It's no secret that many famous actors and actresses out there today weren't always at the top of their profession. No, just like all mortals, they had to climb the metaphorical ladder from minimum wage hell to Beverly Hills mansion paradise. They cut their teeth on the stage and in little "blink you'll miss em'" parts that have long been forgotten by most. Well, not by me. I'm here to embarrass these A-list hotheads! Just joking. I have nothing but respect for anyone who has beat the odds to become one of the best at what they do. Many of these actors and actresses look back fondly on their experience as a supporting character in some little horror or exploitation gem while also thanking whomever their god may be for no longer having to borrow their parents' money and scrub floors to pay the rent. Some of these big A-list types have done their best to conceal the fact they were murdered by a monster in a horror film. That's their right too. Regardless, I'm going to out them all!
Kevin Bacon- Kevin had a very small part in Animal House but it was Friday the 13th that really broke him big. Yep, Kevin was killed by Jason's momma. Minutes after having sex and cracking open a beer. For most men, is there a better way to go? I'll skip the beer but the first part doesn't sound too bad.
John Travolta- John had a couple small bits on some popular TV shows of the early 1970s but it was 1975's The Devil's Rain, with William Shatner and Ernest Borgnine that got him up on the silver screen. Though he had a very tiny part as a random Satanist in The Devil's Rain, he would finally start getting some attention in his next picture, Carrie.
Marisa Tomei- Marisa is one of those actresses I was talking about that would rather you not know where she started. I don't know why because it's in one of my favorite films. Check her out as a random health club chick in The Toxic Avenger.
Brad Pitt- Having featured in a few walk-on roles and a couple small spots on television, Brad Pitt was ready to hit the big time. After appearing in Cutting Class, one of many enjoyable 80s teen slashers, his career seemed to take off.
Kevin Costner- It wasn't a horror movie but it is a cult classic. Kevin Costner's first movie is none other than a Troma team production, Sizzle Beach U.S.A. Troma, for the uninformed amongst you, is perhaps the longest running independent film studio in the country, famous for such classics as The Toxic Avenger, Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD, Class of Nuke Em' High, and Tromeo and Juliet.
Billy Bob Thorton- Billy Bob actually played a character called Billy Bob in the deliverance clone Hunter's Blood. He was also featured in a Troma production (seems to be a theme here) called Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town.
Jack Nicholson- Look for ol' Jack as a dental patient who seems to enjoy having his teeth drilled in Roger Corman's classic The Little Shop of Horrors, from 1960.
Crispin Glover- Most famous for his role as Marty Mcfly's father in Back to the Future, Crispin first took a corkscrew to the hand and a cleaver to the face from Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th The Final Chapter.
Corey Feldman- Feldman also got his start in Friday the 13th The Final Chapter, only he killed Jason. The next year he starred in The Gooneys.
Johnny Depp- Johnny was eaten by his bed? Yeah, in A Nightmare on Elm Street. The 50 year old actor, famous for his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in The Pirates of the Carribean series, was once the victim of Freddy Krueger. Soon after, he was cast on 21 Jump Street and the rest is history.
Clint Eastwood- Clint's first appearance was in Jack Arnold's Tarantula. He played a fighter pilot in the film's climax. He had a slightly larger role in Arnold's Revenge of the Creature from the Black Lagoon before becoming "the man with no name" in Sergio Leone's famous spaghetti western trilogy and as a reoccurring character on TV's Gunsmoke.
Now for some "Bet you didn't know these people have been in cult movies!" This list is slightly different because it features actors and actresses who appeared in well known cult pictures but are not known for being cult film actors. Also, they already had careers before appearing in the cult films.
Dennis Hopper- Dennis has appeared in a number of off the wall films that one might consider to be cult classics, despite his mainstream appeal and success. He played a young sailor infatuated with a possibly murderous mermaid in Night Tide, a deranged rapist kidnapper in David Lynch's classic Blue Velvet, and as Lefty, a cowboy man of justice hunting down Leatherface and his family in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2.
Samuel L. Jackson- Sam had done a number of bit parts and a good bit of TV before he did Def by Temptation, the tale of a murderous succubus, for Troma. Of course, he really wouldn't break through until being featured in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction.
Leslie Nielson- Famous for his comedy roles, Nielson appeared very early in his career in the Science Fiction classic Forbidden Planet. However, his most surprising ventures into the world of horror would have to be the original Prom Night and Repossessed.
We actually had a second life through horror! Actors who got bigger because of their horror roles.
Tobin Bell- Most famous as the Jigsaw Killer in the wildly popular Saw series, Tobin had been in movies and television for years but never really made it to household name. Now, after being the face of a hugely successful horror franchise, he never has to worry about not being recognized again!
Sid Haig- Sid of course, got his start in Jack Hill's Spider Baby and was featured for years in bit parts as heavies, henchmen, and killers in major motion pictures. He also starred alongside Pam Grier on a number of occasions. However he grew tired of his typecasting as a thug and decided to give up on acting altogether if he couldn't get a chance to show his range. At the age of 64 he finally got his chance. Rob Zombie cast him as Captain Spaulding in House of 1,000 Corpses. Since then Sid has enjoyed a more fulfilling career with bigger parts and the ability to act outside of the box he once found himself trapped in. He seems to be a happy guy at age 73!
Robert Englund- Robert Englund had appeared in several movies, some with well known actors and actresses. He had done TV and was somewhat recognized for his role as Willy in V. However it wasn't until Wes Craven had him put on a glove with 4 razor sharp claws that he became a household name. Yep, the man behind Freddy Krueger!
Boris Karloff- The man most famous for playing the Monster in the 1932 Universal Horror classic, Frankenstein, had appeared in maybe 100 films before Frankenstein. He was always cast as an extra, walk-on, non-speaking, or "dead in the first five minutes" role and never got the chance to show his acting chops. All that changed with Frankenstein. Until his death in 1969, age 81, he was a world-renowned face of horror. When he wasn't stabbing someone, resurrecting the dead, playing the dead, dabbling in black magic, or having his face surgically altered in various fright films, he also did voice over work. His most famous performance being the narrator in the original animated The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.