Actors and actresses sometimes become type cast. If your last movie was a successful Western, you will probably have many lucrative offers to do another cowboy oater film. Hollywood sees you as the character you played in your most successful movie. That sometimes becomes true of the bad guys and gals who might slash someone in a movie while they have a nice smile and beautiful hair. Typecasting sets in. Not always though. Some actors and actresses can go from slasher to gentleman or lady with ease.
Peter Cushing turned down the role of Dr. Sam Lookis in Halloween. Peter had no regrets because he was so busy he was never without acting parts when he wanted to work. He is probably the only horror movie actor who worked with Laurel and Hardy (A Chump at Oxford). He was playing the creepy types as early as 1957 when he appeared as Dr. Frankenstein in The Curse of Frankenstein.
He had a long list of wonderful horror titles including, The Mummy (1959), The Brides of Dracula (1960), The Evil of Frankenstein (1964), Island of Terror (1966), Frankenstein Created Woman (1967), The Blood Beast Terror (1968), and those are just a few of his credits.
He appeared in movies about Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolfman, The Mummy and even... The Son of Hitler.
Dracula, Frankenstein (Creature), The Mummy and Dr. Fu Manchu are some of the characters played by Christopher Lee. I did get to know Christopher Lee. I stood in for him on a TV two part movie called Goliath Awaits. He was slightly taller than my 6'4" height. He was a very nice man. I hate to ruin his image by telling you he was nice, but he was always pleasant and cheerful. He laughed a lot and was never bothered by the pressure of the filming schedule. He didn't kill anyone on the set as far as I know.
Karen Black has done many non horror movies including Five Easy Pieces with Jack Nicholson. The fans who want her autograph are more likely to be young fans of the cult horror classics, Invaders From Mars (1986), Family Plot (Hitchcock) and It's Alive III. She also gets high marks for her TV work, especially Trilogy of Terror.
She stayed busy as an actress for many years, but Margaret Hamilton will always be best remembered for one role. She was The Wicked Witch of the West in Wizard of Oz.
Barbara had a fine resume of evil roles. The Pit and the Pendulum has her playing opposite the great Vincent Price as they both eat the scenery. She also did a Hitchcock role. She played the part of Margaret Hitchcock in Lo Spettro (The Ghost). Curse of the Crimson Alter had her in a cast which included Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee. The Silent Scream is still considered to be much better than any average slasher film. Barbara was in her 40s when it was made and she still retained her incredible beauty. She might have been the prettiest horror queen.
Best known for his appearances in the Halloween films, Donald Pleasence has done many other characters during his 200 film career. Some say his best horror acting role came early in his career in 1960. The movie, with the great title Flesh and the Fiends, is considered better than most scary movies of all time. It is well acted and is based on a true story.
Donald has also done a lot of schlock as well as excellent movie and TV films. Circus of Horrors and The Hands of Orlac have some redeeming scenery and unintentional comedy. The one overriding quality Pleasence always had was the ability to deliver a serious character presentation, regardless of the insanity going on about him.
This is another actor who had done many starring roles in movies that were not sci-fi or monster movies. John did some very successful horror movies while he was young and middle aged. He seemed to have a leading man quality that is often absent in creepy and creature cinema. John could make his appearance seem to make a difference as the townspeople tried to battle the giant spider or Creature Who Once Was In The Black Lagoon. I did get to know John in his later years. He had a country music band.
He had a lot of movie roles before A Nightmare on Elm Street made him famous. His Freddy Krueger character was able to return to the screen for multiple sequels which proved popular with fans. Robert also was in V, the sci-fi TV series and The Phantom of the Opera film.
His dad directed and Arch JR starred in several monstrosities. Most of his roles were supposed to be serious and not sci-fi. Arch was OK as an actor and most of his roles were less than meaty. He also sang in his bad horror movies. Only one of his movies was a horror movie but most of his movies had something that was on the edge and not quite normal. His biggest monster movie was probably Eegah.