Terror on the high seas: 10 Love Boat guest stars in horror movies

It's an open smile on a friendly shore. Or is it?!

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"Come aboard. We're expecting you."

At first glance, The Love Boat is light-hearted fun, boasting a boatload of excited guests along with a friendly-faced crew. It's a beautiful ship, and its attentive staff has taken care to ensure your stay is remarkable. But something sinister lurks just beneath that well-polished surface. Among those guests are a lot of actors from... horror movies!

Part of what made The Love Boat so popular was the guest stars it drew. Everybody sailed on The Love Boat, from Old Hollywood movie stars to then-contemporary tabloid mainstays. True to its theme song, the ship really did offer "something for everyone." Whether it was a coincidence or not, a lot of those same guest stars are horror genre luminaries.

Here, compiled for your enjoyment (and onboard safety), is a list of 10 performers that were on The Love Boat and in horror flicks. Take a look as part of your muster drill. Give it a glance as you secure your flotation device. And when you head back to the cabin, make sure to check around each corner, under your bed, and in your shower. You never know who will pop up for a jump scare on... The Love Boat!

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1. Maureen McCormick - "Return to Horror High"

Marcia Marcia Marcia appeared in no less than five episodes of The Love Boat. The former Brady also pops up in Return to Horror High, where she plays Officer Tyler. Killer to the left, killer to the right. Stand up, sit down. Fright, fright, fright! 

2. Priscilla Barnes - "The Devil's Rejects"

Priscilla Barnes is also a Love Boat five-timer, appearing once in the first season and twice in both the show's fifth and eighth seasons. Not only did Barnes go on to replace Suzanne Somers on Three's Company, but she also starred in horror auteur Rob Zombie's 2005 The Devil's Rejects as Gloria Sullivan!

3. John Schuck - "Demon Knight"

John Schuck appears in the two-parter "The Eyes of Love/Masquerade/Hollywood Royalty/The Caper," where he portrays a character named Ox. For some lighthearted horror fare, check him out in My Mom's a Werewolf. Or, for more traditional frights, look for his role in Demon Knight, a Tales From The Crypt spin-off! 

4. Adrienne Barbeau - "The Fog"

Adrienne Barbeau is a bona fide Scream Queen. She was even married to the Master of Horror, John Carpenter. See her alongside John Schuck in "The Eyes of Love/Masquerade/Hollywood Royalty/The Caper." Or, if you dare, check out Barbeau in The Fog or Creepshow. Or listen closely and you'll hear her as the voice of a computer in The Thing!

5. Jamie Lee Curtis - "Halloween"

Speaking of Scream Queen, if there's one actress with more claim to that throne, it's Jamie Lee Curtis. She was born into horror royalty: That's Jamie Lee's mom Janet Leigh getting murdered in the shower in Psycho. Jamie Lee Curtis appears in the 1978 episode "Till Death Do Us Part-Maybe/Locked Away/Chubs." But she is perhaps most famous to horror fans as the long-beleaguered Laurie Strode, most recently seen in 2022's Halloween Ends.

6. John Amos - "Two Evil Eyes"

Legendary Good Times actor John Amos boarded the Love Boat in 1983's "The Zinging Valentine/The Very Temporary Secretary/Final Score." But, for fans of things that go bump in the night, Amos delivered a special performance in Two Evil Eyes. That 1990 anthology horror film is notable for the two directors sharing credit: American zombie legend George A. Romero and Italian master Dario Argento.

7. Melissa Sue Anderson - "Happy Birthday to Me"

Melissa Sue Anderson is yet another Love Boat five-timer, appearing in seasons two, three, and four and twice in season nine. As far as horror movies go, Anderson couldn't have picked better company; she shows up in the amazing and campy Happy Birthday to Me, a movie as enjoyable as it is shocking.

8. Erin Gray - "Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday"

Appearing alongside our next entrant in the episode "She Stole His Heart/Return of the Captain's Brother/Swag and Mag," Erin Gray cemented her part in horror history in the 1993 slasher Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. Spoiler alert: "Final" it was not!

9. Zsa Zsa Gabor - "A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors"

Dream sequence or not, Zsa Zsa is in Dream Warriors. She appears on a talk show, being interviewed by Dick Cavett, before Freddy interrupts and filets the famous actress. Apparently, she had zero familiarity with the franchise or its boogeyman, Freddie Krueger. When Freddie's actor, Robert Englund, jumped out on set, her terrified reactions were real and remained in the final cut!

10. Shelley Hack - "The Stepfather"/"The Troll"

Shelley Hack had a real knack for goofy horror movies, appearing in back-to-back scary productions: 1986 saw Hack in Troll and The Stepfather. We have to admit; nothing screams "particularly terrifying" about her one-off role on the 1982 Love Boat episode "Dumb Luck/Tres Amigos/Hey, Jealous Lover," but maybe we're just de-sensitized.

Familiar Faces: The Love Boat reunion and look-alike contest

A Love Boat look-alike contest took place across the United States in 1997.

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13 Comments

JHP 9 months ago
Terror on the high seas?

watching the love boat - I love almost any kind of cheese (blue cheese or very well aged cheddar- my Fav) cept that show - hokey as can be
AgingDisgracefully 9 months ago
Call me a Big Fat Baby, but G-Mac scared me on the sea, on dry land, in mid-air...
LibraBaby0921 9 months ago
Vincent Price appeared with Joan Blondell as a magician and his neglected female companion in a Halloween episode within the first few years of the series.
CoreyC 9 months ago
Adrienne Barbeau played Rodney Dangerfield's bitch wife in Back To School.
BrittReid 9 months ago
Adrienne also in Swamp Thing, love her and JLC.
JHP BrittReid 9 months ago
Man she was so El Fuego :)
Dugan 9 months ago
Barbeau was great in Creepshow. So was Stephen King.
LoveMETV22 9 months ago
Here's a thought. Seeing that 10 Love Boat Guest Stars appeared in Horror Movies, why not feature those movies on "Svengoolie." Making a connection between the two programs. That is if the Distribution Rights are available on any of those movies.
cperrynaples 9 months ago
Let's not forget that 3 also played Herman Munster in the 80's reboot! Bonus Question: 7 was set up as the killer, but what future and current soap actress did it?
CoreyC cperrynaples 9 months ago
John Schuck sucked as Herman Munster as well as The Munsters Today.
cperrynaples CoreyC 8 months ago
Well, it wasn't the best version, but it was better than the '90's movies!
Bapa1 9 months ago
......and before he did Love Boat, Fred Grandy was in a Saturday morning live-action show called 'Monster Squad'.
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