There’s no denying that Saw is one of the most popular and influential modern horror franchises. With a villain a fascinating as Jigsaw, it’s easy to see why. The original Saw took the world by storm, and inspired an entire wave of new horror.
For all its intrigue however, we really don’t get much of him in the first movie. That all changed with Saw II, which put him promptly front and center, giving Tobin Bell a chance to truly shine. It’s always been my personal favorite entry in the series and today marks its 15th anniversary. So in honor of the occasion, here are 15 fun facts about Saw II:
1. Following the success of Saw, Lionsgate wanted a sequel, and had received a script by Darren Lynn Bousman called “The Desperate”. It was thought to be too similar to Saw, so they brought in Leigh Whannell and it was re-written into Saw II.
2. Saw II was Darren Lynn Bousman’s directorial debut. He would then go on to direct Saw III, Saw IV, and the upcoming Spiral: From the Book of Saw.
3. Bousman himself stood in as the hooded figure surgically inserting the key behind Mike’s eye. He legitimately stumbled and tripped a bit by accident. But many fans speculated that this was Dr. Gordon with a limp after sawing off his foot in the first movie. For years, Bousman denied that this was supposed to be Gordon until the ending of Saw 3D basically took the fan theory and threw them a bone by making it official canon.
4. Actor Lyriq Bent originally auditioned for the role of Xavier, but the producers didn’t want to reinforce a negative stereotype of an African American drug dealer. So he was cast as SWAT Commander Rigg instead. In the long run, this benefitted Bent more because his character Rigg returned in Saw III and even became the main character in Saw IV.
5. Leigh Whannell admitted that when he was trying to come up with ideas for deadly and gruesome “traps”, he looked up “Spanish Inquisition torture devices” in Google.
6. Shawnee Smith was four months pregnant while filming, and she managed to keep it a secret from everyone (except for Darren Lynn Bousman) during the shoot.
7. Every single shooting location (the nerve gas house, Jigsaw’s lair, Det. Matthews apartment, the police station) were all filmed in the same building in Toronto.
8. Contains what is arguably the most disturbing “trap” in the entire franchise, the infamous needle pit. It took the crew four days to set it up, swapping out the metal needles with rubber, and adding gelatin to make them slippery. There were roughly 120,000 syringes in the pit.
9. During the furnace scene, in which Obi is burned alive, real flames were used with a stunt man covered in fire-resistant gel.
10. The bathroom set from the first film had to be completely recreated, as the first Saw was shot in Los Angeles, and Saw II was filmed in Toronto (which is where every subsequent sequel was filmed as well).
11. The original poster caused an uproar with the MPAA as it showed two severed fingers, which they called excessive and inappropriate. The poster was then cropped in such a way that you didn’t see where the fingers had been cut.
12. Producer Greg Hoffman sadly passed away two months after the movie was released. As a tribute to him, he’s listed posthumously as a producer on each subsequent sequel, and the character of Detective Hoffman (first introduced in Saw III) was named after him.
13. Remains the highest grossing movie in the Saw franchise grossing $87 million (US Domestic) on a $4 million budget.
14. Tobin Bell has also said that Saw II is his personal favorite, as it’s the one that had the most Jigsaw, especially after having to spend most of the first movie lying on the floor.
15. The movie itself was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Horror Film but lost to The Exorcism of Emily Rose.
Which of these did you already know? Which ones surprised you? What’s your favorite Saw movie? Let us know in the comments!