Interview: Sid Haig (House Of 1000 Corpses, The Devils Rejects, Halloween)

Another luminary of the Horror world I was able to talk to for a short while was the one & only Sid Haig. Mr. Haig was more than generous with his time & agreed to sit down & answer a few questions about his work past, present & future,

TBS: I’m sitting here with the legendary star of many films that are near & dear to any horror/exploitation fans heart. I’m talking about Sid Haig. How are you doing todsy Mr. Haig?

SH: I’m doing fine, how are you?

TBS: I’m doing great. Looking at you up close & in person is an honor for me. Let me congratulate you first for the award you were bestowed with at the Sitges Film Festival. The Maria Horrorifica award which honors those with an outstanding career In the “Fantastic” film genre. How did you feel receiving such a prestigious award?

SH: It was amazing. The Horror community there is the biggest I’ve ever seen. As a matter of fact the SItges Film Festival draws about 100,000 people every year. They show over 200 films every year & I think the last screening is at 2 in the morning & the next is at 8 in the morning. And they’re just so generous, so amazing & polite…I could live there.

TBS: As exciting as it must’ve been for you & for the audience to have been there, how did it feel for you as an actor or even for you as a person to have been given that award?

SH: You know, for so many years I didn’t know if anybody was paying attention, I guess they were (Laughs).

TBS: Exactly, you know when I read the news about you receiving the award I actually said to myself “That’s really awesome” because..well I don’t want to make you feel old but I grew up with you & your films. It seemed like in the 70′s every 3rd movie I saw…you were in it.

SH: Yeah, in the 70′s….I was really busy in the 70′s.

TBS: Which leads me to my next question: You did a lot of movies in the 70′s with Pam Grier. And I happen to have a brother in law who, to this day, worships the ground she walks on. So a few Christmases ago I got him every available Pam Grier DVD that I could find. And a couple of weeks afterwards he called me up to thank me but he wanted to know “Who is this Sid guy & why is he always f*cking Pam Grier in these movies”?

SH: (Laughing) Because I’ve got good taste!

TBS: He just didn’t get it. Do you still keep in touch with Ms. Grier?

SH: I lost touch with Pam but we’ll get together at some point. When I did “Jackie Brown”, I had not seen Pam in 27 years & when we met it was just as if we had lunch together the day before. It’ll be the same way the next time we meet up.

TBS: It’s a beautiful thing when you make friends like that & all those years can go by but the friendship is still fresh.

SH: We went through the battles in the Philippines together you know? And when you help one another through times like that, there’s a bond that’s created. That doesn’t go away.

TBS: Those films must’ve been literally murder to make, I mean besides the sex scenes…

SH: (Laughing) Yeah, they were difficult because they didn’t have facilities and..I mean I had done my 4th picture there before we had a Port-a Potty. Before that it was just..uh, go find a bush & kill it! And the women were..I mean initially they were put off by the whole thing. I’m sure you can understand why. But then they just became troopers & said “Fuck It, here we go”. And then they would go in pairs: one to do there business & one to watch for snakes and spiders…

TBS: Oh man, I didn’t even think about that. The bugs over there must have been legion!

SH: Pythons, Cobras & Vipers. And then they have a Spider over there that’s the size of a dinner plate that could put you into spasms for a minimum of 24 hours.

TBS: Jeez! And this you just got used to?

SH: You just get used to it. You just do it.

TBS: Did you live in the Philippines while you made these movies? Or did you go back & forth from the states to the Philippines?

SH: I was there for 6 months in one stretch & I did 4 films back to back. But I went over first of all to do “The Big Doll House” then came back a year later to do “The Big Bird Cage” & then I stayed for four more films, left & then came back. I did about eight films over there.

TBS: Wow, that’s something. I noticed Jack Hill over on the other side of the room. He of course directed you in “Spider Baby”. Was that your first film?

SH: No. “Spider Baby” was my fourth film. My first film was “The Host” which was Jack’s student film back at UCLA. My second film was a film called “Firebrand”, a Western. My third film was “Blood Bath” which Jack directed then the fourth film was “Spider Baby”.

TBS: I never even heard of those films. Especially “Blood Bath” which sounds very interesting. Do you know if any of them are commercially available?

SH: Yeah I think it is available. I’m not sure…I’ve never seen it.

TBS: Really?

SH: Yeah (Laughing), I gotta check that out now!

TBS: Recently one of your films was just officially released on DVD & it’s was one of my “Holy Grail” films for me. You know, something I searched far & wide for to no avail. That film is “Galaxy Of Terror” For me when I first saw that movie..well let’s face it, after “Alien” there was a glut of Sci-Fi films that aped it for years afterward. But I still tink that “Galaxy Of Terror” was the only one that nailed it. Production wise at least. And on the DVD there’s so much…do you have the DVD? Did you watch it?

SH: Oh Yeah.

TBS: Well in the “Making Of” extra on the film everybody talks about how little money they had & how Corman is so cheap to work for.

SH: That was an expensive film for Roger.

TBS: How expensive is expensive for Roger?

SH: A couple of million bucks.

TBS: Because I had noticed that a lot of the spaceship scenes..I mean the scenes that take place on space are lifted directly from “Battle Beyond The Stars” And I had a little chat with John Saxon & I mentioned that fact to him & he didn’t know it either. It seems every Sci-Fi film Corman made after that one used footage from that film. And I just tell myself “The man’s a genius”. A cheap genius but a genius nonetheless to get so much mileage out of those scenes. And the director of “Galaxy Of Terror”, his name was R.J. Kizer right? I forget…

SH: (Thinking for a few seconds) Clarke. His name was Clarke.

TBS: Right! B.D. Clarke was the director. And I realized that James Cameron had done a lot of the set design.

SH: Right. He did all of the major set design pieces. He designed the wardrobe & my throwing crystal, which didn’t work worth a sh*t (Laughing) & he also did second unit directing.

TBS: Wow. Was he a..how do I phrase this? Was he kind of a “King Of The World” type then as well? Because there are stories on the disc about how protective he was about his work.

SH: He was. He was very protective of his work & he was intense. When he was going to direct my death scene, because as 2nd unit director he did all of the death scenes. And he said we’re going to do this “MOS” (For those of my acolytes who don’t know what that stands for it means “Motion Omit Sound”, don’t forget! There might be a test later).. And I said “What do you mean”? He says “Well you can’t make a sound”. And I said “Uh, what”? And he says that they’re” shooting at the other end of the sound stage so we can’t make any noise over here”. And I told him “I’m sorry Jim, but I don’t know how to die silently, ok? So why don’t we wait for them to finish & then we’ll do ours”. I don’t think he liked that. I don’t know, it all came off. It all worked.

TBS: But you’re character didn’t speak in the film. He didn’t have any dialogue. All he had was the (Mimics hand movement that the character used throughout the film laughing). There were no lines that I recall.

SH: They made me say the most ridiculous line of all of the lines: “I live and I die by the Crystal”.

TBS: Oh! That was your one line, I completely forgot that!

SH: See, when Roger first approached me about doing that film I said “I’ll do it on one condition” & he said “You’re not getting any more money”! I told him “I don’t want any more money”. “Then what is it”? was his reply. And I said “I want to do it mute”. He asked “Why”? And I told him “Have you read the script”? And he said “Oh yeah, ok do it mute”.

TBS: As much as I love the movie & I really do. The script is…well it’s way out there.

SH: Well for my character in particular because I was supposed to be the “Old Warrior” but the dialogue was just too hip you know? It just didn’t work with what the character was supposed to be. So I’d rather just do it silent.

TBS: Your character had the most dignity of all of the cast & even though you had to say the line you didn’t have to say it to get that emotion across to the audience. It was obvious.

SH: I could make you believe that without saying it. but no…I had to say it.

TBS: It is a testament to your acting though, that you didn’t need to say it to get us to believe it. Are you working on anything currently that you could share with us?

SH: I just finished a couple of pictures. One is called “Blood Is Blood” down in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I think it’s going to be an excellent film. Everybody involved with the film was..you know “Right there”. Sid Sheinberg who was the head of Universal Studios for a number of years was the producer and Paul Mason who produced almost every smash hit was also one of the producers & everyone just pushed it up a notch to get it done. It was pretty cool.

TBS: And the other film?

SH: It’s called “Memesis”.

TBS: “Memesis”…with an M?

SH: “Memesis”, yes. Which means life imitating art.

TBS: I didn’t know that (See? even The Saint can learn new things). These are both genre films?

SH: Yes.

TBS: Are they going to be theatrical releases or direct to DVD?

SH: “Blood Is Blood” will probably be theatrical.

TBS: Excellent!

SH: With Sheinberg behind it, it’ll go places.

TBS: You belong on the big screen. With the exception of “Jackie Brown” I can’t think of the last time I’ve seen you on the big screen.

SH: (Incredulously) “House Of 1000 Corpses”, “The Devils Rejects’, “Halloween”…

TBS: Shit on a bed! I completely forgot all of those. I’m going to have to edit this before I send it to the web site (Obviously, I didn’t. The Saint makes mistakes every so often. Don’t get it twisted though. It doesn’t happen often. Fuckers).

TBS: You know, I thought “Devil’s Rejects” was a masterpiece. As a matter of fact it was the best film I saw that year bar none. Now I know it seemed like everybody died at the end of that movie but has Rob Zombie ever mentioned bringing you guys back for a third go round?

SH: No. We’re pretty much dead.

TBS: Did you have a good time making that film? Because it sure seemed like you did.

SH: It was a difficult film to do because for 30 days it never got below 105 degrees.

TBS: What about the sex scene with Ginger Lynn? (Who was setting up a table besides Sid’s at the time). I always hear actors say that after a few takes sex scenes are just boring to do & there is no excitement for either actor involved. I find that hard to believe myself. As a matter of fact I’m getting a woody just seeing Ginger Lynn so close to us. What are filming those scenes like for you?

SH: Well you have to remember the setting. There’s lights all around us & 30 guys sitting around watching us scratching their bellies & you’re just thinking “ok”.

TBS: I don’t know dude, I’m never going to be an actor so I guess I’ll never know but just the thought of it gives me a hard on you know?

TBS: Are you ever going to work with Rob Zombie again?

SH: Probably…

TBS: “The Blob”?

SH: He’s not doing “The Blob”.

TBS: He’s not doing it? He announced it.

SH: He didn’t announce it. Somebody announced it but not Rob. You’ll know what he’s doing when it comes out of his mouth.

TBS: I was really excited when “Tyrannosaurus Rex” was announced as his next project & there was some art work to go with the announcement & then all of a sudden his next announced project was “The Blob”. But you say no so & that’s straight from the horse’s mouth People.

TBS: I just want to thank you for your time talking to us Mr. Haig. It’s been a pleasure & I’m sure all of your fans are anxiously awaiting your next movie.

SH: Thank you very much. This was fun!

TBS: Thanks.

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Those of you who don't know of The Black Saint & have yet to commit yourselves to him body, mind & soul will find yourselves in a most uncomfortable position when my army of acolytes is complete & ready to wreak havok upon this pitiful blue ball we live on. Oh, I really like horror movies as well & will take on all comers in a horror trivia contest. Bring it on!
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