“…he gave everybody every opportunity to back away, to walk off into the distance, but oh NO, we wanna go see doctor Satan, OK FINE! Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out!” – Sid Haig on Captain Spaulding
Sid Haig is one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met in the “horror” business. Famous for his roles as Ralph Merrye in Jack Hill’s Spider Baby and Captain Spaulding in Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses, and the Judge in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown, he has also played many roles in films that don’t get as much credit as they deserve.
I feel silly calling this an interview because Sid is so pleasant to talk to. I feel like I’m talking to a friend about some of the cool stuff they’ve done.
Not only nice, Sid is forthright and actually talks about things that don’t have anything to do with his films! A true anomaly among actors these days. His other hobbies include hypnotherapy, long walks on the beach, and drinking Sangria in the park with a good novel. Ok, so I made the last two up, but Sid is a very mentally active person. Active in his community, active in his political theories, and actively, just a lot of fun.
Spider baby is a film that sparks a lot of interest today for setting the standard for creepy family dramas. Some ofther great ones, though much later, that you might remember include Texas Chainsaw Massacre and House of 100 Corpses…
Heidi: Spider Baby? You seem pretty proud of the fact that this film led to many copycat films: I don’t think it gets referenced enough:
Sid: They credit TCM for starting that genre. And we had done it years before. One reason I’m so protective of that is because of Jack Hill. Jack Hill is an incredible director. Nobody recognizes that he is as talented as he is. I would not be lying if I said that if it weren’t for him, African American actors would have taken a lot more time to get established in this business, because he was the one that started that whole blaxploitation thing.
Heidi: Jackie Brown: Tribute to Jack Hill? Was he involved?
Sid: No, he wasn’t. But Quentin respects him a lot. On the John Stewart Show, Quentin Tarantino, John Stewart said, you are the director of the age. I have to know one thing: Is there an American director that you look up to?
Quentin said: “Jack Hill. The best living American Director there is.”And John Stewart said, “Who’s Jack Hill?”
That’s why, whenever I have an opportunity to set the record straight, I will always always mention Jack.
Heidi: When you saw the script for Spider Baby, did you think it was an odd film or was it totally characteristic of Jack?
Sid: It was Jack +. I read it and I said, “Yeah, Jack Hill wrote this. But he has kind of outdone himself.” I wanted to do that film so bad.
Heidi: So you thought it was going to be awesome.
Sid: Oh yeah. HA (Sid laughs a LOT)
Heidi: Did you have a lot of fun making that film?
Sid: Oh God it was hilarious. The thing is, Beverly Washburn and Jill bebnner and I would hang together as a family when we weren’t shooting. We would play children’s games, and I pretty munch stayed in character the whole time when I was with them. That was one of the things that made it fun, cause we were like, putting everybody on and they didn’t get what we were doing.
Heidi: What’s the deal with these 6 extra minutes of footage in Spider Baby that Jack Hill just put back in?
Sid: They actually lost the footage.
Heidi: So they found it!
Sid: And the original negatives, all cut from the past.
Heidi: And now lets talk about, and I know you talk about it a lot, Captain Spaulding. I’m not gonna ask you any Rob Zombie questions, cause I’m sure that annoys the shit out of you.
Sid: And not because I don’t like Rob,
Heidi: But probably because you get asked it all the time. But I want to know about your character. I want to know how much of the character was you and how much was created for you already by Rob.
Sid: The skeleton and a lot of the meat were already on the page; it’s just that I’ve been around guys like him. A lot. And the rest of the guts were mine. In doing Pit Stop (I don’t know if you ever saw it, it was a Jack Hill film)
Heidi: Yeah, I haven’t seen it
Sid: It centers around Stock Car racing. You know, like, if you don’t have a southern accent, you’re getting the shit kicked out of you. Stock Car Business. We were around those people all the time, and a lot of those mannerisms and dialogues and stuff came directly out of first hand experience with guys who are basically like that. Some of the guys were really cool, really sharp, and some other guys were just as dumb as a sack of hammers. But Spaulding, I think, is very smart. When he was a kid, he was probably the one who got the idea of tying the tails of two cats together and hanging them over the wash line. But, as an adult, and I think you see it in the film, he loves to play with people. It’s cat and mouse, you know, all the time. Making the kids think he’s mad at them and then saying, “Ahh got ya again!” He is constantly questioning people, Even though he led people down the old garden path, he gave everybody every opportunity to back away, to walk off into the distance, but oh NO, we wanna go see doctor Satan, OK FINE! Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out!
Heidi: I actually have a question about Captain Spaulding’s relationship to everybody else in the film. Maybe I am not “getting” it, but the very last scene of the movie when Captain Spaulding pulls up in that car and The kid thinks that everything is gonna be fine and then all of a sudden Bill Mosley’s character pops out the back seat. I’m not sure if Spaulding is actually “with” the family, or if he just doesn’t mind the family, or if he doesn’t even know Bill Mosley is in the car. Do you know what I’m saying? How involved was Cap’n? It’s a geek question and I need to know.
Sid: It’s not a geek question at all! It’s one of those, gee I don’t know, questions. I think that’s what Rob wanted everybody to think.
Heidi: Then I just fell for it completely.
Sid: Yeah. Hahaha. From a director’s standpoint, that’s exactly what he wanted everybody to do. You know what? Maybe Spaulding is the leader of the gang! I don’t know, I haven’t seen the script to the sequel yet. At one point in time, Spaulding and Otis and Baby hit the high road, yeah, they go on a cross-country killing spree.
We’ll have to wait and see the movie. House of 1000 Corpses 2 starts filming this Spring 2004.
Sid Haig is just a great guy. Go see the freakin movie, for god’s sake, and visit Sid at http://www.sidhaig2003.com