Horror movies are not exactly known for being cinematic masterpieces that attract the highest quality thespians. But for many extremely well-known actors and actresses, their big break came in a scary movie. One of these actors is Oscar winner Brad Pitt, who starred in 1989's "Cutting Class." Though the horror flick might have appeared to be action-packed, Brad was actually bored while filming it. "Brad was shooting the movie 'Cutting Class' on location in Malibu on Pacific Coast Highway in 1988," Phil Lobel, his former publicist, told Radar Online. "He called me and said, 'Phil, you're not going to believe what happened! We were so bored on set that me and my buddy started mooing cars on PCH.'" A passing motorist complained so police paid Brad and his pal a visit. Phil said Brad was charged with indecent exposure but a lawyer he found was reportedly able to get the charge reduced to disturbing the peace. Keep reading for more…
Before "Friends," Jennifer Aniston starred in 1993's "Leprechaun" — her first movie.
The horror movie "Leprechaun" has spawned many sequels, but it's not a film Jennifer Aniston is proud of. In 2014, she told a story on "The Graham Norton Show" about how then-fiancé Justin Theroux had discovered the flick when they were in the early stages of dating. "He was flipping through the channels and he stumbled upon that. And that was our next two hours much to my embarrassment," she admitted.
Just after stealing hearts with his charming role in 1995's "Clueless," that same year, Paul Rudd landed a role in the slasher film "Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers."
While Paul Rudd was beloved as Tommy Doyle in the sixth installment of the "Halloween" film franchise, when approached to do "Halloween Kills," which is slated for a 2021 release, he wasn't up for it. He did, however, give his blessing to another actor to take on the character: Anthony Michael Hall. During an interview on the "FANTASM" podcast, the "Sixteen Candles" actor recalled a text he received from the "Halloween Kills" director. "So one day, David Gordon Green texts me when I'm off — I wasn't shooting — and goes, 'Yeah, I got a call from Paul Rudd, and he sends his best and he gave you his blessings — he's really excited that you're playing the part.' I never met Paul Rudd but I thought that was really nice."
In 2011, Matthew McConaughey recalled his time playing the villain in the horror movie "Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation." "It was carnie, man, we were shooting in 115-degree weather, myself, Renee Zellweger, 16-hour days," the Texas native said on "George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight." "It was a lot of fun. It was like 'anything goes.'"
Renee Zellweger has recalled that filming "Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation" was the best workout ever. "Live chainsaw — that's some motivation to get running! Fast!" she recalled to Yahoo! Movies in 2016. But she's appreciative of the role to this day. "I was so grateful and I was so excited. I had done a little bit here, a little bit there, but nobody had ever trusted me with a role before to carry a film."
After playing burnout Ken Miller on TV's "Freaks and Geeks" from 1999 to 2000, Seth Rogen landed his first feature film role in 2001's "Donnie Darko." Seth had a little screen time as stereotypical high school bully Ricky Danforth in the cult classic.
Tom Hanks' long, illustrious career in Hollywood started with the 1980 slasher movie "He Knows You're Alone."
Tom Hanks was clueless before he landed a role in "He Knows You're Alone." "I didn't even know the process of being cast. I was in New York and I was just an actor who was trying to bounce around, and I went to some audition and it was by Lansbury-Beruh [Productions] — they were the guys that were producing, among other things, 'Godspell.' I went up to their office and they had all these posters for Broadway shows and I thought, 'Wow. These are really big heavy hitters,'" Tom told BuzzFeed decades later. "I did this kind of general audition and they said, 'OK, you'll be in the movie. We don't know who you're going to play, but you'll be in the movie.' And I said, 'Is that how it works? Just like that?' I ended up having two days on it — we shot it out in the wintertime in Staten Island — and we were all in one Winnebago and stuff like that."
2001's "Jeepers Creepers" was Justin Long's third feature film. For his starring turn as Darry Jenner, Justin earned a Saturn Award nomination for best performance by a younger actor.
Justin Long was just 23 while filming 2001's "Jeepers Creepers." According to the actor, things got dicey while filming a stunt featuring the movie's villain, the Creeper. "I was the only non-stunt person involved when we hit the Creeper with the car," he told Hollywood.com. "Something went wrong and the stunt creature came through my side of the windshield — he broke three ribs and I had cuts all over my face. That was pretty freaky."
In 1991, Leonardo DiCaprio got his big break in "Critters 3" — his first movie. While Leo only appeared in one of four "Critters" flicks, his choice paid off. Robert De Niro reportedly spotted him in the film, which led to Leo being cast in "This Boy's Life," which had a far more successful debut in 1993.
Before she landed her starring role on The WB's "Roswell" and began portraying Izzie Stevens on ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," Katherine Heigl appeared in a notable slasher flick! Early on in her career, she starred in 1998's "Bride of Chucky."
In "Bride of Chucky," Katherine Heigl played Jade Kincaid, the niece of a controlling police officer. In an effort to escape his overbearing ways, Jade runs off and marries her boyfriend, Jesse. However, after being held hostage by Chucky and his murderous bride, Tiffany, Jade and Jesse must find a way to defeat them before their bodies are used to restore the dolls to human form.
Johnny Depp got his big break in the successful 1984 slasher flick "A Nightmare on Elm Street."
Before nabbing a part in "A Nightmare on Elm Street," Johnny Depp was focused on music and his band. But then his pal Nicolas Cage introduced him to his agent and she sent him on an audition. "I read for 'Nightmare on Elm Street' and I was just totally not what Wes [Craven] had written for the story. He had written the part of a big blonde beach jock, football-player guy. And I was sort of emaciated with old hairspray and spiky hair, earrings, a little f****** catacomb dweller. And then five hours later, that agent called me and said, 'You're an actor,'" Johnny recalled to Interview in 2014, reflecting on his transition into acting. "It was amazing to me that someone wanted to pay me that much money, which was just union scale."
The second movie Amy Adams appeared in was the comedy-horror film "Psycho Beach Party" in 2000. While the movie is a far cry from her Oscar-nominated work in movies like "American Hustle" and "The Master," she remembers her early days fondly. "I love 'Psycho Beach Party' — I got to do an homage to Ann-Margret in it," she told the Los Angeles Times in 2006.
Prior to landing his starring role in "Footloose," Kevin Bacon appeared in the classic 1980 film "Friday the 13th" as Jack Burrell.
While Kevin Bacon (right) fondly recalls his role in the 1980 horror film "Friday the 13th," he hates signing autographs on a certain photo from the movie that depicts his character's grim fate. "I'm always horrified by the fact that, when it comes to autograph hounds, that's probably the No. 1 picture that I'm asked to sign," he told Entertainment Weekly. "Me, with blood coming out of my mouth and an arrow through my neck. You know, I'm a pretty easygoing guy. After a while, it just gets to you. You're like, really, do I have to sign another picture of me dead?" (See the pic he's talking about over on Screenrant.)
Chloe Grace Moretz's film career began with 2005's "The Amityville Horror," a remake of the 1979 hit.
Chloe Grace Moretz was only 6 in "The Amityville Horror" but she was already performing her own stunts. "You know the scene where [Chloe] falls of the edge? All for real, you guys. No greenscreen," co-star Melissa George told Radio Free Entertainment. "All that walking was for real. She had a crane with two pieces of skinny wire that was above her head, and she was balancing by herself. And then they just rubbed out the wire."
Before George Clooney was, well, George Clooney, he was starring alongside Maureen McCormick (aka Marsha Brady) in 1987's "Return to Horror High." In the movie, George plays Oliver, who's murdered in an empty corridor in the high school.
Hilary Swank launched her career with the 1992 movie "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
"I was 16 or 17 years old. And I was doing a TV show during the day and, thankfully, the movie was all nights," Hilary Swank (center) recalled to CNN about her role in the 1992 horror-comedy film "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." "So I was able to do both. And, thankfully, I was also still young. I had the energy to do both. And I was so excited. As you may know, I started my career in comedy. So it's funny that now I'm seen as this really dramatic actress."
Former daytime soap actress Sarah Michelle Gellar got her big movie break in the 1997 slasher film "I Know What You Did Last Summer."
It was on the set of "I Know What You Did Last Summer" that Sarah Michelle Gellar met her now-husband, Freddie Prinze Jr., though the two didn't start dating for another three years. The movie got a sequel the following summer with Freddie, but since SMG's character was murdered in the first one, she didn't appear.
Like his wife, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr. got his movie start in "I Know What You Did Last Summer" in 1997.
"I Know What You Did Last Summer" star Freddie Prinze Jr. could have been the male lead in another quintessential horror film too. "In the ["IKWYDLS'] audition it was either me or Jeremy Sisto — and I was terrified I was going to lose that role to Jeremy because he'd beaten me out on every other role we'd auditioned for," Freddie recalled to Mic in 2017. "Of course I ended up getting it. But I didn't get 'Scream.' Kevin Williamson really wanted me for 'Scream.' But Wes [Craven] didn't — he wanted Skeet [Ulrich]… Both films really helped change the landscape of horror films for that decade."
Elizabeth Olsen launched her acting career in 2011 when she starred in the psychological film "Silent House," which is about a woman who's haunted by supernatural entities in her family's vacation home.
In "Silent House," the camera follows Elizabeth Olsen in what seems to be one single, continuous take during which she unravels the terrifying supernatural forces that have plagued her home. According to Elizabeth, to achieve this effect, she had little time to rest in between takes. "It was difficult to go through so many times and record it at 100%," she said during a press event in 2012. "We would get through an 11- or 12-minute take and something would go wrong 10 minutes in, which would make every single thing you did completely unusable. That was the hardest. Because you would think 'can't you just use a little of that?' and it's like, 'no we can't because that's not where our stitch is.' On a lucky day there were two usable takes."
Before Julia Louis-Dreyfus was the queen of comedy, she appeared in the 1986 film "Troll."
To this day, Julia Louis-Dreyfus still cringes over "Troll," in which she appeared nearly naked. When comedian Jay Leno rolled a clip from the movie when she visited his late night show in 2013, Julia cursed at him. She then admitted the reason she did the movie. "The were going to fly us to Rome," she explained. "We didn't have a penny to our names."
Jon Stewart might already have been a famous comedian at the time but two years into hosting "The Daily Show," he made his feature film debut in the 1998 horror film "The Faculty."
"The Faculty" follows a group of teachers who, while under the control of deadly parasites, set out to infect the students around them. In the film, Jon Stewart plays Mr. Furlong, a high school science teacher. The flick, which has garnered a cult following, has a star-studded cast that includes celebs like Jordana Brewster, Josh Hartnett, Usher and Elijah Wood.
Early on in Ted Danson's career, he booked a role in "Creepshow," a 1982 dark comedy-horror film.
In "Creepshow," which was written by Stephen King, Ted Danson is buried up to his neck at high tide by his lover's psychopathic husband. Ted's part was in one of five short stories told over the course of the movie.
Before she landed her starring role on "Dawson's Creek," Michelle Williams played Molly Cartwell in the 1998 slasher flick "Halloween H20: 20 Years Later."
"Halloween H20: 20 Years Later" was the seventh installment of the "Halloween" film franchise. The screenplay, in which Michelle Williams and Josh Hartnett play a couple, is based on a Kevin Williamson story. Beyond his work in horror films ("Scream" and "I Know What You Did Last Summer," to name a few) Kevin also created Michelle's true breakout vehicle, "Dawson's Creek." Michelle wasn't the only up-and-coming star to land a role in the flick: Joseph Gordon Levitt and Jodi Lyn O'Keefe are also among the Young Hollywood names that appeared in the film.
When she was just a teenager, Jennifer Connelly starred in the 1985 Italian horror film "Phenomena," which was directed by horror master Dario Argento.
"They're all really difficult [to go back and watch]," Jennifer Connelly mused to MovieWeb in 2005 when asked if she can watch her own movies. "I thought, not too long ago, 'OK, what could I watch with a friend? Or with [husband] Paul [Bettany], for example.' I thought, maybe, something like 'Phenomena', because I was 13, and it's a horror film. Paul, early in our relationship, really wanted to see it. But I couldn't. As soon as it came on, I just went over the top of his head trying to cover it, 'No, no, no, shut it off!' I couldn't handle it."
Before Jim Carrey became a household name thanks to his comedy movies, he was showing off his acting chops in the comedy-horror-fantasy film "Once Bitten," which premiered in 1985.
Jim Carrey's part in "Once Bitten" was his first major role. In the movie, he plays a man desperate to his lose his virginity who becomes the prey of a vampire that needs to drink the blood of a virgin in order to stay eternally beautiful.
Just one year before landing a starring role in "Back To The Future," Crispin Glover appeared in 1984's "Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter." In the franchise's fourth installment, a young Crispin played Jimmy Mortimer, a heartbroken teen who meets a gruesome demise after encountering Jason Voorhees while searching for a corkscrew to open a bottle of wine.
Before "Twilight," Kristen Stewart was a child actress who notably played Jodie Foster's daughter in 2002's "Panic Room."
Kristen Stewart, who was 12 when "Panic Room" premiered, was well-received in her first thriller. The movie earned her a Young Artist Award nomination for best leading actress in a feature film.
Amber Heard's first movie role was in 2005's "Side FX." The movie had a pretty ridiculous plot line, even for a horror movie: a medieval sex drug makes a deadly comeback amongst college students. The drug's side effect is that it gives its users an unquenchable thirst for blood, turning them into killing machines.
Before she was the star of "Pretty Little Liars," Lucy Hale gave the horror genre a try in the 2005 movie "Fear Island." Starring alongside Haylie Duff, Lucy played one of five students who, while partying on a remote island, finds a body and a killer who wants all the students dead.