I know as horror fans, we like to throw around the word “icon” when one of our horror heroes passes away, but this time, with this guy, the word icon definitely fits. And I know the internet has been flooded with everyone’s memories of meeting him, but dammit…that is the way it should be!
The strange thing for me is that my first introduction to Mr. Haig wasn’t any of his appearances in the horror or exploitation films, but a Saturday morning kids show in the late ’70s called Jason of Star Command, as the villainous Dragos. Of course, later I would come to know him from the countless appearances he did in a ton of television and films. Even before Jack Hill’s Spider Baby saw a legitimate release, I had a shabby looking bootleg on VHS, watching this classic film, with a young Sid playing the simple minded Ralph, and just loving it. That was the amazing thing about Sid. No matter what role, no matter how big or small, Sid Haig always made an impression with the viewer. With this height, bald head, and those glaring eyes, he could stop you dead in your tracks.
And when he started doing conventions, that followed him. He made every single person that came up to his table feel special. One would think that after doing shows for close to 20 years, that he would grow tired of it, especially as he got into his ’70s. But you’d never know because he just seemed to LOVE being there and meeting fans. I remember at a Fangoria show several years ago here in Chicago, the guests were not supposed to allow photos of them being taken at the table, since the show was pimping the professional photo ops. On more than one occasion during the weekend, I heard Sid tell his fans that they are not supposed to take photos at the table, but “this is a free country so if you were to come stand next to me and someone takes a photo, I can’t do anything about it!” Such a big heart and really knew the meaning of the fans.
After House of 1000 Corpses came out, people started to line up to meet him at the shows, and I was always thrilled to see that. It didn’t matter if they didn’t know of his past work, Sid was getting the attention that he’d been deserving for decades. But also, when people became fans of Sid, they would seek out his older films too! Again, all because of the effect he had with his fans. No matter what you might think of Rob Zombie and his films, I am forever grateful to him for hiring Sid for the role of Captain Spaulding because he really did resurrect his career and help make him an icon.
Rest in Peace, Mr. Haig. You have more than earned your rest. But know this, as long as there are fans of horror and exploitation films, you will always be remembered, and will continue to put smiles on the faces of so many people, from now to future generations of fans. Thank you for all those wonderful characters over the years. Gone, but definitely never ever forgotten. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family.
Thanks to Misty Wood for taking and sharing this incredible photo. This says it all.