ByDash Finley, writer at

Everyone has to start somewhere. Today they're known for plum roles in big-time prestige films, but once upon a time, these leading men and ladies were just struggling actors looking for a gig. As it happens, a surprising number of said stars found that big breakthrough by appearing in some of the creepiest, goriest slasher movies of the '80s and '90s. Let's take a look back at a time before the glitz and glam, a time when the only red carpets these A-Listers walked were ones covered in fake blood.

7. Paul Rudd (Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers)

Before he was Ant-Man, Paul Rudd appeared in this ill-fated 1995 Halloween installment as Tommy Doyle, a grown-up, paranoid version of the little kid Laurie Strode babysits in the original film.

6. Jennifer Aniston (Leprechaun)

Back in 1990, a fresh-faced Aniston kicked off her storied career with a turn as the innocent "final girl" Tory in this terrifying tale of a vengeful Leprechaun slaughtering his way back to a stolen pot of gold.

5. Tom Hanks (He Knows You're Alone)

One of the biggest mega-stars in the world enjoyed his film debut (!) as a nerdy student in this wholly forgotten 1980 chiller that follows a bride-to-be who is stalked by a jilted ex-lover before her wedding.

4. Johnny Depp (Nightmare On Elm Street)

Nearly a decade prior to Edward Scissorhands, a young Johnny Depp found himself being gruesomely slaughtered by a different, blade-fingered freak in Wes Craven's horror classic.

3. Kevin Bacon (Friday The 13th)

Similarly, Mr. Bacon got a few degrees of separation closer to Hollywood stardom with his role as ill-fated camp counselor Jack in the original 1980 Friday.

2. Viggo Mortenson (Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III)

Viggo is best known for playing strong characters like Aragorn, but one of his first prominent parts saw him taking on the role of Leatherface's sneaky, sniveling little brother Tex in 1990's mean-spirited Chainsaw threequel.

1. George Clooney (Return To Horror High)

Yes, even iconic heart-throb George Clooney wasn't suave enough to avoid a slasher's blade in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it turn as an unlucky security guard in this 1987 schlock-fest.

So, folks, the proof is in the pool of guts: a great number of today's very hottest stars owe their livelihood to the oft-disrespected slasher genre. Maybe they ought to repay the favor by lending their talents to some new splatter-fests for a change!

Which actor's role surprised you the most?


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