When we sat down with horror legend Bruce Campbell at this year’s New York Comic Con to discuss the upcoming remake of Evil Dead, he had some interesting things to say about his genre. “With your first movie,” Campbell began, speaking on the cult classic that launched his career, “at least in the horror genre, you don’t need name actors.” Any established fans of cinematic fright fests will recognize this to be true — a lot of scare flicks will cast young unknowns to play the roles of innocent victims, gallant heroes, and murderous victims alike. The fun comes in a few years later, however, when these former big screen strangers venture out to start prosperous careers of their own.
A lot of today’s big stars did, in fact, kick off their careers with horror movies. For a talented young performer seeking his or her big break, the genre has proven a ready platform. Here’s a quick breakdown of a few A-listers who got where they are thanks to a well-timed (sometimes ill-fated) faceoff with some denizens of our worst nightmares.
Where It All Began: Leprechaun
Who (or What) She Fended Off: Leprechauns, as you’d likely imagine.
How It Worked Out: She made it to the end — call it luck of the Irish.
Where It Got Her: Knee-deep in a trendsetting haircut and an on-off relationship to a paleontologist.
Where It All Began: A Nightmare on Elm Street
Who (or What) He Fended Off: The first big screen Inception-er, Freddy Krueger.
How It Worked Out: That was a lot of blood….
Where It Got Him: Tim Burton must have seen something particularly haunting in this unfortunate dreamer.
Where It All Began: Children of the Corn III
Who (or What) She Fended Off: A vegetative monster and its cult of possessed rural youths
How It Worked Out: Not a kernel of her was ever seen again….
Where It Got Her: A steady climb of the Hollywood ladder has made her one of the most valued stars of today, with acclaimed features like Young Adult and Prometheus under her belt.
Where It All Began: Tales from the Darkside: The Movie
Who (or What) She Fended Off: An undead Steve Buscemi
How It Worked Out: Hell hath no fury like a Donny scorned
Where It Got Her: I guess after killing her, Buscemi put in a good word with the Coen Brothers… the pair would meet again in The Big Lebowski, and Moore has enjoyed a flourishing career ever since — she will return to the genre in the forthcoming remake of Carrie
Where It All Began: Psycho Beach Party (technically, this was her second feature, not her first… but how can you pass up mentioning Psycho Beach Party?)
Who (or What) She Fended Off: Bloodthirsty slashers (and melanoma)
How It Worked Out: Forget the dozens of horrible deaths — she is brutally humiliated by her jerk boyfriend in front of the entire psycho beach party!
Where It Got Her: Paul Thomas Anderson, David O. Russell, Jack Kerouac, Janis Joplin, Superman, Kermit the Frog… she turned out just fine.
Where It All Began: The Burning
Who (or What) He Fended Off: A camp counselor with fourth degree burns.
How It Worked Out: In order to make reparations for the mutilated caretaker, the judge decreed that Alexander become his butler. …Wait, no, that’s something else.
Where It Got Him: If you understood the above joke, then that proves how might this man’s legacy is.
Where It All Began: Critters 3
Who (or What) He Fended Off: Alien porcupines… the nation’s most pressing threat in 1991.
How It Worked Out: Well, there was no Critters 4, was there?
Where It Got Him: History’s third highest grossing picture to date, frequent collaborations with one of the most respected directors of all time, and — best of all — Growing Pains.
[Photo Credit: Trimark Pictures]
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