Billy (Saw): Wikis

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Saw prop
Billypuppet.jpg
Billy
Gender: Male design
Relationships: John Kramer (creator and voice)
Purpose: To deliver messages to subjects of Jigsaw
Status: Inanimate
First Appearance: Saw (short)

Billy is a puppet that has appeared in the Saw films. It was used by the series' primary antagonist John Kramer, the Jigsaw Killer, to communicate with his victims by delivering recorded messages, often appearing on a television screen or occasionally in person to describe the details of the sadistic traps and the means by which the victims can survive. Viewers have sometimes incorrectly identified the puppet itself as Jigsaw, because of its presence and connection to the killer.

Although it has never actually been identified in the films, Billy is the name by which it is referred to by writers, directors and members of the cast and crew on documentaries and interviews. The name was given to it by its real-life creator James Wan, who is the director and co-writer of Saw. There is disagreement that the name is spelled Billie, although Wan himself spells it Billy.[1]

The endurance and popularity of the Saw franchise has resulted in the production of Billy merchandise, as well as references in other media.

Contents

Characteristics

Billy appears to be a male ventriloquist's dummy, as its jaw is movable in order to give the suggestion that it is talking; however, it is not used in the same manner, as the entire doll is frequently seen moving on its own. Its face is white, with a protruding brow and cheeks that have red spirals painted on them. His red lips form a grin. His eyes are black with red irises, and his head is topped with black, messy hair.

Billy is always depicted wearing a black tuxedo, with a white undershirt and gloves, red bow tie, and red handkerchief in the breast pocket. He also has red Mary-Janes for shoes. In the short film, he is seen wearing a green bowler hat. He is often riding an old-fashioned red tricycle. The only sound originating directly from him is a generic electronic cackle much like one would find in a Halloween-type toy.

It was revealed in Saw IV that Billy's design was taken from a smaller, slightly different version that John had shown to his then-wife, Jill.

Construction

Original concept art for Billy

According to Wan, the construction of the original puppet's face for Saw involved clay, papier-mâché, and black ping-pong balls with the irises painted in for the eyes. He's also said to have paper towel rolls somewhere inside of him.[2] To make him move, the puppeteers pulled him along on a fishing line.

For Saw II, Billy was redesigned with mechanical features that could be manipulated by a remote control, including his unhinged jaw and his eyes.

For Saw III, the prop crew was given the original puppet, but found it unfit to work, as time had damaged it. Instead, they recreated Billy, using waterjet-cut foam for his body instead of fiberglass, equipped with plates to hold the puppet together and magnets to attach him to his tricycle. The back of his head was removable, to make it easier to slide the animatronic pieces in.

For Saw IV, the prop crew again made the body of waterjet-cut foam, held together by metal rods. They used strong magnets to make a flat rear for the puppet, so it could be easily positioned on any metal surface. The resin-filled ping-pong ball eyes were moved with a remote control, as was the mouth.

Appearances in film

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In the Saw films

Saw

In the first Saw movie, Billy is seen on a television set by Amanda, telling her about the reverse bear trap that was hooked into her jaws. Once Jigsaw explains where she must find the key to unlock the trap, Billy is seen again, congratulating Amanda on her success, wheeling into the room on his tricycle to deliver the message of her freedom.

Later, Adam remembers seeing the puppet in his apartment when the lights went out. While searching through the dark rooms using his camera flash, the puppet's eerie laugh rings through the apartment, and Adam hits it with his bat until it stops.

When Detectives Tapp and Sing uncover Jigsaw's latest hideout, they snoop around his desk, pulling off many blankets to reveal the different contraptions of the mastermind. The two detectives are shocked when they find the Billy puppet staring back at them from under one of the blankets.

Saw II

In Saw II, Billy is seen on the screen at the beginning of the film, giving Michael hints about the death mask he is wearing. It plays out similarly to Amanda's test, except Michael dies.

Later, when the detectives discover Jigsaw's new hideout, several officers walk up a caged staircase, and are greeted by Billy, who wheels into sight at the top of the stairs on his tricycle and laughs. The fence around the stairs then becomes electrified after one of the rigged steps sets off the trap.

Jigsaw constructing Billy

Saw III

In the third installment, Jigsaw can be seen constructing Billy in a flashback for the purpose of Amanda's game, painting the puppet's face. Later, Billy is used to inform both Troy and Kerry of their respective traps. The puppet is also seen in the background of a flashback that features Jigsaw and Amanda discussing her loyalty.

He is also used to remind Jeff Reinhart of his dead son at one point, by being laid down next to his bike in the same position as Jeff's son when he was killed. He then lets off a mocking laugh.

After Jeff cuts Jigsaw's throat, a reflection of Billy can be seen on Jigsaw's heart rate monitor for a split second.

Before Saw III's release, Billy was used in videos to promote the film on such sites as YouTube and MySpace.

Billy's face is blown apart as part of a trap.

Saw IV

Billy is first seen in Saw IV when Rigg awakes after being attacked in his apartment and rendered unconscious. Rigg opens his bathroom door, pulling a trigger-wire from a TV set. Billy appears on the screen to explain Rigg's game. Upon leaving the room, Rigg is greeted by another message concerning his first test, referring to a woman Jigsaw deemed to be a criminal that was stuck in a machine that would scalp her.

Agents Strahm and Perez later find Billy in a room in a school, sitting on a chair surrounded by candles. The puppet tells Agent Perez that her partner would soon take the life of an innocent man (who would later be found out to be Jeff) and that her next move is critical. Billy's eyes begin turning to Perez while saying "Open the door" in a low voice. Perez leans in to hear what the puppet was saying, at which point its face explodes, blowing shrapnel into her face and neck. Perez collapsed into Strahm's arms as Billy begins to laugh.

There is also a flashback of Jigsaw giving an early version of Billy to Jill as a gift, looking less menacing than the most recent version. An interview with Tobin Bell has revealed that this was the beginning of a storyline concerning the origins of Billy, as well as his tricycle, to be explored in future Saw films.[3]

Before Saw IV's release, Billy was used in videos to promote the film on such sites as YouTube and MySpace.

Saw V

Billy appeared in the opening sequence of Saw V, to tell Seth of his game. This game is later revealed to have been set up by Hoffman to frame Jigsaw and kill Seth.

Billy is also seen at the beginning of all of the team's traps.

The early version of Billy, Bobby from a Saw IV flashback, is seen in the background of a flashback explaining the connection between Jigsaw and Hoffman.

Saw VI

In Saw VI, Billy appears on tape in the opening trap, which pits Simone and Eddie against each other. He also addresses William Easton during two of his four tests (Jigsaw himself addresses William via video in his first test). He appears "in person" in William's second test by way of hanging from a noose, and on video in the fourth. Saw VI marks the first time Billy was purposefully shown in person to deliver test information to victims. Snippets of the Seth Baxter tape which Billy is featured in are also played.

In other films by Wan and Whannell

Leigh Whannell stated at the world premiere of Dead Silence that he was going to put Billy in every movie he made from now on, but its presence might not be obvious.

Dead Silence

Billy at the bottom of the screen

In the 2007 film Dead Silence (which is made by James Wan and Leigh Whannell, the creators of the Saw films), one of the puppets, who appears on the film's poster and wears the same outfit as Jigsaw's puppet, is named Billy. The Saw puppet is also seen in the movie for a brief second, in a shot that reveals all of Mary Shaw's puppets in the attic above the theater.

Death Sentence

A graffiti-style painting of Billy's face can be seen on a wall in James Wan's film Death Sentence.

Other media

Billy on his signature tricycle in Saw: The Video Game

Saw: Rebirth

Billy can be seen in the corners of two panels near the beginning of the comic, foreshadowing John's eventual transformation into Jigsaw. The comic also appears to mark Billy as one of John's creations at the toy factory where he worked, but this backstory was negated by Saw IV.

Saw: The Video Game

Billy appears throughout the game delivering hints and objectives to the player. He was also featured prominently in marketing for the game.

SAW - The Ride

Billy appears on numerous screens throughout the queue line of SAW - The Ride at Thorpe Park, England telling riders that they are not worthy of the life they have been given. He also appears on his tricycle at the start of the ride itself, telling riders what they will experience, before the car travels up the lift hill, appearing on a screen and saying 'GAME OVER' and finally at the end of the ride, where his head can be seen on a shelf covered with body parts.

The Office

In an episode of the US version of The Office, Dwight Shrute dresses up as Billy for Halloween. However, Darryl mistakes Dwight's costume as "a clown", much to Dwight's anger.

In popular culture

In the "Koi Pond" episode of The Office, Dwight Schrute dressed up as Billy for Halloween.

A line of replica Billy dolls has been released for consumer purchase, mainly through offbeat gift stores. It retains the main characteristics of the doll, though is much cleaner in appearance. Billy Halloween masks have also been released for purchase.

References

  1. ^ Saw: Uncut special features
  2. ^ Saw DVD special features
  3. ^ Topel, Fred (November 30, 2007). "Tobin Bell Previews Saw V Surprises". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/saw_4/news/1686930/tobin_bell_previews_saw_v_surprises. Retrieved 11-24-2009. 

External links

Dwight Schrute (portrayed by Rainn Wilson) dressed as Billy


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