Saw X, the tenth (yep, tenth!) instalment in the legendary Saw franchise, was released last month to critical acclaim, with many outlets describing it as the best addition to the series since the 2004 original. It's sparked a new wave of goodwill for the horror institution, but the series' legacy actually has a whole other, incredibly positive impact that may have gone unnoticed by many fans and critics.
In October of 2004, as part of the promotion for the first Saw film, which saw two unfortunate fellas trapped in a lethal trap room designed by the nefarious John 'Jigsaw' Kramer (played brilliantly by Tobin Bell), production studio Lionsgate announced the Jigsaw Halloween Blood Drive, encouraging horror lovers to donate blood to the American Red Cross in exchange for a free ticket to a Saw screening. Incredibly, the promotion was an immediate hit, drawing thousands of people to American Red Cross outlets to donate the red stuff, causing the studio to repeat the promotion across numerous Saw sequels.
According to reports, by the release of 2009's sixth Saw entry, Saw VI, fans had donated over 120,000 pints of blood, estimated to have helped save an amazing 360,000 lives.
Saw's unexpected good bit of work for the common good doesn't end there, though. In 2017, with the release of the eighth film in the franchise, Jigsaw, Lionsgate decided to campaign against the US blood donation laws that discriminated against members of the LGBTQ+ community (specifically, rules that prevented most gay and bisexual men from donating owing to a perceived risk of HIV infection). Titled All Types Welcome, the campaign used LGBTQ+ social media influencers to both appeal to people from the community to come forward and donate, and put pressure on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who had introduced the rules in the first place. "We want this policy changed,” Saw series producer Mark Burg stated bluntly, with the campaign receiving plaudits from LGBTQ+ organisations.
The Jigsaw Blood Drive has been reintroduced for 2023 just in time for Saw X, ensuring that the Saw films are able to continue terrifying cinema audiences while helping to save lives for some time yet. Not bad for a franchise dedicated to killing people, really.