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Why Jigsaw Isn’t Actually A Horror Movie Villain

Chucky, Friday the 13th, Halloween, Scream – these classic horror movies have one thing in common that, when put against Saw, well, something just seems off. I’ve heard many people complain about the franchise as a whole. People say that it’s not good, doesn’t deserve to be on lists with other classic horror movies, etc. and, they’re right. But not for the reason they think.

People get so irrevocably enraged when they see Saw in lists with other classic horror movies. But why?

Because John Kramer isn’t actually a horror movie villain.

Okay, that may not be their reason, but it’s mine.

And here’s why:

(Spoilers ahead – read at own risk!)

1. He’s Never Actually Killed Anybody

Whether you hate, love or love-to-hate the franchise, you can’t deny that, upon watching the eight (yes, eight) movies, you never actually see John Kramer stab/shoot/behead or otherwise kill a character on screen with his own two hands.

He puts his subjects in games and always gives them a way to survive. It’s not shown once that John Kramer himself straight up murders anybody. That’s one of the biggest differences between him and the classics.

The closest John gets to actually killing somebody would be in the first movie, two detectives are about to arrest John, when, he slashes Detective David Tapps’ throat. He does this in a bid to escape, (which works), and though it’s never outright said whether done on purpose, Detective Tapp survived the attack.

 

2. He Doesn’t Condone Murder, Either

There’s a scene in the 3rd Saw movie where it’s revealed that one of his disciples, Amanda had killed someone who had survived one of the traps. At this point, John tells her, he ‘despises murderers.

In the same movie, Amanda designed a trap to kill Detective Allison Kerry. John again, tells her, ‘I selected you for the honour of carrying on my life’s work. But you didn’t. You didn’t test anyone’s will to live. Instead you took away their only chance. Your games were unwinnable, your subjects merely victims.

John also voices his thoughts on intentionally killing again in the 5th movie. John is talking to Detective Hoffman, who had killed a man in a Saw-style trap. John took issue with the fact Hoffman hadn’t given the victim a chance to escape (much like Amanda), as evident by the following:

J: ‘They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I find it somewhat distasteful to be given credit for work that’s not mine. (Holds up newspaper with the headline ‘Jigsaw Killer Responsible for Pendulum Murder’) Especially inferior work. …Vengeance can change a person. Make you into something you never thought yourself capable of being. But unlike you, I’ve never killed anyone. I give people a chance.’

 

3. The Whole Point of The Games Is Rehabilitation

This is something that John has said multiple times throughout the movies, whenever someone asks him why he does what he does, or what the point of it is. These movies aren’t slasher movies! He takes no pride when the people in his traps die, and he doesn’t want them to.

Here are just a few quotes (not including the ones from above) from the man himself on his work:

  • It was the police and the press who coined the nickname Jigsaw. I never once encouraged or claimed that. The jigsaw piece that I cut from my subjects was only ever meant to be a symbol that that subject was missing something. A vital piece of the human puzzle. The survival instinct. (Saw 2)
  • You can dispense justice and give people a chance to value their lives in the same moment. (Saw 5)
  • Until a person is faced with death, it’s impossible to tell if they have what it takes to survive. (Saw 6)
  • Once you see death up close, then you know what the value of life really is (Saw 6)

There are many other quotes, but I feel these are some of the best to represent the point he, and I, am trying to make. He’s not a stone-cold killer – he hates murderers! He believes that if you push a person to the limits, they will have a newfound respect for their life. And, call me crazy, but I can understand that train of thought. Not saying him putting them in life threatening situations is rational or a good idea – just… I can see the logic.

 

4. When People Pass, He Helps Them

Amanda is probably the biggest example of this in the series. Once Amanda passed her test, he congratulated her on surviving, took her in, and gave her life a purpose. She was lost and he gave her what she needed. She’s the one who kept messing it up. He kept testing her, and she kept failing. He was giving her chance after chance, even admits to wanting to leave his legacy to her but no. She went off the deep end and look what happened, she ended up getting killed because of her choices.

Doctor Gordon is similar. After he passed the test, it was revealed John took him, cauterized his leg and nursed him back to health. Both ended up being so grateful, they wanted to help John continue his work. Because being in the traps gave them a new outlook on life. (Aka, his rehabilitation worked.)

 

5. He Has No Signature Weapon

Freddy has that claw hand, Michael has his machete, Leatherface has a chainsaw, Ghostface uses a knife, Chucky is a doll – all the great horror movie villains have that one weapon you see and instantly associate with them. John… doesn’t. Sure, the traps used in the movies are very specifically his, but he doesn’t stick to one type of ‘killing method’… mainly because his objective isn’t to kill.

Even putting the fact he doesn’t use the traps to murder aside, he’s still used everything from an incinerator (Saw 2) to spraying someone with cold water until they froze to death (Saw 3), to a cyclone powered by a motorcycle (Saw 8). Perhaps the most notable trap used during the series was the reverse bear trap, but not because that’s the one John preferred over the others, or that it was the trap that was used the most – it’s just because it’s really friggin’ cool.

You can’t deny you can’t be a notable villain without having that thing.

 

6. He Tells His Victims How To Survive

He literally tells them, every time without fail what they need to do in order to survive the game. He makes it a point to be the first thing that happens when they wake up: the tape/thing with the rules on it plays automatically. He makes it hard, but fair. They always have a way out, every. Single. Time. The only traps in the whole series that aren’t escapable, aren’t even his! And, once he finds out what they’ve done, he yells/reprimands them and tells them that’s not what they’re trying to accomplish.

In what other horror movie does the killer say, ‘if you run this way you’ll escape,’ or, ‘my weakness is *insert random object*,’ ‘I can’t swim! Better hope you don’t head for the lake!’ No. None of them give their victims a chance. The only objective on their minds is to kill, just because they can.

 

7. He Doesn’t Get Pleasure Out of It

Another classic horror villain thing: killing for pleasure. John would probably scoff at that if someone accused him of such things. Just as he never adopted the Jigsaw nickname, he doesn’t put people in traps for the fun of it. He uses it as a learning tool. (Albeit an extreme one) When the people in the traps don’t make it – though he left it ultimately up to them – it’s not hard to see he even looks sad when they don’t make it. You can see it pains him that they didn’t have what it took to survive. Though it’s never outwardly said in the franchise, you can tell in his face when they talk about victims not making it, it pains him.

 

8. He Doesn’t Use His Back Story as an Excuse

Let’s be honest, losing your unborn son and then learning you have inoperable cancer has got to suck, but all things considered, he handles his past pretty well. He doesn’t burn down a school because people were mean to him *cough, cough* Carrie! *cough cough*, he doesn’t blame a voice in his head for making him murder, and he most definitely doesn’t pin his kills on avenging his mother.

It would be so easy for someone as smart as John to use the traps for straight up murder, or, even screw the traps and just go on a killing spree like other horror villains, but, instead, he allows his past to give him a new purpose. He instead, dedicates his life to helping other people. He openly tells people throughout the series his beliefs and what he plans to do. He’s never dishonest or lies to the people in the traps to get what he wants. He omits certain truths, or withholds certain information, but never straight up lies. He doesn’t need to.

 

9. He’s Got a Plan (And Doesn’t Deviate)

If you’re not on his list, you’re most probably safe. He doesn’t suddenly switch targets because that person happens to be closer/easier to kill then the one he was planning on getting. He doesn’t distract himself with people not already on his radar. He’s got a very concrete plan in his head of how everything’s going to go. His plan even accounts for when his disciples inevitably differ from what he expects them to do. He’s ready for it. He’s anticipated every possible angle and outcome and is rarely (if ever) surprised/caught off guard during the series.

Throughout the series, and, perhaps one of the coolest parts about it, is that it’s revealed everything ties together in the end. Even characters you had no idea even knew each other all had an affect on the events that transpired. It’s one of the things I hands-down love most about the series.

10. He Doesn’t Hold Grudges

Most (not all) of the notorious big baddies in horror movies all have the same M.O: Revenge.

You could argue that John does get revenge by placing the people who he feels have wronged him/their mistakes somehow affected his life in his games, but he doesn’t do it from a selfish stand-point. He doesn’t put you in the game unless you deserve to be there. And, almost all of the people he puts in there belong. Throughout the movies it’s always explained, even the seemingly random people at the beginnings who die before the title shows up – throughout each movie, (if you pay attention) they reveal how all the characters are connected. It’s actually one of the cooler aspects of the movies.

 

So, whether you love, hate, or love to hate the Saw franchise, I hope this list has helped you realize that John Kramer doesn’t deserve to be lumped in with Freddy, Jason, Chucky or the rest of the horror movie baddies.

He might be a bad guy, but there’s no denying he’s just not a bad guy.

Top 5 Pros/Cons of Working From Home




You don’t have to get up early every morning, deal with rush hour, you’re your own boss, you get to work on your schedule. What could be better, right?

Wrong.

It’s not all sunshine and good times. Working from home is actually a giant pain in the ass. It’s one of those things you love-hate. On the one hand it can get pretty stressful/hectic, especially because you’re trying to do everything, but on the other there is no way in hell you would trade the stress for a ‘regular’ 9-5. I’m not saying it can’t be great, but there is much more to it then what meets the eye.

Below are my Top 5 pro’s/con’s of working from home:

#1: You’re Your Own Boss

This is absolutely the number one best and worst thing about working from home. Being your own boss means you don’t have anybody to answer to. Sure, this means that if you forget a deadline you won’t get yelled at, and you have the freedom to move said deadline to whatever you want. But the flipside is: you have no one to answer to.

Nobody’s going to hold you accountable for missing a post, not writing an article, skipping a day because you’re bored/lazy/just don’t want to. There’s nobody else writing articles for you, scheduling your social media – basically nobody’s there to save your ass. If you aren’t doing it it’s not getting done. No matter how much you wish it would do it by itself, you have to dedicate a bit of time to everything in order to keep things running. And, trust me, when you really sit down and start trying to plan all the things you want to accomplish, things can get stressful very fast. I’m not saying it’ll all fall apart and all your readers will leave if you miss one post, but they’ll at least be disappointed if it doesn’t come.

Think that doesn’t apply because you’re just starting out and don’t have anyone looking at your stuff? Not quite. If you’re just starting out, sure it can be tempting to not post if you don’t feel like it because nobody’s watching, but if you want to grow and get people to start looking at your stuff, you’re gonna have to post at least somewhat consistently.

#2: It’s Hard To Detach

Another big con is that since you’re already home, it might take you longer to get out of Work Mode. Also, since you work from home, even when you do decide to relax/shut it down for the night/take a day off, the temptation is always there, and you might find yourself feeling guilty during your days off for ‘slacking off’. It’s tempting to say, ‘my laptop/notebook, etc is just upstairs/in the other room, I should be working, not wasting time doing nothing.’This is something I’m certainly guilty of.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m a writer or what, but I always feel like I’m ‘on’ anyway, whether it’s scanning crowds of people for character descriptions, accidentally listening a bit too hard to that conversation on the subway for a funny line I could put in a story, or running over whatever plot-line I’ve been stuck on when I’m supposed to be not thinking about work – I feel like writers/singers/artists are in a weird state of limbo between working and not working that ‘regular people’ just don’t understand. Our jobs while amazing, make it hard to truly turn off Work Mode.

We’re constantly scanning our life for inspiration, which makes it hard to truly be done at 5pm like most other jobs. Most other jobs you go to the office, work on whatever and then punch out at a certain time. For artists that’s not really an option. It also makes it hard to find the line between ‘I’ve worked enough today’ and ‘I should be cramming as much work as I possibly can into each day because I work from home’.

Is there any fix for this? Not really. It’s always gonna be hard to detach from work, but one thing that might help is trying to put some sort of organization/structure to your work.

For example, I post on my website every two weeks, on Fridays and Mondays, so I try to break up my weeks like this:

Week 1 (Non-Post Week)

  • Search for/work on freelance work
  • Begin new articles/stories for next week
  • Finish at least 2 (other) short stories/articles (to throw in The Vault [so their ready for other weeks])
  • Work on upcoming novel/books
  • Think/Begin new designs for merch
  • Schedule posts for social media (usually done on weekends)

Week 2 (Post Week)

  • Make sure article/short story for this week are done
  • Schedule posts for respective days
  • Finish merch design/s from previous week and add to store
  • Keep working on/finish other short stories/articles from last week
  • Schedule social media posts

If you give yourself some sort of structure like this, it should help ease your guilt when you decide to call it a day, because then you can at least say you ticked off everything you wanted to get done. If you organize everything you need/want to get done, it can also help manage your stress, instead of trying to do everything at once, once you write it all out, you can sort it into whatever you feel are your top priorities and work on those first.

And, this of course you should make sure to schedule days off for yourself as well. I like to keep it simple, and stick with having the weekends ‘off’. (I do ‘easy’ stuff on these days, like photoshop) You can’t constantly be working all day every day – seriously, look it up, it’s bad for your health. Make sure to cut yourself a break every once in a while. You’re the boss, you’re allowed. (Just don’t give yourself too many days off)

#3: Ignoring The People Around You

In this same line of reasoning, with it being hard to detach, it’s not just hard on you. The people around you can feel jaded when you’re constantly blowing them off to work, or, if they work all day, come in and you’re still working. It can feel like you’re actively ignoring them in favour of work. While that might not be your intention, it can (and will) start to wear on those around you if you can’t find a dedicated ‘stopping time’.

I personally have had conversations with the people in my life about this issue. Now that it’s been brought to my attention, I try not to do that, but it’s not always that simple. Sometimes it’s hard to stick to my self-imposed ‘quitting time’, especially if I’m on a writing roll, or, if it’s someone’s day off. That’s when I feel really guilty.

Also, I feel like sometimes they assume since you work from home and you can do it whenever, (especially when you’re just starting out) and they might not see why it’s so important this thing gets done on a certain day. Stick to your guns on this. Sit them down and explain why this is important, and what you need from them first.

While it’s tempting to give in, it’s also important you talk to the people around you so they understand exactly why you have to do things the way you say, and why it’s important you don’t skip the work days.



#4: You Can Focus On What You Want

A giant plus of being your own boss? You get to push your blog/business in whatever direction you want. You want to write about why puppies aren’t really that cute? You can. Why ‘not all men’ say ___? Go for it. You don’t really like cake? Sure, that works too.

One of the biggest pro’s is that you don’t have to write/focus/dedicate your time to someone else’s vision/dream – it’s all you all the time. Whether or not you’re 100% sure of where you’re going doesn’t matter, as long as you’re pushing forward.

Nobody likes writing about a topic they don’t like (or worse, have the opposite view-point on) and working from home gives you the freedom to write what you want, how you want.

#5: You Can Work In Your PJ’s

Definitely one of my favourite things in life is getting to get up and not have to wear any uncomfortable ‘work’ clothes to get my sh*t done. Nobody sees me so if I don’t wanna get dressed? No problem, I can type in just about anything, pj’s included.

I don’t recommend doing this all the time, but every once in a while it’s nice to literally roll out of bed and then get to work. I usually do this once every few Fridays, since it’s the end of the week, it’s kind of like my version of Casual Fridays. It also helps to get some of the stress of the rest of the week out of my head. Pj’s are comfy, so they fit perfectly with the ‘do some work’ vibe I get on Fridays, instead of the ‘try to do everything in the universe’ of the rest of the week.


Like this article? Check out my other Writing Tips!

The Problem With Fanfiction Writers

… Is that some people who look down their nose at them. We’ve all been there. ‘When are you gonna get a real job?’, ‘You’re not a real writer’, etc. Whoever told you to this is full of sh*t. I’m sorry, but since when is using someone else’s idea as a base/platform for your own creativity bad/wrong? Are you trying to tell me you never played with Barbie’s or G. I. Joes or Hot Wheels?

‘But those are just toys! It’s different!’ Is it now? How would you feel if your mom/dad/guardian told you to ‘go play’ but took all your toys away? Or, when you bad and they did take them – how sad did that make you? What did you end up doing without them? Sitting there feeling sorry for yourself and/or crying/bargaining saying you’d ‘do anything’ to get them back.

And now let me ask you: do you still have those toys you once thought were so precious? Do you still play with them when you get home from work? No, because you outgrew them, right? You don’t need them anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you always out grow it. You can still write it for fun, because it’s fun. It’s for you and makes you happy. I write fanfiction too, it’s all good.

But, shooting a writer down because they ‘write fanfiction’ is not cool or helpful. You know what you do each time you say that to someone? You chip away at their dreams. Yes, you do. Especially when they’re 12-14 year olds. ‘Oh, it’s not perfect grammar, there’s spelling mistakes, blah, blah, blah’, of course there is! Newsflash: they’re kids. They’re learning. They’re teaching themselves basics with characters they know. They’re taking the familiar and making it their own. Making it less daunting.

Look at the famous writers you (maybe) were taught or at least read in school: Robert Munch, Barbara Park (Junie B. Jones), Dav Pilky (Captain Underpants), Stephen King even Dr. Suess – notice what all these big authors have in common?

They all have a lot of books. Some of them even had whole dedicated sections in the library. Any child who is aspiring to become a writer is guarantee thinking ‘I could never do that.’ When you are just learning what a noun is, and the different parts of a sentence – of course you look at that giant library as Mount Everest.

It doesn’t help that ‘writer’ is never addressed as something you can grow up to be, (but that’s a whole other article) kids are literally stunted in pursuing a writing career at the same time they’re just learning what writing even is.

Is it really a wonder why some dip their toes into the profession using characters that are already established/developed/loved?

Fanfiction should not be scoffed at – there are some amazing works and writers that wouldn’t exist if they didn’t write fanfiction. So don’t you dare tell me fanfiction is somehow ‘polluting’ the writing genre.

Here’s just a few examples of famous works that are fanfiction:

  • The Lion King – Retelling of Hamlet
  • Romeo and Juliet – yep, even Shakespeare himself wrote fanfiction. He based it off of an Arthur Brooke poem, The Tragic History of Romeo and Juliet
  • Dante’s Inferno – Bible fic
  • The Three Musketeers – based on another book, Mémoires de Monsieur d’Artagnan
  • Lord of the Flies – some may argue this is more a parody than fic, but either way, it was based on The Coral Island

These are just 5 examples of famous works out of what I’m sure is hundreds, but look at how beloved the above works are. Not all fics are bad (like, say… Fifty Shades of Grey [which is a Twilight fic, FYI]) and they’re not all gonna be gold, either. Give kids the same encouragement to write fic that you’d give them if they wanted to be a doctor, or lawyer.

Do you really want to be responsible for telling the next Shakespeare they shouldn’t write?