Stick to what you know. Or die.

Some people just want a bigger slice of the pie. Unsatisfied with their singing careers, many artistes appear in a few music videos and suddenly think they’re the next Streep or Caine. So we get Beyoncé in Austin Powers, Justin Timberlake trying to be an action hero in the crappy In Time and Alanis Morissette playing GOD in Dogma!

So it was no surprise to anyone that, during the 90s horror resurgence, a few of these Prima Donnas thought they could kick it with the big boys and headline a slasher flick. Some did alright, agreeably dying in accordance with the audience’s wishes, while others thought their acting talents earned them the lead role. Poor deluded things…

Let’s take a look at who ruined what:

llcooljh20-2

LL Cool J as Ronnie the security guard in Halloween H20

Who hell he? Rapper James Todd Smith started his career way back in 1985 and has since released 11 studio albums, featured as a guest rapper on a gazillion tracks and, surprisingly, carved out quite the respectable screen career, presently starring in NCIS: Los Angeles.

In the midst of horror: LL donned the usually doomed role of security guard at a California prep school where Jamie Lee Curtis was the headmistress. Unusually, he brought a charm to the role few other names on this list could dream of (not least Busta Rhymes who almost single-handedly destroyed the next film in the series).

He later pulled the rug of credibility out from under himself in a naff role in Deep Blue Sea the following year (for which he also contributed a dire theme song) and returned to slasherdom in Mindhunters in 2004.

Eventual Fate: Survives despite being shot.

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Tatyana Ali as Monica in The Clown at Midnight

Who hell she? Former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air cast member and short-lived career singer Ali scored a big hit by duetting with series brethren Will Smith before seemingly being sucked into the career ether.

In the midst of horror: Ali cropped up as the sassy best-friend-of-heroine in this Canadian Scream knock-off, where a group of high school theater club kids are tormented by a psychotic but not remotely scary clown.

Eventual Fate: Skewered with a spear that she almost spins 360s around. But doesn’t.

brandy-isk2Brandy as Karla in I Still  Know What You Did Last Summer

Who hell she? Brandy Norwood – who I had confused with Aaliyah for several years – had already headlined her own kids show, Moesha, for a couple of years and scored some gentile RnB chart hits, including this one featuring LL Cool J – hmmm. The only ones I know were Sittin’ Up in my Room from Waiting to Exhale and The Boy is Mine with genre clone Monica.

In the midst of horror: Brandy signed on to play the sassy best-friend-of-heroine in the cliché ridden killer fisherman sequel to the surprise 1997 hit. For the role, Brandy had to lip-sync (something I don’t doubt she was used to) her screams, so’s not to damage that precious voice… To be fair, she does ok with some godawful dialogue and has a cool chase scene.

Eventual Fate: Staggers from the wreckage at the last second after we all hoped believed she was dead.

kylie-cut2aKylie Minogue as Hilary Jacobs in Cut

Who hell she? Pint-sized pop princess and international gay icon Kylie made her screen debut in cult Australian soap Neighbours before becoming one of the most successful artists on the planet, notching up 45 Top 20 hits in the UK between 1988 and 2011.

In the midst of horror: For her Drew Barrymore-esque cameo in Aussie comic-horror Cut, she appeared for all of five minutes as the tyrannical director of a low-budget horror film, Hot Blooded.

Eventual Fate: First to go, probably to the joy of many she gets her tongue cut out.

snoop-bones2Snoop Dogg as Jimmy Bones in Bones

Who hell he? Pot-smoking LA rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg (later dropping the middle name) has been on the rap scene since the early 90s. Look, I know fuck all about rap. It bores me. He appeared on that Katy Perry track and was in some episodes of Weeds. And played Huggy Bear in the crappy Starsky & Hutch reboot.

In the midst of horror: Dogg rolled up as a killer from beyond the grave in this ghetto Elm Street wannabe, in which a murdered 70s big cheese rises from the dead to take revenge on those who killed him after they turned his beloved burg into a grotty ghetto of sleaze.

Eventual Fate: As the supernatural killer, he’s already dead and possesses daughter Bianca Lawson at the end.

kris-dtox2Kris Kristofferson as Dr Mitchell in D-Tox

Who hell he? Texas folk strummer Kristofferson has never had a single UK chart hit but the weird alliteration of his name alone ensures most people have at the very least heard of him. Folk isn’t my thing either so I can’t tell you shit about his career.

In the midst of horror: KK phoned in a one-dimensional performance as the head shrink at a clinic for burned out cops, where Sylvester Stallone thinks there’s a police-hating serial killer on the prowl. In truth, I can’t remember a whole lot about the film now, only that the identity of the loon was evident from the outset and that a cast containing Charles S. Dutton, Courtney B. Vance, Sean Patrick Flanery and Robert Patrick could be so wasted in a film that virtually bypassed big screens everywhere for a dead future on DVD…

Eventual Fate: Dies, but I can’t remember how.

busta-hr2Busta Rhymes as Freddie Harris in Halloween: Resurrection

Who hell he? I know even less about Busta Rhymes than I do about Snoop Dogg. He sang on that really rubbish Half on a Baby with Mariah Carey and did a ‘song’ that sampled the Psycho theme (blaspheme!).

In the midst of horror: Rhymes, evidently spurned on by – or jealous of – LL Cool J and Snoop Dogg’s horror movie outings, somehow bagged the lead role in what is possibly the most hated film in the Halloween canon (though I actually don’t mind it at all) as a small time entertainment entrepreneur who organises a live webcast from the home of Michael Myers on Halloween night, unaware that the psycho has lived in a tunnel beneath the property for several years and objects to any visitors.

From his ridiculous Kung Fu showdown with Michael to his attempt at playing things cooler than a frozen cucumber, Rhymes is possibly the victim of a crap script. This is, after all, a film that tries to sell to us the idea that Michael Myers was not the guy beheaded at the end of H20. It’s more plausible and likely that he just can’t act.

Eventual Fate: Stabbed about three times but survives. Fuck it.

kelly-fvj2Kelly Rowland as Kia in Freddy vs Jason

Who hell she? One of the ‘other’ members of Destiny’s Child who merely existed under the shadow of the great Beyoncé, future X-Factor mentor and singer of a few half-decent solo hits. I can’t even picture the third girl. Hang on, weren’t there four at the start?

In the midst of horror: Rowland turned up as the sassy best-friend-of-heroine (any one else noticing a theme?) in the long-awaited horror series mash-up. Kia says “girl” a lot and gives mouth-to-mouth to Jason Voorhees, for which he thanks her by slamming her against a tree. However, Rowland reportedly ad-libbed “faggot” as an insult against Freddy, which dropped her credibility through the floor in my book.

Eventual Fate: Machete sling into a nearby tree.

paris-wax2Paris Hilton as Paige in House of Wax

Who hell she? Before House of Wax, I was one of approximately six people on the planet who didn’t really know who Paris Hilton was. Everyone seemed to hate her. Apparently, the hotel chain heiress-slash-socialite is one of those famous-for-being-famous dollies who had a few ‘reality’ TV shows and squawked out a heavily auto-tuned album in 2006, which spawned the worldwide hit Stars Are Blind. She sings like she’s stoned.

In the midst of horror: The American marketing for this remake played heavily on Hilton’s character’s fate: See Paris Hilton Die! squawked the trailers. So divisive her star-status that it would have started a riot had she been cast as the final girl. Strangely, this was not Hilton’s first foray into slasher cinema, having already been offed in rubbish British ghost-horror Nine Lives. In Wax, she does okay with the role of best-friend-of-heroine (though for once, white!).

Eventual Fate: After an admittedly impressive chase scene, Paige gets a rusty old pole right through the head.

bonjovi-wolf2Jon Bon Jovi as Rich Walker in Cry_Wolf

Who hell he? “Ohhhh we’re halfway there…!” Leading man of supremo 80s hair metal rockers Bon Jovi, JBJ has enjoyed enormous global success with the band, turning out hits pretty much solidly for a quarter of a century. Everyone loves at least one Bon Jovi song.

In the midst of horror: Would you learn anything if Bon Jovi was YOUR teacher? No? Neither do any of the cast members in this cheat of a film, set at a snobby prep school where the students start a rumour about a campus cruising killer that backfires of them, then doesn’t, then does…

JBJ is the media lecturer and more intertwined with events than it at first seems. He says teacherly things, wears glasses and boring clothes and generally makes no impression whatsoever. But the film’s crap so who cares?

Eventual Fate: Shot dead because he’s the killer. No, wait! He isn’t! Is he? Fuck it, I have no clue what’s going on. Dies.

tulisa-dnd2Tulisa Contostavlos as Amber in Demons Never Die

Who hell she? One third of unspeakably dreadful UK ‘urban’ group N-Dubz, who, despite being a vacuum of talent, scored several substantial chart hits, including a number one single. Tulisa then went on to mentor on The X Factor, her girl group Little Mix eventually winning the show. Entirely thanks to her, of course.

In the midst of horror: Plays ‘the Drew Barrymore role’ in UK ‘urban’ slasher flick Demons Never Die, which I’ve not yet seen because it flopped so hard at the box office it barely played anywhere, drunkenly staggering its way to DVD in February 2011. Equally repugnant Radio 1 DJ Reggie Yates also features.

Eventual Fate: She dies, but I don’t yet know how.

* * *

What does this teach us? If you’re a black female artist, you have no choice than to play the final girl’s best friend.

Who would you like to see bite it on the big screen? I imagine Justin Beiber would top a few lists. Simon Cowell would be forced to listen to Westlife until his brains bleed out his ears. Eminem could scream like a girl. Victoria Beckham could be force-dieted to death…

The list is endless.

7 comments

  • for the record Alanis Morissette’s adroable as “God”…even if she lacked any lines.

    All the while, i never even knew these actors and actresses had musical sidelines! shocker!

  • Good Christ! How thorough is this article?! Good stuff!

    I always got a bad vibe from Kelly Rowland in FvJ so I was interested to read about her improv techniques. And I agree about LL Cool J — he’s also strangely likable in Deep Blue Sea.

    I’ve been desperately trying to thing of someone you missed (y’know, just to prove how clever I am…) but the best I can come up with is Lisa Loeb, who cameos in House On Haunted Hill and the recent Fright Night.

    kaijinu: Yes, Alanis in Dogma almost makes me wish I were religious. Almost.

  • I love Alanis, but I needed to make a point about singers and the roles they play.

    Lisa Loeb also did a neo-slasher called Serial Killing 101. And there’s always Debbie Harry in Tales from the Darkside.

  • Oh yes! And Debbie Harry also did pretty much an ACTUAL slasher with 1991’s Intimate Stranger!

    There’s also Pink in Catacombs.

    You could even trace the trend back into the 60s/70s with Fabian (Ten Little Indians), Jack Jones (The Comeback) and Frankie Avalon (Haunted House of Horror/Blood Song)… Geekfest!

  • @ Ross

    Catacombs was a slasher?!

  • Frankie Avalon was in Blood Song too (as the flute playin’ killer) but I wasn’t sure if he was initially a singer or an actor. He’ll always be the Guardian Angel in Grease to me! : )

  • “However, Rowland reportedly ad-libbed ‘faggot’ as an insult against Freddy, which dropped her credibility through the floor in my book.”

    No. David S. Goyer’s doing, evidently. Apparently Rowland was uncomfortable with most of Kia’s lines.

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