If you’re familiar with the Saw series, you’ll know that death is a major plot line. And not just any type of death either… The main antagonist, John ‘Jigsaw’ Kramer has got killing down to an art form, so we’re honestly not just being morbid by dwelling on the gory details. The death ‘traps’ are so elaborately awful, they can’t be avoided. Well, not for the 68 people who’ve died in them across the series anyway. And for the rest of us, well, there are certain scenes that will be embedded in memory forever… This very fact means a refresher probably isn’t necessary, but with the release of Jigsaw, the eight film in the franchise, on 26 Oct, there’s never been a more appropriate time to look back at some of the best (i.e. worst) deaths so far…
1) The Classroom Trap – Saw III, Troy’s death
If you’re too squeamish to even contemplate an ear piercing, look away now… Troy is attached to eleven chains via piercings in various body parts, such as his hands, shoulders, achilles tendons and – brace yourself – lower jaw. There’s also a nail bomb in front of him – and he must rip the chains out before the timer goes off. Gripping might be the wrong word…
2) The Rack – Saw III, Timothy’s death
Looking a bit like a medieval torture device, Timothy’s trap is tightly clamped to each limb and twists to move his body into positions that even the biggest yoga enthusiast would struggle to achieve. The very sight of the contortion will make you cringe, but the sound effects are even worse. Well, Jigsaw does like a twist.
3) The Scalping Seat – Saw IV, Brenda’s Death
The Scalping Seat is a particularly, er, hair raising trap… Set up as the first part of Officer Daniel Rigg’s trial, Brenda finds herself chained to a mechanical chair, secured with a combination lock, while her hair is tied to metal axis. As the gear system is activated, her hair is slowly pulled back – and with it, her scalp. You won’t be able to brush your hair without wincing after this one.
4) The Knife Chair – Saw IV, Cecil’s death
Cecil’s trap, which consists of eight blades positioned around victim’s head, might seem fairly straightforward, but it’s true horror comes from psychological torment, as the victim must slice his face off if he wants to escape. And even then, it’s all in vain because there’s a follow up trap – eeeek.
5) The Ice Block Trap – Saw IV, Eric’s death
When New Kid on the Block’s Donnie Wahlberg sang Hangin’ Tough, he probably didn’t know that he’d be playing a character suspended by a chain noose above a huge melting ice block. Tough indeed. As is often the case, Jigsaw has a few tricks up his sleeve, leading to a literally crushing defeat for Eric.
6) The Coffin – Saw V, Strahm’s death
In this exercise of trust, Agent Strahm enters a room with a glass coffin and a tape player which directs him to climb in it. His decision to ignore the instructions seals his fate – and the look on his face as the coffin rises to safety while he’s trapped between two contracting walls will stay with you for a long time.
7) The Pendulum – Saw V, Seth’s death
A fun one for a game of ‘would you rather…’ – Seth wakes to find his arms, legs, and neck chained to the table, and a bladed pendulum hanging above. He’s then given mere seconds to decide whether to place his hand in a bone-crushing device or get chopped in half. Decisions, decision… Traditional in its goriness, but still very unique.
8) The Pound of Flesh – Saw VI, Eddie’s death
The concept of this trap may have you rethinking dieting… Along with fellow victim Simone, Eddie has a device attached to his head with screws pointing at his temples. He’s then given a minute to use various cutting tools to remove a required amount of flesh. If he doesn’t sacrifice enough, the screws will pierce his skull.
9) The Brazen Bull Oven – Saw 3D, Joyce’s death
Joyce gets more than just a little hot and bothered by this trap… Involving chains, pulleys, hooks, a giant oven and a certain amount of team work, it’s the grand finale to a series of traps, meaning Joyce at least gets to go out with a bang. And a sizzle.
10) The Public Execution – Saw 3D, Dina’s death
Made all the worse by the fact that it’s in public – and because it involved a love triangle, two guys must decide whether to kill their rival, or let the woman who played them die under horrific circumstances. Stomach churning (literally). The moral? Never cheat.
Jigsaw is in cinemas on 26 October.