Any horror aficionado has their favorite villains. Whether you connect to them on a personal level, love the level of gore they bring to the screen, or appreciate the ingenious ways they dispatch their victims, almost any horror fan has, at one point or another, gone to bat for who they think is the best at being bad.
Freddy vs. Jason, Carpenter Myers vs. Zombie Myers, we’ve all had those late night disputes among friends before. I’m just here to put it in writing, and offer a few new pairings to debate. Today, I propose we all engage in a little introspection while we take a look at two men who turn into monsters when they’re made to face the darkness in humanity. Would they disapprove of how you life your life?
John Doe (Se7en) Vs. Jigsaw (Saw)
Number of victims: 4 (although there were 7 deadly sins, ‘Sloth’ did not die, ‘Pride’ committed suicide, and ‘Envy’ was Doe himself, killed by Agent Mills. Yes, technically Mills was not wearing the contraption that caused Lust’s death, but as with the rest of the deaths, there was always the threat of death if his orders were not obeyed. Someone, one way or another, was going to die).
Motive: Extracting payment for sins
Signature: Each victim’s death is directly related to the deadly sin of which they’re guilty
Best quote: “We are not what was intended.”
Backstory: Not much is known about John Doe, other than the fact that he’s at least somewhat Biblically-minded, relatively intelligent, and was planning his murders for at least a year (Sloth was confined for that length of time).
Sexy factor: Meh. No one’s dressing up as John Doe for Halloween, I can tell you that.
Ingenuity: The clues John Doe left were much more inspired than the murders themselves.
Final thought: John Doe was so completely invested in his concept that he orchestrated his “masterpiece” with his own death in mind! If that’s not commitment, what is? However, in a city plagued by crime and violence, a mere handful of connected murders is hardly a blip on the radar.
Number of victims: 0 (Jigsaw gives everyone a chance to walk away alive, and has technically never actually killed anyone, although that probably wouldn’t get him far in court. The few inescapable traps were created by Amanda or Hoffman).
Motive: Testing unwilling participants’ will to live, and presenting a new appreciation for life to survivors through traps and torments built around each victims personal deficit.
Signature: Those who fell victim to Jigsaw’s games had a puzzle piece shaped piece of flesh removed, to symbolize they were missing survival instincts.
Best quote: “I want to play a game.”
Backstory: After his wife suffers a miscarriage, Jigsaw loses his happy thoughts and the couple divorces. After being diagnosed with cancer, Jigsaw (at this point only known as John Kramer) attempts suicide, and upon realizing he has survived his attempt, decides to spread an appreciation for life among those who most take it for granted in perhaps the most absolute twisted way possible.
Sexy factor: Perhaps recognizable most by his red and black robes, Jigsaw isn’t much of a remarkable figure. Billy the Puppet has more sizzle than Jigsaw himself.
Ingenuity: No one can argue that Jigsaw’s traps are some of the most physically and mentally damaging out there, and the level of creativity is definitely unmatched.
Final thought: Jigsaw had a noble, if not horrifying, goal, but ultimately died with his closest mentee, Amanda, abandoning his vision. As Amanda was Jigsaw’s shining star, so to speak, his example proving his methods worked, her admission of disbelief means Jigsaw’s work was essentially for nothing. We got some sickening scenes out of it, though, so who really cares?
Although Jigsaw is more well known, has more movies, and even had his own disciples, this isn’t a popularity contest. Jigsaw died a broken, sad man, whereas Doe’s death was the final touch he needed. If John Doe and Jigsaw faced off, it’s pretty clear that John Doe would walk away victorious. Mercy isn’t an option with him, as he proved when he killed Mills’ wife even as she begged for the life of her unborn child. Jigsaw, however, always leaves his victims in charge of their own fate. Doe is a man who willingly skinned his own fingers. He would stand a solid chance at beating Jigsaw’s game…if he chose to play.
Let me know who you’d like to see paired up next time, and of course, have a positively horrifying Halloween!