Big Stars Haunted by Horror Film Roles

Unfortunately, they don't pay much to be bored to tears, which is why no one remembers Tom Hanks' first film, He Knows You're Alone … notable only because, against all odds, someone let him make a second.

In 1983, three years after Hanks hit the big screen, Meg Ryan made her first film, Amityville 3-D. It was so bad they fell asleep to it in Seattle.

A young Renée Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey co-starred in 1994's The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And, of course, there's Hugh Grant's appearance in The Lair of the White Worm.

No actual 47-foot-long white worm was harmed during the making of Grant's early effort back in 1988. But many viewers were harmed during the watching of it.

A frightening number of very big stars got their starts in horror films. These films are cheap to make and don't depend on big-name actors, so they're an ideal place to start.

With a new version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre topping the box office last week, maybe it's time to look back at the scary beginnings of some of today's biggest stars, even Hollywood's favorite couple.

In Anaconda, J.Lo was Jenny from the Swamp. My review of this 1997 movie: "I'd rather take my chances with a real anaconda than have to see this movie again."

One of Ben Affleck's early endeavors: Phantoms. It's better than Gigli, but not as scary. Years earlier, Affleck got a part in the movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but didn't even rate a name in the credits. He's listed as "Basketball Player No. 10." Buffy the Star-Maker

The movie version of Buffy was a virtual playpen for future stars. It was Hilary Swank's first film, David Arquette's first film and Luke Perry's third film. An unbilled Ricki Lake is one of the high school girls. We looked but couldn't find her.

But we did find Ted Knight — the blowhard anchorman on The Mary Tyler Moore Show — in Psycho. Not even Hitchcock could keep Knight's eyes from overacting in the 1960 classic.

Demi Moore's first starring role was in Parasite in 1982. And for Jessica Lange, it was the 1976 remake of King Kong.

Holly Hunter got her start in 1981 with The Burning, along with Jason Alexander.

A viewing of these films answers many trivia questions. Among them: "Why so many campers stalked by maniac movies?"

Answer: Because the sets are free.

Indeed, these are humble beginnings. Kevin Bacon's part in Friday the 13th in 1980 is so small that he dies on Monday the 9th.

It does take the scare off of A Nightmare on Elm Street to recognize Johnny Depp in his first film, back in 1984.

However, nothing ruins a movie for me more than seeing me in it. Michael Caine watches television in the 1972 suspense thriller Sleuth.. He changes the channel and what does he see? Ahhh … too late! It's me!

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