"The good news is, you're going to be a star in a movie! The bad news is, the movie is so terrifying that you're not allowed to watch it for a decade."
This must have been, pretty much, the conversation all of these child actors had with their parents. But star in them they did and each of them did an incredible job of scaring the sweet bejeezus out of us.
Join us as we find out where the horror film kids of yesteryear are these days.
Alex Vincent (Andy Barclay, Child’s Play)
The more we read about Alex Vincent (now 34) the more we admire the guy. He played Andy Barclay in four Child's Play movies (including a cameo in last year's Curse Of Chucky) and had bit part roles in four or five other small films like Wait Until Spring, Bandini and My Family Treasure. But it's what he's done outside of acting that really impresses. Talk about trying his hand at everything, he graduated from Hackensack High School, New Jersey in 1999 and played the keyboard and sang for a band called Perception. After university in Florida he has published several books of poetry and is now a writer, photographer, screenwriter, sound engineer, poet, astronaut and actor in the Tampa Bay area.
...One of those was a lie.
Harvey Stephens (Damien, The Omen)
Harvey was four when he was picked for the part, which required him to have his blond hair dyed dark brown. According to Omen director Richard Donner, Harvey got the part after he beat up Donner and punched him in the testicles, during casting. It was at Donner's urging, we should add. Because Harvey was so young, Donner found that the best way to direct him was to provoke genuine reactions. Donner even called him a "little bugger" as the cameras rolled in order to achieve the aggrieved look he wanted. Harvey had very few other acting credits, one of which was playing a tabloid hack in 2006 version of The Omen.
When asked about the original movie Harvey, who received a Golden Globe nomination for 'Best Acting Debut: Male' in the film, recalled: "The scariest part of the film was being shut in a car with a live baboon - something I'll never forget. I can remember riding around the film set on the tricycle - the house was so big they had to mark out my route with masking tape and arrows so I didn't get lost." Harvey kept the tricycle until 2008 when he auctioned it off. After some time as a property developer he's now running a London-based chauffeur business.
Danny Lloyd (Danny Torrance, The Shining)
Danny only had one more role after The Shining, his appearance as 'Young Liddy' in the 1982 made-for-TV movie, Will: The Autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy. Apparently he landed the role of Danny Torrance thanks to his ability to maintain concentration for extended periods. In the DVD commentary it's stated that Kubrick was able to film all of Lloyd's scenes without the six-year-old actor realising he was in a horror movie. Rather wonderfully it was Danny's idea to have his character move his finger when he spoke. He tried to keep acting but missed out on roles and, after being a pig farmer, became professor of biology at a community college in Elizabethtown, Kentucky in 2007. He has since moved on to teach in Missouri.
Louise and Lisa Burns (The Grady Twins, The Shining)
These two pretty much wrote the book on how to be a terrifying child - a book almost all other horror movies have followed to the letter: Stand, stare, talk monotonically. Post-Shining neither of them acted again with Lisa (left in the movie scene, right in the red cardigan) studying literature at university and Louise becoming a microbiologist. The image on the right was taken when they were guests at the British Film Institute, in January. Why not relive the horror they bought to the world, back in 1980, right here?
Haley Joel Osment (Cole Sear, The Sixth Sense)
In The Sixth Sense, Pay It Forward and A.I., Haley Joel Osment demonstrated a dynamic range of acting well beyond his years. Unfortunately, when puberty struck, he fell from favour, his only moment of note in the last last decade being when he was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, in 2006. However, things appear to be well and truly on the up. In January he appeared in The Spoils of Babylon a comedy miniseries starring Tobey Maguire, Kristen Wiig, Tim Robbins, Jessica Alba, Val Kilmer, Michael Sheen, and Will Ferrell. He also appears in the upcoming film Tusk - which cruelly isn't a spin-off based around brilliant House Of Cards tycoon Raymond Tusk, but actually a Kevin Smith horror about a walrus. Yeah, we did the same perplexed face you're doing now. This year he appeared in the big screen adaptation of Entourage.
Daveigh Chase (Samara, The Ring)
Ready for a pun? Daveigh hasn't had to... chase... work since her unnecessarily terrifying stint as Samara. She played, you may remember, Samantha Darko in Donnie Darko a year prior to The Ring and reprised that role as the central character in S.Darko, seven years after it. On top of that she's been the voice of Lilo for various Lilo & Stitch movies and games, was in Beethoven's Fifth, CSI, Without A Trace, ER and, interestingly, had a credit in the 2005 sequel to The Ring because of the use of archive footage from the first movie. Kelly Stables, however, performed all of the new footage. Despite having three movies released in 2014 the last year or so seems to have been pretty slow.
Recent pic: Tumblr
Linda Blair (Regan MacNeill, The Exorcist)
Linda was selected from a field of 600 for the role of Regan and went on to be nominated for an Academy Award and two Golden Globes, winning one, for the part. She reprised her role in Exorcist II: The Heretic four years after the first instalment. TV movies followed before a much-publicised run in with the law and narcotics charges. "After that" she once said "my career went down faster than the Titanic."
The 1980s saw a career salvaging job, with Linda landing roles in a number of successful low-budget horror and exploitation films, including Hell Night (1981) and Savage Streets (1984). A raft of comedies followed including Exorcist send-up Repossessed in 1990 and she cameoed in Scream (1996). In 1997, she appeared in a Broadway revival of Grease and in the same year appeared in a documentary for Channel 4 in the UK entitled "Didn't You Used to be Satan?", which served as a biography of her life to that point. She's even started her own charity, the Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation in order to help abused and neglected animals. Oh and someone once made a cake pop of her head. Which you almost certainly didn't need to know.
Miko Hughes (Gage Creed, Pet Semetary)
Okay, to make things easier, hands up anyone who wasn't in Tropic Thunder? Miko certainly was, alongside (seemingly) every actor that ever lived. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Post-Pet Semetary he was in Kindergarten Cop, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare, Spawn, Mercury Rising and Apollo 13. He has been a series regular, recurring character or guest star on many TV series including Baywatch, Beverly Hills, 90210 and Melrose Place. After a break in his career he re-emerged in the science fiction hit Roswell, was in one episode of Hey Arnold! and three episodes of Boston Public. His Tropic Thunder stint was uncredited - he played a DJ. He has Chickasaw Native American ancestry and his first name means 'Chief'. Hang on, he was in Hey Arnold! and his name means 'chief'? We want to go for a beer with this guy.
Recent photo: IMDb
Oliver Robins (Robbie, Poltergeist)
Following the tragic deaths of Dominique Dunne and Heather O'Rourke, Robins is the only surviving Poltergeist child actor. His first film roles were in the 1982 TV movie Million Dollar Infield, and in the 1982 ABC TV movie Don't Go to Sleep. Post-Poltergeist he was in Poltergeist II: The Other Side and the 1982 comedy Airplane II. He made one guest appearance on television, in the 1986 Twilight Zone episode "Monsters!" and left the acting business shortly after. As an adult, he returned to show business as a writer and director. In 2000, he wrote and directed his first film, Dumped and also wrote and directed Roomies in 2004. He has never seen Poltergeist III.
Recent photo: Keli Squires Taylor
Danny Pintauro (Tad Trenton, Cujo)
Having dodged a rabid St Bernard in the Stephen King novel adaptation, Pintauro starred as Jonathan Bower alongside TV mom Judith Light, Tony Danza and Alyssa Milano in ABC sitcom Who's the Boss? from 1984 to 1992. Screen acting roles became few and far between after that, with Pintauro finding work in stage productions like The Velocity of Gary and Mommie Queerest. More recently he has worked as a Tupperware sales representative and as of 2013 he was managing a restaurant in Vegas.
(All images: Rex, YouTube unless otherwise stated)