How These Child Stars Feel About The Horror Movies That Put Them On The Map

Horror movies have been one of the most profitable and prolific genres since the invention of cinema, and part of that success is because there's something for everyone. Ghosts, monsters, masked slashers, and creatures from another world have not only helped keep audiences up at night for over a century as well as the very people who made the movies possible. Horror movies are terrifying enough to watch, but it can be even harder for the cast and crew that bring them to life. It can be emotionally exhausting to work in an environment where you have to act scared all the time or portray dark and demented characters, but for some of the genre's youngest stars, getting your start in a horror movie can impact more than just their nightmares.

For some child actors, starring in a horror movie helped put them on the map and proved to the world that they were an up-and-coming talent worth watching, but for others, it tainted their careers, pigeonholing them into horror archetypes, with executives unable to see them as more than their breakout roles. Let's take a look at some of the most famous child stars in horror history, and learn how they actually feel about starring in the horror films that shaped their lives.

Linda Blair Was Expected to be a Catholicism Expert

Arguably the most famous killer kid in horror movie history, Linda Blair was only 14 years old when she took on the role of the demonically possessed Regan MacNeil in William Friedkin's masterpiece, "The Exorcist." The film sparked massive outrage upon release due to its religious overtones, and the press at the time felt it necessary to interrogate a teenage girl about the complexities of Catholicism. In an interview with Dread Central for the film's 40th anniversary, Blair mentioned that as someone who was not raised Catholic, she didn't fully understand any of the religious aspects of the film, nor did the crew talk about it with her before shooting.

"It was probably the most awful thing you could imagine," Blair said. "To me, 'The Exorcist' was a work of fiction; I didn't realize then that it dealt with anything in reality, and so when the press kept asking me about all the devil stuff, it just kept adding to the pressure I was under, and it was just an awful thing to go through as a teenager." During the press tour for the film, Blair would frequently hop on trans-Atlantic flights to immediately have to answer deep questions at mass press junkets. "I'd be thrust in front of hundreds of people I often couldn't understand who were putting their faith into my hands — it was horrible." 

Despite it all, Blair is still proud of her work on the film, even parodying herself in the 1990 horror-comedy "Repossessed," and is an active participant on the horror convention circuit.

Alex Vincent is Still Playing Andy Barclay Over 30 Years Later

Alex Vincent was barely old enough to tie his own shoes when he was cast as little Andy Barclay in the film "Child's Play," the introduction of the serial killer possessed Chucky doll that spawned a horror franchise of seven movies and one of 2021's best new television series. Vincent hasn't done much acting in the years since "Child's Play," but of his fifteen acting projects in his career, Andy Barclay has been responsible for five of them. In an interview with Pop Horror before the debut of the "Chucky" TV series, Vincent spoke highly of the "Child's Play" universe, noting that he can't really remember a time before he was Andy Barclay.

"It's fun to go back to this character. It's fun to spend time with these people that I love. It's fun to give back to a fanbase that's been so incredibly kind, generous, and supportive of me for as long as I can remember. I mean literally, as long as I can remember. All of my memories. I was thrilled to know it was going forward."

While Vincent loves the convention circuit and meeting fans, he also knows that there are some people that take things a bit too far. "Some people are a little too excited by that information and don't realize that it's just a thing I did in my life," he said. 

When he's not making appearances as Andy Barclay, Vincent runs AV Productions Recording Studio and Production Company in Clearwater, Florida.

Kyle Richards Was Haunted By Halloween for Years

Long before Kyle Richards became a household name as one of the main cast members on "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," she was a child actor known for roles in "Little House on the Prairie," "The Car," "Eaten Alive," "The Watcher in the Woods," and most notably, John Carpenter's "Halloween." Richards played Lindsey Wallace in the latter, one of the young kids Jamie Lee Curtis' Laurie Strode babysat on Halloween night when Michael Myers shows up and enacts his reign of terror. In honor of the film's 35th anniversary back in 2013, Richards spoke with Halloween Daily News to confess that she wasn't afraid while working on the set, but upon seeing the final product, was absolutely terrified.

"Seeing it for the first time all pieced together was a very, very different movie," Richards said. "It was just really scary, and I really did sleep with my mom until I was 15 years old after that." The film scared her so much that she decided to never work in horror again. That is until Blumhouse came calling and offered her a spot to revisit her character for David Gordon Green's "Halloween Kills." Richards' performance was so well received that the crew decided to bring her back for the final piece of the trilogy, "Halloween Ends."

Miko Hughes Loves Revisiting Pet Sematary

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, child actor Miko Hughes was inescapable. Although he appeared in popular projects like "Kindergarten Cop," "Apollo 13," "Spawn," "Wes Craven's New Nightmare," and his recurring role on "Full House," for many people, Hughes will always be known as Gage Creed in "Pet Sematary." Hughes was barely three years old when he took on the role, becoming one of the most memorable villains in Stephen King's canon, and terrifying audiences with this tiny human's willingness to laugh maniacally and slice a few Achilles tendons in the process. "I was just playing pretend, I was practically a baby," Hughes told Scream magazine. 

Director Mary Lambert had fought for Hughes' casting, noting that his performance is responsible for the true horror as he was a "real baby" acting out horrible things. Hughes also admitted that he isn't usually the biggest fan of watching himself on screen, but due to his young age working on "Pet Sematary," it's the one that he remembers the least of the process of working on. "It's easy for me to disassociate and enjoy the movie for what it is instead of constantly critiquing myself," he said. 

Hughes is currently an active guest at horror conventions and considers running into familiar fan faces like reuniting with family.

Horror Shaped Jodelle Ferland's Childhood

Canadian actress Jodelle Ferland has been in the public eye since she was only four years old but earned enough credits to classify her as a Scream Queen before she was old enough to legally drink. With credits including "Deadly Little Secrets," "They," "Silent Hill," "The Messengers," "Seed," "Case 39," "The Tall Man," "The Cabin in the Woods," "Sole Survivor," "Wolf Lake," "So Weird," "Carrie," "Kingdom Hospital," "Master of Horror," and "Paranorman," Jodelle Ferland is one of horror's most recognizable killer kids. Despite a childhood surrounded by ghosts, possession, evil killers, blood, and monsters, Ferland looks back fondly at her upbringing, even preferring the experience of working on a horror project than a drama.

During an interview with Horror News, Ferland said that she loved working in horror, "probably more than [she] should have." She noted the projects were always the most fun for her because she was given a chance to play characters that were nothing like her in real life. "I'm not a demon child, I'm not dead, when I got to play a ghost or an evil character that was always my favorite thing because that was so different from me," she said. "What kid gets to act like that? Not many." 

Ferland is most recognized for her role as Sharon/Alessa in "Silent Hill," and she doesn't mind it one bit. "It was one of the first really big movies that I did that people still enjoy," she said. "That makes me really happy." Ferland still acts in horror today, having most recently been featured on the Netflix horror drama series, "The Order." 

Haley Joel Osment Will Always Be That Kid Who Sees Dead People

M. Night Shyamalan completely blew audiences away with 1999's "The Sixth Sense," the chilling tale of a young boy named Cole with the ability to see ghosts. Few could have anticipated what a massive impact the film would have, turning Haley Joel Osment into one of the youngest people ever nominated for an Academy award and making his iconic delivery of "I See Dead People" into a cultural phenomenon. The film's explosion of popularity helped Osment pick up some other high-caliber roles in films like "Pay It Forward" and "A.I. Artificial Intelligence," but he also became one of the most identifiable faces in Hollywood.

After taking a break from acting to attend college, Osment returned to the screen and stage, playing a series of villains in "American Buffalo," "Entourage," and "Yoga Hosers." According to Osment, this may have been an act of belated rebellion against his childhood image, even going so far as to grow a beard to try and hide in public. 

Spoiler alert: it didn't work. 

Looking toward the future, Osment is trying to pivot into screenwriting and directing, but says he doesn't mind when people want to bring up "The Sixth Sense." As he puts it, "I'm lucky to have a positive relationship with those periods that can sometimes be difficult for other people."