Get Tickets SAW X opens September 29th
This may sound hard to believe, given the genre’s reputation for conjuring innumerable amounts of sequels, but there are really just a handful of classic horror movie franchises that have made it to 10 or more installments. Thus, the release of the upcoming 2023 horror movie, SAW X is a massive milestone of the macabre. In anticipation of the horror movie, we’re looking back at the lethal legacy of the series’ main antagonist, Jigsaw.
Played by Tobin Bell, this criminal – whose real name is John Kramer – stands out quite distinctly from the genre’s most iconic villains in the way his nickname, the “Jigsaw Killer,” is actually a misnomer. Despite the low survival rate of the rigorous challenges he puts his “test subjects” through, his goal is never to see them reach their death, but to make them more appreciative of the life they have. In anticipation for his grand return to the big screen when SAW X opens in AMC Theatres September 29th, let’s revisit some of the character’s most iconic and intense moments from the original films. Before the games begin, here is your SPOILER WARNING for the previously released SAW movies…
Before we knew the true identity of Jigsaw, in the original 2004 film – also the breakout hit of director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell – he was seen speaking to his abductees only through Billy. The instantly recognizable puppet made its first physical appearance in SAW riding his tricycle to find Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith) and praise her for surviving the Reverse Bear Trap. He commends her for managing to stay alive, adding how most people tend to take their own lives for granted in the series’ first overt reflection of the villain’s core motivation.
He’s Alive! (Saw)
The original SAW is lauded for its shocking twist ending, which also boasts our first knowing glimpse of the real Jigsaw. We first meet protagonists Dr. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) and Adam Stanheight (Leigh Whannell) chained up in a dirty bathroom with the body of a man who apparently shot himself in the head lying on the floor. However, the film concludes with the corpse rising up, revealing that their abductor and Gordon’s patient, John Kramer, was in the room with them the entire time.
“There Will Be Blood” (Saw II)
The second installment boasts a killer final reveal that is set up brilliantly when Det. Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg) sees on a monitor in Jigsaw’s headquarters that his son, Daniel (Erik Knudsen), is with a group of abductees somewhere else. When he confronts the “killer,” John taunts him over what terrible things could happen to the teen if Eric does not follow his rules, but also assures he is “in a safe place.” At the conclusion of SAW II, we learn that he was telling the truth when a time-released safe not far from where John was sitting opens to show Daniel inside, wearing an oxygen mask.
Lynn’s Surgery On Jigsaw (Saw III)
In the main game of 2006’s SAW III, surgeon Lynn Denlon (Bahar Soomekh) is challenged to save John Kramer’s life before he succumbs to his cancer if she wants to save her own. Assisted by his accomplice and previous test subject, Amanda Young, he forces Lynn to remove his brain tumor, which requires her to clip out a chunk of his scalp, poke holes into his skull with a power drill, and cut through it with a power saw in order reach the malignant growth. Even the murderous Amanda struggles to watch what is easily one of the gnarliest and most extremely graphic sequences in the entire franchise that does not involve one of Jigsaw’s traps.