Connecticut HorrorFest kicked off Friday, with a screening of Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses. Attendees who arrived early were greeted with faux ‘Coming Attractions’;trailers for films highlighting the horror icons scheduled to attend the event. They included Creepshow (Adrienne Barbeau), Dawn of the Dead (Ken Foree), and ended with the trailer for the 1967 cult classic, Spider Baby; starring Lon Cheney Jr. and Ct. HorrorFest featured guest, Sid Haig.
The film was followed by a Q & A with Captain Spaulding himself, Sid Haig. Haig entered from the back of the theater like a boxer heading for the ring. He was met with uproarious applause (appropriate for a Horror icon of his magnitude) and what ensued was forty minutes of hilarious, behind-the-scenes accounts from a veteran of the film industry.
When I was going to school, I had the greatest textbook in the world. The thing that was so great about it, was that you never had to open it. The title said, everything: acting is believing. If I believe it, you’ll believe it.
When asked about preparing to portray intense characters like Captain Spaulding, Haig dove head first into his method.
Now I’m going to get into another side of what I do because I am also a certified hypnotherapist and within each and every person is every personality type. And what I had to do was go inside and find the Captain Spaulding that was living inside me and bring him out. I had to put him away at the end of the day, or bad shit would happen. That’s the way that I develop every character that I play. I just find that person that’s inside me and bring them out.
When asked about being approached by filmmakers for certain roles, Haig spoke fondly of his work relationships. Especially his friendship with legendary producer/director Roger Corman:
He sends me a script and a contract. If I like the script, I sign the contract and send it back to him. He sent me the script for Galaxy of Terrror and I called him the next day and I said, ‘I’d like to do this film on one condition,’ and he said, ‘You know you’re not making any more money,’ and I said, ‘I know….Well, I wanna do it mute.’ ‘Why would you want to do it mute?’ And I said, ‘Have you read that shit?’ He said, ‘Okay, you can do it mute.’
The question and answer portion of the evening closely resembled a masterclass in acting as Haig responded to audience questions with incredible authenticity and humor. When he was asked about traumatizing the child actor in the infamous scene from The Devil’s Rejects, Haig said this:
I made that little fucker cry. Nobody held a gun to his head, he wanted to be in that movie.
At the end of the evening, Sid Haig was asked about his passion for horror and he had this to say:
Perhaps my favorite moment of the evening came when Haig bravely declared his preference for The Devil’s Rejects over House of 1000 Corpses, He justified this decision, explaining that he was grateful to the film for allowing him to explore “how fucked up” the Firefly family truly is. He repeatedly thanked the horror community displaying great humility. As the night came to a close, the audience was left with the profound understanding that Sid Haig continues to be passionate about his work, as well as horror itself.