15 Famous Actors You Didn’t Know Started in Horror Movies

8. Tom Hanks – He Knows You’re Alone (1980)

Tom Hanks – He Knows You’re Alone (1980)

This 1980 “slasher” film was actually produced in in 15 days, and from start to its debut in theatres was exactly 6 months. The executive producer was Sam Arkoff who had produced The Amityville Horror, but unable to finance the film, he decided to do a really low-budget production. The film received terrible reviews, with statements such as lack of a clear plot line, and, like typical slasher films of that time, it was hard to keep all of the murders straight.

Tom Hanks had a very minor role, playing Eliot, a young man who goes to a carnival with two of the victims and has a conversation with Amy, the last bride to be murdered on her wedding day. This was Hanks’s first movie role, at age 24. A later guest appearance on the TV show Happy Days got Hanks a call from director Ron Howard who was working on a film called Splash in which a human falls in love with a mermaid.

Hanks was cast in that role, and the film was a huge. From that point on, Hanks was cast in romantic comedies (Joe and the Volcano) and more serious films, such as Bonfire of the Vanities and Philadelphia. What no one will ever forget, however, is his role as Forrest Gump.


9. Gerard Butler – Tale of the Mummy (1998)

Gerard Butler – Tale of the Mummy (1998)

Definitely a “B” movie, this one. It was a remake of the original British film, and, according to critics, lacked a cohesive plot, and the special effects were terrible.

Still, it was Butler’s debut into film, and I it landed him the lead role in Dracula 2000, two years later. He has continued to get starring roles in comedy (The Ugly Truth), Thrillers (Law Abiding Citizen), and drama (Coriolanus). Butler had an interesting life prior to acting.

He is a trained lawyer, although he was fired from his firm in Scotland for missing work too much (partying), and he sang with a rock n’ roll band for a while. His most recent film was Olympus Has Fallen, with co-stars Aaron Eckhart and Morgan Freeman.


10. John Travolta – The Devil’s Rain (1975)

John Travolta – The Devil’s Rain (1975)

For a “B” horror film, this movie had several big names – William Shatner, Ida Lupino, and Ernest Borgnine – so at least Travolta was rubbing elbows with some pretty well-knowns. He had a bit part only in this film about a struggle with the Devil in which the Devil ultimately wins.

The Devil’s rain is actually a bottle in which he keeps the souls he has captured, making individuals his minions. While his career was certainly not launched by this film (he was 21 at the time, Travolta did get a role in the TV series, Welcome Back Kotter and then went on to star in Saturday Night Fever and Grease.

After that, he made a series of mistakes, turning down starring roles in American Gigolo and An Officer and a Gentleman. His career reignited with Pulp Fiction in 1994 and several other hits thereafter. Currently, his “voicing” the kids’ 3D film Gummy Bear to debut in late 2015.


11. Viggo Mortensen – Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 (1990)

Viggo Mortensen – Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 (1990)

For an unknown, Mortensen has a pretty major role as Tex Sawyer, one of the chainsaw family members. In the film, he is ultimately killed by being set on fire. Prior to this film, he had a minor role in the movie Witness.

After this, he appeared in several films (The Indian Runner, Crimson Tide, G.I. Jane, 28 Days, etc.). His big opportunity came in the early 200’s, playing Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy – box office hits. He was subsequently nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for the film Eastern Promises (2007). Mortensen has a lot of other interests which include photography, music, and poetry, and he has founded Perceval Press to publish the work of unknown artists.


12. Johnny Depp – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Johnny Depp – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Johnny Depp was chosen for his small role (the boyfriend) in the movie by Director Wes Craven’s daughter, when she was asked to choose between the two final candidates. This entire movie was shot in 32 days. Depp was 21 at the time.

Following this movie, Depp was moved into the spotlight with a supporting role in Platoon and then the starring role in Edward Scissorhands. Other huge hits were Pirates of the Caribbean (and sequels), Alice in Wonderland, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He is considered to be one of the best contemporary actors, primarily because of his versatility.


13. Ben Affleck – Phantoms (1998)

Ben Affleck – Phantoms (1998)

Affleck plays a sheriff in a small Colorado town, in which most of the citizens have disappeared or are dead. The movie is based on the Dean Koontz novel with the same name. An ancient enemy is afoot, a large amoebic blob that can turn itself into human forms and is bent on destroying everyone in the area. An English scholar, Flyte, joins the remaining town members in their attempts to destroy the ancient enemy by shooting its nucleus with a special bacteria.

This is actually not Affleck’s first foray into film. He was a child actor in the PBS series, The Voyage of Mimi. But after his role in Phantoms, his adult career began to take off, with roles in a series of big hits – Armageddon, Shakespeare in Love, Pearl Harbor, and Changing Lanes. In 2014, he starred in Gone Girl and his next film will be as Batman in Batman v Superman in 2016. Affleck is heavily involved in African relief efforts and progressive American politics.


14. Amy Adams – The Chromium Hook (2000)

Amy Adams – The Chromium Hook (2000)

The Chromium Hook is a 36-minute long short which explores all of myths surrounding tales that kids tell one another about a man with a hook – especially around Girl Scout campfires. Amy played a leader on her high school debate team, and the “horror” of the “hook man” is comedic. Her career actually began a year before this film, starring in a “B” movie Drop Dead Gorgeous. Still it gave her the money to move to Los Angeles and begin in earnest. A series of “B” movies followed the move.

Her big break came with the movie Junebug, and she was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance. After that, she stared in Enchanted, Catch me if You Can, and she played Lois Lane in the 2013 Superman Man of Steel. Other films include Leap Year, American Hustler, and Big Eyes. She will also star in the upcoming Batman v Superman movie coming out in 2016.


15. Jennifer Connelly – Phenomena (1985)


Connelly was 15 years old when she starred in the role of Jennifer in the film Phenomena. She attend a Swiss boarding school, and there is a serial killer on the loose. Jennifer, however, has telepathic powers and can communicate with insects, a power she will use to track down and defeat the serial killer who has already killed students.

Actually, she had a small role in a 1984 film, Once Upon a Time in America prior to her sojourn into horror. As she moved into the 90’s, however, her career began to take off, with films such as labyrinth, The Racketeer, Dark City, and Requiem for a Dream. In 2002, she was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actress in A Beautiful Mind. Later movies have included Hulk, Blood Diamond, Creation and He’s Just Not That into You.

Connelly is quite active in the non-profit organization, Charity, which supports efforts to drill for clean water in areas of the world where is is currently not available.

15 Stars – 15 careers begun in horror movies, many of them pretty big flops! Talent does come through in the end, however, no matter how bad the movie surrounding it might be.

Author Bio: Jonathan Emmen – inspired blogger from Copenhagen and regular contributor for different educational and entertainment blogs such a TrustMyPaper writing service and others. Follow him on Twitter to find more.