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Roles That Halloween Actors Probably Want Us To Forget About

From "Friday the 13th" to "Scream," the horror genre is packed with iconic franchises, but "Halloween" predates them all. The 1978 masterpiece "Halloween" not only introduced mainstream audiences to the slasher flick, but one of cinema's greatest villains, the masked madman Michael Myers. A psychotic killer, Myers wreaks havoc on the small town of Haddonfield, on a quest to kill teenage babysitter Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), while being pursued by his former psychiatrist Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence). 

Over the course of 44 years and 13 films, the story of Michael Myers has grown, expanded, twisted around on itself, been erased, rewritten, and rebooted. Each new movie added new characters to the saga, while star Jamie Lee Curtis has left and returned to the series multiple times. A reboot from rocker-filmmaker Rob Zombie started fresh in 2007 with an entirely new cast, before Curtis returned for a relaunched trilogy in 2018.

With such a sprawling cast across four decades of films, there's plenty of actors involved who went on to become stars. As the "Halloween" movies propelled their careers, some might look back with regret on a rotten role or terrible film they probably wish had never existed. So put out that bowl of candy — and lock your doors — because we've found some treats: a list of movies that Halloween actors probably want us to forget about.

Donald Pleasence in American Rickshaw

Prior to the original "Halloween" in 1978, actor Donald Pleasence may have been best known as the first actor to play the James Bond villain Blofeld onscreen, debuting in "You Only Live Twice." But after appearing in the "Halloween" films as Dr. Sam Loomis, the psychiatrist who once treated serial killer Michael Myers, he became inextricably linked to the iconic horror franchise. He returned for four different sequels, last playing the role in 1995's "Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers" shortly before his death.

But while his last turn in the role was lambasted by critics, it's certainly not the worst movie in his filmography. Arguably the most perplexing movie one is "American Rickshaw," a confused mess of a movie that defies categorization. Is it a supernatural thriller, a murder mystery, or a fantasy adventure? No one can say because nobody can understand it. In the film we meet Scott (Mitch Gaylord), a rickshaw driver who has been watched over since birth by an ancient mystic, and is being hunted by a twisted, immortal televangelist (Pleasance) who may or may not be a demon pig disguised in human flesh. There's also a stripper on the run, a perverted videographer missing a thumb, a deadly curse, and maybe something about mind-controlled snakes in there too.

If you think you know more about what the film's about, you're welcome to try and explain it to us, because we're still scratching our heads.

P.J. Soles in Little Bigfoot

Actress P.J. Soles was already a Hollywood horror great before the first "Halloween," having starred as the vile Norma Watson in Brian De Palma's "Carrie" two years earlier. But in the original John Carpenter classic, Soles played Lynda, one of Michael Myers' many victims. She's strangled by a telephone cord while talking to Laurie Strode, who sits unaware on the other end. Through the 1980s, Soles appeared in many more horror movies, most of the B-movie variety, but none are quite so weird or regrettable as the 1995 family film "Little Bigfoot."

Ostensibly a fun family adventure, "Little Bigfoot" sees young Payton, his sister, and parents — including mom P.J. Soles — taking a quiet getaway in the mountains. But little do they realize that in the area is Bigfoot and his child, the eponymous Little Bigfoot. Into the film comes the cliched villainous logging company magnate Mr. Largo, who wants to deforest Little Bigfoot's home in a plot that injures Big Bigfoot, leaving his offspring to get help from Payton and his sister.

A cheesy, cringeworthy family film that often makes little sense, it's awkward, uncomfortable, and sloppily made. While TV Guide called it a shameless copy of Spielberg's "E.T.," we think Soles might indeed feel a little bit of shame over this one. Incredibly, it somehow managed to get a sequel, but Soles was smart enough not to return.

Charles Cyphers in Grizzly II: Revenge

Charles Cyphers is a name sure to ring bells for diehard fans of "Halloween" director John Carpenter. In addition to playing Sheriff Brackett in the original "Halloween" and its sequel, Cyphers also made appearances in a few other Carpenter films. He showed up in his 1979 musical biopic "Elvis" and in "Escape From New York," both alongside star Kurt Russell. He'd also re-team with Jamie Lee Curtis in Carpenter's 1980's "The Fog" before returning to the "Halloween" series more than 40 years later in "Halloween Kills." In between however, he took part in an infamous project titled "Grizzly II: Revenge."

If you've never heard of "Grizzly II: Revenge," you're in for a treat. Filmed in 1983 but never finished or released, it had reached nearly mythical status among cult cinephiles for featuring little known actors George Clooney, Laura Dern, and Charlie Sheen. Finally made available on VOD in 2020, it tells a simple story of a monstrous bear wreaking havoc at a national park just as a big rock 'n' roll concert gets underway.

Despite taking nearly 40 years to be completed, "Grizzly II: Revenge" feels shockingly unfinished, with slapdash special effects, in what Variety labeled "an incomplete mess." Buried for decades, Cyphers and everyone involved — including the late Oscar-winner Louise Fletcher — probably wished it had stayed that way.

Paul Rudd in Gen Y Cops

Unless you were paying attention to the string of '90s "Halloween" sequels, you might not even have known that Paul Rudd starred in one of them. Playing an adult version of Tommy Doyle in "Halloween 5: The Curse of Michael Myers," Rudd is one of several actors to take over the role originated in the 1978 original. Since he's one of Hollywood's golden boys, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone in Tinseltown with a bad thing to say about Rudd. But his movies are another matter: he's got a few that he might regret, the most notable being the boneheaded 2002 sci-fi action thriller "Gen Y Cops."

A sequel to the 1999 Hong Kong action movie "Gen X Cops," this follow-up brought in Rudd, perhaps to get it some attention in the United States. Relegated to being a Sci-Fi Channel original, it was relabeled "Jackie Chan Presents: Metal Mayhem" in some places, which is curious because Chan has absolutely nothing to do with it. It follows an advanced American crime fighting robot called RS-1 that comes to China but goes haywire, leaving it up to a team of slick, well-dressed Hong Kong detectives — and FBI agent Ian Curtis (Rudd) — to stop it.

A nonsensical sequel that tries to be too cool for school, "Gen Y Cops" is shockingly awful, with bad special effects, and winds up being accidentally stupid and too silly to take seriously.

Josh Hartnett in Hollywood Homicide

Many fans may have forgotten that Josh Hartnett was featured in a "Halloween" film. But in "Halloween H20: 20 Years Later," Hartnett pops up in his feature film debut, playing Laurie Strode's teenage son John Tate. Though the character was erased from continuity by later films, the movie nevertheless started the actor out on his Hollywood career. It wouldn't be an easy one for him, filled with plenty of ups and downs, but if there's any film he'd probably like to forget entirely, it might be the notorious 2006 action comedy, "Hollywood Homicide." And not just because it's bad.

Hartnett might wish he'd never made it because, beyond being a terrible movie, it was by all accounts a nightmarish production from start to finish. According to a report in 2012, Hartnett and co-star Harrison Ford reportedly did not get along during the making of the film, with Hartnett calling Ford an "old fart" while Ford refused to make eye contact with Hartnett and referred to him as a "punk." The tension between them is evident in the film too, as more than one reviewer remarked on a clear lack of chemistry between the actors, something that helped it earn a big green splat on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Given how awful the movie is and how unpleasant it was to make, Hartnett probably wishes we'd all stop talking about it. Sorry, Josh.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Elektra Luxx

Josh Hartnett wasn't the only future star to appear in "Halloween H20: 20 Years Later." The movie that brought back original series lead and Hollywood legend Jamie Lee Curtis for the 20th anniversary of the franchise also brought in then-TV star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, years before he became a big screen leading man. Since then, Levitt has had his share of roles he might regret, and one of them certainly looks bad even on paper: the 2010 indie comedy "Elektra Luxx."

A sequel to the box office bomb and critical dud "Women in Trouble," the film re-introduces Carla Gugino as adult film actress Elektra Luxx, who returns pregnant and looking to put her past behind her. Training housewives in how to have sex, she finds she just can't escape her former wild life. Deeply unfunny and ludicrously lame, we can only laugh at the hubris of "Elektra Luxx" as a sequel to a bad movie that hardly called for one, didn't make any money, and that nobody was asking for. Though there are some decent performances, the film totally wastes a star-studded cast that also includes Timothy Olyphant ("Justified"), Josh Brolin ("No Country for Old Men"), and Malin Åkerman ("Watchmen"). We hope Levitt had a good time making it, because we're pretty certain nobody had a good time watching it.

LL Cool J in Rollerball

In addition to Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Josh Hartnett, "Halloween H20: 20 Years Later" also featured a role for rapper-turned-actor LL Cool J, whose career to that point had been full of flops. Though he eventually found a successful lead role on "NCIS: Los Angeles," he endured more bombs than hits before getting there, and if he wants us to forget any of those along the way it might be the 2002 clunker "Rollerball."

Based on a 1975 dystopian sci-fi action movie of the same name, the 2002 remake may have been an attempt to capitalize on the extreme sports craze of the late '90s. In a dark future where corporate interests rule society, a popular and dangerous sport called Rollerball enthralls the masses and keeps them distracted. But when a desire for bigger ratings leads to more deadly rule changes, three of its biggest star players want out of the game, and go on the run to escape their corporate overlords.

Silly and perfunctory, "Rollerball" might be trying to say something about the mind-numbing aspects of television, but it fails spectacularly at whatever it's trying to do. What makes the movie truly mortifying is that it got director John McTiernan jailed, convicted on charges of wiretapping his producer amidst a power struggle over the creative direction of the project.

Tyler Mane in Starfighters

"Halloween" has reinvented itself every decade. In the '90s, "Halloween H20" wiped the slate clean as a direct follow-up to "Halloween II." In 2018, the simply titled "Halloween" was a retconned sequel that erased all previous entries and served as a direct continuation of the original 1978 film. But in between, musician-turned-director Rob Zombie rebooted the franchise with "Halloween" and "Halloween II," with former "X-Men" star Tyler Mane playing the new Michael Myers. Though roasted by fans, neither of these reboots were Mane's most regrettable film. That honor falls on a difficult-to-explain 1992 oddity called "Starfighters."

Decades before Mane donned the mask to become the "Halloween" villain, the former wrestler starred as a luchadore — a Mexican wrestler — in a Mexican film titled "Luchadores de las Estrellas," renamed "Starfighters" here in America. A bizarre sci-fi B-movie, it follows a princess from outer space on the run from a space vampire lord named Nitron (Mane). After she crash lands on Earth, the princess is rescued by a pair of masked Bolivian wrestlers and decides to seek refuge with them and become a fighter herself.

Made on a shoestring budget, there's really not much else to say about this one other than it's an utter embarrassment for Mane. Maybe it got him a paycheck, maybe it was something to do on a slow weekend, but we can't imagine he's showing it off in his demo reel.

Judy Greer in Stricken

The 2018 relaunch of "Halloween" brought with it several new cast members. One of them was Judy Greer, as Laurie Strode's adult daughter, Karen Nelson. Karen has a troubled relationship with her mother, but in the end helps to stop Michael in the midst of his return before coming back for the sequel, "Halloween Kills." A veteran character actress, Greer has popped up in plenty of hits, including Marvel's "Ant-Man" and as the ape Cornelia in the rebooted "Planet of the Apes" series. But she's had her misfires too, which include "Stricken," a terrible '90s teen horror movie she'd likely want us to wipe from our memories if we could.

Far from the high quality scares of the new "Halloween" trilogy, "Stricken" was an obvious attempt to cash in on the emerging trend of teen horror sparked by "Scream." In fact, the film clearly hopes to evoke the Wes Craven classic by casting Jamie Kennedy in the lead, in a formulaic slasher story so cliche you can probably see where it's going before the characters do. The film introduces Kennedy, Greer, Sean Gunn, and others as a group of friends obsessed with playing practical jokes that quickly take a deadly, bloody turn.

If you think it sounds like an evening of silly, scary fun, think again: "Stricken" is predictable, soulless horror made to turn a quick buck, and it shows.

Anthony Michael Hall in A Gnome Called Gnorm

In 2021, "Halloween Kills" added '80s icon Anthony Michael Hall to the cast as a middle-aged version of Tommy Doyle. He took over the role from Paul Rudd, though technically he's a different version of the same character, as the events of "Halloween 5: The Curse of Michael Myers" were no longer in continuity. By the time he joined the franchise, Hall was far from his awkward teen roles of the '80s and now a Hollywood veteran with a long and winding career. But there's still at least one role that many people may actually have forgotten that he might want to keep that way: the 1990 family comedy "A Gnome Called Gnorm."

A movie led by a former teen star and a puppet made by VFX wizard Stan Winston — who also directed — "A Gnome Called Gnorm" is a strange beast. It's all about an underground gnome who comes to the surface world and becomes the only witness to a murder (leaving us to simply scratch our heads and ask "why?"). To catch the killer, LAPD detective Casey Gallagher (Hall) teams up with the gnome, who proves more trouble than he's worth. A buddy cop comedy about Anthony Michael Hall paired with a hideous puppet wasn't exactly a premise audiences were flocking to theaters for, and the inexplicable choice to make Gnorm an ugly, sex-crazed, hairy creature didn't help matters.

Jamie Lee Curtis in Virus: Ghost in the Machine

The undisputed star of the "Halloween" franchise, Jamie Lee Curtis has appeared as Laurie Strode in more than half of the series' 13 films, but believe it or not there was a time when she wanted nothing to do with it. Bowing out after "Halloween II," Curtis declined to return for three sequels before coming back for "H20," 17 years after her last appearance in the role. In between, Curtis had built a solid big screen career as a leading lady, and even turned into an action hero for a few films. But they weren't all winners, and there's one that stands out as a dismal failure she might want to take back. 

Based on a graphic novel, the 1999 sci-fi thriller "Virus" might be mistaken for some bad direct-to-video trash were it not for its star cast, which included Curtis, Donald Sutherland, and William Baldwin. The story revolves around the crew of a small tugboat who discover an apparently abandoned Russian ship. Aboard they find a malevolent alien intent on turning mankind into robotic slaves and conquering the planet. Every bit as dumb as it sounds, "Virus" makes Curtis a tough-as-nails former Naval officer — a role she acquits herself nicely in, proving she has what it takes to be an action star — but otherwise is absolute nonsense.

Danielle Harris in Goosed

Danielle Harris has a unique distinction in the "Halloween" franchise as an actor who appeared in one of the original series films and in Rob Zombie's 2007 reboot — as two different characters. In "Halloween 4: The Curse of Michael Myers," Harris played Jamie Lloyd, the young daughter of Laurie Strode, reprising the role for the sequel, "Halloween 5." In the reboot nearly 20 years later, Harris would star as Annie Brackett, best friend to Laurie and daughter of the town sheriff (Brad Dourif). In between her "Halloween" stints, however, Harris starred in a movie that definitely isn't worth rebooting, the 1999 comedy "Goosed."

An offbeat rom-com, "Goosed" stars Meg Tilly ("Psycho II") as Charlene, a lovelorn beauty who keeps striking out with every man she meets. But a trip to a local psychic reveals that she's soon going to find her forever beau, and all she knows is that he'll be a doctor named Steve. Not content to wait around, Charlene goes on the hunt for this mystery doctor, leading to wacky romantic hijinks with a number of different Steves. A flop in every sense, "Goosed" comes across like a bad episode of a mediocre TV show, with lame attempts at comedy and limp performances from its cast, including Harris as a young Charlene in flashbacks.

Rohan Campbell in Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe

The third film in the revived "Halloween" series, "Halloween Ends," has proven divisive among fans for introducing an all-new villain in the form of Corey Cunningham. Played by actor Rohan Campbell, Corey is a local mechanic and town pariah who turns to violence following the death of a child under his care. While critics of the film weren't thrilled that Michael Myers was effectively replaced by this new killer for large chunks of the running time, we can't imagine it'll ever be a film he looks back on with any sense of embarrassment. At least, not in the same way he might look back on "Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe," whose title alone might make one cringe.

This one's a sequel to "Santa Baby," the 2006 holiday junker starring "Cheers" vet George Wendt as Santa Claus and former model Jenny McCarthy as his daughter Mary Class. In "Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe," we get arguably the most overdone Christmas story you've ever heard: Santa can't deliver the goods on the holiday, so of course, Jenny must fill in to save Christmas. But wouldn't you know it, all of Santa's elves are on strike. Sure.

Goofy Christmas silliness aside, sometimes a flighty holiday movie can be a decent diversion. This one definitely isn't.