Six films and 730 million dollars later (officially, now, the Guinness World Record for “Most Successful Horror Movie Series”), the Saw franchise is coming to an end this Halloween with the ultimate entry, Saw 3D.
In addition to attending a special private showing of eight minutes of footage during San Diego Comic-Con, Shock caught up with director Kevin Greutert (who has been with the franchise from the very beginning, editing the first Saw film) and the series’ star, Tobin Bell (whose character’s death still hasn’t kept him from terrifying fans with each subsequent entry). Atop Lionsgate’s double-decker exhibit booth, Greutert and Bell shared their thoughts about the series’ move to 3D, the franchise’s legacy and how it feels to finally offer up the final chapter.
Shock: How did you decide that seven would be the lucky number to end the franchise on?
Tobin Bell: Seven is my lucky number. That never changed. Seven has always been my lucky number. I don’t know. I was born on August 7th. That was probably why. When it became Saw 7 in 3D, I thought, “That works.”
Kevin Greutert: I think it’s just really the time to finish out the franchise. The story just climaxes in the last film and why not end on a high note?
Shock: From the footage you screened, it looks like a lot of elements that are different for the franchise. It was daylight. There was a big crowd. Can you tell me about the style of this one?
Greutert: Yeah, we wanted the scope of this film to be much bigger than the other Saws. We wanted to keep people’s expectations very high. And we wanted to show the world of Saw expanding out beyond the dungeons and sewer systems of previous movies. It has a lot of that as well, but it also goes out into the wider world.
Shock: Tobin, you’re continuing to play a character that has died in the series. How does that effect Jigsaw in this film?
Bell: Well, Saw doesn’t happen in a linear fashion. As you know, the story jumps around in time. I’m in it and then I’m not in it. I’m in it, I’m not in it. There’s some incredible moments in Saw that reveal some things that happened in the time frame before Saw 3 that I think fans will really enjoy and kind of turn their heads around things that they’ve been wondering about. I’m kind of looking forward to seeing their reactions to that.
Shock: So we are going to see more flashing back in this one?
Greutert: Well, it wouldn’t be Saw without flashing back. So, for sure, there’s stuff from different time periods throughout different time periods.
Shock: Does that you work in a lot of nods to all the previous films?
Greutert: Well, there’s only so much that we can do. It was important for us that the film stands alone even for audiences that haven’t seen the other movies. But, at the same time, we packed in as much for the die-hard fans as we could.
Shock: There was an implication last night that there is an ending to this one that fans will know when they see it is absolutely the end of the franchise.
Greutert: Yes, that is true and I can’t really say much more without spoiling it.
Shock: Tobin, any comments on your part about this being the final chapter?
Bell: It’s been a wonderful experience working on Saw. It’s been a tremendous success. I think that fans have been very satisfied. I think we’ll leave them wanting more. If we can do that successfully, they’ll tell us. We’ll know in October if we succeeded in doing that. As you know, Kevin has been involved with this films since the beginning. Since the very first Saw. So no one knows them better than Kevin does. So the fact that we’ve been in his hands for Saw 6 and 7 has been great. Although I haven’t seen the completed Saw 3D film, I feel really confident that Kevin is going to do an amazing job. I’ve seen clips from it and I’m just like, “whoa!” which is great. There are certain moments in Saw that people talk about all the time. Certain surprising moments, like in Saw 1 when the guy gets up off the floor at the end. That’s a quintessential moment in Saw. There’s five or six other moments of that kind. There’s a moment in Saw 7, Saw 3D that is a quintessential Saw moment where fans are going to be [jaw-dropped] and say, “That’s a moment. I wondered about that.” So I’m excited about that. I think that’s going to be really great.
Shock: Tell me about the 3D. When was the decision made to go for 3D?
Greutert: From the very beginning, the film was designed to be in 3D, which I think was a really great choice. There are so many opportunities to make the experience very visceral and real.
Shock: Visceral is a good choice of words, based on some of the footage last night.
Greutert: That’s right. We want to put people in the shoes of those who are undergoing the ordeals of Jigsaw as much as possible. It was very exciting to do it in this format.
Shock: Do you find yourself going through everyday life and seeing interesting objects and thinking, “That’s what I need to use to torture people!”
Greutert: Sometimes. You never know where inspiration is going to come from. We try to be as inventive as possible and make the items that Jigsaw uses for his traps items from our world. So it sort of puts a dark spin on everyday life.
Bell: To be honest, I have minds that are much more twisted than my own and a number of other people on the set that come up with these traps. I’m just like, “Oh, that is so cool. I would never have thought of that.” One of my favorite is the pigs that fall from the sky into the vat in part 3.
Saw 3D hits theaters on October 29th.