February 20, 2006 12:00 PM

RYAN MERRIMAN At 15, Ryan Merriman played Michelle Pfeiffer’s son in The Deep End of the Ocean. Now he gets steady gigs in scary movies. Next up: Final Destination 3.

1 DON’T FEAR THE REAPER (AND EAT A LIGHT LUNCH) His gory death scene in Destination required “a mixture of corn syrup, gelatin, strawberries and little bits of bananas for my brains,” says Merriman, 22, who starred in Halloween: Resurrection and The Ring Two. “They actually poured this stuff into my mouth. That was fun.”

2 FIND FRIENDS WITH SIMILAR INTERESTS On the set of Home of the Giants, Merriman became golfing buddies with costar Haley Joel Osment of The Sixth Sense. “One day, I was like, ‘Dude, I’m sorry, but you’ve got to say it!’ He’s like, ‘I see dead people?’ It was really funny.”

3 KEEP THE BOGEYMAN IN ANOTHER AREA CODE “When I’m not doing blood and guts, I’m mowing my yard, playing horseshoes and drinking a beer,” says Merriman, who lives in Oklahoma City with wife Micol, 23. “Like a real person.”

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