You rarely hear the phrase 'Tom Cruise sure has a type!' After all, at first glance, his bevy of past and present leading ladies (Katie Holmes, Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman and Mimi Rogers) appear to have very little in common. They're certainly attractive, but in very distinctive ways. We've got a teen queen, Spanish siren, regal redhead and a handsome older woman (I dare not say 'cougar,' because Mimi isn't that much older than Tommy).
But if you take a closer look at their resumes, you'll find that each of his ladies has appeared in at least one very memorable horror flick. This week, Katie's latest chiller 'Don't Be Afraid of the Dark' hits the big screen, reminding everyone that before channeling Jackie O in 'The Kennedys,' Katie came this close to being a bona fide scream queen. Maybe if 'Disturbing Behavior' or 'Teaching Mrs. Tingle' bled into sequels and trilogies she could have joined the ranks of Neve Campbell and Jamie Lee Curtis.
It's not just the horror connection that unites Tom's gals. The universe seems to draw them towards each other in a bizarre fashion -- either before or after being wooed by the larger-than-life Mr. Cruise. Just last year, Nicole and Penelope starred together in 'Nine,' as Daniel Day-Lewis' erratic lover and mysterious muse, respectively.
In a slightly creepier coincidence, Mimi Rogers guest-starred on Katie's 'Dawson's Creek,' playing the troubled mother of Jen (Michelle Williams) years before Katie became Tom's new gal. This little 'two-degrees-of-separation' moment reminds us all that yes, Tom is old enough to be Katie's daddy.
But I digress. Back to the original 'horrifying' connection. In honor of my totally random observation that Tom's ladies have all done notable horror flicks, I have taken the liberty of ranking my top five favorite horror films featuring a past or present Cruise companion.
1. Nicole Kidman as Grace Stewart in 'The Others.' You know things are getting out of hand when the ghosts make you attack your own daughter! Nicole is great in this psychological horror as the mother who questions her own sanity when 'the others' take over her house. Kidman was also great in 'The Stepford Wives,' which isn't technically a horror despite its horrifying premise that the wives are being transformed into obedient robots.
2. Katie Holmes as Rachel Wagner in 'Disturbing Behavior.' Remember when Katie was strong-willed & sassy? She was a real firecracker in 'Disturbing Behavior,' where she tries to save her peers from being turned into Stepford-style drones. You can also catch her (pre-Tom) in 'The Gift,' where she plays a woman who mysteriously disappears. A tidbit for the fanboys: she's topless in this one -- another sign that Tom wasn't in the picture yet.
3. Mimi Rogers as Pamela Fitzgerald (Ginger's mom) in 'Ginger Snaps.' It ain't easy raising teenage girls. Especially when one of them turns into a sex-crazed killer werewolf. Mimi is great as the clueless mom in this oft-underrated gem; her mantra of 'Girls will be girls!' seems a bit ineffective in the face of high school werewolfism.
4. Penelope Cruz as Chloe Sava in 'Gothika.' Penelope is great at playing unhinged characters, and Chloe is certainly unhinged. But really, who wouldn't be with abusive ghosts on the prowl while you're on lockdown because everyone thinks you're crazy?
5. Sofia Vergara as T. T. in 'Madea Goes to Jail.' Wait, this isn't a horror flick? Well, having to share a jail cell with sassy Madea could certainly be seen as a horrifying prospect by some, though Sofia's T.T. doesn't seem to mind. (Ed. Note: You may be wondering why sexy Sofia is on this list. No, it's not a mistake -- she was one of Tom's ladies. They dated briefly between Penelope and Katie.)