At the time of me rattling this article out we are barely a month away of the release of Spiral: From The Book Of Saw, the latest attempt to pump renewed like into the tetanus riddled world of Jigsaw and his excessive methods of self improvement. So to celebrate the efforts of Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson as they try to make a beached franchise relevant again, why don’t we take a look back at some of the most memorable contraptions that attempt to twist, grind, crush and slice various scumbags into trying to be better people (spoiler: it never fucking works…). It’s time to play a game, people.
5) The Horsepower Trap (Saw: The Final Chapter – 2010)
The Saw franchise’s attempt at a home run, the Horsepower Trap is an impressive four-in-one-attempt to make the world a quartet of neo-nazis lighter by the power of killing them all with a single car. It’s like Jigsaw couldn’t decide which one of the brutal deaths he wanted to choose for this trap so he just said “fuck it” and got his helper Mark Hoffman to set up all of them at the same time. The leader (distractingly played by late Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington) has the skin on his back super glued to the car seat, one guy is chained to the wall the car is aimed at, another is secured to the wall behind it with his limbs and jaw connected by chains to the rear bumper and the final victim is under the elevated vehicle with her screaming face directly under the spinning tyre. With me so far? Ok, so unless the guy inside the car can flip a switch just out of reach, everyone is going to have an impressively bad day and sure enough, skulls are pancaked, jaws are torn off, bodies are obliterated and the leader sails through the windscreen on impact leaving the lion’s share of his skin behind. The fist pumping horror equivalent of nailing a 7 – 10 split in bowling.
4) The Shotgun Carousel (Saw VI – 2009)
Taking a different track from the usual “mutilate yourself to survive” rules that dominate the series, the marvelously named Shotgun Carousel is a far more psychological (and for lack of a better word – bitchy) trap than the others. William Easton, the imprisoned head of an insurance firm has been performing a bunch of typically sadistic games with his employees lives on the line when he arrives at this monstrosity, a playground implement with six of his brightest and best chained to it pleading for their lives. The rules dictate that the shotgun aimed at their rotating bodies will blow melon shaped holes in the chest of four of these victims with William having the power to save any two he wishes at the cost of having his hands impaled. Almost instantly the six captives start figuratively start stabbing each other in the back before they can get shot in the front with no cheap shot being left out. Accusations, lies, claims of pregnancy and many more are screamed at their boss as he has to weigh up who he’s going to literally terminate from his employ and while most of the scenarios seen in the Saw flicks wound externally, this shit gets personal.
3) The Rack (Saw III – 2006)
While there are far more spiteful traps out there (the hair pulling machine from IV and the fish hook trap from The Final Chapter both gain honorable mentions), there’s something about a bunch of giant clamps twisting off your arms and legs like a chicken bone that makes you go weak at the knees – before they’re utterly obliterated. The man in question is responsible for the death of the son of Jeff Reinhart and dressing gown wearing Jeff can choose to release him by removing a key from the hair trigger of a shotgun aimed right at his face. As the poor victim starts doing a version of the twist that would make Chubby Checker soil his slacks, Jeff manages to get the key at the expense of Judge Halden who accidentally gets a double barreled root canal for his troubles. However, Jeff is far too late as all of the Timothy’s limbs have already been pulverised and the contraption twists his head 180° as Jeff blubs his apologies – yeah, nice one Jeff. He’ll really appreciate you saying sorry when his skull goes all the way around like a fucking owl’s…
2) Needle Pit (Saw II – 2005)
By far the most wince inducing trap Saw has ever seen, you heard of looking for a needle in a haystack? How about looking for a key in a pit of needles – dirty, fucking hypodermic ones that is. The rules are pretty straight forward; jump in, find the key, get the anitdote to the nerve gas pumping through the entire house, but fucking around in a ball pit filled to the brim with probably every infection known to man isn’t exactly what you’d call enticing. The task is originally meant for burly armed gang banger Xavier Chavez, but he has an ingeniously simple way of circumventing the problem which involves grabbing the closest person to him, aka. undercover Jigsaw acolyte Amanda Young, and pitching them in instead like an abusive father teaching his kid to swim. Thus begins one of the most genuinely nauseating moments of the entire franchise as Amanda goes from understadibly shocked wailing to desperately wading through them with reckless abandon as the clock ticks down. She’s ultimately unsuccessful and her only gain is to have more spikes in her arm than there is on Sonic The Hedgehog’s back.
1) Reverse Bear Trap (Saw, Saw VI, Saw: The Final Chapter – 2004, 2009 & 2010)
The obvious winner by a country mile, there simply hasn’t been a single trap in the entire franchise that has even come close to the instant icon status that was rewarded to the Reverse Bear Trap. First seen affixed to the mug of impressionistic junkie Amanda Young the point of the trap is brutally simple; find the key and unlock the bastard before the timer runs out or the prongs fitted in your mouth spring open with incredible force instantly leaving you resembling a grotesque pez-dispenser. Strapped to a total of three people over the course of the franchise, only one person hasn’t managed to remove it in time (sucks to be you, Jill Tuck) but even the survivors carry the scars of this most heinous contraption both inside and out, with Amanda changing her entire world view after her experience and Hoffman losing a large percentage of his right cheek. As much a mascot of the franchise as Billy the Puppet, the weird pig mask or even Jigsaw’s taped messages, it’s an absolute certainty that no matter where the franchise goes from here, the Reverse Bear Trap is simply impossible to top because once it pops, you’ll definitely stop.
Spiral: From The Book Of Saw is due to be released in May and no doubt we’ll get more traumatic traps to go with the set; but what’s the trap that really freaked you out?