Billy is a puppet that has appeared in the Saw films. He was used by the series's primary antagonist John Kramer, A.K.A The Jigsaw Killer, to communicate with his victims. Although he has never been identified in the actual films themselves, "Billy" is the name by which he is referred to by writers, directors and members of the cast and crew on documentaries and interviews. The name was given to him by his real life creator James Wan who is the director and co-writer of Saw. There is disagreement that the name is spelled "Billie", although James himself spells it "Billy". Though he actually has little to do with the plot, he has become the iconic symbol of the Jigsaw Killer. The main purpose of Billy is to deliver recorded messages to victims of Jigsaw's often appearing on a television screen to distribute the details of the sadistic traps and the means of which the victims can survive.
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 typical Halloween decoration.
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. Also in Saw IV, it was revealed that the puppet was going to be a present for their unborn child (who Jigsaw could be seen constructing in a flashback in Saw III).
It is possible that in some way Billy represents John's son, Gideon. Billy was originally a toy for Gideon, and losing his son is partly why John became Jigsaw. Gideon died before he could be born into a corrupt world and died pure. Billy tells those who are corrupt what they can do to fix their lives.
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. 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 filmEdit
In the Saw filmsEditSaw movie, Billy is seen on a television set by Amanda, telling her about the reverse bear trap that was hooked into her jaw. Once Jigsaw explains where she must find the key to unlock the trap, Billy is seen again, this time in person, wheeling into the room on his tricycle to congratulate her and 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.
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.
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 Denlon of his dead son at one point, by being laid down next to his tricycle in the same position as Jeff's son when he was killed. He then lets off a mocking laugh. Jeff drops him on the floor and he continues laughing as Jeff enters the pig vat trap.
After Jeff cuts Jigsaw's throat, a reflection of Billy can be seen on Jigsaw's heart rate monitor for a split second.
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.
Before Saw IV's release, Billy was used in videos to promote the film on such sites as YouTube and MySpace.
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. It is unknown how Hoffman knew that Jigsaw had the same puppet. According to a list of potential Jigsaw victims, Seth was the second person tested after Cecil, Jigsaw's first victim. In that test, Jigsaw didn't use a puppet.
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.
This is the only film in the series where billy does not make an appearance in human form (excluding Saw IV archive footage.)
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. Snippets of the Seth Baxter tape which Billy is featured in are also played.
In Saw 3D, Billy appears in the Shopping Mall trap, appearing in person, and briefs Brad and Ryan about the trap.
He appears on video in Bobby Dagen's first test Start Your Life Anew involving a suspended cage over a spike ridden floor.
He appears in his third test involving lawyer Suzanne in the See No Evil trap.
Another Billy puppet is seen in Hoffman's hideout before he blows it up in the finale.
In other films by Wan and WhannellEdit
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.
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.
A graffiti-style painting of Billy's face can be seen on a wall in James Wan's film Death Sentence.
Insidious EditIn the 2011 film Insidious the scene where Josh (the father) is working late in the classroom, Billy is drawn in chalk on the blackboard behind his head. Underneath the drawing, the number eight is shown, symbolizing that there may be an eighth Saw film.
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.
Billy appears throughout the game delivering hints and objectives to the player. He was also featured prominently in marketing for the game.
Saw - The RideEdit
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. Also, you get your photo taken with Billy on the Saw Alive maze, Thorpe Park, England.
Halloween Horror Nights XIXEdit
Billy appeared in the commercials for Halloween Horror Nights XIX at Universal Studios Orlando, and also appeared in Halloween Horror Nights XIX at Universal Studios Hollywood, where 'Jigsaw' was claimed to be the master of ceremonies. In the commercial, he is seen with his tricycle, riding into a lobby and announcing the trademark phrase 'Let the game begin' before releasing his signature cackle. While he was not seen much outside of the maze devoted to him in Orlando, large monitors displayed his visage in the central area of Universal Studios Hollywood. While Jigsaw was not the MC of HHN XX's Hollywood event, Billy still makes an appearance in the SAW: Game On maze.
In popular cultureEdit
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.
Aliens that resemble Billy are the main antagonists in Scary Movie 4.
Nicki Minaj uses Billy as the face of "Nemesis" on her Backdrop Screen for her Intro/ Opening Song " Roman's Revenge" For her Setlist as an opening act for Britney Spears, on her, " Femme Fatale Tour".
- Canon (8 films, 1 comic, 2 games)
- Saw (short film) (first appearance)
- Saw - Tobin Bell
- Saw: The Video Game - Tobin Bell
- Saw II (screen) - Tobin Bell
- Saw II: Flesh & Blood - Tobin Bell
- Saw III - Tobin Bell
- Saw IV - Tobin Bell
- Saw V - Costas Mandylor
- Saw VI - Tobin Bell
- Saw 3D - Tobin Bell
- Saw: Rebirth
- Billy makes a cameo in Snafu's webcomic: Grim Tales from Down Below. Only a picture of Billy in a wheelchair can be seen. Billy is the godfather of Grim Jr.
- Caliborn, a character from the internet comic Homestuck, shares many similarities to Billy in both the red swirls on his cheeks and a fascination with games.
Billy with his Bowler Hat appears in SAW during Amanda's Reverse Bear Trap tape for less than 1 second.