(Joshua Gilmore-Staff Writer)
Sid Haig was the most intimidating interview I had ever had the pleasure of conducting, mind you that I am using intimidating in the most positive meaning of the word. During the early days of Nowhere California, we crossed paths with Sid at the 2013 Days of the Dead Convention and my anxiety stepped forward as I tried to figure out how to approach this larger than life presence.
As a fan, I knew I wanted to simply shake the man’s hand and thank him for his talents. As a rookie podcaster, I needed to figure out the best way to approach this icon and hope to pick his brain, even for a few moments. It would be easy to say that his role as Captain Spaulding was the nerves inducing factor, but that would be partially true, it was the over 6 decades of film work that would make some of the most seasoned journalist speechless and I’m standing there hoping that I would remember how my mouth works.
“Josh and I were very lucky to meet this man at one of our first cons, The Days of the Dead Con. He was very generous with his time, a true gentleman. He gave us a very funny and wonderful interview. Sid has left a beautiful body of work and another bright shining star appears in the heavens,” Philip Morgan, one of the original guys from Nowhere, commenting on the passing of Sid.
As you can hear from that conversation and Phil’s comments, Sid treated us like this was second nature for us and helped us feel like we belonged. That is a trait that could be considered rare in any aspect, let alone a convention, but Sid was definitely a rare individual.
Sid Haig’s first film credit is listed in 1960 and the most recent Rob Zombie’s “3 From Hell” could be one of his last completed film roles, it was his recent work with Rob Zombie that brought him into a new generation and let a new breed of film nerds dive into his past work, which could be looked at as a visual history/evolution of Hollywood.
Rob and Sid first worked together for the music video for “Feel So Numb” off of Zombie’s 2001 album “The Sinister Urge”, this lead to Rob casting Sid in the iconic role of Captain Spaulding in the “House of 1,000 Corpses” Captain Spaulding and the entire Firefly clan became a new generation’s horror icons, this spotlight led Sid into becoming a convention staple and gave fans the ability to hold court with the man behind the clown make-up.
“I remember running into Sid Haig at San Diego Comic Con as he was exiting the autograph upper level. I didn’t want to jam a camera in his face so I opted to simply say “I loved your work with Rob”. Sid simply said “Hey thanks man!” in that southern drawl of his. He turned and asked my name and we chat for bit as we caught an elevator down. His last words to me were “Did you wanna grab a pic or something before I split?” I thanked him and said the conversation was better than any photo. He shook my hand and I left genuinely impressed with how personable and human the fearsome Captain Spaulding turned out to be. Gonna miss ya Sid,” these are the words of Nicholas Dye. He wanted to share this memory of Sid and this is a memory that rang throughout the night and into this morning.
It was an understatement that the fans loved Sid and the lucky fans that would get a chance to talk to Sid knew he loved us back. The floors at most conventions could be a slow moving cattle call, but there are always must visit tables and Sid’s was one of those. Sid was ready for any fan and it seemed like money never was that important as he was ready to take pictures with anyone for free and has donated some of his money earned at conventions to charities.
“Whenever a legend in any capacity is taken from us, it’s hard to put the words together that express just how heartbroken we are. Sid was not only a Horror icon but a Hollywood icon in his own right. Sid saw a second resurgence in his career after “House of 1000 Corpses” and being thrust back into the spotlight showed people this man who’d been in the acting game longer than most of his fan base had been alive. Sid was a staple in the Horror convention circuit, and that is where I was first able to meet this wonderful man. The one aspect of Sid’s appearances that set him apart from others was he only charged for his autograph. If you wanted to come up and say hi, he was very welcoming. Wanted to take a picture with him using your own camera, absolutely free, so long as you didn’t make him stand up. Sid was always a great conversationalist and had the ability to enthrall all those around him with great stories. I remember my 3rd Days of the Dead convention I approached his table to discuss having him do a small interview for our convention coverage. “Don’t ask me for a fucking interview anymore,” was his response. I felt utterly defeated. I had finally annoyed the man himself and I will forever be on his bad side. “Just hit the damn button and we will do an interview, I like you guys so you don’t need to ask anymore,” he said in the same tone as someone who tells a college student they don’t need to ask to go to the restroom anymore. It was at that moment I knew we had become a memorable presence at the Horror convention scene, cause if Sid Haig liked us, then everyone else can fuck off! I will always have a spot in my heart for Sid, and I am happy he is finally at peace. I wish his family well, and if there is some kind of an afterlife, I know Sid is up there asking someone to go to lunch with him,” these are the words of Douglas Porter and his thoughts on this icon that we were lucky enough to cross paths with.
The 2016 Days of the Dead convention was the last time I crossed paths with the man, there was a signing event at Dark Delicacies for the Holliston Season 2 Blu-Ray, but the convention was our last conversation with the man and my last chance to pick the brain of a true Hollywood legend.
The conversation might have been brief, but I enjoyed every moment of it and I still was in awe by that moment in my podcasting life and the reality of Sid Haig liking us, let alone remembering us is still an absolute honor. In 2013, we stepped on that convention floor as nobodies and left feeling like we belonged. In 2016, we entered that convention as an actual force and still felt like fans that could hold court with the captain.
In Hollywood, the label of legend can be stuck to a lot of people and there are some names that do not deserve that honor, Sid sure as hell deserved that status. He has his DNA attached in almost 7 decades of filmmaking and the film nerds of the world should consider ourselves lucky to have that vault to look through.
Thank you Sid for sharing your talents with the world. Oh Captain, Our Fucking Captain.