The Mad Mind of Author Thomas S. Flowers

Before They Were Famous: the best of celebrity horror movie deaths

The most cliché thing about horror movies is how they seem to help aspiring actors and actresses earn their stripes (or lashes) in Hollywood. Everyone has to start somewhere, right? Why not horror? As far as Hollywood goes, horror can be a bit taboo in regards to gaining cinematic fame, but on the other hand, horror can be one of the easiest avenues for breaking ground in ones acting career. And, without a doubt, some of my favorite horror movie death scenes involve someone who is now famous. Why? Not really sure, its just satisfying seeing folks who’ve later gone on to win (or at least be nominated) for an Oscar or even the coveted Golden Globe. Though i’d hate to think of Hollywood snobs using my beloved genre as a way to earn their bones without any sort of respect to the art, the lasting image of their demise that you can watch over and over is gratifying enough to reconcile the abuse. In my search across the web, i’ve selected eight of the best scenes with actors who’ve met their end on film. Enjoy!

8. Johnny Depp

Before Johnny Depp was growing dread locks, sailing the high seas, wearing purple top hats, and selling candy to kids like dope he made his cinema debut as Glen in forever classic Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). As you can see from the clip below, Depp had one of the most memorable deaths in the movie.

7. Seann William Scott

Springing from his American Pie notoriety, Seann William Scott was cast as Billy Hitchcock, the bumbling fool in 2000’s epic horror movie, Final Destination. Though not the most gut wrenching death scene from the movie, his decapitation was still rather impressive.

6. Jack Black

A few short years before his breakout and award winning role as Barry in High Fidelity, following a long string of cameos and lesser guest appearances, Tenacious D front man Jack Black made his horror movie debut in an unaccredited role as Titus Telesco in the 1998 horrible film I still Know What You Did Last Summer. This little gem was a bit hard to find and if you watch the clip below, you’ll understand why Black wanted to keep his name uncredited. 

5. Ted Danson

Before he was cast in his award winning role as local bar keep Sam Malone in a little television show you might have heard of called Cheers, Ted Danson was cast as Harry Wentworth in Romero’s and King’s short story horror film Creepshow. I’m not sure what’s more bizarre from the film, how calm Danson was during his death scene or how unnerving comedian Leslie Nielsen was?

4. George Clooney

Say what you will about the man, but George Clooney has played some impressive characters. But long before any of his award winning role as the savvy ER doctor, or the long bearded felon, or even bat nipples, back in 1987, Mr. Seth Gecko made his cinematic debut as Oliver in Return to Horror High. I’m not entirely sure whats going on in this death scene nor am I entirely sure I want to know, but regardless, the scene and movie have become timeless pieces of horror history.

3. John Travolta

Before Mr. Saturday Night Fever boogied his way into the hearts of teenage girls, John Travolta began his cinematic career as Billy Nolan in Stephen King’s movie adaptation Carrie. No stranger to being knocked off in movies, his role in Carrie remains as one of his first and most memorable on screen death.

2. Jack Nicholson

Nine years before his first award winning role as George Hanson in Easy Rider, Jack Nicholson played Wilbur Force in a lesser known part in the cinematic adaptation of The Little Shop of Horrors (1960). He was only on screen for a few minutes and technically he wasn’t bumped off or anything; however, even this small role from Nicholson’s long career shows the roots of his more psychopathic characters.

1. Kevin Bacon

Before he challenged rural America to a dance off or foot raced Steve Martin for a cab, Kevin Bacon began his acting career in horrors most iconic movie, Friday the 13th (1980), as the doomed pot smoking teen, Jack Burrell. There are two reasons why Bacon made # 1 on my list of the best of celebrity horror movie deaths: for one, its Friday the 13th (duh!) and second, its Kevin Bacon, enough said!

Of course, our list could go on and on, especially if we change our list to: stars who’ve been in horror movies. Everyone’s gotta start somewhere, and as we’ve said before, horror just as happens to take in more lessor knowns. Some other modern celebs who’ve dawned my beloved genre include: Jennifer Aniston (Leprechaun), Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween), Renee Zellweger & Matthew Mcconaughey (The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Drew Barrymore (Firestarter), Emilio Estevez (Nightmares), Ben “the batman” Affleck (Buffy the Vampire Hunter), Sigourney Weaver (Alien), and Crispin Glover (Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter) just to name a few. Who are some of your favorite actor and actresses who made their start in horror?

kevin-bacon

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