Long before they were busy attending awards ceremonies, these actors got their starts as lower-level scream queens (or kings) to get into the biz. Some of these roles may not have been their very first, but regardless, these cheesy slasher pic roles constitute early and often embarrassing credits from their "before they were famous" days.
By Chuck Walton & Lizerne Guiting
Renee Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation
Forget Leatherface--if there was an award for Best Sour Face, Renee Zellweger would be a shoo-in for her facial tics in this early Chainsaw spin-off. And Zellweger's fellow Texas native McConaughey portrays the murderous head of the cannibalistic household named "Vilmer" (no relation to Val Kilmer).
John Goodman in C.H.U.D.
New York's toxic waste problem had an adverse effect on some unfortunate homeless bums, turning each one into a "Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller" or "C.H.U.D." for short. You'll have to watch till the very end to see John Goodman's cameo as a cop who gets slaughtered in a diner, way before his sitcom fame and memorable roles in such films as The Big Easy, The Flintstones and The Big Lebowski.
Jennifer Connelly in Creepers
Probably somewhere low on Oscar winner Jennifer Connelly's resume is this little movie, aka Phenomena, from Italian horror auteur Dario Argento (Suspiria, Tenebrae). Connelly plays a young heroine who helps solve a series of murders by channeling a peculiar power: the ability to make insects devour her enemies in full Technicolor splendor. For those who dare watching this one: Think twice before ordering pizza.
Jennifer Aniston and Warwick Davis in Leprechaun
Before Friends and Office Space, Aniston earned an A for hotness in this B-movie slasher as a shotgun-wielding, short-shorts-wearing babe who wreaks havoc with Warwick Davis, the sinister leprechaun who declaimed, "I want me gold!" Davis played the Ewok Wicket in Star Wars: Episode VI. He went on to star in movies like Willow, and played Professor Flitwick and Griphook in the Harry Potter franchise.
John Travolta in The Devil's Rain
Travolta played a member of a devil-worshiping group and eyeless follower of a goat demon minister. Although he's hard to spot, fans will recognize his signature cleft chin. He and the other Satanists actually spend a long time melting on-screen—quite memorable with all the writhing, contorted faces!
Patricia Arquette in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
Many consider the third Freddy Krueger film one of the best in the series, partially thanks to Patricia Arquette, who stars as Kristin, one of the disturbed teens in a psychiatric institution with nightmares about Krueger.
John Larroquette in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Even if you rent the horror classic and look for him, you won't see him… you'll hear him. In the first TCM film in 1974, he was the narrator with a chilling voice that began the story hidden "in the annals of American history." Since then, he's starred on the hit show Chuck and was a regular on Boston Legal.
Tom Hanks in He Knows You're Alone
Hanks in his first, albeit small, role portrays a young and charming college student majoring in psychology. In a film where the killer murders brides-to-be, who better than Tom to explain the psychology of fear?
Kevin Bacon in Friday the 13th
Bacon did the slasher genre proud by taking an arrow through the throat in the original Friday the 13th. He's now known as a first-rate character actor in movies like Mystic River and as the subject of a popular game, but back then, he was just another clueless, sex-crazed appetizer on the dinner menu of Crystal Lake's most famous hockey-masked psycho killer.
Johnny Depp in A Nightmare on Elm Street
It's amazing to think that Johnny Depp's acting debut had him being sucked into his bed, and then sprayed all over the ceiling courtesy of this series' disfigured uber-villain. Director Wes Craven must have been onto something, though, as Depp's first-ever credit was the all-too-important "Introducing Johnny Depp"! Take that, Freddy Krueger.
- Katherine Heigl, Bride of Chucky
- Clint Eastwood, Revenge of the Creature
- Leonardo DiCapiro, Critters 3
- Demi Moore, Parasite
- George Clooney, Return of the Killer Tomatoes
- Naomi Watts, Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering
- Holly Hunter, The Burning