6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie Actors

Raise your hand if you had to sleep with a night light after watching your first slasher movie as a kid. That's the magic of a great horror villain, after all -- sure, you knew Freddy Krueger wasn't really waiting for you in your dreams, and that the rustling outside your window was just a pair of cats fucking. But in the middle of the night, when you were alone, suddenly every movie monster seemed real as shit.

Fortunately, modern kids have an instant cure for those sleepless nights: go to IMDb and look up the other roles played by those horror icons. It's hard to see these monsters the same way once you know ...

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6
Freddy Krueger Was Also the Wimpiest MacGuyver Villain

6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie ActorsNew Line Cinema

The Horror:

If you can't find a severely burned, undead, possibly pedophilic child murderer who can infect your dreams scary, then you are probably a burned, undead, possibly pedophilic child murderer yourself. Freddy Krueger was the embodiment of terror for a generation of kids, regardless of how silly the sequels got.

6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie ActorsRhino Entertainment
The rap video only makes him scarier.

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Ruined By:

If you were flipping around your three-channel television in the 1980s, you could have run into Krueger-portrayer Robert Englund in an episode of MacGyver, playing one of MacGyver's nerdy old college buddies who now works in a nuclear plant. And that's when you realize that under the gruesome makeup lies the face of a high school chemistry teacher:

6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie ActorsCBS Television Distribution
A secretly scary TV chemistry teacher? Now we've seen everything.

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He's so innocuous that the plot revolves around how harmless he looks -- the big twist is that someone's stealing uranium, and that person turns out to be MacGyver's dorky friend.

6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie ActorsCBS Television Distribution
"Those bullies are going to pay! We'll see who gets the 'atomic' wedgie this time, Chad!"

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MacGyver confronts him, and Englund whips out a gun. Well that's ... kind of scary, right?

6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie ActorsCBS Television Distribution
Okay, maybe if he wasn't on the verge of tears.

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Rather than make a better gun out of chewing gum and a used condom, MacGyver and his lady friend call his bluff and walk away, leaving Englund to drop his gun and start weeping. Look, MacGyver wasn't exactly a gritty show, guys.

6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie ActorsCBS Television Distribution
Then you hear him quietly shitting his pants.

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In the end, the guy redeems himself by sacrificing his life to prevent a meltdown, so feel free to imagine that's where Freddy got his burns, and that he presumably came back to kill MacGyver at some point after the series finale.

5
Candyman Helped Out the 90210 Gang With Kindly Medical Advice

6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie ActorsTriStar Pictures

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The Horror:

As the horrifyingly murderous urban legend with the surprisingly adorable name, Tony Todd's Candyman terrorized moviegoers in the '90s with his hook hand (joining Captain Hook and that guy who killed Dr. Kimble's wife in the ranks of characters who prove human morality only exists in those with two working hands). Based on a story by Clive Barker, Candyman is especially scary because most of his killings occur in the bathroom, the supposedly impenetrable sanctuary of the home.

6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie ActorsTriStar Pictures
"Don't worry, I'm just going to watch."

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Ruined By:

Now let's check in on the Candyman during his day job: as the charming Julius Tate, Beverly Hills doctor. Todd appeared as Dr. Tate in an episode of the '90s teen drama/museum of ridiculous hairstyles, Beverly Hills 90210. In the episode, Todd helps diagnose David Silver's depression after he's been brought to the hospital for cutting himself.

6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie ActorsCBS Television Distribution
"I noticed you seemed very sad when you were masturbating yesterday."

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Not only is he helpful, kind, and pleasant, but he manages to spend an entire scene with Tori Spelling without driving a hook-hand through her eyeball.

6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie ActorsCBS Television Distribution
So we really don't know why she has two glass eyes.

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So if you say "Candyman" in front of a mirror three times, you'll be summoning him out of a universe in which he pals around with a group of kids that once tried to sneak into a Color Me Bad concert.

4
The T-1000 Was Also a Guy-Fieri-Looking Double Dragon Villain

6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie ActorsTriStar Pictures

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The Horror:

Any kid who grew up the 1990s probably had an inherent fear of policeman, concerned that they may morph into liquid metal at any point and kill them with their stabby metal arms. The T-1000 (played by Robert Patrick) in T2 may have been a cool CGI effect to grown-ups, but to kids, he was a shapeshifting nightmare that not even a beefed-up Austrian could save you from.

6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie ActorsTriStar Pictures
Also, from then on, none of us felt safe drinking mercury.

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Kids who had nightmares about a Robert-Patrick-shaped killing machine only needed to wait two years for a cure. BEHOLD:

6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie ActorsUniversal Pictures
Meet the liquid metal Belgian fashion designer.

Yes, that's the T-1000 in Double Dragon, a movie adaptation of the much-loved video game, presumably made by someone who hates video games and has never experienced love. Patrick played a villain who looked like Guy Fieri after shopping at Vanilla Ice's garage sale.

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Even more embarrassingly, he gets his ass handed to him by a couple of incredibly unconvincing young karate experts. Even more embarrassingly still, one of the kids is the guy from Party of Five.

6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie ActorsUniversal Pictures
Not even the cool Party of Five guy. It's the little drunk one.

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Though we should note that young filmgoers probably were already immune to the liquid terminator's horrors if they were fans of shitty 1980s TV. Patrick had popped up in an episode of The New Lassie. And this "new" Lassie sure isn't your grandfather's Lassie. Because your grandfather's Lassie is probably dead ... dogs don't live that long.

Anyway, Patrick played a blue-collar worker who doesn't get paid enough, so he turns to purse-snatching, at which point he is easily foiled by the titular collie:

6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie ActorsAl Burton Productions
Serves him right for stealing a purse full of snausages.

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Then, to pile on the humiliation, an old man with a stick tags in and beats his ass.

6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie ActorsAl Burton Productions
"Aw, man, now my beatin' stick is gonna smell like pussy."

3
The Old Man From Poltergeist II Was an Insane Hippie Artist

6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie ActorsMGM

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The Horror:

Since there are no real villains in the first movie besides a television and the shady real estate industry, the sequel to Poltergeist had to up the ante. And regardless of whether the movie was any good, they did make Hollywood history by introducing the creepiest fucking old man character in all of pop culture:

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That's Julian Beck as an insane old ghost preacher, and we bet most of you thought it was some kind of horrific animatronic puppet. Look at him!

6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie ActorsMGM
Even stranger, he was 28 at the time.

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Ruined By:

But before he was freaking out the moviegoing public, Beck was freaking out the establishment, man. Beck, along with his wife, was a founding member of Living Theater, an avant garde theater troupe active in the 1960s:

6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie Actorsvia NY Times
Okay, he was still a little terrifying back then.

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The Living Theater was basically a bunch of hippies challenging your bourgeois preconceived notions of what theater should be, old man. In one piece, actors roamed the audience asking for money to buy heroin -- at least, we think it was supposed to be part of the piece. In another, Beck shovels dirt, handing out it out to audience members while shouting "new beginning!" Watching the footage, even the dudes with crazy hair in dashikis who are stoned out of their minds seem to be wondering what the fuck is happening.

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In one piece, titled "Paradise Now," Beck staged mock executions, and started screaming about Vietnam and marijuana. Also, everybody got half-naked and started doing interpretative sign language, still probably because of Vietnam. Footage is available on YouTube, but fair warning, it's not safe for work, unless you happen to work for a naked avant garde theater troupe.

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As a result of Paradise Now, Beck was indicted, though never convicted, for indecent exposure. It's hard to imagine how having "loud, naked performance artist" on his resume led to a lead role in a prominent horror sequel, but in any case, it's hard to find that crazy undead preacher scary when there's a constant concern that he might, at any moment, whip out his wang and start yelling at you about legalizing pot.

2
Pinhead From Hellraiser Was Also a Car Insurance Spokesman

6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie ActorsNew World Pictures

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The Horror:

The movie Hellraiser introduced the world to is one of the most recognizable monsters in modern horror movies, with a name that sounds like an insult from the 1950s: Pinhead. He is the ruler of the Cenobites, a group of S&M-loving, Hell-dwelling creatures who have a name that sounds like some futuristic unit of data storage.

It also introduced the world to probably the most uncomfortable Halloween costumes. Seriously, how are you supposed to even have a drink dressed like that?

6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie ActorsNew World Pictures
Through a straw. Made of bone.

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Ruined By:

The actor behind Pinhead, Doug Bradley, also explored a different type of horror: the unthinkable nightmare of not having car insurance. In a commercial for Direct Line Insurance, Bradley played a gym teacher who presumably was not even from any kind of Hell dimension at all. And here's the thing: he's perfect for that role. Look at him!

6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie ActorsDirect Line Insurance
The humanity of a caveman and the shrewdness of a gecko.

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As with Robert Englund above, take off the terrifying layer of latex and you have a guy who looks like everyone's mild-mannered-yet-probably-racist uncle. An uncle who either works as a gym teacher, or who has been fired from working as a gym teacher for drinking on the job. There are no other possibilities.

And just think: if the people at Direct Line had forked over some extra cash for the rights, they could have had Bradley in full Pinhead gear threatening to flay your flesh with rusted chains if you didn't sign up for a new policy.

1
Norman Bates Was an Inoffensive Pop Singer

6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie ActorsParamount Pictures

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The Horror:

Norman Bates is the granddaddy of slasher movie icons. The titular psycho of Alfred Hitchcock's classic film, the creep, played by Anthony Perkins, ushered in the genre and caused a generation of grown men living with their mothers to move out, lest they seem like crazed murderers.

6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie ActorsParamount Pictures
Under US law, just looking like this is probable cause for a full search of the premises.

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Ruined By:

Imagine a Psycho remake starring Justin Bieber. Congratulations, you have imagined the original Psycho:

6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie ActorsRCA
The cute pose distracts from the racism of the song.

That's right -- Anthony Perkins was also a crooner, and a wholesome one at that. He recorded several pop records, which, as far as we know, contained no songs about murdering young women and disposing of their corpses.

6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie ActorsRCA
Though presumably at least one ballad addressed the difficulties of living with his shoulder deformity.

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It's not like this was some obscure secret, either; his song "Moonlight Swim" actually made it to number 24 on the Billboard Top 30 Chart. If there was an indisputably complete opposite of horror, it's tossing a pastel-colored sweater over your shoulders and singing songs like "April Fool" and "Hit the Road to Dreamland." Look at how adorable he is!

6 Roles That Crush Your Image of Iconic Horror Movie ActorsRCA
"This tiny room can barely contain my whiteness!"

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Can you imagine that guy turning into the "psycho?" Why, that's like if a few years from now Justin Bieber turned out to be a creepy serial killer ... okay, maybe that's a bad example.


J.M. McNab writes and podcasts for Rewatchability.com. You can also find him on Twitter.

For more roles famous people would like you to forget, check out The 5 Most Ill-Advised Celebrity Endorsements Ever and 8 Humiliating Japanese Ads Starring Oscar Nominees.

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