For more than half a decade, each October meant one thing for lovers of bloody and gory horror flicks: the release of a new Saw film. Since the series ended in 2010, some fans have lamented the lack of new additions to Jigsaw’s oeuvre, and failed to find solace in the found footage scares of the Paranormal Activity series, which has since assumed the mantle of never-ending horror franchise du jour. Well, those same fans can now take some measure of comfort in the fact that Saw will once again slice into theaters everywhere this Halloween.
Hitting theaters in October 2004, James Wan’s original Saw movie came almost out of nowhere to become one of the most profitable horror films of the year, earning over $100 million worldwide on a tiny budget of just over $1 million. Seeing giant dollar signs forming in front of their eyes, distributor Lionsgate quickly commissioned a sequel. Directed by future Repo: The Genetic Opera creator Darren Lynn Bousman, Saw II made even more money worldwide than its predecessor, a trend that continued with Saw III in 2006.
Saws IV and V dropped off a bit, but still made over $100 million. Unfortunately, Saw VI dropped like a rock at the box office, despite garnering some of the most positive critical reviews of the franchise to date. Realizing it was time to end things, Lionsgate pumped out the tepidly received Saw 3D: The Final Chapter in 2010 and called it a series. An eighth installment has been rumored since late last year, but Lionsgate has yet to officially confirm or deny their plans for a potential Saw resurrection.
Saw’s return to theaters will last for one week only, and will fittingly begin on Halloween night. That’s actually two days after the film’s tenth anniversary, as it opened on October 29th, 2004. Of course, pointing that out would obviously just be picking nits.
Some select screenings of the film will be held on the night of October 30th, presumably in larger markets like Los Angeles and New York City. One might hope that Lionsgate choosing to celebrate Saw’s 10th birthday means that fans will finally get an upgrade from the completely barebones Saw Blu-ray that was released way back in the format’s infancy. For such a successful movie to be treated so shabbily on high-def disc is downright mystifying.
Whether you loved the Saw movies or you hated them, the fact remains that they provided a much needed shot in the horror genre’s arm that led to an all-too-brief resurgence in hard R theatrical horror flicks. Blood and guts may not be everyone’s favorite accoutrement, but franchises like Saw can indeed provide a respite from the endless onslaught of teen-targeted, often watered down PG-13 studio horror efforts.
Psychological terror can be an amazing thing to experience, but sometimes a good impromptu leg amputation can be just what the bored fright fan’s doctor ordered.
Saw returns to theaters for one week on October 31, 2014.