From Jennifer Aniston To Leonardo DiCaprio, 10 Actors Who Thrived After Horror Film Debuts

From Jennifer Aniston To Leonardo DiCaprio, 10 Actors Who Thrived After Horror Film Debuts
(L) Kyle Rivas (M) Unique Nicole (R) Jamie McCarthy. GettyImages

Stars who started their careers with horror movies

Image Source: istockphoto/korionov
Image Source: istockphoto/korionov

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Many Hollywood stars of today began their careers with the horror genre. These spine-tingling horror films catapulted many a career and gave viewers unforgettable scares. Today, we explore the intriguing journeys of 10 actors who kickstarted their careers in horror before attaining fame and acclaim in various genres. From heart-pounding debuts in terrifying tales, these talented performers went on to shine in romantic comedies, action-packed blockbusters, and thought-provoking dramas.

1. Tom Hanks: From "He Knows You're Alone" to stardom

Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto
Tom Hanks. Getty Images | Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto

Tom Hanks, the iconic actor renowned for his heartwarming roles, took his first step into the entertainment world with the movie "He Knows You're Alone" in 1980, where he portrayed the character Elliot. This marked the surprising debut of Hanks in the horror genre. Only four years later, he starred in "Splash," which opened the door to a series of leading roles that ultimately propelled him to blockbuster stardom. From "The Money Pit" and "Big" to "The 'Burbs," "Turner & Hooch," and countless more, Tom Hanks emerged as a beloved Hollywood A-lister.

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2. Jennifer Aniston: From "Leprechaun" to "Friends"

Getty Images | Amy Sussman
Jennifer Aniston. Getty Images | Photo by Amy Sussman

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Jennifer Aniston, a beloved actress of her generation, made her debut in the horror genre with "Leprechaun" in 1993, playing the character of Tory Redding. A year later, her career took a momentous turn when she landed the role of Rachel Green in the iconic TV series "Friends." This role not only propelled her to worldwide fame but also established her as one of the most recognizable and adored actresses in the industry, solidifying her place in the hearts of millions of fans.

3. Paul Rudd: From Halloween horror to "Clueless"

aul Rudd participates in Friendly Feud during the Big Slick Celebrity Weekend benefitting Children's Mercy Hospital on June 2, 2023 at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri/ Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images
Paul Rudd. Getty Images | Photo by Kyle Rivas

Paul Rudd's remarkable journey to stardom is a tale of versatility and surprise. Just two months after the premiere of the iconic comedy "Clueless" in 1995, he turned to horror by playing Tommy Doyle in "Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers." Rudd filmed this chilling instalment before his breakout role in "Clueless," showcasing his extraordinary range as an actor. This daring shift in genres early in his career set the stage for Rudd's dynamic and enduring presence in Hollywood.

4. Patrick Dempsey: From "The Stuff" to "Can't Buy Me Love"

Patrick Dempsey attends the annual Charity Day hosted by BGC Group and The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund on September 11, 2023 in New York City/ Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund
Patrick Dempsey. Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund

Patrick Dempsey's journey to stardom has been pretty interesting. In 1985, he played part of "Underground Stuff Buyer #2" in "The Stuff." However, it was his 1987 role in "Can't Buy Me Love" that brought him under the spotlight. This pivotal moment marked the beginning of a flourishing career. Dempsey's charm and talent led him to numerous memorable appearances in both film and television. Dempsey's McDreamy in "Grey's Anatomy" turned him into a hearthrob. 

5. Elizabeth Olsen: Silent beginnings to critical acclaim

Elizabeth Olsen attends the Los Angeles Premiere Of Max Original Limited Series
Elizabeth Olsen. Photo by Unique Nicole/WireImage

In 2011, Elizabeth Olsen made her horror debut as Sarah in "Silent House," a gripping thriller that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Coincidentally, this was the same year she gained critical acclaim for her outstanding performance in "Martha Marcy May Marlene." These early successes showcased her versatile acting skills and marked the beginning of her ascent in the entertainment industry. Over the years, Elizabeth Olsen has solidified her position as a respected figure in both film and television.

6. Kevin Bacon: From "Animal House" to "Footloose"

Kevin Bacon visits SiriusXM Studios on September 05, 2023 in New York City/ Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images
Kevin Bacon. Getty Images | Photo by Noam Galai

Kevin Bacon's career journey took an unexpected twist when he ventured into the horror genre, making his debut in the iconic "Friday the 13th" in 1980 as Jack Burrell. However, it was his electrifying performance in "Footloose" four years later that propelled him to stardom, forever associating his name with dancing and establishing him as one of Hollywood's most versatile actors. From a terrifying camp counselor to a charismatic dancing sensation, Kevin Bacon's journey in the entertainment industry has been both diverse and legendary.

7. Julia Louis-Dreyfus: "Troll" to "Seinfeld"

Julia Louis-Dreyfus speaks onstage during The 2023 New Yorker Festival at Webster Hall on October 06, 2023 in New York City/ Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for The New Yorker
Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for The New Yorker

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is celebrated for her comedic genius. She embarked on her film career with a role in "Troll" in 1986, portraying the character of Jeanette Cooper. Her venture into this offbeat horror film followed her time on "Saturday Night Live" and preceded her iconic role as Elaine Benes on "Seinfeld" in 1989. An intriguing aspect is that Louis-Dreyfus shared the screen in "Troll" with her husband, Brad Hall, marking one of their early collaborations in the entertainment industry.

8. Leonardo DiCaprio: A direct-to-video debut in "Critters 3"

Leonardo DiCaprio | Getty Images
Leonardo DiCaprio | Getty Images

Leonardo DiCaprio, now a revered Hollywood legend, had a humble start in his movie career. He made his debut in the lesser-known direct-to-video film "Critters 3" in 1991, taking on the role of Josh. Just two years later, he hit had his breakout performance in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape." DiCaprio's remarkable talent earned him numerous Academy Award nominations and victories, solidifying his status as one of the most accomplished actors in the industry.

9. Regina Hall: From "Scary Movie" to Four Sequels

Regina Hall attends the 75th Directors Guild of America Awards at The Beverly Hilton on February 18, 2023 in Beverly Hills, California/ Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
Regina Hall. Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images

Regina Hall's path to stardom took a fascinating turn when, after her roles in "The Best Man" and "Love & Basketball," she secured the iconic role of Brenda Meeks in the 2000 horror-comedy "Scary Movie." Little did she know that this role would catapult her into the limelight, ultimately resulting in her participation in not just the original film but four successful sequels.

10. Skeet Ulrich: A double debut in "The Craft" and "Scream"

Skeet Ulrich attends the AMC Networks' 2023 Upfront at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 18, 2023 in New York City/ Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Skeet Ulrich. Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

In 1996, Skeet Ulrich made a remarkable double debut in the horror genre. First, he portrayed the mysterious Chris Hooker in "The Craft," a cult classic about a coven of teenage witches. Later that year, he took on the role of Billy Loomis in "Scream," the iconic slasher film that would define a generation of horror fans. These dual horror debuts not only showcased his acting versatility but also served as a springboard for his career, leading to numerous successful film and television projects.


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