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  • John Carpenter on Random True Stories Of How Famous Horror Icons Got Their Start

    (#8) John Carpenter

    • 71

    Prior to giving the world Halloween and Michael Myers, John Carpenter attended University of Southern California, where he made short films. His first, 1970's The Resurrection of Billy Bronco, earned him an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Subject Film. His move into full-length films started with 1974's cult classic Dark Star, then Assault on Precinct 13 in 1976, and then Halloween in 1978.

    Carpenter's contributions to sci-fi and horror continued with The Thing, The Fog, and most recently, The Ward in 2011. Carpenter's Halloween, however, shaped the formula for slasher flicks that featured mask-wearing creeps stalking teenagers.

  • Tim Burton on Random True Stories Of How Famous Horror Icons Got Their Start

    (#6) Tim Burton

    • 60

    Before bringing his artistically macabre perspective to movies like The Nightmare Before Christmas and Batman, Burton worked at Disney in the animation department. Burton attended CalArts, the Disney-founded art school; after departing the program in the late 1970s, he worked on The Fox and the Hound but struggled with the restrictions of the Disney house style. After he made his short Frankenweenie in 1984, Disney let Burton go. Not long after, he was off to the races, directing 1985's classic Pee Wee's Big Adventure.

    Surprisingly, Burton went on to work with Disney and its different production arms over the bulk of his career, even remaking Frankenweenie with them in 2012. Although Burton's films lean more toward the visually strange than the type of horror that keeps you up at night, his contributions of family-friendly horror his and re-imagining of Alice in Wonderland are important entries in the genre and give hope to all of the strange kids whose ideas don't fit the traditional, sunshine-filled mold of mainstream entertainment. He also directed what might just be the scariest scene in any comedy.

  • Rob Zombie on Random True Stories Of How Famous Horror Icons Got Their Start

    (#1) Rob Zombie

    • 54

    Many famous actors got their start either in front of or behind the camera of Pee-Wee's Playhouse, a children's show that aired from 1986 until 1990. Rock star and horror film director Rob Zombie is included on this list, working as a production assistant on the series. Zombie was around 19 at the time, telling outlet Westword that he really enjoyed the people working on the show and did "crap work" for the show.

    After moving on from his stint behind the scenes, Zombie took his love for old horror movies and integrated it into the videos for his music before making his first filmHouse of 1,000 Corpses, in 2003. It became a cult favorite, leading to sequels featuring the Firefly clan, remakes of John Carpenter's beloved Halloween franchise, and multiple low-budget horror movies with a rabid following.

  • Sid Haig on Random True Stories Of How Famous Horror Icons Got Their Start

    (#5) Sid Haig

    • 79

    Sid Haig had a long career in Hollywood prior to his passing in 2019, amassing over 70 film roles and over 300 roles on television. Haig began his acting at Pasadena Playhouse, the official state theater of California, where multiple stars of the 1940s and 1950s got their start. Also of note was Haig's performance as a drummer in The T-Birds in the late 1950s, releasing six singles that included the hit "Full House."

    Haig acted in multiple Blaxploitation films over his career, but his role as Captain Spaulding in director and writer Rob Zombie's House of 1,000 Corpses propelled him back into the collective consciousness of the horror world. The character made an impact and appeared in Zombie's movies The Devil's Rejects and 3 From Hell before Haig's passing. Even before that, Haig solidified his place in horror infamy with his role in 1968's Spider Baby as Ralph, an inbred child who wreaks havoc with his equally demented siblings.

  • Alfred Hitchcock on Random True Stories Of How Famous Horror Icons Got Their Start

    (#12) Alfred Hitchcock

    • Dec. at 81 (1899-1980)

    Alfred Hitchcock's name is bound to come up any time horror films are a part of the discussion; he is the creator of macabre classics such as Psycho, The Birds, and the television anthology series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Prior to that, he worked creating title cards presented during silent films and also made money a draftsman, advertising designer, and writer. 

    Hitchcock's filmography casts a long shadow on the work of filmmakers in all genres - not least of them horror.

  • Linda Blair on Random True Stories Of How Famous Horror Icons Got Their Start

    (#9) Linda Blair

    • 60

    Linda Blair was only 14 when her star-making turn as Regan MacNeil terrified audiences, leaving them nauseated and even causing some to exit the theater in terror. Prior to this role, a small 4-year-old Blair made her debut as a child model in print advertisements that eventually led to commercial work.

    More interested in horses than acting at the time, Blair auditioned for the role of Regan anyway, taking on what became her defining role and creating a character that serves as the benchmark for child actors in horror.

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About This Tool

Fans of horror movies must have their most memorable horror icons. In the decades when horror movies and TV shows have flourished, directors around the world have created their own unique monsters, and some actors became famous due to classic horror roles. All horror fans should not ignore the horror movies of Alfred Hitchcock, all his roles are worthy of attention, especially Norman Bates in the movie Psycho.

Horror movies and TV sisters are full of iconic characters, screaming queens, mentally ill killers, possessed children, etc. The best horror characters can create unforgettable images. Here the random tool tells true stories of the 12 most famous horror icons you must know.

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