|“||Live or die. Make your choice.||”|
— Billy speaks to the subjects[src]
Billy, the mechanical ventriloquist puppet used by John Kramer, better known as the Jigsaw Killer, was a recurring item throughout the Saw franchise. It was used to inform the victims of Jigsaw's deadly games about the rules and instructions they had to follow in order to survive.
Billy was a mechanical puppet resembling a male clown. Its face was pale white with a protruding brow and cheeks that had red spirals painted on them. His red lips formed a grin, his eyes were black with red irises and his head was topped with black, messy hair. Additionally, he wore a black tuxedo with a white shirt and gloves, a red bow tie as well as red shoes and always had a red handkerchief in his breast pocket. In the short film he also wore a bowler hat.
Due to being a mechanical construction, Billy was able to move on his own. Most of the time, Jigsaw used video recordings of him to inform his victims about their situation. However, at times, Billy also appeared to the victims in person and occasionally rode an old red tricycle John had used in his childhood. (Saw IV)
When Jill Tuck became pregnant by her husband, John Kramer, the latter immediately was as devoted to his unborn child as he was to his wife. In order to surprise her John built a small, wooden puppet as a present for the birth of their son, Gideon. When it was finished, he took her to his new workshop and proudly revealed it to her.
After Jill was injured during a robbery by one of her patients, Cecil Adams, and therefore lost her unborn child, John suffered from severe depression and became somehow emotionally attached to the puppet as it was one of the few memorabilia left from his child. Following the tragedy John withdrew from other human beings, resulting in his divorce from Jill, and spent most of his time in his workshop. When Jill and their lawyer, Art Blank, who were worried about him eventually found him there, Art accidentally knocked the puppet down from a table. After bumping them, John picked it up from the floor and stroked its hair, remembering the loss of his son. (Saw IV)
The Murderer's Trail
When John started his series of murders and became known to the public as the Jigsaw Killer, he built a bigger, mechanical and more sinister looking version of the puppet in order to tell his victims about the rules of his deadly games as well as the things they had to do in order to survive. Shortly after the beginning of the murders a man named Seth Baxter was released from prison due to a procedural error after he had received a life sentence for the murder of Angelina Acomb, the sister of Detective Mark Hoffman. As Hoffman was one of the investigators on the Jigsaw case and therefore knew the killer's modus operandi, he worked out a plan to kill Seth Baxter and frame Jigsaw for the murder.
In order to do so, Hoffman built a trap on his own. Additionally he recorded a video in which he used the puppet, which had been found at one of Jigsaw's early crime scenes, to give Seth the instructions for his game. To avoid his voice being recognized by his colleagues he edited the recording to alter his voice. When Seth woke up in the trap after his abduction, the puppet told him he had to activate two large mechanical vices which would subsequently crush his hands. However the trap was manipulated by Hoffman and even though Seth accomplished his task he was killed by a giant pendulum which sliced him in half. When the body was found shortly afterwards, the police secured the tape and took it to their evidence room. (Saw V)
While continuing his games, John Kramer eventually targeted Amanda Young, a drug addict and former patient of his ex-wife. In order to test her, he built a mechanical device which was hooked in her upper and lower jaw and would burst open if she didn't manage to remove it in time, resulting in her jaws getting ripped apart. He also built a new puppet as the last one was still in the possession of the police. When he was done with it he recorded another video in which the puppet told Amanda what she had to do in order to free herself. Additionally it showed to her what the trap would do to her if she failed by presenting her a mannequin's head getting torn apart by the trap.
Upon awakening in her trap and listening to Jigsaw's instructions provided by the video, Amanda immediately panicked. However she eventually managed to get free by cutting the key to the trap from the stomach of her paralyzed cellmate. Horrified by these events Amanda desperately began to cry but stopped when the mechanical puppet suddenly approached on a tricycle and congratulated her for her survival. (Saw)
Shortly after Amanda's game, the video tape from the crime scene was further examined by Detective David Tapp and Detective Steven Sing. By doing so they eventually managed to deduce the location of Jigsaw's hideout in an abandoned mannequin factory on 213 Stygian Street. When they entered and searched the building they eventually found the mechanical puppet sitting on a desk covered with a blanket. However when they heard the elevator they put the blanket back and went into hiding, waiting for Jigsaw to arrive. (Saw)
Several months later Jigsaw used the puppet for the game of another victim, Michael Marks. When he awoke, a TV turned on, showing the puppet which revealed to him that he had a key planted behind his right eye which he had to cut out within 60 seconds. Otherwise a metal mask with numerous nails on the inside would close on his head and kill him. Unfortunately Michael wasn't able to accomplish his task and died. When the corpse was found during an asbestos disposal, Detective Allison Kerry secured the video tape and took it to her office at the police station for further examination. (Saw II)
Shortly after the discovery of Michael's corpse, Detective Eric Matthews deduced the location of Jigsaw's new hideout at the Wilson Steel Plant. On the next day he and Kerry arrived at the building, accompanied by a SWAT team led by Sergeant Daniel Rigg. The first ones to enter and secure the building were Rigg, SWAT Officer Pete Baker and two other SWAT officers. When they went in, they soon reached a staircase surrounded by a chain-link cage. While Rigg stood back, his colleagues entered the staircase. When they tried to climb the stairs, they suddenly stopped when they heard a mechanical squealing sound. Seconds later, Jigsaw's puppet appeared at the head of the stairs, sitting on its tricycle and maniacally laughing at them. When the staircase was locked by a mechanism, Officer Baker tried to approach the puppet when suddenly a rigged step sprang forward and broke his shins, causing his two fellow officers to back away and receiving a lethal electric shock when they touched the cage. While they were killed in front of Sergeant Rigg's eyes, the puppet slowly rode back on the cycle. (Saw II)
Jill Tuck's Interrogation
Following the revelation of Jigsaw's true identity, the police interrogated his ex-wife, Jill Tuck, and searched her house for evidence. Upon doing so they found one the puppet John had originally built for Gideon. When Detective Hoffman interrogated her, he showed her photos of the puppet and asked her about it. Jill responded that it was merely a toy, concealing the true meaning it had for her and John. To cover the fact that she and Hoffman knew about each other and their connection to John, Jill refused to give him any useful information and instead called her lawyer, Art Blank. (Saw IV)
Six months after the events at Wilson Steel, Amanda Young, who had become Jigsaw's apprentice after the survival of her game, abducted another victim, Troy, and took him to an elementary school. When he awoke in one of the classrooms he found himself almost entirely naked with eleven chains piercing his body. When a TV turned on in front of him, Jigsaw's puppet provided the instructions for the game. However as Amanda had manipulated the game, Troy wasn't able to free himself and was killed by the explosion of a nail bomb which subsequently devastated the room. However when the police arrived at the crime scene they found the video tape to still be intact, much to their surprise. (Saw III)
Eager to finally put an end to Jigsaw's games Kerry took the video from Troy's crime scene and a bunch of photos and files home to continue her research. While she was watching the video over and over again she suddenly saw herself on her TV screen. She realized that she was filmed from inside her closet and shot right through its door. When she searched the closet she found the camera and removed it but was then subdued by an invader with a Pig Mask who had sneaked up to her. Amanda Young and Detective Hoffman, who had become a Jigsaw apprentice on his own after the murder of Seth Baxter, abducted her and placed her in one of Jigsaw's traps.
Upon waking up, Kerry immediately realized what had happened to her. When a TV turned on in front of her, a video tape showing the puppet instructed her that she had to grab the key to the device from an acid-filled beaker. After some hesitation she tried to get the key but pulled her hand back due to the massive amount of pain. However she could bring herself to try it once again and eventually got the key from the glass and opened the lock of her device. Unfortunately the lock was without function, destroying her hope to survive. Mere seconds before the timer of the trap expired Amanda entered the room. Kerry recognized her and realized it was her who had manipulated Troy's trap as well as her own. Moments later her timer went off, causing the trap to tear her ribcage apart. (Saw III)
Four days after the death of Detective Kerry, Mark Hoffman abducted Jeff Denlon and took him to the abandoned Gideon Meatpacking Plant, where he was forced to participate in their next game. Jigsaw had chosen Jeff because the latter lost his son, Dylan, in a car accident three years ago and therefore neglected both his wife and daughter as the only thing he cared about was getting his revenge on Timothy Young, the drunk driver who killed his son. While making his way through the building Jeff found Jigsaw's puppet and his tricycle lying on the floor in hallway. The position in which they lay on the ground resembled the way his dead son had laid before him on the street after the accident. Remembering his son's demise, Jeff carefully picked up the puppet. However when it suddenly started to mockingly laugh at him, he dropped it and continued his way, leaving the puppet behind on the floor. (Saw III, IV)
At the same time of Jeff's game, Officer Daniel Rigg was forced to play one of Jigsaw's games on his own. When he woke up in his bathtub after he had been subdued and placed there by Art Blank, Rigg left the bathroom. Upon opening the door a TV turned on, showing a video of the puppet which told him he had to pass a series of tests in order to overcome his obsession with stopping Jigsaw and saving everyone. Just a few seconds later, Rigg entered his living room where he found a woman chained to a trap as well as another tape was waiting for him. The puppet told Rigg that he should go away and leave the woman behind. (Saw IV)
When they discovered that Officer Rigg was the subject of another Jigsaw game, Special Agent Lindsey Perez and Special Agent Peter Strahm tried to keep his track in order to stop the game which ultimately led them to the same school building where Troy had been killed four days earlier. When they got informed that Jigsaw's ex-wife, Jill Tuck, was a co-proprietor of the school, the agents searched the building and eventually reached the principal's office. Upon entering the room they discovered Jigsaw's puppet sitting on a chair in a circle of candles with a tape recorder hanging from his neck. When Perez started the tape it told her that her partner would soon take the life of an innocent man and warned her that her next step would be critical. However instead of listening to the warning, Perez leaned forward to the puppet as it started whispering incomprehensibly. A few seconds later the puppet's face suddenly exploded, severely injuring her face and neck with shrapnel. As Strahm was taking her to safety, the puppet mockingly laughed at her before it gave up the ghost. (Saw IV)
Following the death of Jigsaw and Amanda at the hands of Jeff Denlon, Mark Hoffman became John's successor and continued his mission. Therefore he prepared another game he was told to arrange by John before his death. This series of tests consisted of four different games which were designed to test five people who were all directly or indirectly connected to a fire which had taken the lives of eight people. Via video, Jigsaw's puppet introduced them to their test and guided them through every single one of their trials. (Saw V)
Shortly after this series of tests, Hoffman set up another game to test two money lenders, Simone and Eddie. When they awoke and stood up from their seats they accidentally activated a TV. Another video of the puppet told them they had to cut off their own flesh and throw it on a scale in front of them. Whoever managed to sacrifice the most flesh would survive while the other would be killed by the trap which would pierce the victim's skull. (Saw VI)
The puppet was once again used by Hoffman when the latter arranged a series of tests for William Easton, manager of the Umbrella Health insurance company, and his workers. When William reached his second test he was told to grab two chains attached to two holders in front of a glass panel. Upon doing so, the chains were tightened and a spotlight was turned on the puppet, which was standing on a small platform behind the panel with a noose of barbed wire around its neck. One moment later, the platform folded away, causing Billy to swing forward and hit the glass panel, giving a suggestion of what would happen next. Two spotlights revealed William's file clerk, Allen, and his secretary, Addy, who were standing on similar platforms with barbwire around their necks. Billy introduced William to his colleagues and confronted him with his business policies. According to those, Addy was less worthy to live as she had a family history of diabetes, while Allen was perfectly healthy but had no living relatives who would miss them. Finally, the puppet told him that he had to let one of them go in order to save the other one. Seconds later, the puppet was pulled up and out of sight by its noose.
Later on, when William reached his fourth test, he was instructed by the puppet via video. Six of William's associates were chained to a rotating playground carousel which stopped periodically, resulting in one of the associates sitting in front of a mounted shotgun which would fatally shoot the victim in front of it, if William didn't make the choice to save the person. Reminding William of his dubious business practices, which had often resulted in the denial of health insurance applications, the puppet told him that he could only save two of his associates. (Saw VI)
After Mark Hoffman was heavily injured by a trap put on him by Jill Tuck, he went to his hideout in an abandoned hangar. There he had already stored the documents and materials he'd need to arrange his next big game, which focused on Bobby Dagen, a man who had lied about being a survivor of one of Jigsaw's traps. The materials for the game also included a few remaining puppets, some of which weren't finished at that time. (Saw 3D)
Before preparing the game for Bobby Dagen, Mark Hoffman abducted three more people and put them in a trap inside the Welthammer Store, a home improvement market located at a public place. When the victims, Brad, Ryan and Dina woke up, the puppet slowly approached on its tricycle and explained the rules while both the victims as well as the crowd that witnessed the game from the outside were listening. Brad and Ryan were both chained to a circular saw, while Dina was hanging above a third one. In order to prevent Dina from being killed, Brad or Ryan had push their saw all the way to the other side, which would inevitably result in the death of one of them. However after a brief argument both of them agreed to sacrifice Dina as she had cheated on both of them. When the time went off, Dina was sliced in half by the third saw, resulting in both Brad and Ryan as well as the puppet getting covered in her blood. (Saw 3D)
When Bobby Dagen woke up after his abduction by Hoffman he found himself to be trapped in a cylindrical cage. Moments later a TV turned on in front of him, showing another video of Jigsaw's puppet. The puppet told Bobby that he was abducted because of his lies and therefore had to pass a series of tests. If he didn't manage to do so, his wife, Joyce Dagen, would be killed after 60 minutes.
Upon making his way through the abandoned Clear Dawn Psychiatric Hospital, Bobby soon reached his lawyer, Suzanne, who had been abducted and put in a trap as well. When Bobby tried to free her from her restrains, a large cylindrical cage burst through a window. Inside the cage was the puppet which provided the instructions for the next game. In order to save Suzanne, Bobby had to step into a machine and lift a heavy weight in order to close a circuit for the time of 30 seconds. While doing so, four metal spikes would pierce the sides of his body. If he didn't managed to accomplish the task, his lawyer's eyes and mouth would get pierced by large metal rods.
When Bobby eventually reached his penultimate test, the next instruction video had already been waiting for him. Jigsaw's puppet told him that in order to reach his wife, Bobby had to open a door which was secured by a combination lock. The necessary digits had been etched onto two of his teeth which Bobby had to pull out with pliers lying on a table before him. A chart on the wall told him which teeth to pull and in which order to enter the numbers. Reminding Bobby that he didn't have much time left, the video ended.
After passing the previous test Bobby finally reached his wife who was chained by the neck to a large metal platform and surrounded by an electric fence. When Bobby unsuccessfully tried to pass the fence, the last TV turned on and showed the puppet which told him that he had to play the game he had lied about for several years. In order to free himself and Joyce, Bobby had to pierce two large hooks through his chest muscles and hoist himself to the ceiling where he had to connect a pair of extension cords. After providing the instructions, the TV turned off. (Saw 3D)
Mark Hoffman's Escape
After killing Jill Tuck in the evidence room of the police station, Mark Hoffman returned to his hangar and prepared everything to flee. After providing himself with necessaries such as money and a gun, Hoffman turned on two explosive gas bottles and blew up his hideout and everything inside, including the last Jigsaw puppets. (Saw 3D)
Use in other Media
Billy briefly appeared in the animated comic Saw: Rebirth, which served as a prequel to the first three films. According to the comic, John built the puppet at a toy factory where he was working.
Billy was also used by Jigsaw in Saw: The Video Game. While Detective David Tapp made his way through the abandoned Whitehurst Insane Asylum to face his series of tests, Jigsaw frequently contacted him through his puppet via video messages. Similar to its role in the movies, Billy introduced Tapp to all of his tests and the victims he had to save.
Jigsaw's puppet reappeared in Saw II: Flesh & Blood. Similar to the movies and the first game, Jigsaw used Billy to contact and instruct his test subjects, Michael Tapp and Campbell Iman. Additionally, players had the choice to collect smaller versions of Billy which were hidden throughout the whole game. Collecting all of them awarded the players with an achievement.
The puppet was also used in the original short film. When David, a young orderly from a hospital, woke up after being abducted by Jigsaw, he found himself to be strapped onto a chair and with a Reverse Beartrap placed on his head. He immediately panicked and tried to free himself from the chair but stopped when a TV next to him was turned on. Billy appeared on the screen and told him that the device on his head was hooked into her upper and lower jaw and would rip his head apart if he didn't manage to free herself within 60 seconds. It also revealed that the only key was in the stomach of his supposedly dead cellmate.
When the TV turned off David panicked again. However, the timer of the trap just started to count down when he freed himself from the chair which caused a metal pin to be pulled out of the trap resulting in its activation. When he saw the lifeless body of his cellmate he initially hesitated to cut open the body. However when he realized that the man wasn't dead but merely paralyzed he grabbed a knife laying next to him and stabbed him multiple times until he died. With only a few seconds left David searched his cellmate's stomach for the key and eventually managed to get free only moments before the trap was activated. Horrified by these events David began to cry, when the mechanical puppet slowly approached on a tricycle. It congratulated him for his survival and told him that he now knew how to appreciate his life.
Following the disappearance of Adam Stanheight, Detective Ron Willis and his colleagues searched his apartment where they found the ventriloquist puppet in his living room. Willis was later interviewed for the documentary Full Disclosure Report, which focused on Jigsaw's early crimes, and revealed these details to the audience.
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 XIX
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.
Behind the Scenes
According to James 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.
- 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.
- In the scene in Insidious where Josh is working late in the classroom, Billy is drawn in chalk on the blackboard behind him. Underneath the drawing the number eight is shown, symbolizing that there may be an eighth Saw film.
- Billy made a cameo in Snafu's web comic: 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 one second.
Appearances and References
|Saw||Saw II||Saw III||Saw IV||Saw V||Saw VI||Saw 3D||Jigsaw|
|Flashback||Appears||Appears||Appears||Recording||Appears||Appears||Flashback & Pictured|
|Full Disclosure Report||The Scott Tibbs Documentary||Saw: The Video Game||Saw II: Flesh & Blood|
Amanda's Letter • Billy the Puppet • Billy's Tricycle • Bobby the Puppet • Circular Saw • Dylan's Pig • Hacksaws • Hidden Blade • Hoffman's Honor Plaque • Hoffman's Stalker Notes • Instruction Tapes • Jigsaw Pieces • Jill's Box • Jill's Key • John Kramer: Conundrum of Carnage • Miniature Models • Nail Bombs • Peepholes • Pig Mask • S.U.R.V.I.V.E. • Sick Room Key • Spike Gun • Stalker Photos • Strahm's Hand • Terracotta Soldier