Disclaimer: I have not seen any of the Saw movies. The fourth one came out Friday and, like the first three, topped the Halloween weekend box office. Based on the trailers, reviews and film posters (which illustrate acts of torture), I will never see any of them. Yet I feel permitted to judge them, or at least judge society's appetite for them.
You are all sickos.
Look at this bewildering trend below. After each film's title is the opening date, the film's opening-weekend domestic gross and its all-time worldwide gross.
Saw. Oct. 29, 2004. $18.3 million. $103.1 million.
Saw II. Oct. 28, 2005. $31.7 million. $147.7 million.
Saw III. Oct. 27, 2006. $33.6 million. $164.9 million.
Saw IV made $32.1 million this weekend, almost triple the haul of the second-place finisher, Carell Keeps Trying to Be a Movie Star. It is the fourth consecutive Halloween weekend dominated -- nay, raped and flayed -- by a Saw movie.
There is a mass contingent of faithful followers of torture porn. They have made the genre the most reliably profitable in current cinema (given each film costs less than $10 million to produce). So please, I'd like a Saw devotee to explain why he or she makes a point to see these movies on opening weekend (or at all). If you're reading and you're a Saw fan, articulate this. I want to understand. Please. Someone convince me of their artistic or entertainment value. Please. Having not seen any of them, I'm willing to admit that there is underlying value in these movies. But the marketing inspires nothing in me but revulsion. And I can't believe that's enough to lure all these people into the theaters. Please defend these movies. Someone.
I am reminded of Viennese actionism -- a mode of art in which people reacted to horrific situations (like the Holocaust) by making horrific art. I saw an actionist exhibit in Vienna in 2003 and it was one of the most disturbing rooms I've ever been in. I can't even describe what I saw, for fear of throwing up my lunch. But if one had to assign a purpose to this awful art, it would be "psychological bloodletting." The only way these artists knew how to exorcise their own personal horror was to spew it out using some kind of artistic medium.
Do the Saw movies serve this type of purpose? Or do people like to go to be reminded of how good and stable their own lives are? Or are the movies some kind of twisted statement on the employment of torture in the political and military spheres? Something tells me, though, that the movies are nothing but a slick Hollywood product catering to the basest urges of humanity. Someone. Please. Explain.
Happy Halloween, you filthy animals.
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