Much like its less campy, more eerie predecessor, The Twilight Zone, Tales From the Crypt became a pop culture phenomenon based on a reputation for highly entertaining storytelling and notable guest stars. Some actors were even fortunate enough to appear on both series — looking at you, Don Rickles. The show regularly pulled in big names like Tom Hanks, Michael J. Fox, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, but it also featured a number of actors who were then-unknowns or just beginning their ascent to movie stardom.
It’s been 20 years this week since the Crypt Keeper invited us into his dungeon lair for the last time, and in celebration of that, here are 10 now-famous names you might have forgotten appeared on the show in the early stages of their careers.
Johnathan Banks in “The Assassin”
Prior to playing a sketchy guy that’s not to be screwed with on Breaking Bad — and now Better Call Saul — Jonathan Banks popped up on just about every show that required a sketchy character in the ’90s. Banks’ characters rarely fare well in the end, and his character in this episode (which also starred Cory Feldman) wasn’t any better off. A spiked high heel to the noggin is never a pretty way to go.
Daniel Craig in “Smoke Wrings”
Daniel Craig might have been saving the world from suave villains as James Bond in the 2000s, but for much of the 1990s he was slugging it out in the theater world and going after small TV and movie parts. Way before Layer Cake, Road to Perdition, or even Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Craig found himself playing a cocky new employee at an advertising agency in an episode from the show’s final season. (His biggest American gig up to that point was A Kid in King Arthur’s Court to give you an idea of what kind of hot streak he was on.) It wasn’t one of the more memorable Tales episodes, but Craig, of course, went on to bigger and better things.