Tom Hanks and 9 celebrities that started out in horror films

Tom Hanks and Charlize Theron, contrary to popular belief, weren’t born famous. Before they became A-list celebrities, they got their start in horror films. Here is our list of other well-known actors and directors that delved into the dark side.

Tom Hanks, Charlize Theron, George Clooney…what do these A-list celebrities have in common? Well, they all started out in horror films. Even Martin Scorsese and Francis Coppola cut their teeth on genre films.

It might be hard to believe that Hanks who recently starred as Mr. Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, could have been in an 80’s slasher film but it’s true! We compiled a list of some familiar names and faces that appeared in scary fare prior to becoming box office darlings.

A few of the actors have continued to work in horror throughout their careers. Here is our look at 10 A-List Celebrities That Got Their Start in Horror Films.

Tom Hanks

Hard to believe but I actually saw Tom Hanks’ film in the theater on a double bill with Tourist Trap. In 1980, the beloved actor starred in Armand Mastroianni’s He Knows You’re Alone.

This slasher took place in New York City and focused on a woman who was about to be married but is being stalked by a serial killer. Tom’s character, Elliot was Randy Meeks before Randy Meeks.

The power of Hanks as an actor onscreen was unleashed when his character explained the psychology of horror and why we like to be scared. Although it was a minor role, for those few minutes that Tom is front and center, you can catch a glimpse of the Oscar winner he would become. Click here to check him out.

Martin Scorsese

Oddly enough, the director who would become known for decrying Marvel movies made a short horror film in 1967, believe it or not. This 6-minute production, The Big Shave, shows a young man shaving himself to the bone.

Gruesome and bloody, one can see his eye for detail and metaphors in this effort. Also, fans of Casino and Goodfellas can see the origins of his propensity for onscreen gore in this one.

Plus, as every admirer of Scorsese’s work knows, music plays a central part in all of his movies and The Big Shave is no exception. To see what we are talking about, click on this link.

Francis Coppola

Francis Coppola before he became celebrated as the creative force behind the grandiose Godfather trilogy was a protégé of Roger Corman. The fledgling talent was the writer and director of 1963’s Dementia 13.

Corman who was known for his B movie classics produced this horror opus about a widower who plots to take her dead husband’s inheritance only to find herself being pursued by an ax wielding murderer. Definitely sounds creepy, right?

One of the marketing ploys was potential audience members had to take a psychological test to see if they could handle the “shocking” nature of the film. Shot in black and white, here is the trailer to the production. View the link here, if you dare…

George Clooney

Yes, believe it or not, this Coen Brothers favorite appeared as Ron in Grizzly II: The Concert. Nothing like having to match wits against a psychotic bear with an agenda.

To protest the slaughter of his kind by poachers, a Grizzly goes on a rampage of carnage and mayhem at a huge rock concert in a national park. Clooney had some auspicious company in this production starring opposite Laura Dern, Deborah Foreman, Louise Fletcher, John Rhys-Davies and Deborah Raffin.

Starting at :32 seconds, you can catch sight of Clooney briefly in this trailer for the flick before he becomes a victim of the Grizzly. Unfortunately, this film was never released.

Jack Nicholson

Jack Nicholson was another alum from Roger Corman’s stable of performers. Before receiving acting accolades in Easy Rider, Nicholson honed his talents in horror films.

One of the roles that he is known for is Wilbur Force in the original The Little Shop of Horrors. Force was a masochist who enjoyed sitting in the dentist’s chair and having painful procedures done. Bill Murray would later play the role in the musical film adaptation with Rick Moranis.

It is sheer pleasure to see the esteemed actor being goofy onscreen. To see what we are talking about click here.

Other top-notch celebs in horror flicks:

  • Brad Pitt: Cutting Class
  • Demi Moore: Parasite 3-D
  • Ben Affleck: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Uncredited)
  • Jim Carrey: Once Bitten
  • Charlize Theron: Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (Uncredited)
Next: Sam Raimi: 10 projects that we would love to see onscreen

These films can be found on VUDU, Amazon Prime and YouTube.

Do you know any other celebrities that started in horror films? Let us know in the comments.

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