Bachman’s Best – SAW

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The best thing I saw last week was Saw. I actually watched all 7 films in the franchise on my lovely new Blu-rays I got thanks to a friend of mine giving me a Blu-ray player to make up for my sudden lack of a PS3. Love them all, most for very different reasons from the original, but that is the one I want to talk about today. Saw, the original is important I think for two very big reasons. It spawned the first new type of horror film since the dawn of the slashers in the 70’s and 80’s and it also gave us our very first killer that doesn’t actually kill, well at least not in the standard horror movie way. And depending on which sites you check and adjusting for inflation it is labeled by some to be the highest grossing horror franchise of all time so Saw definitely hit upon something in the American psyche and rolled with it.

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Probably my favorite thing about the original is the simplicity of it’s beginning. Two guys, director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell get together to make an independent movie, they want it to be cheap. They ask themselves “What’s the cheapest movie we can make?” The answer “Two guys in a room.” “But why are they in the room?…” From that simple little back and forth they come up with Adam and Lawrence waking up in a room not knowing how they got there and then learning throughout the film why they are in this room, and more importantly what it’s going to take to get out.

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“I want to play a game” these are the words that Jigsaw, aka John Kramer played fantastically by Tobin Bell, relays to each of his victims through a tape or video message. He has found them to be undeserving of their life for one reason or another and challenges them to a game which will prove their will to live. The games and traps in the later films become vicious and some inescapable but the original ones designed by Jigsaw could always be beat if the victim were willing to give of themselves. The second great quote form Jigsaw being “Oh yes, there will be blood”. If you are willing to shed blood, maybe injure yourself or somebody else you could escape Jigsaw’s trap and that is where a lot of the genius of the story comes from. The traps and games are what keep me coming back time and again in the series just too really see what new contraptions the special effects and set designers would create for each new trip into the world of Saw.

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The one downside of course being that the Saw franchise gave rise to the tidal wave of subgenre horror films lovingly entitled “torture porn”, not the least of which is the 3 Hostel films from Eli Roth. Though what all these movies usually get wrong with the pure in your face violence I believe Saw got right with the story and characters and just plain powerful script. If you’re a horror nut you’ve seen these, but go back and re-watch Saw now knowing what you know and see just how well it holds up. If you’re not a horror fan you may have avoided this franchise, but give the first one a chance, it’s gruesome and gritty and might make you a little nauseous, but it’s also damn fine movie making and well worth your time.

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Avatar ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Raised on a diet of Stephen King novels, Bruce Lee action, John Landis films, and horror flicks by his loving mother, Anthony spent his formative years reading everything he could get his hands on and spending far too many hours in his room watching movies while drawing.  Anthony currently spends his evening coloring comics whilst Netflix plays in the background. After starting his own podcast The Next Element, Anthony found a group of like minded individuals on Twitter and found that if invited to a podcast the desire to blab takes him over.  Anthony is Knight of the Pod Table on the Spoiler Alert Theater podcast and can be found guest hosting all over the podiverse. Anthony has dealt with a 23 year addiction to comics and a longer addiction to movies. Even if he hasn't seen it or read it, he probably has an opinion about it. 

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