Greetings, Brothers and Sisters of the Psychotronic Video World! I wasn’t planning on writing another tribute so close on the heels of my last one, but on my routine daily check of Wikipedia’s list “this day in history,” one name on the “births” list jumped out as if written in letters of fire. It was a sign, and I knew that witness must be made. So hier stehe ich; It ain’t exactly secret clown business, but let’s talk about Sid Haig. You ready for this? Why don’t you grab yourself some tutti-fuckin’-fruity, pull up a stool and we’ll begin.
Born July 14th, 1939 in Fresno California, Sidney Eddy Mosesian, the son of Haig Mosesian, grew up an awkward, clumsy child, a problem remedied by enrolling him in dance classes at an early age. He took to this like a duck takes to water, and by the age of 7 he was getting paid to dance in children’s Christmas shows. In high school, he was encouraged to pursue an acting career, and he enrolled in the Pasadena Playhouse.
Billing himself professionally as Sid Haig, his first break came in Jack Hill’s student film THE HOST in 1960. This would mark the beginning of a long and profitable series of collaborations between Haig and Hill; Haig would go on to appear in SPIDER-BABY (as the deranged, inbred “child” Ralph) COFFY, FOXY BROWN, and Hill’s two excursions into the “Women in Prison” subgenre; THE BIG DOLL HOUSE and THE BIG BIRD CAGE. These last four all paired Haig with Pam Grier; in THE BIG BIRD CAGE he plays her lover, Django, a radical militant of the Che Guevera model. Haig provides the non-naked-boobies highlight of the film; particularly when he pretends to be a foppish homosexual hairdresser to get past the mincing guards of the titular prison. Other movie roles include appearances in THX 1138 and the James Bond film DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER. I hope readers will forgive me for glossing over some, perhaps better, roles he’s had to discuss briefly one of my favorites of his, 1981’s GALAXY OF TERROR, in which Haig plays the silent Quuhod; silent because Haig declared the dialogue he’d been given to be terrible, and refused to speak it.
Haig also appeared on the small screen, guest-starring on such shows as Batman, The Dukes of Hazzard, Star Trek, MacGyver, The A-Team and Mission Impossible, where he held the record for the most appearances (eight) of any guest star in the show’s run.
By 1992, Haig had grown tired of being typecast as heavies and villains, and retired from acting, becoming a certified hypnotherapist. In 1994 he turned down the part of Marcellus Wallace in Tarantino’s PULP FICTION, being concerned about the short shooting schedule; in retrospect, Haig has admitted to regretting this decision. In 1997, Tarantino again turned to Haig to play the role of the judge in JACKIE BROWN, again pairing him with Pam Grier.
It was in 2000, however, that Sid Haig again made the public sit up and take notice; that year he appeared in Rob Zombie’s feature-length directorial debut, THE HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES as the villainous Captain Spaulding, a role he would reprise in the sequel, THE DEVIL’S REJECTS. Firmly ensconced in the horror scene of the 21st century, Haig has more recently appeared in NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD 3D, Rob Zombie’s remake of HALLOWEEN, reprised his role as Captain Spaulding in Zombie’s animated THE HAUNTED WORLD OF EL SUPERBEASTO (in which his hand is crushed between the powerful buttocks of heroine Suzie X), appeared in the gator-man-gone-wild CREATURE, and most recently appeared in Zombie’s THE LORDS OF SALEM.
What will the future hold? One can only guess, but at 73, Haig seems every bit as vigorous and lively as he did in 1971, and I don’t seem him slowing down any time soon.