You don't usually watch a horror movie for its star power. After all, the whole point is to scream your head off, isn't it? But the next time you watch one of these flicks, you might want to keep your eyes peeled — not for monsters, serial killers, or vampires, but for some familiar faces.
Many of the biggest stars in Hollywood today appeared in horror movies as they tried to break into the business. Hey, you've got to start somewhere, right? These celebs yelled and ran in terror on the way to creating iconic cinematic roles, winning Academy Awards, and wowing us onscreen again and again.
1. Leonardo DiCaprio in Critters 3 (1991)
Just before Leonardo DiCaprio started turning heads as a teen star in projects like Growing Pains, This Boy's Life, and What's Eating Gilbert Grape, he starred in the campy-creepy horror romp Critters 3, playing a snotty teen whose wish that his father were dead actually comes true. This straight-to-video movie isn't exactly Oscar-worthy, but it's not surprising to see that the kid would grow up to become an award winner.
2. Jennifer Aniston in Leprechaun (1993)
Jennifer Aniston has the girl-next-door vibe down pat, even when she and her family are being terrorized by a not-so-jolly leprechaun. There are even some parts of Leprechaun that read more like a rom-com, so clearly it was the perfect training ground for her soon-to-be-successful career.
3. George Clooney in Return to Horror High (1987)
George Clooney is handsome and dashing in every role he takes on, even in one of his first movies, Return to Horror High, in which he plays ill-fated Oliver, an actor in a movie about a high school rocked by a series of murders years earlier. There's one moment when a fellow actress in the film asks him, "Gonna be a star, Oliver?" He replies, "I'll try." Spoiler alert: he did.
4. Amy Adams in Psycho Beach Party (2000)
Amy Adams lights up the screen in every movie she stars in these days, and she was just as much of a scene-stealer in the horror comedy Psycho Beach Party. There's even an epic dance scene in this movie. However, Amy is perhaps best known in this film for having her bikini bottoms accidentally ripped off on the beach, as you can see in the above photo.
5. Brad Pitt in Cutting Class (1989)
Brad Pitt has had some very serious roles throughout his career, but one of his first major movie roles was as the popular high school jock in the slasher film, Cutting Class. Unfortunately, a classmate falls in love with the girlfriend of Brad's character, and their competition for her heart has deadly consequences.
6. Kyle Richards in Halloween (1978)
Just like her sister, Kim Richards, Kyle Richards got her start in Hollywood at a young age. She was just a kid when she appeared in the classic horror movie Halloween opposite Jamie Lee Curtis, who played her babysitter in the film. The onetime co-stars even reunited on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in an earlier season and looked as chummy as ever. Trying to escape from the clutches of psychotic killer Michael Myers — even if it's just in a movie — would certainly bond two people for life.
7. Tom Hanks in He Knows You're Alone (1980)
Tom Hanks made his feature film debut in the slasher flick He Knows You're Alone. Lucky for Tom, his role is more romantic than gory as he uses his smarts as a psych major to woo a lady named Nancy. But he also purposely trips her to get her attention in the first place while out jogging, which is totally not cool and not the nice Tom Hanks we know and love.
8. Charlize Theron in Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995)
One of Charlize Theron's earliest film roles was not so glamorous. She played a cult follower in Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest. But with that stunning face of hers, she's even managed to make horror look good.
9. Johnny Depp in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Johnny Depp's first movie was the iconic fright flick A Nightmare on Elm Street. His character's NSFW death scene in the film has become legendary. But be forewarned: If you watch it, you might never want to lie in your bed ever again.
10. Renée Zellweger in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994)
Renée Zellweger is usually known for bringing sweetness to the screen. But that wasn't the case in one of her first movie roles in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation. Leatherface returns to terrorize some teens in this installment of the famous frightening franchise. “Best workout ever," Renée recently told Yahoo Movies about working on the film. “Live chainsaw — that’s some motivation to get running! Fast!” Renée is certainly not wrong there, but we think we'll stick to some safer cardio in the future.
11. Matthew McConaughey in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994)
Renée's fellow Texas native Matthew McConaughey starred in the aforementioned Texas Chainsaw Massacre sequel. As you can probably tell by the above photo, Matthew was a baddie in the movie. While his work made for some scary-good entertainment in this installment of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, we have to say that we prefer rooting for him rather than against him.
12. Eva Mendes in Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000)
Things are pretty intense for the cool and beautiful Eva Mendes in Urban Legends: Final Cut, in which a college is plagued by a series of murders. The movie also stars a young Jennifer Morrison as her friend, but let's just say this is one friendship that doesn't last.
13. Bradley Cooper in My Little Eye (2002)
Living with a bunch of strangers on a reality show in an effort to win some serious cash certainly doesn't sound easy, but that's an understatement in one of Bradley Cooper's first movie roles in My Little Eye. We can't imagine that living with the real Bradley would be anything other than wonderful, but his My Little Eye character? Not so much.
Looking for more chills and thrills? Check out this spooky moment from Manzo'd with Children, below.