The beauty of acting is that regardless of where you are from, it can always take you to other places. Those born in the States can have success across the pond and vice versa. I thought I would look at a few of your native British actors that made icons of themselves in American horror films.
There’s not much to say about Donald Pleasence, other than he will always be resident psychiatrist extraordinaire, Dr. Sam Loomis in John Carpenter’s Halloween. No disrespect to Malcolm Mcdowell on his portrayal in Rob Zombie’s re-telling, but his Loomis could never match up to the original.
Pleasence was born in 1919 and started his acting career in 1952, which spanned several decades until his passing in 1995 at the age of 75. Although he had a long and solid career in other genres of film, it’s the night that Michael Myers came home that solidified him as a true icon in the horror genre.
Much like Donald Pleasence, Doug Bradley has his own immortalized character in the form of the much loved Pinhead from Clive Barker’s Hellraiser.
Born in Liverpool, Bradley started his career in 1973 with a film short, but it’s 1987’s Hellraiser that would help him make his mark in horror history. Bradley continued to work with Barker on his next film, Nightbreed, as Dirk Lylesberg.
He did return as Pinhead for an additional 7 Hellraiser films, and still continues with horror to this day — having appeared in Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines and Exorcismus. He is a true fan favourite and makes his rounds at various horror conventions throughout the year.
Born in London, Beckinsale has more than blazed a path for herself in the horror genre. Best known for playing Lycan slayer Selene in Len Wiseman’s Underworld series, she has amassed quite a horror calling card from Van Helsing, (Anna Valerious), Vacancy (Amy Fox), Stonehearst Asylum (Eliza Graves) and The Disappointments Room (Dana).
Both Beckinsale’s parents were actors, which passed the acting bug to Kate. She initially studied at Oxford University, but chose to continue her acting career rather than finish out her academic studies.
Mainstream audiences might know her more from films like Serendipity and Pearl Harbour, but it’s the horror fans that have really taken notice. The Underworld films have given her a name in the genre and with her currently starring in Underworld: Blood Wars, it looks like she’ll not be leaving anytime soon.
I realise that Sir Anthony Hopkins movie prowess spans far beyond the world of horror. But it’s his portrayal of our favourite well-mannered cannibal Hannibal Lecter in Jonathan Demme’s Silence of the Lambs, that cemented him as a legend of horror.
Born in Wales, Hopkins started his career in television in the 1960’s and is still a working actor and painter. As horror fans can attest, it’s hard to picture anyone other than Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter (although in my opinion Mads Mikkelsen comes within a hare’s distance!).
His Dr Lecter helped to propel horror into the mainstream with his Best Actor Oscar win, as well as helping Silence of the Lambs take it’s own Best Picture gong. Hopkins is currently working on Transformers: The Last Knight and Thor Ragnarok.
A trained theatrical actor, Stephen Moyer was born in England and began his career in local theatre. By 1993 he was appearing in various television shows, but horror fans will probably know him most best as Bill Compton from HBO’s True Blood. Moyer played centuries old vampire Bill Compton, who became infatuated with barmaid Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin).
The show was a hit for the network and it brought Moyer into the home of millions of US viewers, who were dying to keep tabs on their favourite Louisiana vampire. But True Blood is not Moyer’s only journey into horror, as has since appeared in The Barrens, Evidence, Devil’s Knot and Priest. He is currently working on another TV series entitled Shots Fired.
Although not a household name at the moment, Cooke was born and raised in Oldham. She began her career in Blackout, a TV mini series, but it’s A&E’s revamp of the Norman Bates tale, Bates Motel, that has put her on the map with horror fans. She plays Emma Decody, an optimistic young girl cursed with a debilitating health condition. Emma helps Norman navigate his emotions as well as dealing with her own.
Bates Motel is not the only horror experience Cooke has. She played Haley in the 2014’s The Signal, as well as Jane Harper in The Quiet Ones. But for me, her most notable horror film role was as Laine Morris in Ouija,which spawned a successful prequel, Ouija: Origin of Evil. She will be returning to our screens in the brilliant Bates Motel in February 2017.
Did I miss anyone for this list? Let me know @horrorevilqueen
By Evil Queen B (@horrorevilqueen)
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