although "The Evil Dead" was never as commercially successful as its horror contemporaries like "Halloween", "Friday the 13th" or "A Nightmare on Elm Street", it still inspired a mystery cult following. "Cult" is the operative word, as this is a small but mighty (dark) army that worships the bloody series and its star, Campbell.

It all started in The Evil Dead, in which Campbell basically played a gender-reversed final girl or guy in distress. The film inspired an ongoing film series and a three-part TV show, most of which starred Campbell's massive jaw. No, her grandma probably never heard of Bruce Campbell (unless she watches Burn Notice reruns), and his cameos in Sam Raimi movies probably go unnoticed by most moviegoers. But in her own way, Campbell is bigger than an A-list movie star. The Evil Dead established Campbell as a verifiable cult film icon with a passionate fan base that would be happy to take a bullet for him, which is more than we can say for George Clooney or Ben Affleck.

A Fly - Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis

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20th century fox

David Cronenberg's 1986 remake of The Fly created two movie stars: Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis. Prior to The Fly, Goldblum was best known for supporting roles in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension and The Big Chill, as well as lead roles in Into The Night and Transylvania 6-5000. After The Fly, Jeff Goldblum became, well, Jeff Goldblum - Hollywood's favorite oddball, a household name with the second most famous stutter in film history after Jimmy Stewart."The Fly" transformou Jeff Goldblumfrom an actor to a proper name and a brand to himself. While one can certainly detect shades of "Goldblum-ism" before The Fly, Cronenberg's body horror reimagining of the 1958 original forever established his screen persona. Fuck, did he notice yourMenschPersona.

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However, Goldblum wasn't the only one in the family made famous by The Fly. There was also his then-wife Geena Davis. Prior to The Fly, Davis had many TV appearances and a role as a soap actress on Tootsie. Her career was completely transformed thanks to her haunting (seriously, seriously think about reading her line "Be afraid. Be very afraid") and heartbreaking performance. Davis followed The Fly with career-defining roles in Beetlejuice and The Accidental Tourist (which won him an Oscar) and then the classics Thelma & Louise and A League of Their Own. Goldblum and Davis were married shortly after The Fly but divorced after just three years, although their respective cinematic legacies continue to this day.

Der Ring - Naomi Watts

Horror Movies That Made These Actors Stars - /Movie (10)


"Before you die, you see the ring" was the tagline of director Gore Verbinski's 2002 horror film. Fortunately for star Naomi Watts' career, that wasn't the case. Watts started acting when she was 14 and it took ashort deviationin the fashion industry before pursuing her full-time acting career. She had supporting roles for a decade before taking the lead role in David Lynch's 2001 mystery Mulholland Drive. This performance drew attention, but as Mulholland Drive was a surrealistic lynching film, it wasn't exactly popular. Watts followed up the following year with The Ring, a remake of the 1998 Japanese horror film Ringu.

For those who don't rememberAmerican remakes of Japanese horror filmshad an early moment with films like "The Grudge", "Dark Water" and "Pulse". However, "The Ring" went farthe greatest success, with a worldwide gross of $248 million. It also had significant cinematic staying power based onthe thinking piecesThis was after its 20th anniversary in 2022. Aside from Verbinski, who later helmed the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Watts was the biggest beneficiary of The Ring. She followed "The Call" withan Oscar-nominated rolein "21 Grams" as well as lead roles in the box office hits "King Kong" and "The Ring Two" (of course). Perhaps most impressively, she became a respected stage actress after starring in a horror film, which is a rare achievement.

Donnie Darko - Jake Gyllenhaal

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Newmarket Films

If you're a millennial movie buff, chances are you have at least one friend who insists that Donnie Darko is the greatest movie of all time, and will explain in excruciating detail why. damn, maybe youit isthis friend. Wherever you are in the Donnie Darko division, there's no denying that Jake Gyllenhaal has become a star. In the film, Gyllenhaal plays troubled teenager Donnie, the guy who just might be the sympathetic hero in a movie like this. Although in his late teens at the time of filming, his wise and worldly performance anchors the often head-scratching film. To be honest, Gyllenhaal deserves more credit than he probably gets for making "Donnie Darko" digestible.

Although 1999's "October Sky" was his first major lead role, andDonnie Darko bombed movie theaters, its DVD success skyrocketed Gyllenhaal's career. Within a few years, he was starring in Roland Emmerich's blockbuster film The Day After Tomorrow.win an Oscar nominationon innovative Brokeback Mountain. Still, "Donnie Darko" Gyllenhaal remains the breakout role. (Well, that and the theme to Taylor Swift's "All Too Well.") You could argue that "Donnie Darko" isn't really a horror movie at all, but a surrealistic suburban fantasy — if so, you've clearly not lost any sleep. because of that. Frank the Rabbit. However, there's no denying that it's what made Gyllenhaal a movie star. If you don't believe me, ask your friend Donnie Darko.

American Psycho - Christian Bale

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Lions Gate-Filme

Let's get this straight first: obviously, playing Batman in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy is what made Christian Bale a movie star. However, he plays Patrick Bateman in Mary Harron's film."American Psycho"made him a cult icon, and that alone justifies his inclusion. Based on the 1991 novel of the same name by Bret Easton Ellis, "American Psycho" maintains the novel's dark attitude by satirizing the excess, superficiality and materialism of the 1980s. This is largely due to Bale, as his performance as Bateman is sometimes funny and scary to others. Not only does he make you laugh at his careful dissections of Huey Lewis & the News, he also makes you cringe with his equally careful dissections of his victims.

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Everything about Bateman is pretentious, false privilege, as the only feelings he feels are addictions and the only pleasure he takes is hurting others. But the one thing that sets Bateman apart from his fellow financiers is that he kills those he sees as subhuman rather than simply dismissing them as "less than". Bale began his career at age 12 in one of Steven Spielberg's rare bombs, Empire of the Sun, and later starred in Newsies, Disney's failed attempt to revive the musical on the big screen. There wasn't much of note until American Psycho, and stillbombed, was an instant cult classic and opened up bigger roles for Bale. He ended up on Christopher Nolan's radar, which apparently worked out pretty well.

Raus - Daniel Kaluuya

Horror Movies That Made These Actors Stars - /Movie (13)

universal images

Universal Pictures probably didn't expect much when it gifted television comedian-turned-writer-director Jordan Peele $5 million to produce Get Out. They certainly didn't expect "Get Out" to strike a chord with viewers,resulting in $252 million worldwide, an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture and awin for Peele's original screenplay. But hey, Hollywood is so much fun. As surprised as Universal may have been by Peele's picture performance, so too was the film's star, Daniel Kaluuya.

Before landing the lead role in Get Out, Kaluuya had supporting roles in Johnny English Reborn, Kick-Ass 2 and Sicario. "Get Out" was his first lead role and featured him as a friend during the worst Meet the Parents weekend ever. The film earned Kaluuya an Academy Award nomination and led to leading roles in the blockbusters Black Panther and Nope. In "Get Out", Kaluuya embodied the black experience, creating a character who constantly felt insecure and threatened by the ulterior motives of his seemingly kind white hosts. At the same time, Kaluuya gave "Get Out" a gender-swapped "Final Girl" that viewers around the world could relate to and support, regardless of their race or background. Get Out was a cinematic experience no one expected, anchored in a performance that made Daniel Kaluuya a movie star.

Twilight - Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson

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peak distribution

"Twilight" is a mixture of horror and romance genres in the form of a YA melodrama - like "Underworld" for young people. Whether or not the franchise counts as "horror" is debatable, but there's no denying that it has made stars out of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. But to be honest, the word "star" doesn't do them justice. For about four years, the stars of the "Twilight Saga" were the pivot around which society's pop culture revolved.

You couldn't turn on a TV, open a web browser, or browse social media without seeing their shiny, perfectly proportioned mugs staring back at you. Not since Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Titanic have two beautiful young men had the ubiquity of Stewart and Pattinson. Unlike the Titanic stars, the Stewart/Pattinson thing continuedhalf a decade!Like the "Titanic" actors, however, the "Twilight" stars proved to be more than one-hit wonders characterized by their signature roles.

Stewart moved onwin an Oscar nominationfor his performance in Spencer, while Pattinson's credits include playing Matt Reeves' Batman and co-starring Christopher Nolan's Tenet. The thing is, before “Twilight” you probably hadn't heard of Stewart and Pattinson. After Twilight, you still can't escape them - which isn't a bad thing.

Mittsommer - Florence Pugh

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The 2022 thriller Don't Worry Darling was the film that truly established Florence Pugh as a star. However, it was the 2019 horror film Midsommarfezshe the. Ari Aster followed up his 2018 A24 horror hit Heredity with Midsommar, about a couple who travel to Sweden to attend a famous summer celebration, only to find themselves the unwilling victims of a gruesome pagan ritual to meet again. But hey, all for the gram, right?

After "Midsommar," Pugh's career could have easily followed the path of countless other "pretty girls in horror movies" actresses who came before her. Seriously, it's a long list. It's a testament to her talent and cinematic choices, which landed Pugh an A-list. She stole the spotlight from heavyweights Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, and Meryl Streep in Greta Gerwig's Little Women.win an Oscar nominationincluded. Then she stole the showagain, this time in Black Widow alongside Scarlett Johansson, Rachel Weisz and David Harbour. When she starred in "Don't Worry Darling", she no longer had to steal; She was the main star. While Pugh proved she had what it takes in 2017's Lady Macbeth, 2019's double whammy cemented her star status in Fighting with My Family, Little Women, and of course, Midsommar.

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