Kevin Bacon – Friday the 13th
Let’s start off with a relatively well-known one, at least if you are a horror movie fan. Well before he became the center of the Hollywood universe by no more than 6 degrees, the actor with everyone’s favorite last name was in the original Friday the 13th film back in 1980. But sadly, he wasn’t the hero of the film; no, Bacon just plays another teenager looking to get lucky, but only finds a brutal death at the hands of the killer. It was a part that wouldn’t be memorable had Bacon not gone on to become a household name in America.
Tom Hanks – He Knows You’re Alone
For his very first film role ever, multiple Oscar-winning actor, Tom Hanks’, film debut in the 1980 slasher film, He Knows You’re Alone. Much like Kevin Bacon, Hanks had just a small part in this film about a jaunted lover who becomes a serial killer, but unlike Bacon, Tom’s acting chops spared his head. His bit part character was originally supposed to be killed off, but the filmmakers were so impressed with Hanks’ ability to make the character likable that they decided to let him live.
Johnny Depp – A Nightmare on Elm Street
Johnny Depp has made a career out of playing quirky, eccentric characters and making them hilarious and likable, but his first acting role in a feature film was as the completely normal all-American, Glen Lantz, boyfriend of A Nightmare on Elm Street‘s protagonist, Nancy Thompson.
In a step up from Bacon’s and Hanks’ roles in their respective horror film debuts, Depp’s character realizes what’s going on and that there is a killer on the loose. He sees significant screen time and does try to stop the murderer.
Matthew McConaughey & Renee Zellweger– Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation
We’ve got a special two-fer for you here with both Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger appearing in the 1994 Texas Chainsaw Massacre sequel, The Next Generation early in their careers. Appearing on opposite sides of the chainsaw, Zellweger plays the film’s unfortunate protagonist with McConaughey playing a maniacal killer and relative of Leatherface.
It’s interesting to see to big movie stars coincidentally in a film like this together early in their careers, especially with common leading-man McConaughey as a demented killer. Despite getting terrible reviews, something good must have been in the film since it launched two prolific careers.