The Jigsaw Killer, commonly referred to as simply "Jigsaw", is a character in the Saw franchise. Jigsaw made his debut as the primary antagonist in the first film of the series, Saw, and later Saw II, III, IV, V and VI. He is portrayed by American actor Tobin Bell.
Jigsaw, introduced in the series as John Kramer, was a civil engineer dying from an inoperable frontal lobe tumor that had developed from colon cancer. After a failed suicide attempt, Kramer experienced a new respect for his own life and set out to put others through deadly trials to help them appreciate their own lives by testing their will to live through self-sacrifice. Frequently the tests were symbolic of a perceived flaw in each person's life. The Jigsaw name was given by the media for his practice of cutting puzzle pieces out of the flesh of those who failed their ordeals and perished, symbolic of their missing survival instincts.
The Jigsaw Killer character was introduced in the 2004 film Saw through the character Dr. Lawrence Gordon's recounting of his first killings. Jigsaw is described as a mysterious person who kidnaps people he sees as wasting their lives and attempts to "save" them. This is accomplished by administering various inhumane tests consisting of mechanical devices rigged to maim or kill the subjects or other victims if not completed within a certain time period. As opposed to other killers, Jigsaw does not actually intend to kill his subjects. The purpose of his traps is to see if the subject has the will to survive, and thus inflict enough psychological trauma for the subjects to appreciate their life and save themselves from their own demons. As his victims increase, the media dubs him The Jigsaw Killer, or simply Jigsaw, because of the jigsaw puzzle-shaped piece of flesh that he cuts from unsuccessful subjects, a practice explained in Saw II as reflecting each subject "was missing a vital piece of the human puzzle; the survival instinct". Throughout the first film, his identity remains uncertain; the unstable ex-cop David Tapp suspects that he may be Dr. Gordon, one of the film's two protagonists, and near the end of the film Dr. Gordon and fellow protagonist Adam are led to believe it is the hospital orderly Zep Hindle. Only at the end of the film is it revealed that the Jigsaw Killer was in fact a terminal cancer patient of Dr. Gordon's, John Kramer, who spent the entire time posing as a corpse on the floor of the bathroom and Adam was trapped in.
Much of the character's backstory was revealed in Saw II, revealing that he had become sick and had gone in for a medical examination, where he learned from Dr. Lawrence Gordon that he was dying of colon cancer, with an inoperable brain tumor. At this point, he stated that he began to see how many people took their lives for granted. He drove himself off of a cliff but survived the suicide attempt, and subsequently began his "work" to save people from themselves. Though he never claimed nor encouraged the name, Kramer's work eventually earned him the nickname The Jigsaw Killer, in spite of the circumstances and intentions he had while conducting his work; he did not consider himself to be a "killer" or "murderer". This is because rather than killing his victims outright, he trapped them in situations which he called "tests" or "games", in order to test their instinctual will to live versus physical or psychological torture.
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Official Site: Lion Gates Films
Links: Jigsaw Wikipedia page Saw Wikipedia page Saw imdb page