Spoiler alert! The following post contains plot points from the new film “Spiral: From the Book of Saw.” So be warned if you haven’t seen it yet.
In the annals of horror-villain lore, Freddy and Jason ruled the 1980s, Ghostface and Chucky owned the 1990s, but the 2000s saw the coming of arguably the most devious killer of them all: Jigsaw.
Played by Tobin Bell in the first eight “Saw” films beginning with the original 2004 movie, Jigsaw would put his victims through gruesome games to test their will to live – and the deaths were usually gory and pretty darn clever. Even the simplest Jigsaw scenario was more interesting than something hacky like a machete and just as bloody. (Don’t kill us, Jason.)
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The latest installment, “Spiral: From the Book of Saw,” introduces a new uber-villain in William Schenk (Max Minghella), a rookie cop who takes revenge on violent crooked and corrupt police officers with bloody “games,” uses Jigsaw’s “spiral” image as a calling card and, like the original villain, has a signature puppet. (In Schenk’s case, a freaky pig with a badge.)
In honor of “Spiral,” we’re ranking the most diabolical death traps from each of the “Saw” movies.
But fair warning: The franchise’s doom devices and contraptions aren’t for the squeamish. Stop reading now if you don’t want to know the specifics.
9. 10 Pints of Sacrifice (‘Saw V,’ 2008)
Try to forget this one the next time you donate. Two prisoners stick their hands in a box and cut themselves on sharp saw blades, enough to fill a beaker with 10 pints of their blood. And if they don’t succeed in 15 minutes, nail bombs finish them off.
8. A Pound of Flesh (‘Saw VI,’ 2009)
This trap isn’t as collaborative. A pair of victims are outfitted with a mechanical device on their heads that aim screws at their temples; they’re also given a variety of cutting tools. The first person to cut off a whole pound of flesh and throw it on a scale lives — the other is screwed.
7. The Subway Trap (‘Spiral,’ 2021)
“Spiral” is arguably the least gory “Saw” of them all, with the franchise going in a more cop-movie direction. It still has a taste for carnage, though: A police officer known for lying on the witness stand is chained up by his tongue in a tunnel and the only way to escape an oncoming commuter train is to let gravity take the wheel. Unfortunately, the dude rips his tongue out and gets absolutely annihilated by a train. At least his Fitbit stayed intact!
6. The Mausoleum Trap (‘Saw IV,’ 2007)
Two men are shackled to each other by their necks and chained to a large metal contraption with a winch that will turn and strangle them if they don’t escape. The key to freedom is attached to the back of the shackles — the only problem is a lack of communication since one guy’s eyes and the other’s mouth are sewn shut.
5. The Horsepower Trap (‘Saw 3D: The Final Chapter,’ 2010)
Late Linkin Park frontman — and huge “Saw” fan — Chester Bennington was at the center of this high-octane situation. (A “Saw” producer lived next door to one of Bennington’s bandmates and offered him the gig.) With his bare back super-glued to the driver’s seat of a jacked-up car, his character has 30 seconds to peel himself away and pull a lever next to the windshield. Failure means a sequence of events that kills his girlfriend and pals in heinous fashion.
4. Laser Collars (‘Jigsaw,’ 2017)
All the Murderer’s Trial devices are pretty funky (shoutout to the Cycle Trap) but the climactic game used by Jigsaw’s vengeful apprentice speaks for itself. The collar around the victim’s neck starts with all eight laser cutters pointed upright, and if the person doesn’t confess their crimes in time, those bad boys gradually rotate down 90 degrees to slice a person’s head in eight individual parts so that they look like an upside-down octopus from hell.
3. The Angel Trap (‘Saw III,’ 2006)
This thing’s definitely more hellish than heavenly, y’all. A woman is suspended in the air and outfitted with brackets connected to her rib cage. She has a minute to escape before the trap triggers and rips open her chest, though the way out isn’t fun: The key is at the bottom of a large beaker of acid.
2. Venus Fly Trap (‘Saw II,’ 2005)
In a film loaded with gnarly traps – the Needle Pit, Razor Box and so on – here’s the worst. One poor dude has only 60 seconds to free himself before the trap’s two nail-spiked halves close on his head. The key to unlock it is implanted behind his eyeball, so he’ll have to rip it out to free himself. Yuck.
1. Reverse Bear Trap (‘Saw,’ 2004)
Jigsaw’s signature device is still the best. Seen in the first movie, it’s a rusty, helmet-looking thing hooked to the mouth that rips opens a person’s jaws in a truly horrifying way. The intended victim manages to unlock it in the first “Saw,” but one lady isn’t so lucky in “Saw 3D’s” most stomach-churning scene.