John Kramer changed ways of horrors with the Saw Series. He is known as many different things to many different people; some claim he is a hero, and others say he is a monster. John Kramer, and what the police have called him, Jigsaw, creates these games where he puts individuals who he knows does not see the value in their lives, and tests them to see if they are worthy to be alive. All of these games include life or death situations, in some of these games one might even need to kill someone else in order to stay alive. John Kramer is disgusted with the fact that people do not value their lives until they reach the point of death. As he said in Saw II, “Those who do not appreciate life do not deserve life.” If John Kramer is all about showing the people the value of their lives, then how is he a monster?

There are many different definitions of monsters with one being ,”one who deviates from normal or acceptable behavior or character.” According to this definition, one might believe that John Kramer is a monster, however, throughout the Saw series, many of the victims claimed that John Kramer help them. “He helped me..”, Amanda Young stated in the first movie when she was supposed to be speaking against him. Amanda was Jigsaw’s first subject who had survived. She claimed that “Jigsaw had saved her live” which then led her to become his partner. 777039bef06380c7b6000837fb2ad0d0--film-d-épouvante-saw-movie-jigsaw

In the Saw series, Amanda helps John Kramer by catching their victims, and by placing them in the game. She intended to keep John Kramer’s work alive when he passed away. As Amanda says in Saw II, “What is the cure for cancer, Erick? The cure for death itself. The answer is immortality. By creating a legacy, by living a life worth remembering, you become immortal.” This ties with Cohen’s Monster Culture, Thesis II, The Monster Always Escapes; “each reappearance and its analysis is still bound in a double act of construction and reconstruction.” In the series, John Kramer and Amanda Young end up dying, and a detective of searching these jigsaw games, Mark Hoffman becomes the new Jigsaw. Jigsaw never dies, one always comes to take his place.

Throughout the movie, the police and investigators constantly question why Jigsaw would do these cruel acts towards humans. They do not find out until later on in the series, when John Kramer passes away, and they find his ex wife, Jill Tuck and bring her in for questioning. John Kramer and Jill Tuck were expecting a baby boy when Jill Tuck had been slammed by a door in her rehab facility by one of her own patients which led to the loss of their baby. John Kramer was horrified that his wife not just had been injured and lost their baby, but by the fact that it was from someone who they were trying to help, Cecil. John Kramer was disgusted by the fact that Cecil was so addicted to drugs that he didn’t even care about anyone else’s life, he would do anything just to get ahold of drugs. This is one of the acts which led John Kramer into Jigsaw. Later on in the movie, John Kramer uses Cecil as his first test subject ever, as seen below in the photo.saw-4-4

John Kramer then led towards depression, in which John and Jill’s marriage had ended in divorce. After all of these bad events in John Kramer’s life, he then found out that he had a brain tumor and that he is dying. He felt as if he had had enough, he tried to drive himself off of a cliff and surprisingly ended up still being alive. When he drove himself off of the cliff, there was a branch that cut through his chest, and he pulled it out which has led him to survive. In that moment, he knew that he had stayed alive for a reason, and he was going to make purpose of his life by testing others, to see if others will see the value of their lives and survive just like he did. When John Kramer decided to start his work, it ties with Cohen’s Monster Theory, Thesis 1: The Monster’s Body Is a Cultural Body; “The monster is born only at thus metaphoric crossroads, as an embodiment of a certain cultural moment- if a time, a feeling, and a place.”(Cohen). It was a lead of events which led John Kramer to drive himself to suicide, only to be reborn again. As he said in Saw II, “You must meet death in order to be reborn…”

A quote from Saw III I believe contributes to whether one would believe if John Kramer is a monster or not:”Someone like me, who am I?”, “A monster, a murderer.” “I don’t condone murder, I despise it.” This text was in a scene where Jigsaw is talking to a doctor who he had taken to help keep him alive, he had a brain tumor which caused his brain to hemorrhage and wanted the best doctor there was. As he said in this quote, he despises murder. Jigsaw had never personally killed anyone, however he has these many games where he tests his subjects in which they might die. In all of his games, there is ALWAYS a way out. It is up to the one who is in the game to realize if it is worth it or not to stay alive. He plans out each and every one of his games with a way for his victims to be set free. He only chooses people who he believes does not see the value in their lives, and he believes  that if they make it out of his games, then they will wake up and realize how much they value their lives. Now is John Kramer a monster? He only wants to help others, is he John Kramer or Jigsaw?


Annotated Bib

Cohen, Jeffrey. Monster Culture (Seven Thesis). University of Minnesota Press, 1996. I used these thesis to relate John Kramer’s actions to the different monster theories.

“Saw II.” IMDb,, 28 Oct. 2005,

I am using the movie Saw as my primary source for my essay. In this movie I used various quotes and described what is going on throughout the movies. With my essay, I am tying these quotes with deciding on if John Kramer is a monster or not.


“Jigsaw.” IMDb,, 26 Oct. 2017, am using the movie Jigsaw as a primary source for my essay. I used this movie with various quotes of admiration towards John Kramer.