Who could have predicted that when the first Saw film was released in 2004 the franchise would still be going almost 20 years later? Whether you love the franchise or hate it, no one can deny it has made a huge impact on the horror genre.
So now, with the news that Saw X is going to be released later this year, we thought we would have a little fun and look at 10 interesting facts related to the franchise. Let’s begin.
The Short That Changed Everything
The series was actually born from a short film that James Wan and Leigh Whannell made in 2003. It wowed producers Mark Burg, Greg Hoffman and Oren Koules that they decided to ask Wan and Whannell to make a feature out of the concept. The rest is horror movie history.
One of the Highest-Grossing Horror Franchises
Before the release of the supposed final film in 2010 Guinness World Records dubbed the series to be the most successful horror franchise in history. With the then 6 films earning around $733 million at the box office. While it has since been surpassed by other horror franchises the series’ overall box office today sits at just over $1 billion. Considering the total budget of every film adds up to $95 million, that means the franchise has made more than 10 times its collective budget in profit. Not bad for a bunch of small splatter films.
There Will Be Blood
While many critics view the franchise as solely exploitative torture porn the franchise did do one very good thing. Every film in the series, except for Saw 3D and Spiral, had a tie-in advertising campaign encouraging people to give blood to the Red Cross. The Halloween Blood Drive was a huge success and even helped to challenge the prejudice around LGBTQIA+ donations.
Actor Cary Elwes who plays Doctor Gordon in the original Saw filed a lawsuit in 2005 against his management company and the film’s producers over claims that he had not received all the money he was promised for starring in the film (including 1% of the producer’s profits). The suit was later settled out of court and he returned to his beloved role for the then series’ finale.
Bell and Chainsaws
Tobin Bell was a prolific character actor before the Saw series. However, according to IMDb the first industry award he was ever given was the 2006 Fangoria Chainsaw Best Villain award which he won for Saw II. Later he won the 2009 Eyegore Award for Best Villain in a Film Series and was inducted into Fangoria’s Hall of Fame in 2010. Cementing Jigsaw as the role Tobin will be best remembered for.
Leave Them Wanting Saw
Saw III currently has the longest runtime in the franchise at 108 minutes.
A Scream Queen
One of the better-regarded films in the franchise, Saw VI, has a number of memorable scenes. These include the opening trap where two predatory loaners must cut off parts of their own bodies to determine who survives. Simone, the survivor of the test, was played by Tanedra Howard, who won the role after competing in the game show Scream Queens.
Series Kill Count
According to the YouTube series Dead Meat the Franchise collectively has a body count of 104 people (including Detective Hoffman). Saw 3D had the highest number of victims at 27. While Saw and Saw V have the joint lowest with only 6 victims.
Spiral is so far the only Saw film where Tobin Bell does not physically appear as Jigsaw. Though his photo does appear.
Unexpected Guiding Hand
Aside from James Wan another director has been credited on every entry in this series. Kevin Greutert directed Saw VI, Saw 3D and will direct Saw X. He also edited Saws 1-5 and Jigsaw and was an executive producer on Spiral. As an integral part of the series, it’s a shame he isn’t spoken of as highly as other key creatives.
Those are just some of the many intriguing facts about the series. With Saw X coming soon we will surely have even more bloody anecdotes to digest for years to come. Game over.