Back in 2004, a little film by the name of Saw was released. It wasn’t particularly original – Se7en was thrown about a lot as a comparison – but it helped bring a bit of edge back to a genre that at the time had been largely been defanged by hordes of Scream imitators like I Know What You Did Last Summer and their ilk. Things again went full circle, though; Saw had numerous sequels and also helped spark a bunch of other similarly themed films and wider industry trends. In this case, that was the “torture porn” era of horror, typified by movies like Hostel.
I was never so keen on the progeny that it spawned, but I did quite enjoy the first Saw film. Even the second had its moments, but by the third I’d pretty much checked out. Maybe I’ll go catch up on all of them one day, but for the time being I’m content to just take a look at this Funko POP of Billy the Puppet.
Billy is one of the best-known elements from the series, serving as something of a mascot. The pig’s head mask that Jigsaw actually wears in the films never really caught on in the same way, and so there’s a buttload more merchandise for Billy than there actually is for Jigsaw himself. I suppose it’s a little like Pinhead’s situation; originally a supporting character in the first Hellraiser, he eventually became indelibly associated with the franchise as a whole.
Billy’s design is something I have mixed feelings about. unsettling when he appears in the films, for sure; but he’s always looked a little too My Chemical Romance for me to find him frightening as a He’s static object on his own merits. The clowny face, the red swirls and eyes…I get why people find it unsettling, but to me it feels like it’s trying a little too hard to be edgy.
Nonetheless, Billy the Puppet is the face of one of the most successful horror franchises of recent years. With the Saw series set to return to screens for the first time since 2010 later this year, it will be interesting to see what role Billy plays in future films.
There’s one other version of Billy available, which was an SDCC exclusive in 2014 – Billy has blood spatter on his face and hands, and his face and hands glow in the dark. Expect to pay an arm and a leg (ha!) for it if you plan to track it down.