Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bookmonkey Saw: Day 1

Okay, so lets join your pal Bookmonkey for a talk about the Saw-franchise of horror films.

In 2004 Lions Gate Films released a horror film which would dominate the horror genre in film for the next seven years and touch upon other formats ranging from comic books and video games to reality television.  It all began with...

Wait, first let’s go back to the beginning.

In 1979 Australian Cinema hit the mainstream with the film Mad Max.  The finale of this car-chase / revenge film has ex-cop Max Rockatansky (played by Mel Gibson) come upon one of the villainous thugs who murdered his wife and child early in the film.  Forcing the man to handcuff himself to a car, Max sets the vehicle on fire, brandishes a hacksaw and states:

Max: The chain in those handcuffs is high-tensile steel, it’ll take you ten minutes to hack through it with this. (tosses villain the hacksaw) Now, if your lucky, you can hack through your ankle in five minutes. 

Walking away from the vehicle as it burns, the audience hears the scream of the thug followed by the vehicle exploding.

The creators of the 2004 horror film Saw, Australians James Wan and Leigh Whannell, were both two-years-old when the first Mad Max film was released, but both state that the film, and specifically this scene “...was definitely a big, direct influence”(1) on Saw (2004) which has two men handcuffed to pipes in an abandoned building and facing the same dilemma.  

It is these connections, along with the fact that the Saw franchise had a new motion picture out the Friday before Halloween every year for seven straight years, and that the story expanded into other areas, including significant aspects of popular culture, that drew me to want to make an examination of the series.

As a long-time horror fan myself, but definitely one who prefers the monster movie sub-genre, I was of course familiar with the general idea behind the series, but until this month have not seen any of the central or related texts.  

1. Hartley, M. (Director and Writer) (2008). Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! [Film] Australia: City Films Worldwide.

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