Horror Movie Child Stars Who Disappeared From The Spotlight

Starring in a horror film can be draining, especially if it's one of your first real acting gigs. From "The Shining" twins to the white-haired children of "Village of the Damned," creepy child monsters and young protagonists make up some of the most iconic roles in horror, but often those young actors grow up and pursue very different genres or leave the industry entirely. Whether it's due to a lack of roles or a change in passion, these child actors left their mark on the genre and are still scaring audiences many years later, even if some of them have left Hollywood for good.

Louise and Lisa Burns

The Grady twins haunt more than the Overlook Hotel; even years later, the girls haunt our dreams. Their scenes in "The Shining," which often featured them hand in hand, standing at the end of a long hotel corridor, have not only become synonymous with the film at large, they've transcended the horror genre. In their pastel blue dresses, Louise and Lisa Burns have become a horror reference point, with riffs on their images popping up in TV shows and movies since the release of "The Shining." They are the creepy twins to end all creepy twins. 

Despite their resonant presence, the Burns sisters had a hard time finding roles after working on the film. In an interview with the Daily Mail, Louise explained that she was denied admission at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art due to her already working as a professional actor. Instead, Louise went on to become a scientist while Lisa became a lawyer. Despite their hard break from the movie industry, both of the Burns sisters still have a fondness for their time spent working with Kubrick and their many fans. They even run an Instagram account dedicated to their roles in "The Shining."

John Franklin

Nothing can beat the thousand-yard stare of John Franklin, whose iconic role as the child preacher Isaac Chroner sets the gold standard for spooky children, despite the fact that he wasn't a child actor at all. Franklin was 23 years-old during the filming of 1984's "The Children of the Corn," but appeared much younger due to a growth hormone deficiency. Regardless, his cunning attitude mixed with his religious fanaticism made his role pop off of the screen. 

After "The Children of the Corn," Franklin snagged a role as Cousin Itt in "The Addams Family" and "Addams Family Values," as well as a few one-off appearances in TV shows and movies. In the early aughts, he took a break from acting entirely after the death of his longtime agent and the murder of a close friend. Instead, Franklin pivoted to teaching, and worked as an English teacher, leading Shakespeare classes and screenwriting classes for many years. In 2016, Franklin retired from teaching and began writing and acting again. He's since appeared in episodes of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" and "Fresh Off the Boat."

Alakina Mann and James Bentley

The lush gothic horror "The Others" is the perfect movie to put on if you're looking for some exemplary creepy kid scenes. The pale brother and sister duo Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley) serve as a ghostly foil to Nicole Kidman's high stress role as their mother. As children, they're kept locked up in their strange mansion home due to a mysterious disease that makes them sensitive to light, but there's something more mysterious going on inside of the mansion than their unnamed disease.

Mann and Bentley might be the perfect personification of pale, ghostly movie kids, but neither of them pursued an especially long acting career. Bentley played a young Michael Sellers in the film "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers" while Mann worked alongside Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth in "Girl with a Pearl Earring." Both left acting shortly after, and while not much is known about Bentley's career, Mann has gone on to be a successful artist/illustrator.

Carrie Henn

In terms of craftiness and sheer gut, Carrie Henn as the lovable Newt in "Aliens" takes the cake. Her role as the mysterious and resourceful Newt, who is characterized by her sheer ability to keep surviving (much like her mentor Ripley), gives the action horror film "Aliens" a beating human heart. She's the last thing you'd expect to find on an abandoned ship filled with xenomorphs, and yet she's right in the middle of the action.

After starring in the 1986 film with Sigourney Weaver, Henn left the spotlight almost immediately. While she considered continuing her acting career, teaching had been her true passion ever since she was a child, and on top of that, her family moved from England to California shortly after "Aliens" finished filming, and she wanted to have some normal childhood experiences. Henn stayed true to herself and became a teacher, but she's still incredibly involved with the "Aliens" fandom, making appearances at conventions and sharing fan art on social media.

Cody Dorkin

The platinum haired children of John Carpenter's "Village of the Damned" are more than the sum of their parts. With their shining evil eyes and collective conscious, they're the opposite of the rowdy bunch from "The Children of the Corn." These kids are organized, vicious, and quickly begin picking off the adults of their small town one by one. 

While Lindsey Haun, who plays the creepy children leader Mara, might still be in the movie industry, Cody Dorkin, who starred as her right hand man Robert, has moved on but stayed close by. After lending his voice to some animated roles and staring in a few TV episodes, Dorkin now works as an acting coach as his company Studio 24, where he's no doubt helping the next generation of spooky child actors.