In the '90s, teen horror movies became a celebrated and lucrative genre all over again, thanks to the success of
Scream. And there was plenty of work for everybody, including many of the young, hot stars of the time. These 25 scary movies starring your favorite teen heartthrobs aren't all from that era, but many of them are, showing that the industry couldn't make enough high school and college horror films to satisfy their audience.
On this list, you'll find actors from hit teen-focused TV shows such as
Dawson's Creek, Party of Five, and One Tree Hill spending their summer vacations running for their lives, as well as grown-up former teen stars dipping into the horror genre later in their careers. Some of these movies are considered classics; others you may have long forgotten. There are films that explore the horrors of adolescence and others that are geared toward an older audience. But all of them have a connection to the kinds of star that have been the object of a lot of teen admiration.
Now the trend of mixing teens and horror is prevalent again, this time on TV, with
Riverdale, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and the upcoming series reboot of The Craft . But these 25 movies will remind you that the concept first hit the zeitgeist on the big screen: 1 'I Know What You Did Last Summer'
Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddie Prinze, Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Ryan Phillippe star in this 1997 classic. After a group of friends accidentally hit a pedestrian with their car, they make a pact to keep their accidental homicide a secret. But an anonymous witness starts to make their lives a living hell.
2 'House Of Wax'
This remake of the 1953 horror film stars early '00s heartthrobs Chad Michael Murray, Elisha Cuthbert, and Jared Padalecki, and in a category of her own, there's also Paris Hilton. You'll never look at Madame Tussauds in the same way again after getting lost in this haunted wax museum.
3 'The Covenant'
Before Chace Crawford became Nate Archibald on
Gossip Girl; before Sebastian Stan became Bucky Barnes in the MCU; and in the same year that Taylor Kitsch became Tim Riggins on Friday Night Lights, these heartthrobs starred the 2006 supernatural horror film, The Covenant.
In the film, a group of four high school boys who are descendants of witches start seeing evil omens. They meet another descendant named Chase (Stan) who gets dangerously addicted to using magic and threatens the town.
4 'Cutting Class'
Pitt was 26 when he starred in this 1989 high school slasher film as basketball star Dwight Ingall, alongside '80s Scream Queen Jill Schoelen as his girlfriend, Paula. When Dwight gets framed for murdering a teacher, it's up to him to stop the actual killer. 5 'Final Destination'
The start of its own franchise,
Final Destination follows a group of high schoolers — including Kerr Smith, Ali Larter, and Devon Sawa — who survive a plane crash that kills the rest of their classmates. Eventually they start experiencing freak accidents and random attacks — can they survive whatever curse is out to get them? 6 'Scream'
Drew Barrymore stars along with Neve Campbell, Rose McGowan, Courteney Cox, and Skeet Ulrich in the very first
Scream, which changed the game when it came out in 1996. 7 'Shutter Island'
Once a teen heartthrob always a teen heartthrob.
Shutter Island, which has one of the most exciting plot twists of all times, follows Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo's characters as they investigate the disappearance of a mental health patient at a remote facility. They find out that the hospital has some dark secrets, but you'll never see the biggest surprise. 8 'Donnie Darko'
Jake Gyllenhaal and Jena Malone made for a perfect duo of angsty teen heartthrobs in this psychological thriller from 2001 about a somewhat possessed sleepwalking high schooler who's tasked with saving the world.
9 'The Craft'
Well, this '90s classic isn't exactly scary, but it's all about the occult, so it definitely a spook factor. More importantly,
The Craft boasts the dream cast of Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell, and Rachel True as a group of high school witches who get revenge on the popular guy (Skeet Ulrich). 10 'The Strangers'
Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman of
Felicity play an arguing couple staying at an isolated summer home. What could go wrong? An already awkward trip gets even worse when three masked strangers arrive at the house to terrorize the couple. 11 'Jennifer's Body'
Megan Fox stars as the titular Jennifer, who goes on a killing spree after being possessed by a succubus. Written by Diablo Cody (
Juno), Jennifer's Body has a feminist flavor that was overlooked by many when it came out in 2009 and also features Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody, and Johnny Simmons. 12 'Disturbing Behavior'
At the peak of both of their '90s stardom, James
Marsden plays a new student, Steve, who befriends a group of outcasts that includes Katie Holmes's Rachel. Eventually, he discovers a malicious mind control plot that targets the town's teens, and it's up to him and his new friends to stop it. 13 'Urban Legend'
Jared Leto, Alicia Witt, Rebecca Gayheart, Joshua Jackson, and Tara Reid make up the heartthrob-filled cast of this slasher film from 1998. When a group of college students discover that
an urban legend turns out to be real, a string of massacres proves that everyone is in danger — and everyone is a threat. 14 'Valentine'
This 2001 slasher stars Denise Richards and
Grey's Anatomy stars Jessica Capshaw and Katherine Heigl as a group of women who are preyed on by a man (David Boreanaz) who resents them from turning him down years ago, so this film has a nightmarish and realistic plot from start to finish. 15 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre'
Jessica Biel and Eric Balfour (
Veritas: The Quest) costar in this remake of the 1974 classic slasher film. In the 2003 version, a group of friends embark on a road trip from hell, complete with the masked killer, Leatherface (Andrew Bryniarski). 16 'Dracula 2000'
Omar Epps, and Danny Masterson are in this retelling of the famous tale, produced by Wes Craven. Christopher Plummer plays Abraham Van Helsing, who appears in New Orleans to destroy all of the vampires that still exist in present day. Dracula (Gerard Butler) comes back to life too, intent on creating more vampires. 17 'Scream 4'
A new generation of heartthrobs has its turn with Ghostface (Roger L. Jackson) in the 2011 film. The cast includes Nico Tortorella (now of
Younger fame), Lucy Hale, Hayden Panettiere, Adam Brody, and more, plus original Scream series stars David Arquette, Neve Campbell, and Courteney Cox. 18 'The Faculty'
Elijah Wood, Josh Hartnett, Shawn Hatosy, Jordana Brewster and Usher play a group of teens in this sci-fi horror film, which also includes Salma Hayek and Jon
Stewart in small roles. The Faculty mixes regular teen drama with horror tropes — the students start rumors about each other and a killer parasite from an alien queen gradually kills off their teachers. It's the best of both worlds. 19 'Joy Ride'
Paul Walker and Steve Zahn play brothers who become the target of a serial killer truck driver after playing a prank on him with their radio. Leelee Sobieski also gets in on the action.
20 'Cabin Fever'
A group of friends including Rider Strong and
Scary Movie 2's James DeBello rent a cabin in the woods where things go awry. Sounds like The Strangers, right? Well this time, the unsuspecting pals are not tormented by masked killers who ring the doorbell but by a flesh-eating virus. This one is not for the hypochondriacs at the slumber party. 21 'Disturbia'
When Kale (Shia LaBeouf) gets sentenced to house arrest after attacking his Spanish teacher, he witnesses a neighbor's troubling behavior and tries to investigate. Reminiscent of
Rear Window, the thriller may prompt you to invest in a pair of binoculars. 22 'The Rage: Carrie 2'
The 1999 remake of
Carrie stars Home Improvement son Zachery Ty Bryan and features Mena Suvari in a small role, while Emily Bergl plays Rachel Lang, Carrie's younger half sister. It turns out that Carrie's powers are in her bloodline. 23 'Halloween H20: 20 Years Later'
Though the return of the original
Halloween's Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), was the headline, the 1998 reboot of the Halloween franchise also features Josh Hartnett, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and She's All That's Jodi Lyn O'Keefe. 24 'The Skulls'
The late Paul Walker is back on the list, this time teaming up with Joshua Jackson in a psychological thriller about a cultish underground society at their university. After being inducted, Walker and Jackson's characters become pawns in the group's spiteful and manipulative game, which turns them against each other.
25 'Jeepers Creepers'
Justin Long plays college student Darry Jenner who, along with his sister Trish (Gina Philips), becomes prey for a mysterious creature called The Creeper (Jonathan Breck). It's gripping game of cat-and-mouse that lives up to its title.
Heartthrobs and horror are a dynamic duo, as this list proves. Queue up some of these movies so you can swoon between your screams.