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Sports Stars Who Appeared in Horror Movies

Once in a while, sports and film work in unison. Cinema has regularly used heroic sporting stories for the central premise of a storyline. Sometimes, actual sports athletes will make a cameo appearance in movies, and occasionally, ex-professional sports stars will jump into acting as a full-time career.

However, horror is a film genre that rarely introduces a sports star to its leading or supporting roles.

On that note, join us in taking a closer look at the sports athletes or sports entertainers who have appeared in horror movies.

Mike Tyson

Appeared in: Scary Movie 3 (2006) & Scary Movie 5 (2013)

We may as well begin our list with the best, and of all the sports stars mentioned in this article, Mike Tyson is undoubtedly the most recognizable. When “Iron Mike” became boxing’s world heavyweight champion, aged 20 years, his bidding career as the heaviest hitter in combat sports was merely the beginning of a prolific tenure in the spotlight.

Earning the reputation of the ‘Baddest Man on the Planet’ didn’t come easy. Still, with a prolific highlight reel of knockouts and multiple world championship successes, Tyson etched his name into boxing royalty alongside the likes of Muhammad Ali, Rocky Marciano, Joe Louis, George Foreman, and Jack Dempsey.

A modern-day equivalent of Tyson is Deontay Wilder, as a freakish level of knockout power forces the sports community to take notice. Most opponents of Tyson fell victim to his punching power, and sports betting sites that didn’t exist in the 80s and 90s are forced to lower odds on KO/TKO props for the likes of Wilder, which is something that would have translated in Tyson’s case.

No betting man could have predicted that, to this day, Tyson is still the youngest heavyweight title holder in boxing history. But in the 36 years since this accomplishment, we’ve witnessed him become a pop-icon front-runner.

Tyson has appeared in countless blockbuster movies and TV shows, but he’s only been cast in two horror films: Scary Movies 4 and Scary Movie 5.

As a masculine female boxer, Tyson bit off the referee’s ear in Scary Movie 4, emulating the real-life situation where “Iron Mike” bit off a chunk of Evander Holyfield’s ear during their heavyweight bout in the 1990s.

Returning to Scary Movie 5, Tyson appeared as himself this time around. He hasn’t landed a horror movie role since, but I wouldn’t count it out, as the now 56-year-old is as intimidating and ‘scarier’ than he’s ever been.

Chris Jericho

Appeared in: Terrifier 2

While some may argue professional wrestling doesn’t qualify as a sport, I don’t care. Wrestlers are as physically fit and endure life-long injuries no different than your favorite NFL, NBA, or MLB stars, so we’re going to highlight the horror movie appearances of Chris Jericho.

Whether on stage performing as a rock star or inside the squared circle putting his opponents through the wringer, Jericho has and always will be a horror genre fan. So, when the creator of Art the Clown, Damien Leone, realized the wrestling star was a fan, he had to get him on board for Terrifier 2.

The Terrifier franchise isn’t for the faint-hearted, and its most recent installment of Art the Clown madness, Terrifier 2, has gone viral for causing fans to throw up and even faint.

One Twitter user wrote: “Just saw Terrifier 2. It was an amazing gory mess. The guy behind me passed out cold n crashed into my chair, and another guy left because he didn’t feel good; I overheard him say and walk out the theatre door. I heard a guy puking hard & loud in the bathroom.”

Jericho’s scene in the film was brief, but it’s a horror movie that will undoubtedly remain in the minds of slasher fans and some rock and wrestling fans, too, due to the wrestling star’s appearance.

Bubba Smith 

Appeared in: Gremlins: The New Batch (1990)

Two Pro Bowl appearances, one Super Bowl victory, and a first-team All-Pro tenure during the 1971 season made Bubba Smith a notable name in football. Following a career in the NFL that lasted nine years, Smith competed for the Baltimore Colts, Oakland Raiders, and finally, the Houston Oilers before crossing over into the world of acting.

Most known for playing Moses Hightower in the critically acclaimed Police Academy movies, he would also work alongside the legendary John Carpenter and Tommy Lee Jones for the underrated action movie Black Moon Rising.

His lone horror movie appearance came in Joe Dante’s infamous Gremlins sequel, Gremlins: The New Batch, Where Smith made a cameo as himself. Despite being the least-known appearance on our list, we can’t ignore a former professional footballer who starred in a sequel to one of the best movies of all time.

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