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Aaliyah as a Vampire Queen, Kelly Rowland Versus Jason, and More Musicians In Horror Movies

Aaliyah as a Vampire Queen, Kelly Rowland Versus Jason, and More Musicians Who Starred In Horror Movies
Aaliyah, Kelly Rowland Youtube(2)

Compared to the perils of the music industry, the nightmares of the horror world are no big deal for some music stars.

As Halloween is a night full of tricks and treats, those who load up Shudder, Screambox or any other “screaming” service might be in for a surprise when they see a familiar face amid the gore. Some of music’s biggest stars — from Snoop Dogg and Brandy to Ozzy Osbourne — have taken a stab at acting in a horror movie. The results have been truly terrifying, with Aaliyah slaying as Akasha in Queen of the Damned and Debbie Harry embracing “the new flesh” in David Cronenberg’s Videodrome.

“I’ve always said that there’s a perfect marriage between horror and rock music,” Alice Cooper reportedly told Sound and Vision in 1988 after appearing in a handful of horror films (Prince of Darkness, Monster Dog) and contributing “He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask)” to Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. “Jason is one of the greatest rock images I’ve ever seen,” he said. “Just think of it — give him a guitar instead of a machete and he’s totally heavy metal!”

Metal stars aren’t the only ones playing in the horror world, however. Take a look at some of the hip-hop, rock and R&B stars who got scary on screen.

Aaliyah as a Vampire Queen, Kelly Rowland Versus Jason, and More Musicians Who Starred In Horror Movies

Aaliyah, Queen of the Damned

“I had a lot of fun doing [Queen of the Damned]. I was very excited to be part of a vampire film, because I’ve been a lover of vampires since I was very young,” Aaliyah told Entertainment Tonight in 2001 when discussing her role as Akasha in Queen of the Damned, a fusion of the second and third entries in Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles. Aaliyah’s role remains iconic in the horror and Halloween world. Sadly, she died eight months after the film’s release, dying in an August 2001 airplane accident in The Bahamas.

Brandy, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer

Arriving a year after 1997’s I Know What You Did Last Summer became a box-office smash, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer saw Brandy join the cast as Karla Wilson. Brandy was well-versed in the acting world, having appeared in the now-iconic adaptation of Cinderella (as well as her ’90s series Thea and Moesha).

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Grace Jones, Vamp

A cult classic by definition, 1986’s Vamp starred the incomparable Jones as Katrina. Visually stunning with a tight script, Vamp is a hidden gem that showcases the singer’s undeniable charisma.

Flea, Psycho

Though Flea is best known for being the bassist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, he has a robust acting career, especially in the horror world. He has a credit in 1983’s Nightmares, appeared in 1987’s Stranded and starred in 1998’s shot-for-shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.

Aaliyah as a Vampire Queen, Kelly Rowland Versus Jason, and More Musicians Who Starred In Horror Movies

Kelly Rowland, Freddy Vs. Jason

Rowland made her big-screen debut in 2003’s Freddy vs. Jason, a titanic event that pitted the two biggest slasher stars against each other. As Kia Waterson, Rowland delivered a memorable (and problematic) line while facing off against Freddy.

Ozzy Osbourne and Gene Simmons, Trick or Treat

As the “Prince of Darkness,” Osbourne has long been associated with horror thanks to his work in Black Sabbath and his solo career. In 1986, Osbourne appeared on screen in the cult classic Trick or Treat, portraying a televangelist. Kiss rockerSimmons also appeared in the film, portraying DJ Nuke.

However, Simmons might argue that Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park was more “horrifying” due to its overall “badness.” He also appeared in a few more movies, including 1986’s Never Too Young to Die, 1987’s Wanted: Dead or Alive and 2002’s The New Guy.

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Henry Rollins, He Never Died, Wrong Turn 2: Dead End, Jugular Wine, Feast and Suck

Rollins gained underground fame by leading the hardcore punk band Black Flag before continuing his music success with the Rollins Band. At the start of the 1990s, the erudite Rollins expanded his interests in acting, resulting in appearances in such films as 1994’s Jugular Wine: A Vampire Odyssey, 1997’s Lost Highway, 2005’s Feast, 2007’s Wrong Turn 2: Dead End, 2009’s Suck and more. In 2015, he portrayed Jack in He Never Died, a stark horror comedy that has the punk icon portray an immortal, cannibalistic loner.

Cherie Currie, Twilight Zone: The Movie

As the lead vocalist for The Runaways, Currie helped lay the groundwork for punk rock on the West Coast in the 1970s. In the ’80s, she dabbled in acting, appearing in the films Parasite (1982), Wavelength (1983) and in the “It’s a Good Life” segment in Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983).

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Iggy Pop, Suck and The Dead Don’t Die

“Godfather of Punk,” Pop has starred in a handful of notable films, often directed by his friend Jim Jarmusch. 2009’s Suck, directed by Rob Stefaniuk, was a star-studded vampire comedy that included appearances by Pop, Rollins, Moby, Cooper and Alex Lifeson of Rush.

Alice Cooper, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, The Prince of Darkness, Monster Dog

Speaking of Cooper, the “Welcome to My Nightmare” singer is no stranger to the silver and small screens. His first appearance in a horror film was 1986’s Monster Dog (though some might argue 1978’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which featured a Cooper cameo, was more horrifying). From there, Cooper appeared in John Carpenter‘s 1987 movie Prince of Darkness. He also acted in 1991’s Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. He makes a song about Jason, then he acts in a Freddy Krueger movie? All hail Alice.

Aaliyah as a Vampire Queen, Kelly Rowland Versus Jason, and More Musicians Who Starred In Horror Movies

LL Cool J, Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, Deep Blue

1998’s Halloween H20 attempted to reboot the franchise by making a direct sequel to 1981’s Halloween II. The film saw Jamie Lee Curtis return to the franchise and starred rapper LL Cool J. He would face a dead-eyed killer of a different kind in 1999’s Deep Blue Sea, a movie best known for LL Cool J’s song, “Deepest Bluest (Shark’s Fin).”

Busta Rhymes, Halloween: Resurrection

The sequel to Halloween H20 saw Busta Rhymes join the franchise as Freddie Harris. The 2002 film’s cast also included Curtis, Tyra Banks and Sean Patrick Thomas. Busta would act in a few roles afterward but mostly focused on being one of the best MCs ever to do it.

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Coolio, Dracula 3000

The late Coolio had a notable role in the 2004 made-for-television movie Dracula 3000 (which, it turns out, is not a sequel to 2000’s Dracula 2000). Coolio portrayed “187,” a deckhand who has an unfortunate run-in with a vampire aboard a spaceship called the Demeter.

DMX, The Bleeding

2009’s The Bleeding saw DMX battle vampires, and that alone made it an instant cult classic. The movie has drawn comparisons to From Dusk Till Dawn, as it also stars Michael Madsen, a frequent collaborator with From Dusk Till Dawwn star Quentin Tarantino.

Aaliyah as a Vampire Queen, Kelly Rowland Versus Jason, and More Musicians Who Starred In Horror Movies

Ice-T, Leprechaun in the Hood

Some horror fans say the fifth installment of the Leprechaun franchise is when the series went off the rails (though some might say Leprechaun 4: In Space is worse). However, Leprechaun in the Hood featured Ice-T as a record producer that, as Far Out Magazine noted, “shares a joint with the titular villain, whereby the Leprechaun says, ‘A friend with weed, is a friend indeed.’”

Snoop Dogg, Bones

2001’s Bones is a cross between the classic Blaxploitation genre and horror, starring Snoop Dogg in the titular role. After Bones is murdered in his neighborhood, he returns as a vengeful spirit seeking justice. In the two decades since its release, the film has developed a following (though it wasn’t well-received at the time).

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Dee Snider, Strangeland

Twisted Sister’s Snider wrote, produced and starred in 1998’s Strangeland, a psychological thriller that used the internet as a horror trope. While it wasn’t the first time computers were incorporated into horror — see Chopping Mall, The Lawnmower Man, etc. —it now seems oddly prescient of the horrors that lurk online.

Chester Bennington, Saw: The Final Chapter

“I’m not allowed to say much about the scene, but it was a lot of fun to do,” Linkin Park’s Bennington said in 2010 about his role in Saw: The Final Chapter, aka Saw 3D. “I spent about seven to eight hours a day getting in and out of makeup.” The late Bennington was a fan of the Saw franchise, and being able to participate in the movie was a dream for him.

“The guys in the band laugh at me because my wife and I are so enthusiastic,” he said, per Billboard. “If they had asked me to just show up and watch them shoot, I would have done it.”

Debbie Harry, Videodrome

Cronenberg’s work has always pushed the boundaries of body horror with such skin-crawling films as The Brood, Scanners, The Fly and Crash. In 1993, punk icon Harry (of Blondie fame) starred opposite James Woods in Videodrome, a sci-fi horror film that left viewers stunned and saying, “Long live the new flesh.”

Aaliyah as a Vampire Queen, Kelly Rowland Versus Jason, and More Musicians Who Starred In Horror Movies

David Bowie, The Hunger

The late Bowie is highly regarded for his musical work, but he was also a celebrated actor, appearing in films like Basquiat, The Last Temptation of Christ, Labyrinth and Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. In 1983, he starred in the gothic horror movie The Hunger, which marked the directorial debut of Tony Scott (Top Gun, Days of Thunder, Crimson Tide). The movie saw the “Thin White Duke” play a vampire.

Aaliyah as a Vampire Queen, Kelly Rowland Versus Jason, and More Musicians Who Starred In Horror Movies

Tom Waits, Bram Stoker’s Dracula and The Dead Don’t Die

As with Pop, parts of Waits’ filmography come from working with Jarmusch. Waits had a role in Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die in 2019, playing a hermit amid a zombie outbreak. Waits also famously portrayed Renfield in 1992’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

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