Whether you're a glutton for gore or someone who covers their eyes during horror movies, chances are you know who this is: Jigsaw, the nightmare-inducing villain of the "Saw" franchise.
Darren Lynn Bousman, director of "Spiral: From The Book Of Saw":
"When I started off making the 'Saw' films, gore and violence was a gimmick. I used it to try to gross out the audience, as well as one-up other horror filmmakers."
Darren Lynn Bousman is the filmmaker behind the second, third and fourth films in the "Saw" franchise. And this year, he's back with "Spiral" — a new film in the franchise starring Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson.
Bousman: "It relies on the mythology of the previous eight films, but you can go into 'Spiral' never seeing a 'Saw' film."
"Spiral" is the ninth film in the franchise, which has long been a staple in the horror genre.
"Saw" first debuted in 2004 from director James Wan. It was about a serial killer that tortured victims through "games," and it was part of a new wave of horror films like "The Devil's Rejects," "Wolf Creek" and "Hostel" that led New York Magazine critic David Edelstein to popularize the phrase "torture porn." The "gimmick" of gore and violence was built on the popularity of slasher films from the '80s and '90s, but focused even more on being "unapologetically brutal."
Bousman: “I’ve lived a lot between the last film and this one. … I think coming around this time, the violence in ‘Spiral’ is not a gimmick, it just serves the story."
More than a decade after directing "Saw IV," Bousman says both the franchise and horror films in general have continued to evolve — bringing in new voices like Ari Aster, Robert Eggers and Jordan Peele, who've each added more creative depth and a focus on storytelling to the genre.
Bousman: "The horror audience is so large now that movies like 'Spiral' work, and movies like 'Hereditary' work, and they can each have their own unique audience and still be a part of that horror umbrella."