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Why I Love Saw

I am a self-proclaimed “Sawfreak”. Let me just start off by saying that. Of all the things that I love about horror movies—and of all the horror movies that I love—Saw is at the very top of that list.

My freshman year of college happened to be the year that the original Saw came out. I didn’t have much time for a social life that year—and of course this included trips to the movie theater. But I remember hearing other students talking about Saw after weekends, and even after Thanksgiving break. One coworker of mine at school told me he heard that some people were so jacked up after seeing this movie that they had to go see a psychiatrist. To this day I’m not sure if he made that up or not, but that was all anyone would tell me about the movie except that it was awesome and a great suspenseful horror movie.

So, of course, by the time I came home for the summer and it had come out on DVD, one of the first things I did after arriving at my parents’ house was hop in my beloved car and head straight to Blockbuster to the rent this movie. What I did not realize was that this one simple act at a video store I had been going to since I was a child, would set me on a path that would change my life.

When I got home and started watching that move (alone, no less, because everyone else had seen it), I was captivated from the very first second. You always hear people talking about how filmmakers need to build characters up and make us care about what happens to them so that we’re invested in their story. Well, somehow Saw manages to do that without really even doing it at all. Starting the movie with action—Adam waking up in that bathtub and discovering he’s locked and chained in a bathroom with another man—well, I immediately wanted to know what was going on and who was doing this to them. I was immediately invested in what happened to Adam and Lawrence.

By the end of the movie, I was in shock. Now, I say this with a lot of love, and as a huge horror fan: when I watch a horror movie, I generally only expect to be entertained; nothing more, nothing less. I certainly don’t expect to be kept in suspense, to care so much about the story and the characters, to never want it to end. But that was how I felt by the end of Saw. I remember being in my bedroom, alone, sitting there with my mouth hanging open for at least a couple of minutes after the movie was over, because of that unbelievable twist.

All this is to say that I was personally invested in the franchise since the beginning; before it was even a franchise. I am a firm believer that that great twist ending at the end is what made them movie so memorable that a second one was even able to be made. It becoming a staple of the franchise is one of the things I love most about the Saw movies. It was always a guarantee that each new installment would have an ending that would blow me away.

The Saw movies are the kind that drew the audience in, in a very unique way. Each one has a “where does your allegiance lie?” element. It was never just about the gore; there were emotional elements and ethical dilemmas in every one of the seven films. With every film—every single trap, even—there are moments when one could just as easily be on Jigsaw’s side as we could the latest trap victim’s side. It’s not hard to see why Jigsaw wanted to test the cop who abused his authority and got false convictions; or the rapist, or the child abuser and his wife who let him get away with him.

For this reason, the films made me (and many others think). “Are there certain people who really don’t deserve to live? What would I do if I were in a trap? What lengths would I be strong enough to go to survive?” In a genre that is not really known for being thought-provoking, the Saw movies were very unique in the ability to raise some deep points and making one think.

Jigsaw himself was perhaps the biggest reason why I am a “Sawfreak”, and why these films are my favorite in the horror genre.  As a horror movie villain, he is in a class of his own. He was not a joker with powers to do supernatural things and come back to life like Freddy, he was not a silent almost-zombie-like force like Michael or Jason; nor an inbred country killer or an actual zombie or a monster.

Archives Articles Renfield's Resurrection

Untitled(untitled)[untitled]{untitled} – Renfield Rasputin

Greetings Ghoulscouts,

I had the pleasure of reading a script that someone sent me over the weekend. In short, I liked it. It had all the elements that a horror film needed. But that sparked a conversation between us online about what he wanted to capture in his story and what exactly we considered “scary”.

Outside of the government, my last week’s paycheck, One Direction, and my neighbor who is a white man when he leaves his house in a suit but returns home at night made up as an Asian female dressed in a mini skirt, scary is rather subjective and whatever the viewer perceives it to be. There are differences though and you need to recognize them to achieve the right dramatic effect you are going for.

Please remember that scary and fear mean two different things. Scary is whatever causes fright or alarm.1  Fear is the human emotion that is caused by something that is an impending threat whether it is real or imagined. 2 So what do want to do? Do you want to make something scary or do you want to make something that will cause fear? One will last for a few seconds, while the other will leave the viewer screwed up for some time. Do this wrong and you are left with an audience that didn’t get it and may make you look completely stupid. Let’s dig that grave a little deeper.

Let’s look at your average “scary movie”. To most, it is probably a slasher film that someone brings a date to (so that he can cop a feel when she jumps in his lap) where the music swells when the buxom actress gets antsy from a noise, she checks it out (naked of course) a cat jumps out of nowhere, the actress is relieved as the killer comes from behind and hacks her up. The end.  You go home and trash it on the old interweb.

Let’s look at the movies that cause fear.  Take Jaws or Psycho for example. I didn’t go into the water at the beach after seeing Jaws. Or how about showers?  Legions of fans did not take showers after Psycho was released. (Did you know the fear of showers is called “ablutophobia”?)  How about Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure?  I will never leave my bike anywhere near the Alamo again after seeing that!

Now at this point I have to point out to be careful of “shock” horror. This type or horror is when there is an overabundance of gore and exploitation just for the hell of it. Basically it goes against the grain of anything that is considered the social line of “acceptable”. These movies, books, or art contain an excessive amount of gang rape, blood baths, killing of animal or babies, imagery of violent mutilations, etc. I’m not supporting or condoning these mediums, because if that is what you are going for than, morgue power to ya. But what I am saying is…I don’t get it. It is shocking, (again, so is last week’s paycheck) but it is not scary (again, much like last week’s paycheck). Here’s why; a little blood goes a long way. Gore, expletives, violence, and sex is a much more effective image when it is done right, and by doing it right I mean sparingly. If you watch a scene that is drawn out where someone is about to cut off another person’s ear, when it eventually does happen, and those few drops of blood dripping from the wound are seen it is much more effective than seeing the victim drowning in blood from a lacerated ear. At some point it becomes more comical than horrific. This is when I start getting hate mail about “It’s not realistic when a chainsaw cuts off an arm and only a little blood comes out.” My answer is simple. HOW THE FUCK DO YOU KNOW? HACKED OF MANY AN ARM WITH A CHAINSAW IN YOUR DAY? So please consider your usage of such so that it doesn’t turn into a comedy.

To scare someone is easy. Startle effects are abundant, cheap, and easy to achieve. Kind of like my ex-ghoulfriends. To install fear in someone is a true talent. Thought has to be put into each scene and timing has to be just right. The difference between kill scenes from the Universal Monster years and the killers today is when they were done in the Universal years, the monster’s face was revealed and the camera held onto the image for several seconds before they slaughtered their victim so that the frightening imagery sat in. (Think of the scene in Phantom of the Opera where Christine removes Erik’s mask. That glare seemed to last forever.) Nowadays it is a quick flash of their blade and you might catch a glimpse of their mask.

To shock someone the right way is actually difficult these days also. To quote the king of shock rock himself, Alice Cooper, “What can you do to shock people anymore? Everything has been done before. I mean you can go up onstage and cut off your arm, but you can only do that once.” He’s right. Limits have gotten pushed so far now, that it has become too difficult to shock people. When the Exorcist first came out, people got up and left the theater at some of the scenes (think about the masturbation scene with the crucifix). Today, a new generation is so used to extreme visuals that to them, those scenes are child’s play.

Whatever you do, do it well. You will always have time to say “I wished I could have” to maybe a better plot, a better ending, a better opening paragraph or scene. But never make the mistake where you have to say “I wish I wouldn’t have”. I fear this all the time. It scares me to know that I occasionally do this. Know your influences, know your audience, know your boundaries. Push your influences, push your audience, and push your boundaries. But whatever you do, do not break your influences, break your audience, or break your boundaries.

Halloween is just around the corner and I need to get ready. I’m thinking about starting my own haunted attraction for the fall. I’m thinking a haunted house that will cost your whole paycheck to get in. Government ghouls (or clowns, same thing) will chase you from room to room. I’m thinking of putting it to the soundtrack of One Direction, and having my neighbor wait at the end while wearing his dress and cranking a chainsaw. That should cover just about everything.

This week check out Devildriver’s new album “Winter Kills” and the movie “Profile of a Killer” (Thanks Shawn).

Until next time, rest in pieces.

Renfield Rasputin


Renfield prefers if you are going to call him names, use the term, “Tombstone Trash”.



2013 Archives Articles The Republic of Shawntario Women Of Horror Week

Thank You

Hello Friends,

I just wanted to say THANK YOU! to all of our guests for making Women of Horror Week 2013 a huge success for us.

In no particular order I would like to thank

Danica Deering

Suzanne Bell

September Carrino

Chassity Merritt

Tabitha M

Kim Culpepper

L.C Fremont

Dusty Evely

Charity Langley

Renfield Rasputin.

We would also like to thank all of you for visiting our website and leaving encouraging comments for the writers.

It has always been our goal to create the type of community that fosters creativity and friendship among fellow writers and I truly believe we achieved that in the past week.

Thank you once again to our guest writers, it was an absolute privilege to have you share your articles with us and give us an insight in to your love of Horror.

Thank you also to our team of writers for contributing lists and reviews as well.

We now look forward to 2014 where hopefully we can do something like this again.



Archives Articles L.C Lives and Loves Horror

Do you want to see everything or nothing?

Today I watched a double feature of “Who Can Kill A Child?”(1976) and “Come Out And Play”(2012). Despite the fact that the latter is a remake of the former, it was still astonishing how these two movies could have two completely different emotional impacts. This really got me thinking about how horror has never really looked back after the “torture porn” craze swept through. Based on the novel by Juan Jose Plan, “Who Can Kill A Child” is the story of a couple who travel to a remote island just off of Spain. The island seems to be completely devoid of people, however, we soon learn that the children on the island have been killing off the adults.

In the 1976 film, violence is implied so much more than it is actually shown. The mere suggestion of a young girl beating an old man with a cane is truly disturbing:in the 2012 film we actually see this beating. Finding a group of boys gathered around a naked female body in the 1976 film is chilling, unsettling and the boys run when caught. In the 2012 film, the woman has been gutted,is missing half of her face, the boys are happily playing in her blood and could care less that they’ve been caught doing something so reprehensible. Every violent scene goes from implication (1976) to graphic detail(2012). The gore is the only difference between the two movies, yet it is the one thing that makes the 2012 version so much less unsettling and effective than the original version. In the 1976 movie, the children are all very sweet and innocent looking with beautiful smiles. When a character in the movie asks “who can kill a child?”, you truly sympathize with them. Really, how could you find it within yourself to kill a child? This moral conundrum is precisely what makes the subsequent deaths of some of the children so conflicting. It is truly awful to see a group of children gunned down, yet you understand why it had to be done. Now, if we return to the 2012 film, the kids only smile when killing or making necklaces out of fingers and ears. These kids look creepy and you are rooting for them to be taken out. They are very reminiscent of the children in the Hostel movies and, yes, that is exactly where I’m going with this.

Please don’t misunderstand;I love the torture porn movies. Hostel and Hostel 2 are wonderfully sadistic gore-fests. They never try to be anything other than what they are and that’s why they work. Eli Roth was just out to scare and disgust us and he did a bang up job. I just wish that all of the movies that have come since the sweep of torture porn would keep that in mind. What is the intended emotional impact of your movie? If it’s to scare and make the viewer wince in imagined pain, then let’s see every bloody, gory, vile thing you can throw at us. If you are trying to genuinely effect the viewer’s emotions, then what you can’t see is so much worse than what you can. Violence is always so much more disturbing and ugly when your mind is the one filling in the blanks for you:not the F/X team.


Archives Shawn's House The Republic of Shawntario

The Zombie Story Checklist

Despite the relative young age of the website, I have received more Zombie stories than anything else. I have unfortunately not accepted any of them because of how generic they were.

I appreciated how hard the authors worked on their stories, and there were some very interesting parts in them, but Zombies in general are just done for me.

I have decided to create a Zombie Story Checklist. If you are able to check something off in every section, then you should probably go back and re-write some stuff.

Choose an occupation for your main character.

1. Police Officer

2. Soldier

3. Courier

They were comatose due to being involved in the following.

1. Car Accident

2. Bicycle Accident

3. Shooting Accident

They wake up in

1. Civilian Hospital

2.Military Hospital

3.Mental Hospital.

They wake up and go

1.Home (It’s always home)

They are searching for their

1. Wife

2. Son

3. Wife and Son

(It is never a daughter)

They meet up with a group that consists of

1. One white woman, One Asian or African American male, Two white males.

2. One white woman, two white males.

3. Two white women, One Asian or African American male, One white male.

The Abrasive white male dies in the following way.

1. Noble Sacrifice

2. Killed in an argument with one of the Caucasian females.

3.Noble Sacrifice

The main character falls in love with

1. The white chick…always the God-Damned white girl.

The story ends

1. With everybody dying.

2. With everybody except the lovers dying.


-Shawn Lachance