Much like the Jigsaw killer the Saw series has seemingly returned from the grave a number of times. Impressive considering the franchise started life as, according to it’s own creators, the cheapest idea possible for a movie. An idea they never anticipated would become synonymous with a genre of movie they didn’t even know existed, torture porn.
In regards to that last part, series creators James Wan and Leigh Whannel have both expressed annoyance at the film’s being labeled as such. With Wan outright denying that the first movie was too focused on torture or human misery in any way, describing it more as a mystery film. The mystery apparently being how much they can fuck over Cary Elwes.
Whannel on the other hand doesn’t particularly dislike the term, joking that it’s the reason he has a job, but he has repeatedly denied that he’s “part of that scene“. For anyone unfamiliar with Whannel’s other work, basically all he’s done since Saw is executive produce other Saw movies.
Moving on, the genesis for the original Saw movie was Whannel and Wan trying to figure out how to make a million dollar movie for about $10,000. The idea being to think of an idea they could realistically make for a million dollars and then start to winnow it the fuck down.
The idea the pair eventually settles on was two men trapped in an enclosed space, with the original pitch being that the film would take place in an elevator and the whole thing would be filmed from the perspective of security cameras. An idea that was eventually ripped off by M. Night Shyamalan who didn’t even have the balls to call the thing Devil-ator.
Anyway, the pair eventually decided that the cheapest possible thing they could film would be two men in a bathroom wondering how they got there. Which, yeah, was cheap but wasn’t exactly interesting so they decided to spice it up a little by having there be a third guy in the room who was dead and then have the two characters try and figure out what the fuck was going on.
Fun fact about this scene, Tobin Bell reportedly did all of his own stunts for it. By which we mean he spent the entirety of production lying immobile in a pool of fake blood. When asked why he accepted a role that primarily consisted of lying dick down on a dirty bathroom floor, Bell’s sole reasoning for taking the job was that the twist of his character secretly being alive the whole time was so interesting a visual, it was worth the indignity of millions of people seeing his flaccid, piss-soaked dick.
As for the film’s title, that was apparently just a spur of the moment thing Whannel came up with after hearing the aforementioned pitch, imagining the letters in a giant red font. You know, cos blood. With the idea to use a saw to cut off one’s own limb being born out of a doctor’s visit where Whannel started thinking about what it’d be like if he was suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Specifically his idea was, what if someone was put into a similarly harrowing situation and had only a few minutes to do something about it. This thing apparently being cutting off their own leg with a rusty hacksaw while a comatose guy with terminal brain cancer watches on whilst nursing the fattest chub ever seen.