Monsters was the spiritual successor of Tales from the Dark Side. After Tales ended its run in 1988, Monsters premiered later that year under the same producer, Richard P. Rubinstein. The anthology TV series ran for 3 seasons until 1991.
Throughout that time, the show featured a number of well-known actors, TV veterans, athletes, comedians, musicians and a host of promising up-and-comers. Looking back, the fresh faces included Steve Buscemi, David Spade, Matt LeBlanc, Wil Wheaton and many more.
The show also featured a lot of actors that horror fans will recognize. Thanks to the recent DVD release of the series (finally!) via eOne Entertainment, I was able to go back and pick out 24 horror actors who appeared on Monsters. Here’s the first half:
Michael J. Anderson
“Holly’s House” (Season 1, Episode 2)
“Household Gods” (Season 3, Episode 14)
Shortly before Michael J. Anderson became known as the backwards-speaking little person on David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, he appeared on Monsters’ second episode concealed by a creepy doll suit. He later returned for another role, obstructed by makeup but recognizable nonetheless. He also appeared in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, Mulholland Drive and HBO’s Carnivale.
“Pillow Talk” (Season 1, Episode 10)
Cult queen Mary Woronov is best known for her work with Roger Corman and Andy Warhol. Her horror resume includes Chopping Mall, The House of the Devil, Night of the Comet, The Devil’s Rejects, Death Race 2000, TerrorVision and Silent Night, Bloody Night.
“Rouse Him Not” (Season 1, Episode 11)
Horror fans will recognize Terrence Evans Old Monty, Leatherface’s uncle from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake and its prequel, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. He also appears as ill-fated tanker driver in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
“The Mother Instinct” (Season 1, Episode 15)
Finn Carter starred opposite Kevin Bacon in Tremors. Before she battled giant worms, she took on an elderly woman on Monsters.
“The Match Game” (Season 1, Episode 18)
Ashley Laurence is fondly remembered by horror fans as Kirsty Cotton, starlet of the Hellraiser series. She appeared in the original as well as the second (Hellbound), third (Hell on Earth) and sixth (Hellseeker) installments. She was also in Red, Warlock III: The End of Innocence and Mikey.
“The Match Game” (Season 1, Episode 18)
Sasha Jenson appeared in the same episode as Laurence. The year prior to the episode’s airing, he could be found in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and Ghoulies II. He went on to act in Dazed and Confused and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
“The Cocoon” (Season 1, Episode 20)
Character actor Billy Drago played Papa Jupiter in the remake of The Hills Have Eyes. He also appeared in Tremors 4: The Legend Begins, Children of the Corn: Genesis, Vamp and the Masters of Horror episode Imprint.
“All in a Day’s Work” (Season 1, Episode 21)
’80s sex symbol Adrienne Barbeau starred in such classics as The Fog, Creepshow, Swamp Thing and Escape from New York. She also appeared in Two Evil Eyes, The Convent and a voice cameo in The Thing.
“La Strega” (Season 1, Episode 24)
The first season of Monsters wrapped up with an episode starring The Exorcist darling Linda Blair. In addition to The Exorcist and its first sequel, she can be found in Repossessed, Hell Night, Sorceress and a cameo in Scream.
“Jar” (Season 2, Episode 7)
You’ll recall Fritz Weaver as Dexter Stanley in “The Crate” segment of Creepshow. He’s known for his role in the TV movie The Legend of Lizzie Borden as well. He was also in Demon Seed, Jaws of Satan and Friday the 13th: The Series.
“The Demons” (Season 2, Episode 8)
Richard Moll may be best known for his stint on Night Court, but genre aficionados know him as Big Ben from House. You can see him in Evilspeak, Nightmare Man and Night Train to Terror as well. He’s recently been appearing in low budget efforts such as Ghost Shark and Sorority Party Massacre.
“The Mandrake Root” (Season 2, Episode 10)
Frankie Faison’s most recognizable role is, perhaps, Barney in The Silence of the Lambs, which he reprised in Hannibal and Red Dragon. He also appeared in Manhunter, C.H.U.D., Cat People, Maximum Overdrive and The Langoliers.
Click here to read Part 2 of this list, which includes John Saxon, Tom Noonan, Barry Nelson, Dennis Christopher and more.