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The Original Saw Doll Was Designed In James Wan's Bedroom

It's been almost 20 years since James Wan's iconic horror-thriller film "Saw" hit theaters. Opening in 2004, "Saw" was shockingly well-received by audiences (via Rotten Tomatoes). The franchise's reputation now, after nine films, and a tenth slotted for October 2023, can be skewed in a somewhat unflattering light. Often remembered for its brutally over-the-top deaths caused by Jigsaw's elaborate and convoluted traps, many recall the suffering in these films over the actual plot. That hasn't stopped the "Saw" franchise from becoming one of the most recognizable modern horror franchises.

The original film, however, was relatively tame compared to the complicated nature of the newer movies. It pretty much boiled down to two men trapped in a bathroom with their ankles chained to keep them from leaving. Whoever found a way to free themselves got to live. Oh, and the dead body in the center of the room between the two captives was actually John Kramer (Tobin Bell), the Jigsaw killer, and he wasn't really dead.

Compared to some of the newer films, the original noticeably had a much smaller budget (per Box Office Mojo). During an interview with Collider, James Wan even described the film as "feeling homemade." That's a quality Wan claims to love. "I wanted when we went off to make 'Insidious,' that homemade freedom and quality you get with 'Saw.' There's something very cool about that indie spirit that I try to hang on to even now."

James Wan created that homemade feel by making Jigsaw himself

"The whole thing started in our bedroom, where I designed the doll," James Wan told Collider. Billy the puppet was created completely and wholeheartedly by Wan out of clay and papier-mâché. The traits that made the infamous Jigsaw puppet so terrifying were intentionally designed to look as crafty as possible. Given that Billy is literally a manifestation of John Kramer's trauma, it makes sense.

Originally Kramer created Bobby, a much smaller version of Billy, to give to his wife and unborn child. After her miscarriage, Kramer kept making these puppets, and Billy became the iconic and recognizable face he could use for his theatrics without revealing his identity. Billy has always been incredibly unsettling, but the almost crude craft behind the original puppet only adds to that feeling.

The doll went on to become one of the most recognizable horror icons out there. Making cameos across various horror projects, it appeared in 2020's "The Invisible Man," Wan's other creepy puppet film, "Dead Silence," "Insidious," and many more. He even starred in the spoof film, "Scary Movie 4."