You know the guy up there. That’s Billy, a James Wan creation. Wan first became famous through his infamous movie Saw (2004) creating iconic tricycle-riding Billy the Puppet who immediately became the hair-raising “poster boy” for the franchise.
Saw was a box office success from Day One, grossing no less than $55 million in America, and $48 million in other countries according to Wikipedia and totalling over US$103 million worldwide. This was over $100 million profit, over 80 times the production budget.
Seeing the obvious success of the first Saw, the studios naturally greenlighted the sequel Saw II, which later led to the rest of the Saw franchise: Saw II, Saw III, Saw IV, Saw V, Saw VI and Saw 3D: The Final Chapter. Billy, of course, was always the main stay while all the other characters were killed off and forgotten in the most horrendously ingenious of ways.
Here’s the Trailer of the first Saw movie, just to rouse your memory
Saw became the second highest grossing horror franchise, behind only the Friday the 13th films by a margin of $10 million. Imagine that! Only takes the Wan and only!
So here’s to all-time favourite Billy the Puppet who became immortalised long after the last Saw was screened. Even though his time has passed, he still makes a great Halloween mask to wear for trick or treating.
Through all or most of his movies, Wan shows he clearly has a thing for dolls (his latest being Annabelle). When he made Dead Silence in 2006, he also had a doll called Billy. Dead Silence is about a murdered but now vengeful back-from-the-dead ventriloquist called Mary Shaw who turns her victims into ventriloquist dummies. Saw’s Billy was created by then and those who watched Dead Silence would have glimpsed him lying on the attic floor as part of the pile of Shaw’s people-to-puppet collection.
The use of the same name Billy and the doll’s cameo appearance in another film is no coincidence but a very clever tactic to establish connection.