Tag Archives: horror

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.

The Tattoo Killer

This years’ Halloween fic, enjoy.

Words: 3,027


He wiped at the skin one final time, turning his tattoo needle off before inspecting his work. He nodded to himself, perfect. He placed the needle down, before wiping his hands with the rag, moving over toward the sink, half-turning to the girl in the chair, “Let’s get you prepped.”

 

 

“Where is he?” The detective burst through the door, eyes immediately going to the board.

Randy, his next in command, shook his head, eyes not meeting his boss’, “Had the right location , but it looked like we missed him by about an hour.”

“An hour?” The detective scrubbed a hand down his face, damn, “Do we have any leads on a connection?”

“Not yet, but Jims’ working on it.”

Frank nodded, “Good,” he turned from the board to face the other man, “Go get started on tracking down a back-up location. This guys’ on his way to becoming a serial killer, and I’d rather nab him before that.”

Randy nodded before rushing out the door. Frank eyed the board, you’re not getting the satisfaction, fucker.

 

 

“No, please!” The blonde thrashed against the straps pinning her to the chair.

“Sh, sh, sh,” his expression softened as he pet her hair, “Don’t worry, beautiful, I’m not gonna kill you.”

She stopped struggling and glared at him, “Then why am I tied to a chair?”

He tsk-ed before getting up, moving to the tray that held his tools, rearranging some of them, keeping his back to her, “I have something much more special planned for you.”

“Special?” She craned her neck, trying to get a look at the tray in front of him, “W-what are you gonna do to me?”

“Nothing…” he turned from the tray, opting to sit on the stool in the corner, “yet.”

 

 

How are you choosing them? Frank starred at the board, eyes roaming over the descriptions of the two vics – with the exception that they were both women, they couldn’t be more different – different eye colour, hair, height, weight, nationality, social status – everything. He brought his coffee cup up to his lips, why can’t I see it? he went to take a swig, looking surprised when he found it empty. He sighed as he got up, going over to the small kitchenette in the corner, they’re never actually random, there has to be something they have in common. He poured another cup, replacing the pot before heading back to the board, eyes catching as he passed one of the desks. Wait, he picked up a picture of one of his men, eyes instantly going to the tattoo that peaked out of the top of the shirt.

He immediately charged back to the board, eyes roaming over the autopsy photos, while he dug his phone out of his pocket.

“H’lo?”

“Tattoos.”

“… huh?” He heard Randy stifle a yawn, “What time is it?”

“I found the connection,” his eyes were glued to the two girls photos, “each vic had a tat – that’s how he’s choosing them.”

“What kind? A rose? Snake? Butterfly?”

“They’re different pictures,” he studied the photos carefully, “but something about them must bother him. That’s the only connection.”

He heard a sigh on the other end of the line, “Well, it’s not exactly like we can round up every woman who has a tattoo and bring her to the precinct.”

“Any chance Jim is still here?”

“At 3a.m.? I doubt it. But look, Frank, the guys’ not gonna-”

Frank pulled the phone away from his ear, groaning as he watched the low battery sign flash before the screen went black. Shoving it back into his pocket, he studied the pictures of the women, looking between the two tattoos, what am I missing?

 

 

She huffed out a tired sigh, why is he just sitting there? She tried moving again, not surprised when she was met with the binding force of the straps holding her down. I have to find a way out of here, she rested her head against the chair, starring at the ceiling, what am I supposed to- her eyes caught on a drip in the corner of the room, would that work? She turned her eyes back to him, would he buy it?

“E-excuse me, Sir?”

He didn’t bother to turn, rude, “I was just wondering… since we’re not doing anything… do you think I could go to the bathroom?”

“Bathroom?” His back straightened, hands stopping whatever they were doing.

She failed to swallow the lump forming in her throat, “Y-yeah. Y’know, a bathroom? Usually has a toilet and sink?”

He half turned, “Why would you need to go to a bathroom?”

She rolled her eyes, “Gee, I don’t know,” he swerved his stool around to face her, eyes dark, her heart skipped a beat, “I-I need to pee.”

His eyebrows went up, as if he’d never considered that before, this guy kidnaps people and straps them to a chair but doesn’t know what to do if they need to pee? He nodded to himself before getting up, coming over to where she was bound. He grabbed a pair of handcuffs off the tray, before beginning to undo the straps. I can’t believe he’s actually buying this, her heart sped up, beating harder against her chest, now all I have to do is time this right… She chewed her lip as he undid the straps, carefully placing a knee on her as they fell.

“Hold up your hands.”

She complied, getting her good first look at the room as he clicked the cuffs around her wrists. Her eyes immediately went to the tray, hoping for a weapon, but finding small bottles of paint and a needle, is that… tattoo supplies? Her eyes went to the table against the opposite wall, it was littered with drawings, was he… gonna tattoo me? What the fuck?

He roughly grabbed her by the elbow, hoisting her off the chair before pulling her toward the door. They entered a hallway, and she instantly felt the temperature drop, wind, she looked to her left and saw a ladder resting against the far wall, please let that be a door. He shoved her into a small bathroom, standing at the entrance before looking at her expectantly.

She reached for the door, but was stopped by a hand on her wrist, his expression stern, “The door stays open.”

“I can’t pee if you’re watching.”

He rolled his eyes before turning around, so he was facing out into the hall, “Better?”

“Hardly.”

“If you don’t want to pee I’ll just-”

“No! No, it’s fine,” she went over to the toilet, sitting on it, “Just… don’t look, okay?”

“I promise.”

She kept her eyes on him, as she gathered her hair on the top of her head, wrapping it up in a secure bun. Now the hard part, she turned on the seat, carefully lifting the lid to the toilet tank up, don’t drop it, don’t drop it, she got it into her lap and sighed in relief. Okay, she got up, steeling herself against what she was about to do. She could swear she could hear her heartbeat in her ears. Doing her best to keep her breathing even, she got up from the seat slowly, tiptoeing back up to the man, thanking her lucky stars that she had decided on flats that morning.

“I don’t hear any-”

She swung the tank lid at his head, meeting it with a sickening crack. He stumbled forward, hands instantly going to his head. She side-stepped him, hitting him again as he blindly tried to grab for her before she tore off down the hallway, aiming for the ladder. Keep going, keep going, she was panting as she went, practically leaping up the first few steps of the ladder. She climbed up as fast as she could, thankful when she saw it did lead to a hatch door.

She turned the handle and pushed, boulder dropping into her stomach as it didn’t budge. No… c’mon! She turned the handle again, pushing harder against the hatch. No! She began pushing on it with all her strength, hearing the footsteps of him behind her, c’mon, please! Open you stupid thing! Tears began streaming down her face as her chance of escape vanished.

Hearing footsteps approaching, she began getting desperate, slapping and punching the metal of the hatch, willing it to open with every fiber in her being.

“Now why would you go and do a stupid thing like that?”

She felt his hand wrap around her ankle, as she wrapped her hands around the handle, white-knuckling it. He chuckled before yanking her foot away from the ladder, her other foot blindly kicking out at him.

She kept her eyes glued to the hatch, “Help! Help me! Please!”

He pulled her downward again, this time her grip on the hatch loosening, sending her falling down the ladder. No! She began kicking and punching at him, as he pulled her back to the floor, tears streaming down her face.

“Sh, sh,” He wrapped her up, pulling her into his chest from behind, keeping his voice low, “Don’t cry, Doll,” he began rocking her gently from side to side.

She could feel the blood dripping off his face begin to soak into her shirt as he held her, unable to do anything but cry.

“Aw, Babe…,” he reached one hand up to pet her hair as he lifted her, walking them back toward the room she’d woken up in, “Did you really think it was gonna be that easy?”

 

 

“Theresa Mack, 23, found this morning.”

Frank watched as Randy pinned the newest victims’ picture up to the board, knuckles white around the edge of his desk.

“EMTs found a tattoo of Pinocchio sitting on a toilet on her palm.”

“That’s an interesting choice of ink,” Jim chuckled.

Randy turned to Frank, “It was fresh.”

Franks’ eyebrows raised, “What do you mean it was fresh?”

“EMTs estimate the tat was done after death.”

“There goes our theory of him targeting women with tats,” Jim sighed, throwing a file down onto his desk.

Franks’ eyebrows disappeared into his hair, why would you tattoo them after?

“Daddy!”

Frank turned, seeing his daughter run toward him, wife hesitating in the doorway, “Hi, Princess.”

She gave him a toothy grin and all but flung herself at him, squealing in excitement as he picked her up.

“Jim, can you take her to get some food?”

“Uh, sure,” he stood, walking a few steps toward the kitchenette, “C’mon, Kiddo.”

“Pocho!” She grabbed the picture of the third victims’ tat off her fathers’ desk.

“No, Sweety, that’s not,-”

“Bad!” She waggled her finger at him, before bursting into a fit of giggles.

“Sorry,” Jim took her by the hand and led her away.

Frank rubbed his chin, I wonder… “Pinocchios’ nose grows when he lies, right?”

Randys’ brows knit together in confusion, “Yeah, why?”

“What if…,” Frank rubbed his chin, “What if he’s tattooing why he killed them?” At the blank stare he kept going, “Pinocchio could be a symbol for lying, so maybe he killed the third vic because she lied to him about something. What were the other vic’s tats?”

“Uh,” Randy flipped through the file, “First vic had a broken lock over her heart, second was a clock on her wrist.”

“Hmm, so what if the first vic broke his trust somehow?”

“That’d be one hell of a ballsy move, tattooing why he killed them… do you think he’d be that brash?”

“Sir!” Tim burst into the room, looking excited, “We just cracked the first two vics’ phones, they used the same dating app.”

Frank and Randy exchanged a look, “You’re sure?”

“Positive,” Tim took a breath as he handed over the file, “Jane just confirmed it.”

“What do you wanna bet Theresa used the same one?”

Frank tried to hide his smile, “Get Jane to set up a fake account, so we can finally catch this fucker.”

 

 

“Are you sure about this?”

“We’ll be with you the whole time,” Franks’ voice came out of her earpiece as she looked around the restaurant.

“Excuse me, Miss?”

“Time to earn your stripes, newbie.”

Jane turned to see a tall man, blonde hair, blue eyes, standing by her table, “Are you Jane?”

She nodded, standing to shake his hand, “And you are…?”

“Lucas,” he pulled her into a hug, inhaling deeply before letting go to sit down.

He’s already creepy, she plastered a smile on her face and flipped open the menu, “What looks good?”

“Hmm,” he opened his own, eyes skimming the pages, “Perhaps the lobster?”

Jane laughed, “On a first date? Isn’t that kind of,” she paused at the look he gave, “… expensive?”

He raised an eyebrow before reaching into his breast pocket, throwing down a gold credit card, faint smile on his face, “Moneys’ not a problem.”

Jane glanced at the card, keeping her expression as calm as she could, “… Are you married?”

“Of course not,” he narrowed his eyes at her a bit, “why would you ask that?”

Abigail Lawrence,” she picked the card off the table, “That is a womans’ name, no?”

He blinked in surprise, before breaking out into a smile, rubbing a hand at the back of his neck in attempted embarrassment, “Okay, you caught me. It’s not mine.”

“So…,” she placed it back down on the table, “You’re not rich?”

Lucas shook his head, not meeting her eyes, “I was just trying to impress you. To be honest,” he looked around the restaurant at all the other people wearing evening wear, squirming a bit, “All this high class stuff makes me uncomfortable.” He eyed her for a moment, before reaching across the table to take her hand, “Do you wanna get out of here? I know a great pizza place a few blocks away.”

She felt her heartbeat quicken as she nodded, “Sure.”

They left the restaurant, and she shivered. He immediately slid his jacket off and wrapped it around her shoulders, leaving his hands on her as they walked.

“So,” she took a deep breath in an attempt to steady her voice, “what do you actually do?”

“I’m a tattoo artist.”

“Really? Wow, that must be nice. Creating art.”

“Eh,” he kicked at a rock, eyes on the sidewalk, “It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. I’m not that good.”

“Every artist I know thinks they suck, I’m sure you’re work isn’t that bad.”

“Yeah?” He gave her a sideways glance, “I actually don’t live that far from here. Would you maybe wanna… see some of my work?”

“Oh, uh,” she pretended to fix her earring, as she adjusted her earpiece, “I’m not sure.”

“Do it. We’ll be outside the whole time.”

“I understand,” he frowned, shoving his hands into his pockets looking disappointed.

“Actually?” She placed a hand on his arm and did her best to keep her skin from crawling, “I’d love to.”

His expression lit up like a kid on Christmas, giant grin splitting his face, “Great, it’s just over this way,” he pulled her into an ally.

“Whoa, what uh,” she lightly pushed against his chest, “What’re you doing?”

“You think I can’t tell?” His expression changed, growing dark as he reached for her earpiece.

“What? No, that’s not what you-”

“Shut up!” He back-handed her, throwing the earpiece on the ground before stomping on it. He wrapped his one hand around her neck, getting impossibly close, evil smile twisting his features, “Now I’m really excited to show you my work.”

 

 

Jane came to, head pounding. She tried to get up but was barely able to get an inch off the chair before she felt the confines of the straps. She rolled her head to the side, seeing Lucas hunched over a table against the farthest wall, back to her.

“… Is this the part where you kill me?”

He swiveled around on his stool, brows’ knit together in confusion, “Kill you? Why would I kill you?”

She surveyed the small part of the room she could see, raising an eyebrow, “Is this not the room where you killed the others?”

“Yes but,” He huffed, turning back around, “They didn’t understand.”

“Understand what?”

“They couldn’t see that-” he cut himself off before turning back, small smile on his face, “Ooohhh, you’re a bad girl. Trying to get me to open up?” He got up from the stool, closing the distance between them, petting her hair, “Your tricks aren’t going to work on me.”

“I’m just trying to make conversation,” she looked down at her body, “since it doesn’t look like I’ll be doing much for a while.”

“Oh, don’t worry,” he raked his eyes across her body, “We’ll be busy soon enough.”

A loud bang from above made them both jump, cloud of dust coming out from the ceiling.

“What the hell was that?”

Lucas poked his head out the door, eyes going wide before locking it closed, rushing over to the chair, undoing the straps that bound her.

Her heart leaped into her throat, “W-what are you doing? What’s happening?”

“Sh,” he grabbed her roughly, pulling her off the chair, leading her towards the back wall. He pulled her to his chest, grabbing a knife off the shelf before spinning around to face the door, holding the knife to her throat, “If you scream, you die. Understand?”

She swallowed thickly, nodding while blinking back tears. Frank burst through the door in the next instant, gun drawn.

His eyes swept the room before they landed on the pair, gun pointing at the maniacs’ head, “Drop the knife!”

“Drop your gun.”

Frank went to take a few more steps into the room, stopping when Lucas shook his head, pressing the knife against her throat harder, “Ah-ah. Come any closer, and she dies.”

Frank furrowed his brows in concentration, knuckles white around the base of his gun, “Let her go.”

“Aaaww, but this one is sooo pretty,” Lucas eyed the detective, before pressing a kiss to her cheek, “You sure I can’t keep her?”

“Drop. The. Knife.”

“C’mon! Where’s your sense of-”

Bang!


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