Will the End of the ‘Saw’ Franchise Spell the End of Mainstream Torture Features?

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Demon FM conducted an interview with Saw VII co-writer Patrick Melton (transcribed by Latino Review) in which he insinuates the now-filming seventh film in the franchise that started in 2004 may spell the end. When asked point blank when he saw the franchise ending he replied:

I think it’s going to end with Saw VII. I have a very strong feeling its going to end with Saw VII. That’s something we’re debating now. You saw in previous interviews or discussions where we thought Saw VIII would be the last one where we had the first trilogy and the second trilogy and then sort of a grand finale wrapped up in two films. But frankly because Saw VI hasn’t performed as well as we anticipated, the idea is well why make two movies when we can make one really excellent movie that wraps up as best we can? And it’s going to be in 3-D which sort of adds to the spectacle. So if you had to ask me, I don’t own the franchise, nor do I run the studio, but I have a feeling, a strong feeling that it’s going to be Saw VII which will be also known as Endgame. And nothing’s official yet, but that’s where we’re hoping things will go.

It seems interesting a franchise so dependent on interwoven storylines from film-to-film wouldn’t be entirely clear on whether or not it was coming to an end. I would assume they would want to go out with a bang, ensuring there was no more room for the story to continue. However, this has me wondering if the end of the franchise that truly popularized the endless torture of characters on screen will spell the end for the genre overall, at least in terms of the mainstream.

Looking back, it doesn’t seem like the genre every really gained much steam as Hostel in 2005 is the only title I can think of off the top of my head that actually made any real impact at the box-office and even its sequel was dead on arrival, much like Captivity in 2007. Other than that, there has simply been a rise in PG-13 related thrills and I’m sure the success of Paranormal Activity will also have studios looking to mine the ghostly premise even further, especially considering the sub-$20,000 budget Paranormal sported.

When the Saw franchise began it was clever, I even thought the original Hostel offered much more than simple gore tactics, something the sequel literally bathed in as opposed to trying to tell anything resembling a story. I gave up on the Saw franchise after the abominable third installment, but have been told it improved with the sixth film, but had you not seen the five films prior there really was no need to entertain the later films. So I didn’t.

I don’t mind gore, I just mind gore for the sake of showing someone torn in half, chopped to pieces or mutilated without purpose. Personally I thought the graphic mutilation in Lars von Trier’s Antichrist served a purpose. It may have been intensely graphic and certainly something I would never recommend my mother watch, but it most definitely wasn’t graphic simply for prurient reasons.

Saw VII will be released in 3D on October 22, 2010.