22 celebrities you didn't realise got their start in horror movies

Trimark PicturesJennifer Aniston starred in the horror flick ‘Leprechaun.’
  • Most scary movies don’t feature big Hollywood stars.
  • However, many big celebrities actually got their first roles in horror movies.
  • Renée Zellweger starred in “The Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation.”
  • Brad Pitt starred in the film “Cutting Class” in the late-’80s.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.


Scary movies are usually not known for having Hollywood’s greatest actors. But, many viewers don’t realise that they may be watching the next George Clooney, who surprisingly got his big break in the horror genre.

Many of your favourite stars actually started out as the main characters – or even victims – in scary movies. In celebration of Halloween, we’re listing the most surprising celebrities who’ve starred in a scary movie.


Justin Long starred in “Jeepers Creepers.”

American ZoetropeJustin Long.

The heartthrob ignited his career by starring in this 2001 cult classic.


Madelaine Petsch had a minor role in “The Hive.”

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty ImagesMadelaine Petsch.

The “Riverdale” star got her first role playing “Current Girl #2” in this 2015 horror flick.


Jon Stewart made his first film appearance in “The Faculty.”

MiramaxJohn Stewart.

Although he was already two years into “The Daily Show” at this point, Stewart made his big-screen debut playing a high school teacher in this star-studded film. Other well-known celebrities who starred in this horror-sci-fi mashup include Salma Hayek, Usher, and Elijah Wood.


Joseph Gordon-Levitt was the first victim in “Halloween H20: 20 Years Later.”

Dimension Films via IMDBJoseph Gordon-Levitt.

Although it technically wasn’t his first role, this role in the iconic horror series was Gordon-Levitt’s breakout role for transitioning from child actor to teen heartthrob.


Michelle Williams also starred in “Halloween H20: 20 Years Later.”

Dimension Films via IMDBMichelle Williams.

Although Gordon-Levitt’s character was cut short in this seventh instalment of the “Halloween” franchise, Williams nabbed the role of a protagonist who lives to tell the tale.


Renée Zellweger starred in “The Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation.”

Columbia PicturesRenée Zellweger.

This 1994 horror hit was one of Zellweger’s first major films. Another notable actor in this film is Matthew McConaughey.


Amy Adams starred in “Psycho Beach Party.”

StrandAmy Adams.

Before becoming one of the most frequently Oscar-nominated actors in Hollywood, Adams’ first film role was this 2000 horror-comedy flop.


Rooney Mara’s first role was in “Urban Legends: Bloody Mary.”

Sony Pictures Home EntertainmentRooney Mara.

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” star has made plenty of cameos in the horror genre. Before becoming a prominent scream queen with her leading role in the “Nightmare on Elm Street” reboot, Mara’s starred in this teen slasher flick.


George Clooney played a minor role in “Grizzly II: The Concert.”

Film Ventures International/Columbia Pictures via IMDBGeorge Clooney.

The 1982 film also included then-unknown actors Charlie Sheen and Laura Dern in minor roles.


Chloë Grace Moretz was a leading character in “The Amityville Horror.”

MGM Distribution Co via IMDBChloë Grace Moretz.

The 2005 reboot of the horror classic was her first feature film role. She starred alongside then up-and-coming actor Ryan Reynolds.


Elizabeth Olsen starred in “Silent House.”

Open Road FilmsElizabeth Olsen.

Olsen started her acting career in 2011. She got her first feature film role in this cult-favourite thriller about a girl who’s trapped in her family vacation home that’s haunted by supernatural forces.


Matthew McConaughey had a minor role in “My Boyfriend’s Back.”

Paramount PicturesMatthew McConaughey.

Before his breakout role in “Dazed and Confused,” McConaughey had a minor role as “Guy #2” in this ’90s horror comedy.


Ben Affleck had a minor role in “Buffy The Vampire Slayer.”

20th Century FoxBen Affleck.

Not to be confused with the popular TV show, one of Affleck’s first roles on the big screen lasted for mere seconds in this early-’90s horror film.


Hilary Swank’s first film role was also in “Buffy The Vampire Slayer.”

The WBHilary Swank.

Unlike Affleck’s quick cameo, Swank made her film debut in this cult classic as high school student Kimberly Hannah, who was also one of Buffy Summers’ friends.


Jennifer Aniston starred in “Leprechaun.”

Trimark PicturesJennifer Aniston

Before nabbing her iconic role as Rachel on “Friends,” Aniston made her film debut as the leading lady in this now fan-favourite film about a vengeful leprechaun looking for his stolen pot of gold.


Kristen Stewart starred in “Panic Room.”

SonyKristen Stewart.

Before becoming everyone’s favourite teen vampire lover in “Twilight,” Stewart nabbed the role of Sarah Altman in this anxiety-inducing drama. Horror veteran Jodie Foster, film icon Forest Whitaker, and then-budding actor Jared Leto starred alongside Stewart.


Katherine Heigl starred in “The Bride of Chucky.”

Universal Pictures via IMDBKatherine Heigl.

One of Heigl’s first film roles was playing Jade, the neighbour of Tiffany (aka Chucky’s bride).


Brad Pitt starred in “Cutting Class.”

Republic Pictures Home VideoBrad Pitt.

This late-’80s horror film was Pitt’s first starring role in a feature film, according to IMDb. However, this was not his introduction into the horror genre: he nabbed a single episode role in “Freddy’s Nightmares,” a spin-off show from “The Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise, that same year.


Demi Moore starred in “Parasite.”

Embassy Pictures via IMDBDemi Moore.

One of Moore’s first-ever acting credits is leading lady in this 1982 film, according to IMDb. The film currently holds an 11% Rotten Tomatoes “fresh” rating.


Charlize Theron had a minor role in “Children of The Corn III: Urban Harvest.”

Dimension Films/Miramax Films via IMDBCharlize Theron

Long before she portrayed a serial killer in “Monster,” Theron’s first film role was as an uncredited extra in the third instalment of the “Children of The Corn” franchise.


Naomi Watts starred in “Children of The Corn: The Gathering.”

Dimension Films via IMDBNaomi Watts

The direct-to-video film was one of Watt’s first major roles, according to IMDb. Her stint in horror didn’t stop there: she went on to later star in “The Ring,” which became one of the highest-grossing horror films of all time.


Paul Rudd starred in “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers.”

Dimension Films via IMDBPaul Rudd.

The fourth instalment of the “Halloween” franchise came out the same year as Rudd’s breakout role in “Clueless.”

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