Saw

Argento Deep Red

Not only is this week the 10th anniversary of the release of Saw, but the movie is also back in theaters as of today in commemoration of the occasion. Conceived by James Wan and Leigh Whannell, who met in film school as students at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and directed by Wan, this original installment of what would become a seven-movie franchise is also one of the most influential movies — not just horror movies — of the past decade. Like most seminal movies of the past few decades, though, it’s also a highly influenced movie. To discuss the inception of an idea like Saw is to discuss earlier movies that inspired Wan and Whannell. In honor of both the anniversary and the re-release, I’ve compiled the latest Movies to See… list as a retroactive primer for fans of Saw, or just for anyone who has or does see the original and wants some great precursors to check out afterward. Not all are horror movies, but the ones that aren’t technically of the same genre are relevant for their darker elements. Some are directly acknowledged as being actual influences and inspirations for Saw while others are just obvious predecessors in some way or another. Only one of this week’s picks, however, is included primarily for being an earlier movie starring one of the members of the cast. If by chance you haven’t seen Saw yet and have been able to go 10 years without it being spoiled for […]

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Oldboy Ending

It’s been a hell of a week, so it would be great to talk about films that make us happy. Unfortunately, that’s not the show we prepped. Instead, we’ve got a dissection of characters who are pushed to the breaking point, inspired by Miles Teller destroying himself to become the next Buddy Rich in Whiplash. Who knew jazz drumming was so brutal? We’ll discuss people incrementally becoming disillusioned, forget to talk about Oldboy and then connect Falling Down to Gamer Gate in one seamless move. Plus, a 10th anniversary appreciation of what Saw did right as a low budget horror movie made in an astonishingly short amount of time (18 days, no kidding). You should follow the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. Please review us on iTunes Download Episode #74  Or subscribe Through iTunes

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Saw Movie Bathroom

“If it’s Halloween, it must be Saw.” That was Lionsgate’s tag line to the Saw franchise for years. It all began in 2004 when then-unknown horror director James Wan delivered a very low-budget but very grisly thriller about a new killer named Jigsaw who didn’t actually kill people… he simply set them up to kill themselves. Fine line, there. The rest was history. Wan went on to direct other iconic horror films, including Insidious and The Conjuring. Star Tobin Bell and his sidekick Billy the Puppet became as recognizable as Jason’s hockey mask. Torture porn (a bit of a misnomer for the earlier, better Saw films) became its own sub-genre. And for nearly a decade, most studio horror movie releases cleared the way for Lionsgate to drop a new sequel in October just before Halloween. However, before it became a full-blown phenomenon, director James Wan sat down with the film’s writer and co-star Leigh Whannell to talk about the original for the DVD release. Now, for the film’s 10th anniversary, it’s time to look back at this new classic and learn.

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Pan

Most horror films fall apart in the third act. This is an indisputable fact. Think about how good Insidious was up until they point that they showed the goofy Darth Maul wannabe demon. Remember how stupid it was in The Happening when it turned out the trees were killing people? These are not outliers. A lot can hinge on the reveal of the monster (even if it’s not a monster-monster) in a horror movie. If a film can’t deliver on its antagonist, it’s going to end on a ridiculous note instead of a scary one, letting us walk out of the theater laughing in urine-free pants. So here are some monster reveals that aren’t crappy! (But they are spoilerific. Beware.)

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SONY DSC

James Wan is one of the most adaptive directorial personalities in modern genre filmmaking, but his career didn’t always seem like it would turn out this way. Wan’s Saw was an indie mega-hit, spawning the most extensive horror franchise of the 21st century thus far. But Wan quickly distanced himself from the films, attempting to establish himself as a genre auteur of diverse skill sets. With his underwhelming one-two punch of Dead Silence and Death Sentence in 2007, he failed to develop a reputation away from the franchise that found continued success beyond him. But with Insidious and The Conjuring (this summer’s sleeper hit and one of the few pieces of Hollywood entertainment that actually entertained in the past few months), Wan found himself the modern master of the supernatural haunted house thriller, a horror sensibility miles away from the “torture porn” craze Wan’s franchise inception became associated with. This weekend sees the successful director helming his first sequel, Insidious Chapter 2, and Wan has signed on to make the next entry in the recently revived Fast/Furious franchise. Point being, Wan has proven himself against the limitations of the subgenre constraints he helped create, showing that he is a filmmaker interested in appealing to mass audiences through a variety of popular genres. So here’s some free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from the director who forces us to ask how creepy dolls will fit into a movie about race cars and muscle-y bald men.

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The Sting

The best part about faking your death has to be getting to decide how it will all go down. Instead of a bathroom heart attack, you can have fun with it and get mauled by a bear or spontaneously combust. The following characters know exactly what I’m talking about, as when it came time for someone to “die” they all had a bit of fun with it. Without a doubt, spoilers ensue, but even mentioning what movies they’re for would spoil them for you, so if you’re concerned at all, just don’t read.

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James Wan

The Fast and the Furious, successful as it was, probably never really struck anyone as the sort of film that would spawn a franchise that would make it to its seventh feature. But here we are, many years later, talking about Fast and Furious 7 anyway. The seventh installment in the franchise is a movie that’s going to see the series reaching a crossroads though. Much of the property’s longevity can probably be credited to director Justin Lin, who not only helmed the last four Fast films (including the yet-to-be-released Fast & Furious 6), but who gave the whole endeavor new life when he cast Dwayne Johnson in Fast Five and created a surprise hit that provided this money machine with a second wind. Lin has said that he needs a break from the series and that he isn’t going to helm Fast & Furious 7 though, so what is a studio to do now that they’ve got a franchise on their hands that is once again a big money maker, but that is about to lose the man who gave it its second life? Well, according to Deadline, they’re negotiating to bring on Saw director James Wan in hopes that he can keep the momentum going.

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trailer the conjuring

Generally it takes a horror movie a chunk of time for it to start being scary. You have to establish a spooky atmosphere, a sense of dread, and then let the tension build to a breaking point before you really start turning the screws on the audience. The new trailer for Saw and Insidious director James Wan’s latest film, The Conjuring, however, proves that this isn’t always necessarily the case. Through the use of a couple of tried and true tricks, like establishing the protagonist’s vulnerability and forcing them to confront the unknown, this little horror movie ad is able to conjure up scares in a mere two-and-a-half minutes. It’s so effective that it practically works on its own as a short film. Check it out after the break:

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Rise of the Planet of the Apes Mural

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a thing that chronicles the day in movie news. Or in many cases, a day’s worth of interesting articles that you should be reading. If you want a bunch of trade news reprinted with a lone, snarky comment, there are plenty of mediocre movie blogs out there who can deliver such things. We choose the higher road. Or the lower road, depending on our mood. We begin this evening with a mural painted by Australian street artist Anthony Lister in Los Angeles. He’s painted a mural in honor of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which just so happens to come out on DVD and Blu-ray this week. Go figure. The completely marketable timing aside, it’s quite cool. I’ve even included a time lapse video of Lister putting this work together just after the jump.

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Like the dinosaur blood found inside ancient, tree sap-encased mosquitoes, short films can often be cultivated and grown into something bigger and more rewarding: a feature film (sorry if you were hoping for a T-Rex). Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, there are more and more quality short films popping up everyday (and we’ve been trying our darndest to pay them their due around here), many of them hoping to hit it big and make a name for the filmmakers. It’s not an impossible dream — in fact, while you have heard of most of these writers and directors, they weren’t all that famous back when they made their shorts. Here are twelve films that started small before hitting the cineplexes:

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More than a decade before Splice (and most notably before Saw) director Vincenzo Natali made a film called Cube wherein a group of strangers woke up inexplicably in a maze of cubes that had been booby trapped with an appetite for destruction. In many ways a forerunner to the Saw films, Cube might now replace the horror franchise as Lionsgate’s go-to for October. According to Shock Til You Drop, the company is planning on returning to the film with the geometrically accurate Cube 3D. It’s unclear whether it will be a sequel, prequel or a remake, but it could definitely end up as a pinch hitter for a trap-based horror franchise that made Lionsgate an intense amount of money. Hopefully, if the movie is successful, Lionsgate can set the next one in the arctic and call it Ice Cube. If you haven’t seen the two movies that seeped out of the original like a pus, consider yourself lucky. However, if Natali is back on board, there might be something special brewing here.

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Since October’s over, it’s time to finally start talking about horror, and the future of horror is the past. It was clear that, when Platinum Dunes walked away from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre rights that Twisted Pictures was all over it like a baseball bat on the soft part of the cranium. It all seemed sort of stalled though, but now the director of Jason Goes to Hell (you know, the one where Jason goes to Hell) is set to co-write a script for a new Massacre that’s set more than three decades after the original film. Adam Marcus will be working alongside the relatively untested Debra Sullivan to get the story down. Hopefully they’ll be writing in a lot of chainsaws aimed at the screen because this one’s in 3D. So get ready for Texas Chainsaw with no Leatherface/60 year old Leatherface, and definitely no Grandpa. With Saw gone, they’ve got to hang their money hat on something. [Bloody D]

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It’s time to put an end to it. Since David Edelstein’s 2006 article about Hostel, the phrase “Torture Porn” has been bloated short hand for any movie that features torture or excessive gore. Beyond being a misuse of the term, the problem with its spreading like an infection in an open wound caused by a crowbar is two-fold. One, it’s been tossed around so liberally that it barely has any meaning anymore. Two, when it does have meaning, it’s used as a loaded gun to take down a certain brand of film that deserves more thoughtful criticism.

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Boiling Point

This weekend the “final” installment of the Saw franchise cut into theaters, slicing off about $22 million in ticket receipts for itself, an improvement over the opening weekend take of the previous installment of the trap-based gorefests. Of course, making money has nothing to do with being good or not, and in my opinion Saw 3D fails almost across the board in being either interesting, entertaining, or a movie following the rules of the franchise. When it comes to getting my blood boiling, Saw 3D has managed to get it going on two different fronts, both of which will be addressed here. From the quality of the film to the idea that this is the last installment of a very profitable series, strap yourself into the reverse beartrap and come along for the ride.

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It’s become an annual tradition for me to review a Saw film, and the ritual has resided somewhere between the sheer joy of bloodlust and the agony of feeling like the theater seat I was in came with leather straps and a reverse bear trap. Fortunately, I began with Saw V – the absolute worst film in the series – so the road was uphill from there toward the sweet freedom of better quality. Next came Saw VI, an uptick in the series and a return to the thoughtfulness that made the original idea so fresh and complex. Now, just like my responsibility as sole Saw reviewer for this site has been somewhere in the middle of pleasure and pain, Saw 3D (which was magically shown in 2D) also lives somewhere in between quality and crap.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr celebrated Halloween by dressing up as a slutty nurse and watching the latest Saw movie. Then he dressed up as a slutty lawyer and watched the latest slice of Oscar bait known as Conviction. Now, he’s changed costumes once again to dress up as a slutty schoolgirl to hand out grades to these movies and contemplate whether you all would be better off catching up on the awesome recently Halloween-appropriate Blu-rays releases like The Exorcist, Psycho, Alien Anthology or The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

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Marcus Dunstan bounded onto the scene because of Project Greenlight, but he’s since made a bloody mess of his career by writing for the Saw franchise with writing partner Patrick Melton and sitting in the booby-trapped director’s seat for The Collector. FSR and Reject Radio will get him for one night only, and we’ll be asking the questions that really matter. Examples of these questions can be found at your local library. His appearance should be a great opportunity for those listening live on Sunday October 24th (10pm EST/9pm CST/5am Khartoum) to get in some questions about screenwriting, horror and the upcoming Saw 3D. Plus, 10 lucky winners will be kidnapped by a man in a pig mask, tied to a rusty metal futon frame, and forced to watch Beverly Hills Chihuahua so they can appreciate their lives more. Be there, be square or listen later during that hour-long commute you thought wouldn’t be so bad when you took the job.

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When the calendar page turns to October, we Rejects have only one thought: horror. To celebrate this grandest and darkest of months, we’ll cover one excellent horror film a day for the entirety of the month. That’s 31 Days of Horror and 31 Films perfect for viewing on a dark, chilly, October night. If you, like us, love horror and Halloween, give us a Hell Yeah and keep coming every day this month for a new dose of adrenaline. Synopsis: Professional thief Arkin finds himself mixed up in a deadly game when he inadvertently targets the same house as a serial killer with a penchant for elaborate traps and slow deaths. Unfortunately for the safe cracker, he’s not quite as heartless as he’d prefer and soon finds himself trying to help those already ensnared. Killer Scene: The movie takes a slow burn approach, so many of the best scenes are compiled in the latter half and the flick is solid pretty much from then on. For my money, I’d probably say my favorite sequence (slightly longer than a scene) involves the young lady of the house and her boyfriend who are being watched by our killer during some intimate moments before a nail gun and a dozen bear traps join the soirée.

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Criterion Files

The 1958 film Corridors of Blood is a loose depiction and dramatically hightened story about the discovery/invention of anesthesia in 1840’s London. Dr. Thomas Bolton (played by Boris Karloff, the godfather of horror actors) is the surgeon destined to find the cure for patient suffering in medically necessary amputations and other major surgical procedures after seeing the traumatic aftereffects on one of his former patients. His desire evolves into obsession, and his obsession leads him into unintentional addiction to the drugs he’d been testing primarily on himself. His reliance on the chemicals to both feed his compulsions and further his research causes others with less noble intentions to blackmail the doctor into fraudulently signing death certificates so that money can be claimed for the cadavers of murder victims.

None of this sounds particularly horrific, does it? Well, it’s about as horrific as it sounds. It truly is an emphatic representation of a horror gray area. The only components in the film that are found commonly in the horror genre are murders (though not gruesome) and a few actors who appeared frequently in many of the Hammer horror productions (Christopher Lee and Francis Matthews) of the 1950s through the 1970s. However, contained within the content of the film is an unintentionally representative depiction of human attraction to withstand watching others in serious pain. Dr. Bolton is not only a surgeon, but a professor and all of his surgeries in the film are done in the presence of spectators who are either wanting to learn, or want to see how quick the doctor can be in order to minimize the extent of excruciation.

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While the series has taken a beating over the past few years, it showed some promise with its last installment, but even that excitement was curtailed by the franchise showing its age. For whatever reason, the creative forces behind the Saw films have never upped the ante or expanded the world in any way. That might be something fans complain about as forced with other sequels, but heading back into the same dank squalor to hear the old familiar voice on the tape recorder is a little faulty and repetitive. Fortunately, the new teaser trailer for the seventh installment in the horror series shows some promise that the producers are thinking outside the box by putting someone in it.

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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