Drew Barrymore, 'Firestarter' (1984)
A young Drew Barrymore earned one of her first film credits for the 1984 thriller Firestarter. Two years after she played Gertie in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the 9-year-old Barrymore hit the big screen as Firestarter‘s Charlene “Charlie” McGee. She played the child to David Keith and Heather Locklear’s characters, and gave the film its name with Charlie’s ability to start fires.
Charlize Theron, Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995)
Though she went uncredited, Charlize Theron made her first film appearance in 1995’s Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest. Just 20 years old at the time, the actress played an unnamed woman in the horror installment. Theron joined the scary flick as a follower of the villainous Eli, who takes over his community with the help of a murderous corn field.
Demi Moore, Parasite (1982)
After bowing in 1981’s Choices, Demi Moore nabbed her second film role as Patricia in 1982’s Parasite. The then-20-year-old actress appeared in the futuristic horror movie as a lemon farmer who comes to the aide of Paul (Robert Glaudini). She aligns herself with the scientist as they fight a technologically advanced new form of parasite.
Ryan Gosling, Frankenstein and Me (1996)
In 1996, a 15-year-old Mickey Mouse Club alum named Ryan Gosling hit theaters in Canada in Frankenstein and Me. Released in the U.S. the following year, the spooky flick featured a young Gosling as Kenny. He played a friend to Jamieson Boulanger’s Earl, a kid with dreams of living alongside monsters.
Julia Roberts, Flatliners (1990)
The same year that Julia Roberts became Pretty Woman‘s Vivian Ward, she also starred in another film, this time much spookier and far less famous. In her early twenties at the time, Roberts appeared in 1990’s Flatliners as Rachel, starring alongside Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, Beth Grant, and William Baldwin, among others. A medical student, Rachel faces her demons after she and her fellow classmates experiment with the afterlife by taking turns flatlining.
Jamie Lee Curtis, Halloween (1978)
Decades before she booked a role in Scream Queens, Jamie Lee Curtis was one. The actress earned her first feature film credit for 1978’s Halloween. Just 19 years old at the time, Curtis played Laurie, a teenager who is followed by a murderer escaped from prison.
Johnny Depp, A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
A 21-year-old Johnny Depp hit theaters for the first time in 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street. The actor earned his first film credit as Glen in the Wes Craven horror flick. Depp played the boyfriend to Heather Langenkamp’s Nancy in the terrifying movie, fighting against Freddy Krueger.
Sandra Bullock, The Vanishing (1993)
Early in her career, Sandra Bullock picked up a role as Diane in The Vanishing. Starring with Jeff Bridges, Kiefer Sutherland, and Nancy Travis, the future star plays a woman who vanishes from a gas station. The plot turns even spookier when her then-boyfriend tries to uncover the mystery of her disappearance.
Jennifer Aniston, Leprechaun (1993)
One year before Jennifer Aniston became Rachel Green on Friends, she played Tory in the 1993 horror film Leprechaun. In her twenties at the time, Aniston starred as a young woman living in a house haunted by an evil leprechaun.
Kevin Bacon, Friday the 13th (1980)
In his early twenties, Kevin Bacon booked an early role in 1980’s Friday the 13th. The actor joined the notoriously scary movie as Jack, a counselor at a cursed camp where murder after murder takes place.
Jon Stewart, The Faculty (1998)
Months before he made his way to Comedy Central, Jon Stewart picked up a gig as a high school professor in the 1998 horror The Faculty. The comedian played Prof. Edward Furlong in a star-studded cast that included Josh Hartnett, Salma Hayek, Usher, Elijah Wood, and Jordana Brewster, among others. He gets injured in a battle at the school involving alien parasites.
Kirsten Dunst, Interview With the Vampire (1994)
Just 12 years old when the movie arrived in theaters, Kirsten Dunst played Claudia in Interview with the Vampire. The young actress starred with Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Christian Slater, and Antonio Banderas in the 1994 horror. She appeared as a little girl who gets bitten by a vampire.
Tom Hanks, He Knows You're Alone (1980)
Tom Hanks earned the first film credit of his prolific career for 1980’s He Knows You’re Alone. While he would go on to fill his resume with romantic comedies and celebrated dramas, the then-24-year-old star appeared as Elliot in the slasher film. Hanks plays a psychology student who gets brought into a group of friends who can’t escape a killer.
Michelle Williams, Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998 )
Appearing alongside original Halloween star Jamie Lee Curtis, Michelle Williams played Molly in 1998’s Halloween H20: 20 Years Later. Also featuring Josh Hartnett, LL Cool J, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the horror hit theaters the same year that Williams made her debut on Dawson’s Creek. As Molly, the star runs away from the famed killer who was first introduced 20 years prior.
George Clooney, Return to Horror High (1987)
Fresh off of CBS’ E/R, George Clooney made his big-screen debut in 1987’s Return to Horror High. The star, who was 25 at the time, played an aspiring actor named Oliver, who gets a gig as a cop in the movie filming at the haunted Crippen High School.
Naomi Watts, Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering (1996)
Naomi Watts nabbed a starring role in the 1996 installment of one spooky film series. The then-rising star played Grace in Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering. She finds herself in contact with the effects of the surprisingly scary crop of corn when she moves home to be with her mother.
Lisa Kudrow, The Unborn (1991)
A brunette, 27-year-old Lisa Kudrow picked up an early project with 1991’s The Unborn. Years before she would arrive on network television as Phoebe Buffay, the star played Louisa in the haunting horror about a terrifying medical experiment. She joined The Unborn in a small role at the clinic visited by Virgina (Brooke Adams) and Brad (Jeff Hayenga) in their ongoing quest to have children.
Ty Burrell, Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Five years before he joined Modern Family, Ty Burrell earned his third feature film credit for 2004’s Dawn of the Dead. The future sitcom star played Steve, an initial survivor of the zombie apocalypse. Burrell doesn’t make it through the horror unscathed, however, as he too eventually turns into a zombie.
Tatiana Maslany Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed (2004)
Tatiana Maslany was 18 when Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed hit theaters in 2004. The future Orphan Black star played a young girl named Ghost in the horror sequel. She spends much of the film deceiving the werewolf-in-transition Brigitte as a part of an elaborate plot.
Mischa Barton, The Sixth Sense (1999)
When she was 13, Mischa Barton hit the big screen with Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, and Toni Collette in the famously scary movie The Sixth Sense. The child star and future O.C. actress played Kyra, a girl who died at a young age and is seen by Cole.