Kevin Bacon is a full-blown horror legend. People sometimes forget this because he's starred in so many culturally impactful non-horror movies — Footloose, anyone? — but from his breakout role in 1980 slasher classic Friday the 13th to his latest star turn in Wolf Creek director Greg McLean's The Darkness, Bacon has spent the last 36 years building a career on exploring the darkest places horror cinema can go.
His incredible movie career aside, Bacon's second greatest claim to fame is the parlor game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. This is a humorous take on the phenomena of six degrees of separation; that you can link any person in the world in six steps or fewer. In the case of the former, one can tie any actor to Bacon, best typified by the marvelous Oracle of Bacon (try it, it really works!).
In honor of Bacon's 36th year of horror movie magic, here's a special horror movie edition of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, connecting the great man to a similar idol of dark, twisted cinema — Johnny Depp — by way of a bunch of other horror greats.
1. Kevin Bacon
Oh, Mr. Bacon! What is there to say about the fabulous Bacon boy that has not already been said? From young gun virulently gushing from the jugular in Friday the 13th, through fan favorites Tremors and Flatliners, Bacon has kept to those horror roles that make us smile as well as scream. Showing his depth in complex, ethically challenging roles including Stir of Echoes and Hollow Man, and achieving prime-time TV success on creepy murder-fest The Following, Kevin Bacon shows no sign of sating his rapacious appetite for great horror cinema. Catch him next battling an ancient Native American curse in eerie horror The Darkness.
Kevin Bacon stars in The Darkness with...
2. Radha Mitchell
Radha Mitchell might be considered the thinking fan's leading lady, with a vast repertoire of interesting horror-thriller titles to her name. Her slew of twisted psychological nerve shredders include Visitors, Phone Booth, When Strangers Appear and 2013's Evidence, but Mitchell's best-known horror roles are probably Pitch Black and beloved video game adaptation Silent Hill. She also proved her zombie-canon chops by taking on a horde of bloodthirsty infected in the 2010 remake of George A. Romero's The Crazies.
Radha Mitchell appeared in The Crazies with...
3. Timothy Olyphant
If you need a handsome young man to serve you Charismatic Villain, look no further than Timothy Olyphant. The good-looking bad guy with darkness in his heart was Olyphant's strength in great horror/thriller hits such as Scream 2, A Perfect Getaway, Go, The Girl Next Door and A Man Apart. His role in 2010's The Crazies was arterial artistry, perhaps informed by his years of service in the violent Wild West in Deadwood.
Timothy Olyphant slayed in Scream 2, which was directed by the great...
4. Wes Craven
Wes Craven is as great as horror auteurs get. The dearly departed director left an indelible mark on horror history, creating more vital horror icons every decade than most directors could hope to in a lifetime. The Hills Have Eyes, The People Under the Stairs and the entire freakin' Scream franchise are only a portion of his immortal horror empire, including the early video-nasty-turned-classic The Last House on the Left, and we haven't even mentioned A Nightmare on Elm Street yet!
Wes Craven directed A Nightmare on Elm Street, starring the legendary...
5. Robert Englund
Robert Englund's impressive filmography takes about an hour to read, beginning in 1974 and still going strong with the upcoming thriller Abruptio to once again unleash his unique brand of menace upon us in 2017. Englund has appeared in a number of fan favorites over the years, such as Hatchet, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon and 2001 Maniacs. But his greatest role is indubitably Freddy Krueger in the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, which has served him for nine movies and (hopefully, praying to all the horror movie gods) more to come.
In A Nightmare on Elm Street, Robert Englund's Freddy killed...
6. Johnny Depp
Like Kevin Bacon, Johnny Depp's first breakout role was in a horror movie: 1984's A Nightmare on Elm Street. After his first fluffy-haired bloodbath, Depp charged through horror history with hit after hit. The dark gothic fare of Tim Burton became his home for many years, with Sleepy Hollow, Corpse Bride, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Dark Shadows all adding to his masterful air of cinematic malevolence. Roman Polankski's The Ninth Gate and Stephen King adaptation Secret Window proved that Depp can bring the horror, whoever is at the helm, but his most definitive horror role came in the form of vicious Victoriana in the movie of Alan Moore's Jack the Ripper graphic novel, From Hell.
For old times' sake, let's watch a young Johnny Depp bite it again.
So, to recapitulate: Kevin Bacon — Radha Mitchell — Timothy Olyphant — Wes Craven — Robert Englund — Johnny Depp! Oh, and Depp also appeared in 2015's Black Mass with none other than: Kevin Bacon! Sometimes there are less than Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, but it's much more fun to take the scenic route, right?
Scream along with the lovely Kevin Bacon in The Darkness, in theaters Friday, May 13.