Women in Horror: 5 A-List actresses who got their start in horror films

Amy Adams in “The Woman In The Window.” Image Courtesy: Twentieth Century Fox
Amy Adams in “The Woman In The Window.” Image Courtesy: Twentieth Century Fox /
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2. Jennifer Connelly – Phenomena

You wouldn’t realize it from watching, but Dario Argento’s Phenomena was only Jennifer Connelly’s second big screen film. At just thirteen, her unique vulnerability and ability to relay complex emotions without even speaking are magnetic.

In classic Giallo fashion, the plot of Phenomena is less important than the stunning and horrific visuals. Every shot of an Argento film is like a painting, and working in this aesthetic fashion can be hard for actors who like to build their characters from plot-based motivations. However, this didn’t seem to be a problem for Connelly, who fits perfectly in every frame like the focus of a work of art.

After giving such a strong performance, it’s surprising to learn that Connelly has no interest in rewatching the film (or any film she’s been a part of for that matter). As she told B. Alan Orange at MovieWeb.com:

"“I thought, not too long ago, “Okay, what could I watch with a friend? Or with Paul, for example.” I thought, maybe, something like Phenomena (the film directed by Dario Argento), because I was thirteen, 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.”"

1. Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Troll

After her incredible run as Elaine Benes on Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus became as ubiquitous a name as, well Seinfeld, but long before she landed that plum role, Louis-Dreyfus cut her teeth in the delightfully goofy Troll.

In Troll, Louis-Dreyfus plays Jeanette, a friendly young woman who gets wrapped into bizarre supernatural happenings when a wizard-turned-troll begins wreaking havoc on her apartment building. The wizard’s master plan is to transform everyone in the building into mythical beings in an attempt to unleash the fairy world onto the San Francisco streets.

While Jeanette is a supporting character in the film, Louis-Dreyfus’s work is light, honest, and a heck of a lot of fun to watch. It’s clear from watching her on screen that this is an actress who is willing to go the extra mile, no matter the demands of the script, which in this case includes frolicking and giggling through her apartment like a wood nymph.

Whether due to taste or typecasting, Louis-Dreyfus never returned to the horror genre after her debut film performance. But if she ever decided to come back, I bet the horror community would welcome her with open arms.

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Were you surprised by any of the A-List actresses on our list? What are your favorite horror film contributions by A-List actors? Let us know in the comments!