This week marks the 10th anniversary of the release of James Wan’s landmark 2004 horror movie Saw, about a gruesome, games-playing serial killer, which spawned a remarkable six sequels in just six years.
Hopefully they were paying Billy the twisted puppet overtime.
The series has become an incredibly lucrative one for distributor Lionsgate, taking in over $873 million worldwide at the box office thus far, with another sequel in development. (The original’s getting a theatrical re-release for Halloween on Friday.)
As you’ll learn in the video above, the blockbuster franchise all began with a short film made for just $5,000 by Wan and partner Leigh Whanell; the two aspiring Aussie filmmakers sent the short — which featured a handmade puppet and Whannell playing the lead role — and a feature script to producers in Hollywood, immediately catching the eye of actor Cary Elwes.
As if that wasn’t enough of a dream come true, Wan got to direct his teenage crush, actress Shawnee Smith (Summer School). She shot all of her scenes on a single day, much of it while wearing the “reverse beartrap” contraption on her face. So sweet.