A lot of things are said about the Saw movies. 'Horrible torture porn' is a common comment - mostly from people who've never watched the film – but what isn't discussed enough is how smart this little movie from two aspiring Australian film-makers is.
Check out a whole bunch of cool hidden film references in the first film - and surprise Saw haters with some surprisingly intelligent movie knowledge!
Movie Reference: Trainspotting
Trainspotting and Saw have a kind of similar ethos, if you think about it: do you choose self-destruction, or choose life? The gross toilet Adam (Leigh Whannell) fishes around in is a reference to 'the worst toilet in Glasgow' in Trainspotting, explained in the following clip from Saw: Directors' Commentary.
Guys & Dolls
Movie Reference: Profondo Rosso
Dario Argento's 1975 thriller masterpiece Profondo Rosso ('Deep Red') involves a freaky puppet, which was Wan & Whannell's motivation for creating one of their own: Billy the doll. The killer's black-gloved hands in Saw are also a reference to Argento and other directors in the Giallo horror movement of the '70s and '80s, which often featured unseen killers wearing leather gloves.
Cleanin' Out My Closet
Movie Reference: Black Christmas
When Zep kidnaps Dr Lawrence's daughter, Diana, he hides in the closet and we see his little eye peeping out. This is a direct reference to 1974 Slasher Black Christmas.
Movie Reference: Mad Max
The famous scene in which Dr Gordon starts laboriously sawing his own foot off at Saw's climax is directly inspired by the ending of the original 1979 Mad Max movie. Compare the lines from the two movies:
Dr Gordon (Saw): "He doesn't want us to cut through our chains. He wants us to cut through our feet!"
Max (Mad Max): "If you're lucky, you can hack through your ankle in five minutes."