Clint Eastwood’s Only Two Horror Movie Roles, Explained

Clint Eastwood’s Only Two Horror Movie Roles, Explained

He’s largely steered clear of the genre throughout his career, and here are Clint Eastwood’s only two horror movie roles explained. Eastwood became one of the last true Western movie stars thanks to the Dollars trilogy and films like The Outlaw Josey Wales. His outings in the genre were darker and more cynical than earlier Westerns like those of John Wayne, which reflected changing moods in both cinema and society. The success of Dirty Harry marked a new direction in Eastwood’s career too, where he shifted to contemporary thrillers and occasionally comedies like the hugely successful Every Which Way But Loose.

As an actor, he’s best known for his Western and thriller movies, but as a director, he spanned a broader canvas, from war epics to tender dramas. One genre Clint Eastwood’s not known for is horror, which he’s rarely dipped his toes into. The likes of Play Misty For Me – which was also his directorial debut – or the final Dirty Harry movie The Dead Pool contain elements of the slasher genre, they are ultimately thrillers.

This is likely a conscious choice on Eastwood’s part, as throughout his career he’s focused on projects suited to his strengths as a performer or filmmaker. It would be tricky to pull off a Clint Eastwood slasher movie where he was being truly victimized also, considering his screen persona. That said, two of Clint Eastwood’s earliest screen roles were in horror movies. In fact, his uncredited movie debut was the 1955 creature feature Revenge Of The Creature, swiftly followed by another uncredited – but key – appearance in that same year’s Tarantula!

As the title suggests, Revenge Of The Creature is a sequel to the classic monster movie Creature From The Black Lagoon. The follow-up reveals the titular creature survived the end of the previous film and goes on another rampage. Sadly, Revenge Of The Creature isn’t on par with the first movie, though it’s notable for being the only 3D movie released that year and being Eastwood’s screen debut. In addition to being a very rare Clint horror movie role, it’s also a much dorkier character than he’s known for. In his brief scene, Eastwood – who has turned down many iconic roles – plays a lab technician named Jennings, who complains to John Agar’s lead character that a test cat appears to have eaten a lab rat. Eastwood’s Jennings then checks his pocket and realizes the rat was hiding in there the whole time.

Clint Eastwood’s next horror movie role – and also his last – is a little more dynamic. Tarantula! is an enjoyable b-movie where a test tarantula accidentally exposed to an experimental nutrient grows to enormous proportions and starts eating animals and people in a desert town. Tarantula! – which was also directed by Revenge Of The Creature’s Jack Arnold – ends with the Air Force being summoned after bullets and explosives prove ineffective against the killer spider. It’s actually Clint Eastwood as the “Jet Squadron Leader” who drops the napalm on the titular tarantula and kills it, saving the town.

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