On a very basic level, sure, the Saw flicks appeal to that nasty side of our psyche that simply likes watching nasty sh!t. As far back as history goes, there's been some sort of "blood sport" or other examples of "violence as spectacle." But I like to think that, in the series' finest moments, these movies offer just a little more "emotional gristle" than your typical hack & slash horror flick. If this sort of deviously provocative material simply isn't your cup of tea, then at least there are a few of us who can appreciate this stuff in the way it was intended: part morality play, part funhouse, and part endurance test.

So with that (and the arrival of this weekend's Saw 5, yes FIVE!) I'd like to throw out a few of my favorite set-pieces from the Saw series. The franchise has certainly had its ups and downs over the last five years, but the Saw-makers are clearly working overtime in the department of Really Disturbing Ways in Which We Can Slowly Kill People While Still Telling a Story That's Practically Indecipherable at This Point...

But anyway, let's start with the best of the series: The first one. And while I squirmed through the "razor wire" and "jaw trap" sequences, my favorite jolt is right at the end -- when the music starts pounding and you-know-who gets up from the bathroom floor. Man ... I saw this film at the Sundance world premiere and that jam-packed crowd just squeeeeeeled at the end of the movie.

But then came the sequels: I still cringe at the thought of the "needle pit" and the "wrist box" traps from Saw 2. In Saw 3, the "angel trap" was pretty absurd, but cinematically quite cool. (Oh, and the "freezing woman" is really rough, while the "pig slop" trap is monumentally, well, it's just plain wrong.) From Saw 4 ... all I can remember is that freakin' autopsy. Yikes. I really need to watch part 4 again before I hit Saw 5 this weekend. This series has turned into the gorehound's version of As the World Turns.

Over to you, Saw-freaks: Any particular sequence that stands out as the pinnacle of ickiness?
categories Cinematical